Let’s face it, finding the best catchers gear is hard! I mean one would think this would be easy. Find a set in your price range, pay for it, and get behind the plate – SIMPLE.
Unfortunately, it really isn’t that easy. Some may fit differently than others, contain features that the other does not have, and have a wide price range.
And as a catcher – the last thing you need is to be uncomfortable for those long grueling days crouching behind home.
In this post, I am going to make this process easy by providing you with what I perceive to be the top rated catchers equipment. Enough chit-chat, let’s get started with the rankings:
Best Catchers Gear Sets for 2023
The first section of our website looks at what we feel are the best overall choices for catchers looking for full sets of equipment.
Without further ado, here are what we think are the best choices right now:
All Star System 7 Axis
It should come as no surprise to most catchers that our first choice when it comes to gear is the All Star System 7 Axis Pro series.
We’ve had several iterations of the System 7 series on this website, and All Star keeps taking this model and taking it to new heights. The All Star brand is often one of the front runners when it comes to finding the newest and best things to make athletes better at their particular sport. This line of catcher’s gear in particular is perfect as you receive the great backing from a strong company without breaking the bank on some of the more expensive sets that are out there.
Using advanced protection in the chest, leg, and helmet areas, the All Star System 7 Axis often ranks as one of the top sets year in and year out.
Benefits of All Star System 7 Axis catchers gear
As we’ve said earlier, this gear packs a lot of great features to make your life easier behind the plate. This includes:
- CP40PRO Chest Protector: The great thing about this chest protector is that it offers a nice snug fit, but allows for the catcher to have immense mobility. Often times, the catcher may find it difficult to run as it can feel clunky. However, this chest protector in particular offers more break points for a more streamlined fit.
- LG40WPRO Leg Guards: Continuing on the theme of mobility and comfort, the LG40WPRO leg guards are built with an advanced hinge system so a catcher can run and slide with ease. In terms of protection, All Star has made sure this model is at the top of its game when protecting the knee area. It offers a double knee protector straps for additional durability along with a wider knee area so a catcher can pivot and slide easier.
- MVP2500GTT Helmet: One of the best selling helmets offered by All Star is included in this set. This hockey style helmet that is highly adjustable to ensure a great fit around your head. This helmet also uses an I-Bar mask for increased field vision.
Easton Pro X
It was a tough decision between the All Star System 7 Axis above and our next great choice – the Easton Pro X series. In all honesty – you can’t go wrong choosing either set. Both are in a similar price range and offer extensive features for catchers. But just like the debate on Pepsi vs Coke – some players prefer Easton over All Star and vice versa.
One of the best ways to tell if gear is good is by who uses it. Currently, Cleveland Indians catcher Austin Hedges sports the Easton Pro X gear and he’s pretty good (sarcasm – he’s elite). If the equipment can withstand MLB play – it should stand up well in other leagues as well! Currently the Pro X is only offered in Intermediate and Adult sizes so youth level players are better served with the Elite X series covered next.
Easton Pro X Features
Speaking of the great features, here is an outline of each piece included:
- Helmet: For good reasons, every helmet nowadays is built to withstand an immense amount of impact. Outside of this some of the main Pro X helmet features include it’s extra wide rear top strap to ensure the helmet remains in place. It also comes with more of a flat middle bar along the cage to provide the catcher with a better view of the field.
- Chest Protector: All newer chest protectors should include the NOCSAE Commotio Cordis which thankfully are in the Pro X model. In addition to the extra safety standard, the Pro X chest protector features better memory foam in the abdominal area to assist in rebound control.
- Leg Guards: One of the challenges of playing catcher is the constant movement of your gear – especially in the leg/shin area. One minute your well protected but then you need to run down a foul ball and all of a sudden you are leaving areas exposed. The Pro X gear has improved the fit by providing more connectivity between the knee and thigh area. This should help catchers as they go in and out of the squat position.
Easton Elite X
The Easton Elite X series is one of our top picks for the 2023 season.
This series is an upgraded version of the Easton M10, and Stealth series that have been seen in previous years. We believe this set is perfect for competitive level catchers as it has many advanced level features to set it apart from the rest. This gear is made by one of the best brands when it comes to baseball equipment and is promised to be the best series they have ever produced.
As the position of catcher requires a large amount of athleticism, the Elite X series has been designed to be more lightweight and higher performing than its predecessors. This allows you to move around easier, catch foul balls, and hopefully pop up easier to throw out any base stealers.
Easton Elite X Features
Some of the quick features included in the set are:
- The Elite X helmet is quite neat as uses a flat middle bar to provide a catcher with more visibility of the field. Fully approved by NOCSAE, it features many different vents to keep you cool all game long. If you’ve ever been in August heat behind the plate, you’ll know how important this feature is.
