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Baseball

Best Catcher's Gear (Baseball)

Without a doubt, catching is the toughest position in baseball. Foul balls, wild pitches, and collisions at the plate with charging runners make catching hazardous duty. For this hazardous position, you need the best in protective gear. Hockey-style helmets, padded chest protectors, and full coverage leg guards are all required tools of the trade and will help keep you safe behind the plate. Catcher's gear is now more technologically advanced than ever with leading manufacturers using innovative designs and materials to make catcher equipment stronger, more comfortable, and more functional, and more durable. Make sure to do research on various products and to test the gear for proper fit before purchasing. Though baseball equipment can get expensive, it is better to save a little on a bat than to scrimp on protective equipment. A good hitter can usually hit just as good with a $200 bat than he can with a $300 bat. However, you will not be as protected nor as comfortable with a $40 chest protector as you would be with a $140 chest protector. Protection and comfort count! Whether you are youth player, high school star, or an adult league player, you will want to choose quality, well-reviewed protects when you purchase catcher’s gear.

Easton Mako Catchers Helmet

The Easton Mako was designed by Easton without budget restraints, and with player performance specifically in mind. For catchers, quickness and agility are king. Easton has developed a mask optimized with speed in mind. NOCSAE Approval ensures the masks adheres to top safety guidelines. Comfort and visibility are optimized in one feature, as the snug fit provides comfort while limiting the mask sliding that leaves every catcher frustrated. The Mako is built for the quick movements of the catcher, which translates into quickness on the field. The top line equipment comes at a top line price.

All-Star System Seven SL Catcher's Helmet

All-Star System Seven SL Catcher's Helmet

The All Star System Seven SL is the second mask in this years line of All-Star brand catcher's helmets. The System Seven SL features top of the line safety, having been "collision tested" on baseballs over 100 MPH. The 'SL' stands for Super Light, and this mask delivers on its promise. The SL is equipped with armor-clad moisture wicking technology, to offset the discomfort associated with sweating in your helmet -- an inevitable outcome of double headers and hot day games. The 3D mesh padding liner offers improved comfort and stability on the head, and even features a padding replacement to further tailor the mask to improve comfort. The Mask offers good vision range as well, making this mask the complete package.

Rawlings Tone-On-Tone Coolflo Catcher's Helmet

Rawlings boasts a three key features to the Tone-on-Tone Coolflo cacher's helmet: A 25 percent lighter helmet than comparable models, Coolflo technology, 15 vents for optimum coolness behind the dish, and a metallic highlight fade paint job, for style points. While a custom paint job earns this helmet no points in this rating system, a light helmet and coolflo technology keep this mask in the conversation as a premiere catcher's helmet. And style points cant hurt, either. Visibility is standard in this helmet. As expected, this helmet also protects, adhering to NOCSAE standards.

Mizuno Pro G2 Catchers Helmet

The Mizuno Pro G2 makes this best-of list for it's performance on every measurable level. The helmet meets NOCSAE protection standards, boasts a new design with DryLite lining, which wicks away moisture. Most importantly, this helmet is light, and utilizes thinner bars for increased comfort and visibility, which will translate to performance on the field. I would recommend this helmet to a catcher who has a strong preference for field visibility, since this helmet is specifically designed with visibility in mind. The helmet is also competitively priced, and is comparable to most similar models in the market.

Louisville Slugger TPX Catcher's Helmet

The Louisville Slugger CH-TPX is simply a performer. This model doesn't tout any bells and whistles like its counterparts. This helmet just does its job -- protecting the catchers face -- and does it well. The key feature of this helmet is its close-profile cage, which does a great job of improving visibility for the catcher. Louisville is a trusted name in baseball for a reason; They always have a strong sense of the needs of the modern baseball player. The CH-TPX is no exception.

ALL-STAR System 7 LG30PRO Pro Baseball Leg Guards

Plain and simple, the All Star LG30Pro leg guards are the best of any catchers leg guard available on the market. They boast a triple-knee design which keeps the knee completely protected from impact while delta flex harnesses, perforated padding, and moldable plastic shins all contribute to creating a comfortable and lightweight final product. These are best for highly competitive, year-round catchers who need consistent, reliable performance from their equipment. While the All Star LG30Pro retail at a fairly high price point, you get what you pay for with these leg guards.

