Best Baseball Elbow Guards (1)

7 Best Baseball Elbow Guards for 2024

We are reader supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Also, as an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

They weren’t even a common part of the baseball equipment list until the 1980s, but elbow guards are very common now on the diamond. What makes a good elbow guard, and why?

As part of our ongoing series preparing for the 2023 baseball season (and beyond), we took a deep dive into the world of elbow guards, elbow pads, and elbow sleeves that baseball players will either appreciate, or flat-out need.

What baseball players want out of their elbow guards is pretty simple: protection, comfort, and style ~ in that order, for most of them.

Tack on design, color, color combos, type (e.g. slip-on or strapped with Velcro), and materials, and we had a pretty solid starting point of judging criteria in our research. Finally, also weighed in our reviews or comments by people who already bought guards, and price ranges.

We try to offer suggestions to meet the needs of any type of ballplayer, or parents of players. So here’s what we discovered.

Summary

Who Needs an Elbow Guard in Baseball

A plastic guard, or even pad or sleeve, over the elbow is preferred by baseball players who have:

  • Had trouble with being hit by pitches on the spot, especially on the boney point of the elbow, or the soft tissue immediately above it on the back side (bottom triceps tendon)
  • Fear of a freak injury; concern that another hard-thrown errant pitch will strike a terribly sensitive spot on the arm and force the player from a game
  • Proven that they can crunch an elbow to the ground while sliding
  • Any injury or pain to the elbow that needs to be protected from all collisions
  • Any pain that needs to be kept warm or mobilized during play (more often, elbow sleeves are used for this purpose)
  • A desire to intimidate the opposing pitcher
  • A hope to get hit by pitches more to get on base

The elbow guard as we know it today is mostly the elongated, hard piece of plastic, either with Velcro straps or big enough to slide on, that covers the elbow like a piece on a metal robot.

They were used long before him, but Barry Bonds put the spotlight on them with his very large right-elbow guard during his famous runs to home run records at the end of his career. Bonds by that point was a big man to start, and adding the biggest elbow guard in the game made him appear even larger.

Basically, any baseball player who wants to avoid being hurt by anything in game play should consider wearing an elbow guard (or even elbow guards).

What to Look for When Buying Elbow Guards for Baseball

Weight

No matter why the player wants to wear an elbow guard in particular, eventually, he will have to run the bases with it on, and super-heavy elbow guards are not preferred by many experienced players.

Material

There are newfangled and scientifically advanced materials used to manufacture today’s elbow guards, which we won’t get into detail here but we wanted to make you aware. A lot of the materials are aimed at comfort, to either feel really good when touching the skin, or maybe the wick moisture away from the skin. If a brand states a certain material you have never heard of, Google it!

Hinge

How the elbow pad fits around, and bends with, the elbow can be a big deal. If this is important for the player, pay attention to product descriptions that discuss exactly how they designed the joint for full movement.

Fit

This means how an elbow guard fits around an elbow, as well as how it’s held in place during baseball play. Many elbow guards are like elbow sleeves in that they do not have straps and can just be slipped over the hands and pulled over the elbows. Others have 1 or 2 straps, which can be pulled tight and secured with Velcro connections.

Protection

Finally, of course don’t overlook what the model engages to protect the player’s body parts! Some use high-tech materials that start soft and somehow harden once the product is secured in place. Others tack on as much padding as they can get away with, without adding too much bulk, weight, or inconvenience to the swing.

Style

Today’s baseball elbow pads can come in a wide array of colors, color combos, color schemes, patterns, and more to fit the look a player wants. Maybe it’s to fit the color scheme of the team, maybe it’s a spider web to scare the pitcher, who knows, but style can play a part in selecting a baseball elbow guard.

Best Elbow Guards for 2023 ~ Our Suggestions

1. Best Elbow Guard for 2023 Overall ~ EvoShield EvoCharge Batter’s Elbow Guard

Analysis

The company is relatively new to the baseball equipment world, but the EvoShield EvoCharge Batter’s Elbow Guard is a wonderful example why this manufacturer is designated as the Official Batter’s Protective Gear providers of Major League Baseball.

You’ll see other guards from this company below, and it’s hard to choose between them because all are high-quality. To top our list, we choose the EvoCharge because this model offers all the bang for the buck, at the most palatable price point. The big add with this model is a quick-release tab to make it easier to put on and take off.

The main draw is the company’s own Gel-to-Shell technology, which means out of the box it feels soft, but once situated on the body it molds to the elbow ~ and hardens! (Be sure to follow instructions!). Add to that the fact that technically this guard disperses the energy of impacts instead of absorbing it through a lot of padding.

