The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. Why trust us?

8 best cricket bats that are worth getting your whites on for

Grab a bat and get your tea order ready – it’s time to hit out with the best you can buy

David RS Taylor
Monday 28 June 2021 13:01 BST
Consider handle and blade size, weight distribution and the conditions in which you’ll be playing
Consider handle and blade size, weight distribution and the conditions in which you’ll be playing (iStock/The Independent )

Apparently, researchers at the University of Cambridge have discovered that cricket bats made from bamboo are the future of the game – they’re 22 per cent stiffer, more sustainable, provide a larger sweet spot and are cheaper to produce.

It all sounds very promising for the spread of cricket, but in the meantime, there’s no better sound to many across the country than that of leather on willow, as the ball rips away from bat to boundary. At least, that’s the theory: more often than not, the sound is leather on wicket and a long walk back to the clubhouse. That shouldn’t, however, dissuade us from investing in a good bat for those rare good shots.

There are a few elements to look out for when choosing the best though. Handle and blade size (the body of the bat) can be important – longer handles and body’s produce more momentum for big hitters, while shorter ones help batters with their reactive handling.

Position and size of the bat’s sweet spot – where the connection will be the purest – is also something to consider, as this can affect the overall balance of a bat. A sweet spot in the middle of the blade will, on the whole, lead to a more balanced piece of equipment, while a sweet spot lower down can benefit an offensive game on the front foot.

Balance is key, as anything slightly out of balance can affect the bat’s pick-up: that is, how the weight is distributed as you lift it. Thats means a heavier, well-balanced bat can actually feel much lighter than one with less overall weight but poor weight distribution.

Choosing the right bat also depends on the conditions you’ll be playing in. A bouncier pitch more likely demands a bat with a lighter pick-up and higher sweet spot, for all the bouncers that might come your way. Traditional British wickets tend to be on the slower side, resulting in a lower bounce of the ball: in this case, you might be able to invest in one with a lower sweet spot, to connect nicely with a flatter delivery. A good rule of thumb is that a lighter pick-up offers more control for a batter, while a heavier pick-up focuses on generating power through the bat.

Bat prices vary depending on size, design, handle and grade of wood used: when it comes to willow, Grade 1+ is the very best available, but Grade 4 is still more than acceptable for most players. It’s also not an exact science, as the wood isn’t made in a lab: this is real English willow, a beautiful tree that provides the best cricket bats around, but will never produce two exact replicas. Luckily, there are plenty of expert craftspeople around to provide the very best bat for you to swing wildly with at a wide ball.

You can get a great bat for £100-200, one that will last you years if you give it the proper care and attention it deserves. However, there are options above that price range that can really set your game apart from the rest. Now it’s just a matter of being able to actually hit the ball, and you’re away…

Thee best cricket bats for 2022 are:

Woodstock Tour de Force 2021

Woodstock tour de force 2021 indybest.jpeg

Best: Overall

The Tour de Force is a bat that really should command a much higher price. Handmade in Woodstock’s Shropshire workshop, bats are made using the same processes that founder John Newsome used in his back garden workshop more than a decade ago. The Tour de Force was recently rated highly in Cricketer Magazine’s “Gear of the Year” issue, and we can see why: it’s bulky without being too heavy, with a large swell towards the toe that produces explosive hitting, perfect for front foot players. It also happens to look beautiful, coming in 10 different colour ways. There’s a quintessentially English feel to the Tour de Force, perfect for striding in to bat – and if you’re like us, most likely swiftly striding back to the clubhouse. At least you’ll look good doing so.

Back to top

New Balance TC 1260

New Balance TC 1260  indybest.jpeg

Best: To channel Joe Root

If it’s good enough for the England captain, it’s good enough for us. Joe Root’s bat of choice when stepping out to the crease, the TC 1260 is made from Grade 1 English willow. Those of us who like to swat away at bouncers will gain confidence from the high placement of the sweet spot and the resulting light pick-up will help us ping it along the floor to the boundary (in theory).

Back to top

Newbery N-Series

Newbery n-series  indybest.jpeg

Best: Budget bat

It’s astounding that Newbery has managed to include everything it has in the N-Series for under £100. The bat has a huge profile, considering its price, with thick edges and a weighty toe. Its low sweet spot helps batters with a solid, strong connection, and Newbery gives customers a choice of 11 colour ways to customise their batting experience. It’s a very handy bat at an even handier price, perfect for late-order batters or those just beginning their cricketing life.