- With a nice snug feeling, the Easton Elite X leg guards will have you forgetting that you are even wearing them! The knee has been designed to be extra wide to provide better blocking and more explosiveness during movements. This will increase your performance and provide you with more mobility when you have to get around.
- The Elite X chest protector provides an incredible amount of mobility with its form fitting design. No longer will you ever have to worry about the chest protector getting in the way of your throws! Extra memory foam has been added to the abdominal area as well to provide increased rebound control, and keep baseballs from escaping to far.
All Star Classic Pro
For competitive adult level catchers, the new All Star Pro Custom series offers everything you will ever need. Despite being one of the lightest sets around, it still offers the most advanced protection and custom size systems around. The ability to custom fit your gear is huge as it is quite hard to find two body types that are the exact same. One catcher may prefer a snugger fit around the shoulders while the other prefers more loose fitting gear.
With advanced features like wraparound sides in the chest protector and perfectly shaped leg guards, you will quickly take your game to the next level in no time at all.
What’s included with All-Star Pro?
This set includes the following equipment:
- CPCC1618S7X Chest – One of the lightest of its kind ever offered by All Star! One of the neater features of the CPCC1618S7X is the wedged shape in the front that deadens balls upon impact. If you have difficulties controlling rebounds on bad pitches then you may want to give this chest protector a try and see how well it can knock the ball straight down. It also offers protection for commotio cordis.
- LG21WPRO Legs – Increased shin protection and better ventilation are two of the “better” features that you will notice in these leg guards. Some leg guards leave catchers somewhat exposed in the crouch position. These have been designed to ensure that you are always fully protected.
- MVP2400 Helmet – For catchers looking to combine protection & comfort, there may be no better helmet than the MVP2400. With one of the sturdiest shells in the business, you will never have to worry about damage to your head area. This helmet also offers a great field vision so that you as the catcher can always be fully aware of your surroundings.
Rawlings Renegade 2.0
The Rawlings Renegade 2.0 packs a lot of bang for your buck. A well rounded set of gear – it can be used by all levels from beginner to advanced with the same expectations of longevity, toughness, and mobility. Unlike some of the other models we’ve looked at so far this set can be purchased for a much better price making it perfect for all levels of play. If you aren’t a competitive player but still want a nice set from a trusted brand name then this would probably make a great choice.
Although these sets have a lower price tag than the average set you don’t have to worry about any sacrifices made to the quality of the product. Rawlings has been around for centuries and is always evolving. This latest line is known for a great combination of all the things catcher’s gear needs.
Breakdown of Renegade 2.0 equipment
For more details on each individual piece:
- Renegade Chest Protector: The chest protector in this set is built using patent-pending Arc Reactor Core technology for increased protection. This technology consists of an arched plate design along with impact resistant memory foam to keep you safe. It also meets the NOCSAE commotio cordis standard.
- Renegade Leg Guards: Includes a double knee design to allow you to move around easier but keep you fully protected around the ever important knee and shin areas. Some of the more advanced catchers sets (like some of the ones reviewed earlier) include a triple knee design for more mobility. Most catchers will be fine with a double knee design like those offered in the Renegade set.
- Renegade Helmet: This helmet has a nice smooth glossy finish on the exterior to make you look incredibly sharp behind the plate. But as you know looks aren’t everything. This helmet also includes a moisture controlling chin pad so that sweat during the game does not get noticed. It also protects you from the hardest of pitches, or those nasty foul tips!
Easton Gametime X
If you are looking to stretch your hard earned money but don’t want to sacrifice quality then the Easton Gametime X series might be exactly what you need. Most sets of gear (especially those from the top brands) will be at least $300, but the Gametime X has a very comfortable price range of under $200 depending on size (i.e. youth to adult). Based on the highly sought after Easton brand, the high quality material used to make the equipment, and the price point, we feel that the Gametime X series would be perfect for any non-competitive level catcher.
Main Features of Easton Gametime X catchers gear
The following list describes some of the main feature for each piece of the set:
- Chest Protector: The Gametime X chest protector features numerous layers of highly protective, comfortable memory foam with specific ventilation holes to keep you cool throughout the entire game. The primary benefit of this chest protector is its ability to control rebounds, and its ability to adjust to any body type and shape.
- Leg Guards: One of the more useful features within the leg guards found in the Gametime X series is the connection between the knee and thigh. This connection provides a better fit and makes it easier for a catcher to get in and out of the squat position. These tripe knee designed leg guards offer an immense amount of protection at their price point!