Specifications

  • Material(s): Polyester
  • Weight: 3 oz.
  • Strap: Single-strap elastic and Velcro
  • Special Feature: Gel-to-Shell technology

What We Like

  • Gel-to-Shell technology: begins soft and flexible, transforms to hard and protective in minutes, molding around shape of elbow, either one
  • Impact is dispersed, and not merely absorbed by adding more padding
  • Tab to improve process to put on and take off

Check Price Now


2. Best Elbow Guard for 2023 for Runner-Up ~ G-Form Elite 2 Batter’s Elbow Guard

Analysis

When you get into G-Form models of elbow guards, you’re getting more into the longer types you might see on TV, and some with crazy patterns. So along with superb protection you can look super cool wearing the G-Form Elite 2 Batter’s Elbow Guard.

Before we get into appearance, let’s talk about protection. First, the player won’t lose much range of motion thanks to a nested pad hinge design. This is a longer model, meaning parts of the tricep and forearm are covered, too. And this company’s energy-absorbing SmartFlex pads are very light and form-fitting.

The designs are killer. Want stars and stripes? Got it. Street art? No prob. These elbow guards come in an array of colors and patterns, which makes them especially fun for younger ballplayers. For older players, we think they’ll appreciate the 2-strap fit, covering more of the body part in question.

Specifications

  • Material(s): Polyester and foam
  • Weight: 16 oz.
  • Strap: 2-strap Velcro
  • Special Feature: SmartFlex pads for absorption of impacts

What We Like

  • The way this model fits over the bones on either side of the elbow up and down
  • Color and pattern selection
  • Design for full range of motion at the joint

Check Price Now


3. Best Elbow Guard for 2023 Overall ~ EvoShield SRZ-1 Batter’s Elbow Guard

Analysis

The second EvoShield offering ends up very high on the list also. The EvoShield SRZ-1 Batter’s Elbow Guard is yet another solid offering by this company that now is owned by parent Wilson, so you get some big-brand backing and trust with it.

This model is about as solid as the EvoCharge noted above. It’s just missing some relatively minor details if you look closely. The Gel-to-Shell technology is there so players will appreciate how the product molds around their elbow shape to harden.

The elastic and Velcro strap is easy to use and so far reviews are that the connection lasts decently enough. The only element that might prevent a parent going with this model is its small size. It’s designed to protect the elbow, not the entire middle arm region like Barry Bonds!

Specifications

  • Material(s): Polyester
  • Weight: 3 oz.
  • Strap: Elastic and Velcro
  • Special Feature: Gel-to-Shell technology

What We Like

  • The technological advancement of the Gel-to-Shell science is here, too
  • 1-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Large selection of colors and color combos

Check Price Now


4. Best Elbow Guard for Brand Trust for 2023 ~ Rawlings Protective Elbow Guard

Analysis

While super simple on its face, we cannot think of a better no-nonsense product name than the Rawlings Protective Elbow Guard. Just the brand name alone at the very start indicates quality and trust. For the rest, Rawlings leaves no doubt about what you’re getting.

That may seem simple, but there are many newfangled elbow guards surfacing every year, often by unknown companies, promising some dazzling new feature, or other reason to go with their product. Our point above is that Rawlings as an institution eliminates all doubt.

This elbow guard is nothing special to look at but Rawlings is the company that manufactures the baseball used in Major League Baseball. You can bet the quality and durability are there, and that it protects what you wanted protected.

Specifications

  • Material(s): Polyester
  • Weight: 1.8 oz.
  • Strap: 1 strap with Velcro
  • Special Feature: Super-duper light

What We Like

  • Quality brand backing
  • Lightness in weight
  • Compactness

Check Price Now


5. Best Elbow Guard Pair for 2023 ~ Bodyprox Protective Elbow Pads

Analysis

Having both elbows bonked a lot? Here’s where we recommend a product that comes in a pair: the Bodyprox Protective Elbow Pads. These are the mostly soft guards a player would need when the elbows get sore, either from collisions with hard things, or maybe even tendonitis or tennis elbow.

In fact, the company also calls this product an elbow sleeve. So this model is kind of a hybrid with what are really sleeves, which are long tight covers of the elbow and adjacent body areas without much padding. Sleeves are meant to keep joints warm and secure to avoid injury due to stress. Here, the company nicely weaves padding in also, and you have a cool equipment item for baseball.

Specifications

  • Material(s): Polyester and plastic
  • Weight: 5 oz.
  • Strap: None; slip-on
  • Special Feature: Thick EVA foam with plenty of seams for bending

What We Like

  • You get 2 for a nice price!
  • Perfect for the player who seems to hurt both elbows
  • Nicely designed with enough seems so the overall fit is not stiff

Check Price Now


6. Best Elbow Guard for 2023 for Coverage ~ G-Form Extended Elbow Guard

Analysis

With this 2nd G-Form entry in our list, we finally get into the biggies. The G-Form Extended Elbow Guard more resembles that Barry Bonds look we mention above. Tired of getting hit by pitches all around the elbow? Then either back off the plate some, or go with this guard!

Aside from the excellent coverage of skin, bone, and tendons, the G-Form Extended has a lot to offer. Of course it has the company’s known SmartFlex pads to specially absorb impact. The sleeve-fit has silicone grippers for a different, secure feel. And this product for all its size wicks away moisture and seems to breathe well.

