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Review of the 6 Best Outdoor Batting Cage Kits (+ 5 Buying Tips)

Time to shake off the winter dust and get back into spring / summer baseball shape again! Now all you need is a reliable batting cage.. but where to begin?

Should you go with an in-ground, above-ground, or trapezoid? Aluminum, PVC, steel, galvanized, or powder-coated?

Should you anchor it down, or let it hang loose? Pour a concrete slab or not?

What accessories do you need? What about hanging the net? Should you remove the net each season?

There are hundreds of questions that probably come to mind, and dozens of different styles of outdoor batting cages online, which could leave your head spinning like a nasty slider from Randy Johnson.

We can help. Practice Sports / Battingnets.com have been in the batting cage business since 2001. We have sold hundreds of batting cages worldwide. We’ve played in, reviewed and installed every style on the market.

Below is a review of the 6 most popular outdoor batting cage kits on the market.

But first, here are 5 TIPS to follow when shopping for a batting cage:

  1. PVC is a BAD idea. While it may seem sensible & cheap, when you get 10-12 ft in the air, the PVC is not strong enough & will bend / break. Not to mention the potential for cracking from the elements.
  2. Bigger is better, most of the time. When it comes to pole diameter, the larger OD (outside diameter) means more rigidity and longer lasting. However, the bigger you go, the heavier it gets – and more difficult installation becomes.
  3. Concrete is your friend. Ground footers may seem like a chore, but they are integral to ensuring your batting cage is structurally sound. If you attempt to avoid concreting footers, you will end up with dis-lodged poles as the ground swells from ground moisture and / or freezing & thawing. Consult your local farmer’s almanac to identify your area’s “frost line” to determine how deep the concrete should be.
  4. Removing your net = longer life-span. The more often you remove your net in advance of bad weather, the longer you will have a net. Even extreme winds can cause extreme damage to netting. Remember, netting is just a fiber and will eventually disintegrate when exposed to bad weather. Don’t be mis-lead by claims of “water / ice proof” – this may be true, but only temporarily. Netting is not >= steel.
  5. Cheap batting cages are cheap for a reason. There are dozens of ways to skin a customer in the batting cage world. We have seen more corners cut than a cornfield of crop-circles. Batting cages can vary greatly in pole diameter, wall thickness (schedule or gauge), coating, hardware kits, netting material, and so on. The most important specs to look out for are outside diameter, gauge / schedule, and finish. Just remember, the higher the OD the better, the lower the gauge the better, the higher the Schedule the better, and hot-dipped galvanized is > than cold sprayed galvanized > plain metal. Powder-coated can be superior to all, if applied correctly.

Now onto the 6 most popular batting cage models on the market!

(Ranked in order of Econo to Pro)

Above-Ground Kits

This style does not require concrete footers, which can be an advantage for portability. However, this model is not typically recommended for long-term use in high-wind areas. It is more of a temporary / short-term solution for the casual player.

 1) Trapezoid Model

The most economical cage on the market, this style requires a trapezoid shape to help maintain the structure of the cage due to the smaller 7/8″ pole size. If this cage was installed in rectangle / box form it would bend the poles. It requires ground anchors to prevent wind damage. A decent batting cage for backyards and temporary exhibits, requiring relatively quick & easy set-up / take-down time.

Pros:

  • Econo Price
  • Light-weight
  • No concrete or ground holes

Cons:

  • Light-duty
  • Smaller playable space than rectangle cages

Trapezoid Batting Cage

 

 2) Bolt-Down Model

This model requires a concrete pad for anchoring the poles into. The base of the poles have flange “feet”, which allow lag bolts to be anchored through. This prevents the need for digging concrete footers, but once again this model does not do well in windy areas.

Pros:

  • No concrete or ground holes

Cons:

  • Not intended for extremely windy areas

Bolt-Down Batting Cage

 

 In-Ground Kits

This style requires concrete ground footers, which creates extra stability for the poles. Many of these models include ground sleeves, allowing for the poles to be removed in the winter season as needed. In-ground kits are recommended for serious players, located in windy areas.

3) YardCage Model

The most economical in-ground model, this kit works great for back-yards and recreational areas. The 1-5/8″ poles are a nice powder-coated black finish, which snap together with push-pins for a relatively easy assembly. Concrete footers are required, but it also includes ground-sleeves which allows for the poles to be removed when needed for storage. A relatively light-duty cage, this kit is not recommended for long-term / heavy-duty usage. A great cage for the part-time player, or those just getting started but not ready to make a large investment.