- Helmet: The last piece of the Gametime X series is the NOCSAE approved helmet. Where we feel this helmet is better than some of the others is in the snug fit it provides. The main goal of the helmet is to stay close to you and move with your head. If you’ve ever worn a “loose” fitting helmet, you’ll know what a great feature this is.
Benefits of Full Sets
Complete sets provide you with everything you need to get behind the plate as quickly as possible. You no longer have to worry about having mismatched equipment!
The other great thing about full sets of equipment is that most retailers provide a discount over purchasing each piece of equipment individually. Most packages typically consist of a chest protector, leg guards, and helmet. In some case, they can come with other accessories like bags and knee savers.
Best Chest Protectors
When you first picture a catcher, one of the first things that pops into your mind is the the look of the chest protector. Although they look a bit bulky, they are vital for protecting some of the most important body organs in the catcher’s body. With such a small distance in between the hitter and catcher, without protecting the front of your body the catcher leaves themselves vulnerable to extensive damage if hit with a foul ball. This page features all of the different brands that we review allowing you to choose the best chest protector for your game.
|All Star System 7 Axis||Rawlings Velo 2.0|
What to look for in a Chest Protector?
One of the most important things to consider when selecting a new chest protector is the weight. Having a light feeling as a catcher is extremely important when you are sitting behind the plate on hot summer days. Having too much extra weight can make a catcher feel slower and less efficient on the field.
Another important characteristic is how well it fits. Many use a triple back adjustment system so that the gear is nice and snug against the body leaving no areas unprotected. As described in the next section you should also be aware of what size you need. Most adult sizes range from 16 to 17 inches while Intermediate sizes can run from 15 to 16 inches. It is important to know what each model considers to be an Adult, Intermediate, and Youth size before ordering.
One of the last things to keep an eye on is the type of foam used on the inside. Most catchers should look for one that includes numerous layers of high level foam that is still lightweight and allows for a great fit.
Chest Protector Sizing
To measure the perfect length, take a piece of measuring tape and measure from the bottom of your throat to your belly button area. Match the resulting length (in inches) to the nearest model available from the purchasing location.
We realize that choosing the right baseball chest protector can be a daunting task so if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or Contact Us with any questions that you may have.
Best Leg Guards
If you’ve decided you want to become a catcher than one piece of equipment you will need is a pair of leg guards. This piece of equipment helps the catcher for a variety of reasons. With the amount of up and down motion that a catcher will make in the course of a game, they will need to protect themselves when making contact with the ground. They are also helpful protecting against foul balls and for blocking a runner at the plate when attempting to score.
This type of equipment is available from many different brands where they all feature different pros & cons and price points. Two choices that stand out to me are shown in the table below:
|All Star System 7 Axis||Easton Gametime X|
What to look for in Leg Guards
The great thing about today’s leg protection for catchers is that they have been built to be very light in weight almost to the point of being unnoticeable. Many fasten into place very easily to provide a great fit. What separates the really good ones from the rest is their ability to protect all areas of the leg. For instance, some offer triple knee protection ensuring that no area surrounding the knee is left uncovered. Others even feature extra protection around the heel area making it very hard for the catcher to get hurt.
How to size Leg Guards
To measure the size you need take a piece of measuring tape and measure from the middle of your knee to the top of your ankle. Match the resulting length (in inches) to the nearest model available from the purchasing location. For instance, some retail locations size by single unit increments (i.e 12, 13, 14) whereas others use half inch increments (13.5, 14, 14.5, etc).
Best Catchers Mask
With all of the talk nowadays surrounding head injuries, a proper fitting helmet/mask is a must for any current or aspiring catcher. Although not considered a contact sport, there are numerous occurrences game in game out where the catcher needs to be protected from line drives, foul balls, and plays at the plate. In fact, even the MLB is considering adding helmets to pitchers to ensure they are protected as well.
When it comes down to it, I feel like Under Armour and Rawlings are your top options for protecting your head.
|Rawlings Renegade||Under Armour Pro|
Features to look for in a Mask
There are a few things you should consider when buying a helmet.
The most important thing to look out for is how much protection the mask offers. Careful consideration should be made to the type of material used for the shell and it should meet your league standards to comply with safety regulations.
Another feature that is important to many players is how well they can see outside of the mask. A catcher likes to be able to survey the entire field, so picking up a mask that stresses the importance of having a clear vision of the field is probably a safe bet.
Lastly, the size of mask is extremely important. Remember a catcher spends most of their day crouched behind home plate. This causes quite a bit of neck stiffness. Helmets that sized too big could cause serious injuries down the road.