Plus it’s waterproof, in case it’s super-duper hot, or you play a lot in wet conditions. It is lightweight, can be worn on either arm, and is machine washable which is cool.

Specifications

  • Material(s): Nylon and Spandex
  • Weight: 4 oz.
  • Strap: Slip-on, compression sleeves with silicone grippers
  • Special Feature: Moisture-wicking UPF 50+ fabric for breathability

What We Like

  • Waterproof!
  • Breathability!
  • Light weight for all the coverage

Check Price Now


7. Best Elbow Guard for 2023 for Comfort ~ Nuribase Baseball Batter’s Elbow Guard

Analysis

All of the baseball elbow guards on this list are pretty comfortable to wear, but if we had to pick a single model where it just feels really good on the arm, we would say the Nuribase Baseball Batter’s Elbow Guard.

It seems their secret is the breathable, high-quality fabric, with “advanced perspiration capabilities.” Aside from preventing more sweat, we like how the fabric feels on the skin. The rest seems in the design and engineering. Like other models in this list, the Nuribase offering has a nice nesting cushion hinge so it doesn’t pinch or otherwise get in the way of the swing.

For protection, this model has advanced, wear-resistant pads, and overall the elbow guard is quite flexible. Again, we like to point to this baseball elbow guard model for its comfort.

Specifications

  • Material(s): Polyester
  • Weight: 4.6 oz.
  • Strap: 2 straps with Velcro
  • Special Feature: High-quality fabric that feels good on the skin

What We Like

  • Lots of comfort
  • Great hinge to avoid impediment to swings
  • Satisfaction guarantee in marketing text

Check Price Now


Honorable Mentions

For Youths: Jadelylin Batter Elbow Guard

For Brace/Support: HiRui Elbow Pads

For Style: Bucwild Sports Compression Arm Sleeve

Baseball Insider’s Insight on Elbow Guards

As a former baseball player who used both elbow guards and elbow sleeves over many seasons of infield play, here are some things to consider when trying to decide if an elbow guard is for you in baseball games:

  • I found that really tight sleeves or guards felt good on the joint, as if it helped keep the darn thing together. After a lot of throws over a short period, a baseball player can feel like the elbow joint is getting “loose,” like nuts and bolts loosening as a car drives. Sometimes a sleeve just provides a good feeling, or a peace of mind.
  • Elbow guards might look bulky or heavy, but in reality while hitting you hardly notice they are there. Few modern elbow pads are made poorly to pinch at the inside of the elbow. Who would buy those?
  • An elbow guard certainly gives a timid batter confidence in the batter’s box. Sometimes every little bit helps. Hitting a baseball is hard enough, without adding fear into the equation.
  • I liked elbow sleeves especially because I dove head-first on the infield dirt a lot, and was an aggressive slider on the bases. I dinged every part of my elbows, inside, out, up, down, over the years. Some players might just like to have an elbow guard or elbow sleeve in their bag to make decisions based on the field. Some infields are super hard, or have more pebbles than others.
  • It’s true that you could wear a gigantic elbow guard and crowd the plate, and lean in to get hit by more pitches. However, I’m also a former umpire, and seasoned umps may warn you, or even call a strike on a pitch you leaned into, to stop the practice. Overall, from a player’s perspective, doing something like that is considered Bush League, or amateurish. You might get razzed pretty hard for doing it.

Related Questions

Question: Are there limits on the size of baseball elbow guards?

Answer: No, in most instances. It depends on the league or governing national organization. The big question is whether or not any piece of baseball equipment is deemed to have given the player an unfair advantage. This could end up being an umpire’s call, which could be something along the lines of sportsmanship. Players can’t just go up there with furniture foam strapped to their arms hoping to get hit by a pitch to get on base.

Q.: What’s the difference between elbow guards and elbow sleeves?

A.: As explained above, sleeves are like long sleeves of a tight shirt, cut off. The idea is to squeeze the joint and help keep it compact during great exertion, and also to keep warm and prevent injuries. So sleeves are really protection from hurting yourself by over-exertion. Elbow guards protect the elbow from hard items striking it. Elbow guards have hard plastic inside, or at least thick padding to lessen the impact of blows.

Q.: Do elbow sleeves work for baseball players?

A.: You’ll see them more on basketball players, and some football players especially when games are on artificial turf, but yes, elbow sleeves do work. A non-baseball player just needs to think about just how many times that 5-ounce ball is thrown to maximum exertion. An elbow might not yet be sore or hurt, but they do get tired. Experienced ball players will know when to protect a certain part of the body, and throwing elbows feel pretty good all wrapped up tight and warm during game play. Plus, get one in a funky color or pattern and look really cool!

Q.: Can you still break an elbow while wearing an elbow pad?

A.: Anything can happen in baseball. First of all, breaking an elbow is an extremely rare injury in baseball. In fact, there probably are more broken elbow bones from sliding than from pitched balls. Still, wearing any amount of padding or cover over the joint lessens the odds for injury, for sure.