Mizuno Pro Shin Guards

The Mizuno Pro G2s are another high priced leg guard boasting superior protection, comfort and performance. Like any of the premier leg guards, the Pro G2 come standard with triple-knee protection. Silicon straps in the back contribute to stable wear during play and drilite material keeps the leg guards relatively comfortable (At least as comfortable as one can be squatting behind the plate.) Additionally, there as a detachable 'K-pad' allowing the wearer a degree of comfort customization.

Under Armour Men's Pro Catcher's Leg Guards

Under Armor has created a significant following of loyal consumers and their Pro leg guards come with unique features putting them on our list of best catchers leg guards. For one, Under Armour Pro leg guards use a thick outer layer providing great protection without adding a lot of weight. Second, of all of the Leg guards I’ve used in my career, the Under Armour Pro's tend to provide the most protection for my legs largely due to the wider construction of the leg guards. These are recommended for high level athletes who prefer the unique feel of Under Armour gear over other leg guards.

Easton Adult Natural Leg Guards

The Easton Natural leg guards are a fairly common sight in most amateur baseball dugouts (Including nearly every dugout I’ve played or coached in since I was 8 years old.) They’re the consummate standard for leg guards as they’re strong, protective, sturdy, and durable. Easton has committed to keeping the leg guards lightweight, and they’ve achieved this goal with the Natural. Comfort is secondary to the All Star LG30Pro as it provides standard only padding, nothing special. Overall, these leg guards are a great combination of effectiveness and value as evidenced by their continued popularity with baseball teams at all levels of play.

Diamond iX3 Deluxe Leg Guard

The Diamond iX3 series define the industry standard for leg guards as they identify exactly what a Catcher needs while maintaining a focus on affordability. As a result, Diamond has created a leg guard which functions admirably in its role as a leg protector while maintaining a low price point. The Diamond iX3 series are a triple-knee style protecting the entire knee and while their comfort and overall weight are pretty standard, by no means does this make them subpar. Value-priced leg protection, Diamond compete well with the Easton leg guards and are recommended for those who prefer the simplicity of the standard model.

Easton Junior/Youth Black Magic Catcher Box Set

The Easton Junior Youth Black Magic Baseball Catchers Equipment Set includes helmet, chest protector and leg guards is built for protection. Specifically designed for younger players, this set has all the attributes of a professional set of equipment, but perfect for a smaller player. The helmet comes equipped with a durable steel cage for protection as well as being properly ventilated so you'll be comfortable and protected while behind the plate.

The chest protector has an innovative attachment system which basically keeps the safety of the player in mind, offering unbelievable protection, while still allowing them to move as they wish. It’s Perfect for jumping, running and throwing. The leg guards, with their double kneecap design have a protective shin plate designed to make it nearly impossible to get injured.

All Star System Seven Youth Professional Catcher's Gear Set

The All Star System Seven Youth Professional catcher's gear set might be a bit pricier, but I think we can all agree that you can't put a price on safety, protection and functionality. The helmet features a strong, light shell made from injected molded ABS plastic which is light weight and strong to keep your head safe. Along with a dual-wielded steel mask, you head and face will be sufficiently protected. The chest protector comes with multi-layered foam padding as well as built in sternum plates ensures complete and total protection. The leg guards are made with resistant plastic components for better protection and full wing padding for comfort.

Wilson Youth EZ Catcher's Gear

The WIlson Youth EZ Gear Catcher's Kit comes with everything a burgeoning catcher needs. The helmet is a premium grade ABA shall which allows for complete protection from balls, and in some instances, bats. The helmet is also equipped to vent out the heat, ensuring functionality and safety, while keeping your head cool. Wilson specifically designed this set to ensure a snug a proper fit while maintaining complete functionality. With a onetime adjustable stray system, you set it and forget about it. It couldn't be simpler for players.