Back to top

Kookaburra Kahuna Lite

Kookaburra kahuna lite indybest.jpeg

Best: For Twenty20

A maximum weight of 2lb 8 1/2 oz makes Kookaburra’s Kahuna Lite a matchstick maestro, perfect for players who need to score runs as quickly as humanly possible. The shorter blade and longer handle are geared towards this rapid scoring, creating faster bat speed and momentum. The oval grip also ensures that bat movement in the hand is kept to a minimum – until you hit a particularly good six that needs a showman’s twirl.

Back to top

Willow Twin Triton

Willow Twin range indybest.jpeg

Best: For playing well and doing good

Willow Twin’s hand-made bats are among the most beautiful available, with stunning designs and quality materials. Our pick of the bunch is the Triton, combining a long profile and sharp spine with a generous sweet spot bang in the middle of the blade to offer a bat for the true all-rounder.

Besides the obvious quality of the brand’s bats, there’s an extra incentive to invest. When you buy a bat from the range, you become a “Willow Twin”, directly supporting a young person from the Change Foundation with your purchase. The Foundation’s programmes train, educate and support young people on the path to employment and personal fulfilment, all through playing the sport we love. Not a bad feeling to have every time you put on the whites.

Plus, right now you can pay just £1 – yes, you read that right – to try the bat before you buy.

Back to top

Gunn & Moore Diamond L540 DXM

Gunn & Moore diamond L540 DXM indybest.jpeg

Best: For Ashes reenactment

The Diamond profile of bats from lauded English bat maker Gunn & Moore was designed with one of England’s greatest all-rounders, Ben Stokes, in mind. You can see how his signature approach to the game comes through in the bat: the shorter blade and large sweet spot combine to produce a bat that will go anywhere and do anything you want it to. We can’t promise that you’ll quite manage to reenact Stokes’s magnificent 135 not out against Australia, but with this bat in your hand, you’ll definitely fancy yourself to give it a go.

Back to top

New Balance 2021 Burn

New Balance 2021 burn indybest.jpeg

Best: For handsy players

The Burn range has been a mainstay for New Balance for a while now, and we can see why. The blade is shorter than average, giving batters with quicker hand speed even more of an advantage. The sweet spot lands right in the middle, its versatility offering the opportunity to play all around the wicket with a consistent connection. This is for the handsy batter who’s noticed the opposition captain sneaking an extra slip in behind them.

Back to top

Gray-Nicolls blue MAAX 5 star junior

Gray-Nicolls blue MAAX 5 star junior indybest.jpeg

Best: For junior players

When it comes to cricket, Gray-Nicolls is a name that you can trust. Many of the game’s finest players have used the brand’s bats and equipment, with Amelia Kerr and Sirs Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss all preferring the storied English label. There’s no brand better placed to start as a junior, and our pick is the blue MAAX 5 Star. It’s on the heavier side for a junior bat, but the large mid sweet spot helps heft any stray balls to the boundary and there’s a balance that creates a super-light pick-up. This bat is for enthusiastic youngsters that want to get to the crease ready to hit for the rope.

Back to top

Cricket bats FAQs

Do I need to “knock in” a new cricket bat?

Knocking in your bat is essential preperation before you play, even if you have purchased a “pre-knocked in” bat. To knock it in, apply two or three teaspoons of linseed oil to the face, edges and back of the bat evenly.

Then leave the bat horizontal and face up to dry for 24 hours. Apply two more coats of oil, each time letting it dry for 24 hours. Then strike the bat at a 45-degree ankle with a bat mallet so it dents. Work the edges of your bat so it has a smooth, rounded appearance. Repeat this on the other edge so both sides are the same.

The verdict: Cricket bats

Choosing the right cricket bat is a lifetime’s work. A change of weighting here, a handle size there: it’s a fun process finding the perfect bat for you. To get a head start, the Woodstock Tour de Force is a winner, providing elite balance and beautiful looks. For big hitters, the Kookaburra Kahuna Lite gives you the lightweight feel and welcoming sweet spot you need to lift it over the rope.

Boost your energy levels after a long game with our best protein bars that aid muscle recovery and taste good too

Voucher Codes

TUI Discount Code
TUI Discount Code
Up to 7% off all online bookings at TUI
ASOS Discount Code
ASOS Discount Code
20% off everything with this ASOS app discount code
Travelodge Discount Code
Travelodge Discount Code
5% off all bookings with this Travelodge discount code
The Perfume Shop Discount Code
The Perfume Shop Discount Code
15% of all orders with The Perfume Shop birthday discount
The Body Shop Discount Code
The Body Shop Discount Code
20% off everything with The Body Shop discount code
Domino's Voucher Code
Domino's Voucher Code
Get 40% off mains, sides, and desserts - Domino's voucher code

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in