Sizing a Catchers Mask
To measure the size of head gear, either take a piece of measuring tape and measure the circumference of your head just above your ears, or take the size obtained from a fitted baseball cap. Match the resulting length (in inches) to the nearest model available from the purchasing location.
Since masks can come in many different shapes and styles, the measurement may differ between goalie style masks and regular head gear.
Why become a catcher?
Homerun hitters seem to grab all the attention.
A pitcher can become a hero with one excpetional start.
So why would anyone want to become a catcher? I’ll tell you why!
The catcher is one of the most important positions in all of sports. Although not as apparent when watching games, being a catchers involves many traits including leadership, acting as a second manager, controlling play positions on the field, and helping the pitcher be as successful as possible.
All of this and we haven’t even talked about the main responsibilities of catching the ball, and trying to catch runners stealing bases.
It certainly is a very difficult position to master but also one of the more rewarding. It’s not a surprise that many former catchers become managers for professional teams when their playing days are over.
What equipment does a catcher need?
So what equipment does a catcher need? There are several mandatory pieces and then a few optional pieces that you’ll need behind the plate. This includes:
- Chest Protector
- Leg Guards
- Other Accessories such as knee savers, wrist and chest guards
One thing to note is that in most cases you won’t need to purchase each individual piece described above. Most companies offer full catchers gear sets that include everything. They even provide a discount in most cases. After all if you need all of this equipment you should save as much money as possible.
What do pro catchers wear?
Another common question that is asked is what gear do the pro’s wear? Here are some of the top catchers that are currently playing in the big leagues and what they wear:
- All Star – Francisco Mejia, Johnathan Lucroy, Martin Maldonado, Russell Martin
- Louisville – Carlos Santana
- Mizuno – Yan Gomes, Victor Martinez, Devin Mesoraco
- Nike – Gary Sanchez, JT Realmuto, Mike Zunino
- Rawlings – Salvador Perez, Yadier Molina, Francisco Cervelli
- Under Armour – Brian McCann, Willson Contreras, Derek Norris, Buster Posey
- Wilson – Ivan Rodriguez
You may be wondering why we have chosen two models of Easton gear but no professional players use it. One of the main reasons for this is because Easton does not actively provide endorsements for pro’s to wear their equipment. So although you may not seen it worn heavily by big leaguers, you will certainly see it at events like the Little League World Series, and many other leagues around the country. For every day players, the brand is still heavily recommended. Another interesting aspect is the overwhelming amount of players that use Under Armour. This doesn’t surprise me too much as Under Armour is quickly becoming a game changer for many sports as they tend to listen to the athletes and create newly innovative gear all of the time. For those that care, it also has a bit of a “cool” factor!
How to find the Best catchers gear
Arguably one of the most important decision a catcher needs to make is the type of equipment to use. Although maybe not as extreme, I would venture to say the decision is almost the same as buyer a car. Remember this is the gear that you are committed to wearing for a very long time and through some hot summer days. Because this can be such a difficult process, we thought it would be a helpful idea to provide a page dedicated to what we believe is the best catchers gear available for the 2023 season.
Breakdowns of each Piece
When searching for the best catchers gear one of the best things to do is figure out your needs. Are you a competitive catcher and need all the bells and whistles, or are you a catcher for your local house team that just needs a set to get by for the year. The reviews and overviews on our site focus on these major aspects of catcher’s equipment:
- Protection – It goes without saying that the most important feature of any equipment is how well it protects you.
- Durability – This equipment is unfortunately not cheap. Therefore a catcher needs equipment that will get them through more than a season.
- Comfort – Sitting in the crouch position for a full game isn’t very comfortable. We look at any additional features added to provide more comfort to the catcher.
- Price – As mentioned earlier if you are a catcher that just needs something to get by or don’t know if you will play catcher very long then price becomes a huge point to consider.
- Brand – Although most brands we feature on this site are aged brands you may prefer one over the other. For instance, you might heavily favor Easton catchers gear or Mizuno equipment.
- Sizing – Obviously youth catchers gear isn’t going to do much good for an adult player. Be sure to take measurements to find the right sized gear for your body.
In Conclusion – Summing up the Best Catchers Gear
We hope you find exactly what you are looking for on our website dedicated specifically to catchers. If you’ve ever shopped for anything, you are probably well aware that there are many choices out there. Baseball in particular sees a lot of turnover year after year. In addition no two catchers are exactly alike and therefore not all equipment works for every player.
We hope that our equipment reviews and our articles section are exactly what you are looking for. Should you need any additional information of are looking for a specific piece of catchers gear, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us.