Louisville Slugger OSETI Catcher's Gear Set

Louisville Slugger OSETI Catcher's Gear Set

The Louisville Slugger OSETI Catcher's Gear Set has everything a young catcher needs. It comes with the Intermediate Helmet, the Omaha chest protector and the Omaha shin guards. The helmet features a top-grade foam for both superior comfort and fit, which also allows for exceptional vision while not sacrificing protection.

The chest protector is a traditional pro-style design and is made of an ultra-lightweight foam, which increases your protection. With adjustable Velcro side attachments, it couldn't be easier to get on and off. Lastly, the shin guards are anatomically designed for both the left and for the right leg with lightweight construction to allow for total mobility without sacrificing protection. The high-impact resistant plastic makes it near impossible to be injured with this equipment.

Minzuno Samurai Youth Baseball Catcher's Set

The Mizuno Youth Samurai Box set has a strong, steel construction to provide ultimate protection. With a ventilated design, the helmet maintains breathability while an adjustable jaw pad ensures maximum comfort. The chest protector has detachable wings that provide greater side protection and fit. With low rebound technology, the ball will bounce off your chest but won't go far while the patented DryLite inner lining maintains comfort without sacrificing functionality. The Shin guards have protective triple-knee cup which also maintain flexibility. A detachable K-pad ensures superior fit and ultimate protection.

All Star System Seven Baseball Catcher's Gear Set

The All Star System 7 catcher's gear set is the best of the best when it comes to catcher's gear sets. While pricey, can you justifiably put a price on the equipment that's going to protect you from a 100 mph fastball? The set features a chest protector offering directional blocking which basically helps keep the ball in front of you when you block it, something that’s incredibly helpful to any catcher. It also boasts ventilation in the mask and gel padding in the leg guards, making comfort just as an important component as functionality. One of the greatest statistics that this company boats is a 0.1 percent  defect rate. Ultimately, this is a guarantee that your equipment will stand the test of time and never let you down.

Easton Mako LLWS Adult Catcher's Set

The Mako Series is just slightly below the All Star System 7 in regards to overall quality on this list.. Again, a catchers set on the pricey side, but there's something to paying a little extra for your gear as peace of mind alone is worth the money. The helmet has increased ventilation ports which means you'll be more comfortable behind the plate even on the hottest days.

On the leg guards, the conic knee cap that has been added will make a lot of catchers very happy. This knee cap contains extra padding and more comfort than earlier models which means more comfort without losing functionality. Basically, you won't even know you're wearing leg guards while they're shielding you from fastballs and curves in the dirt.

The chest protector has also been newly designed to have a stretchable material to allow for incredible mobility. When you need to pop up quick and get the ball to second, this gear isn't going to slow you down.

Wilson Silver Series Hinge FX 2.0 Adult Catcher Set

Wilson Silver Series Hinge FX 2.0 Adult Catcher Set

Reasonably priced, the Wilson Silver Series is a quality catchers gear set at a quality price. Wilson is of course the Official Protective Gear manufacturer for Major League Baseball. This should give you complete peace of mind that you're not only getting a quality product, you're getting a product professionals feel comfortable using.

The Wilson Shock FX helmet that comes will help you avoid serious head injuries as it’s able to completely absorb quite a bit of impact. The leg guards are also top of the line as they conform to the entire leg, allowing for both complete protection and comfort; the catcher can focus on the game and not their equipment. With the name Wilson behind it, you know this gear is not only made to last, but it's safe and will keep you protected.

Mizuno Samurai G4 Adult Catcher's Set

The Mizuno Samurai G4 series for catchers equipment is another of these sets that is very reasonably priced. And just because it's affordable, doesn't mean they're sacrificing quality. The Samurai G4 series offers such fantastic features like rebound control in the chest protector which any catcher knows is vital. This allows blocked baseballs to stick close by you, allowing you to not have to search for them. Also, more padding allows safety and comfort.

With three layers of padding, it's near impossible for a ball to do serious damage (at least when it's hitting the pads). Along with an inner lining which manages  ventilation and sweat, you'll stay cooler behind the plate and your equipment will dry faster. With all of Mizuno's protective features, it's no surprise that they're one of the tops in quality, durability and comfort.

