First it's important to understand how steel numbering works. The industry uses what are called "schedules" and "gauges" to represent the thickness of the tubing "wall". With Schedules, lower numbers are lighter, and higher are thicker, i.e. Schedule 40 is very heavy-duty (nearly 1/4" thick). With Gauges it is the opposite - i.e. a 9-Gauge tube is thicker than 13-gauge.
The most important factors to consider are:
Are you in a very windy area?
How heavy is your net?
Do you want the frame to last virtually forever, and prefer a high-performing system?
Up to 90 MPH: Schedule-40, 2-3/8"
Up to 80 MPH: 9-Gauge, 2-3/8"
Up to 70 MPH: 12-Gauge, 2-3/8"
Up to 60 MPH: 13-Gauge, 1-7/8"
*Please note these are only general recommendations, are not scientific numbers, and not guarantees. Please use your own discretion when determining the proper frame size for your area.
If you have a net which is very heavy, such as a Varnish or Latex Dipped #42 or #60 gauge, you will want to consider using a minimum of 12-Gauge 2-3/8". Keep in mind that the heavier the net, the more tension you will need to put on your cable lines to minimize net sag. The heavier your frame is, the more you can maximize your tension without bending the poles.
For example, on the 1-7/8" frame it is recommended to tilt the outside sections outward a few degrees, to allow for the tension in the cable lines to be increased, and compensate for the natural bend in the poles. If you would rather not worry about tilting your poles just right, we recommend the 2-3/8" frames.
More nCage In-Ground Batting Cage Frequently Asked Questions