Pros:

  • Econo Price
  • Light-weight
  • Black power-coated all-weather finish
  • Steel Cable connections
  • Can be removed from ground sleeves in winter

Cons:

  • Light-duty

Back yard batting cage

4) Varsity Model

A rib-style frame kit, this is a heavier-duty model than the YardCage, and very popular at high-schools. Each rib section is composed of 2 uprights and a cross-bar, to create an upside down U shape which is concreted into the ground. These kits are available in 1-7/8″ or 2-3/8″ diameter poles. The windier the area, the larger the poles that should be used. This kit also includes all attachment hardware, including 3 cable lines running from end to end, which offers more attachment points than most batting cages on the market – the result is less netting sag, and more playable space.

Pros:

  • Fairly heavy-duty
  • Can be removed from ground sleeves in winter
  • 3 Cable attachments create less netting sag
  • Complete hardware kit
  • Galvanized steel / all-weather

Cons:

  • Potential ricochet points compared to Collegiate or Pro models
  • More concrete footers required compared to Collegiate or Pro models

Varsity Batting Cage Kit

5) Collegiate Model

This batting cage kit has less overall poles, resulting in fewer ground holes & potential ricochet points. It is a heavy-duty kit, recommended for upper-level teams or players. The poles are very stout at 3.5″ OD schedule 40, available in a galvanized steel finish or powder-coated black, green, or brown.

Pros:

  • Heavy-duty
  • 3 Cable attachments create less netting sag
  • Complete hardware kit with bridge support system to reduce sag
  • Galvanized steel / all-weather
  • Optional powder-coating – black, green, or brown
  • Less upright poles
  • Fewer ground holes / concrete required
  • Ricochet points greatly reduced
  • Includes optional bottom anchor kit to prevent base of net from blowing in wind – increasing overall playable cage size / shape

Cons:

  • Ground sleeves not included standard – not allowing removal in off-season without ground sleeves
  • Heavier poles make installation / moving poles more cumbersome without machinery

Collegiate Batting Cage Kit

6) Pro Model

The ultimate outdoor batting cage kit on the market, this cage is designed for serious players & organizations. All ricochet points are eliminated, and the minimal steel poles create a very clean & professional appearance.

Pros:

  • VERY Heavy-duty
  • 3 Cable attachments create less netting sag
  • Complete hardware kit with bridge support system to reduce sag
  • Galvanized steel / all-weather
  • Optional powder-coating – black, green, or brown
  • Less upright poles than Varsity or Yardcage
  • Fewer ground holes / concrete required
  • Ricochet points ELIMINATED
  • Includes optional bottom anchor kit to prevent base of net from blowing in wind – increasing overall playable cage size / shape

Cons:

  • Ground sleeves not included standard – not allowing removal in off-season without ground sleeves
  • Heavier poles make installation / moving poles more cumbersome without machinery
  • Advanced installation for experienced personnel only

Pro Model Batting Cage Kit

__________________________________________________________________________

An outdoor batting cage is essential for a productive practice. Even more important is selecting the correct model for your needs. We hope this review has been helpful in narrowing down the best batting cage for your application. Don’t hesitate to drop us a line with any other questions, or for a custom sized quote.

Thanks for reading, now get out there & practice!

Pro Cage

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4 Comments

  1. Fabian Ramos
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    I bought my first pitching machine. I have two boys 9 & 6 and am looking at what size batting cage to purchase. With so many options it’s hard to choos what’s right for us. Wind is not a problem here, I don’t want to permanently place a cage down if it’s not necessary. What direct question should I ask or consider? Where do I start?

  2. Posted December 8, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Hi Fabian,
    Thanks for your question. If wind is not an issue, and you don’t want to install concrete ground footers, then you will want to look at an above-ground batting cage.

    http://www.practicesports.com/cgi-bin/category/Portable-Batting-Cage-Frames

    Please let me know if you have any other questions.

    Thanks again.

    Chad Schneider | Operations Director

    Learn about our New Training Facility Discount Program

    Practice Sports, Inc. | 506 E Gold Coast Rd Suite B | Papillion, NE 68046
    800.877.6787 x801 | 402.592.2000 | Fax: 800.577.3046
    chad@practicesports.com | practicesports.com

  3. Joe
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Is aluminum a suitable substitute for using steel?

    • Posted December 4, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Hi Joe,
      Great question. Aluminum can work just fine for batting cages – it’s lighter, so it just depends on the thickness or gauge of the tube which will determine it’s structural capabilities. Also, aluminum is more expensive than steel which is why most batting cages are made from steel pipe.

      Any other questions just let us know!

      Chad Schneider | Operations Director

      Practice Sports, Inc. | 14706 Giles Rd. Omaha, NE 68138
      800.877.6787 x801 | 402.592.2000 | Fax: 800.577.3046
      chad@practicesports.com | practicesports.com

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