Louisville Slugger Adult PG Series 7 Catchers Set

The Louisville Slugger Series 7 catcher’s equipment set is moderately priced and perfect for the catcher who's serious about the game. It's made from ultra-lightweight, yet super-durable materials, which means you'll not only stay protected, but you won't be weighed down with heavy, uncomfortable equipment.

Some features include the smartly produced helmet which has a moisture-controlling chin pad. This ensures keeping you cool and sweat off your face. The leg guards have been built to match up with your leg precisely with the shape allowing for movement and running as if you weren't wearing anything on your legs at all. All of this, plus a chest protector providing exceptional arm mobility and memory foam padding for better blocking and protection.

ALL-STAR CP30PRO System 7 Adult Chest Protector

One could make the argument the All Star System Seven chest protector is without a doubt, the best chest protector on the market. This is the top of the line, ultimate chest protector and while it’s a little expensive, can you really put a price on the safety of the person behind the plate? If I had a 90 mph fastball hurdling towards me, I don't think any price is high enough to spend.

One of the cool things about this chest protector is the U-Bar design, which promotes a proper, square body position. This makes the chest protector good for any age, since it will promote fundamental techniques. It's also one of the most durable chest protectors on the market, made with multiple thin layers of foam ensuring this chest protector will last long past the ninth inning. With the added bonus of looking very cool, this is the chest protector for the serious catcher.

Easton Stealth Chest Protector

This is the second best chest protector by the slimmest of margins. Again, a bit pricey, but we can't argue enough about how price shouldn't play too much of a factor when talking about performance and safety. One of the biggest selling points of this particular protector is the ventilation. The patented Coolmax Lining not only reduces the weight of the equipment but also helps keep a player cool even during the most grueling summer games. The Stealth is made from ultra-lightweight foam allowing the catcher to still have as much running capabilities as before while not sacrificing any functionality or durability.

Easton MAKO Chest Protector

A new take on Easton's Stealth model, the Easton Mako is another quality chest protector. At a slightly lesser price than the Stealth, the Mako is a great piece of equipment. A big selling point is the form fitting nature. The snug design is made to fit your body perfectly, good for a number of reasons. The arm movement that this design allows is revolutionary as you'll be blocking, throwing and running quicker than ever. And just like the Stealth, this gear allows the catcher to breath with properly placed ventilation holes. Additionally, it has durable, shock-absorbing foam keeping blocked balls closer to the body and anyone who has ever played catcher before recognizes the importance of this making it an ideal chest protector for any player.

Mizuno Samurai Chest Protector

The worst thing to experience as a catcher is bulky, heavy equipment. The Mizuno Samurai G3 is a quality piece of equipment built for durability, comfort and lightweight performance at an affordable price. It features a DryLite inner lining which wicks perspiration vapor away from the body, keeping you cool and comfortable in addition to a removable neck pad and a personalized nameplate. It also features low rebound technology so when a ball bounces off your chest, it won't go flying but instead land right at your feet. Along with detachable shoulder pads, there's a lot to like about this piece of equipment.

Rawlings Adult Catchers Chest Protector

There's a lot to like with this Rawlings Matte chest protector. First, the padding is specifically made to drastically reduce ball impact and rebound which takes a lot of work and stress out of a catcher's job. Without worry of the ball bouncing and flying, a catcher can focus on other aspects of their job. Rawlings also has what they're calling their Dynamic Fit System which basically means they’ve created a custom fit with removable shoulder caps and adjustable back harness. Protection is paramount, but comfort is just as important. This allows for both. A rubberized matte finish gives this particular piece of equipment a professional and sharp look, and at a reasonable price, you'd be hard pressed to find a better deal on the market.

Joe Cristalli
Since winning a basketball state championship in 2004, I've stayed athletically-minded over the last several years. With an inkling toward basketball, baseball, softball and football, I pride myself on staying up to date on every trend in the sporting world. Whether it be playing, refereeing or coaching, I've seen every angle on sports, except for the one that pays me millions of dollars -- but I haven't conceded to that yet. I still think I may have a shot...
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