I mean…it should be easy. Purchase the best youth catchers gear available at the time within the age range and color for your child’s team. Unfortunately, that always isn’t the case.
As a father, I understand your frustration! Finding good fitting equipment for younger players is almost impossible!
Some 8 year old’s fit into Intermediate sized equipment. Some players require very specific equipment to remain fully protected. If this sounds anything like you, then please read on and see what we think will solve a lot of headaches!
On this page you will find the best youth catchers gear available to younger players (primarily 13 and under).
Easton Elite X – Best Youth Catchers Gear Set for 2023
Although it is more expensive than the average full set of gear, this is the premier set to own if you are a competitive or somewhat competitive player.
With many advanced level features, you’ll quickly notice your game improve with the abundance of advanced level features.
The Elite X set itself includes the pieces outlined below.
Elite X Chest Protector
What makes the Elite X chest protector so special is that it features a brand new advanced design which aims to provide the catcher with an nonrestrictive throwing motion and better blocking/catching capabilities.
Material wise, the Elite X uses tight fitting stretchable material that fits directly against your body. This allows incredible mobility, and also moves as you move. Passed balls should no longer give you any trouble as the foam on the interior is shock absorbing which essentially keeps balls close to you when in the blocking position
Elite X Leg Guards
Like the chest protector, the Elite X leg guards also feature a body forming design that fit directly against your legs. Matching the anatomy of the leg, this provides you with a great amount of mobility especially in cases where you need to run and catch a fly ball.
For more protection and comfort, the knee area features extra padding as that is the areas that catchers are most nervous about exposing.
Elite X Helmet
The Elite X Helmet is one of the most advanced models offered by Easton. Using an ABS shell, the helmet is perfect for keeping your head area protected at all times. For increased comfort, new ventilation holes have also been added to keep you cooler in those hot summer days. Fully NOCSAE approved, you can feel confident sitting behind the plate with this helmet.
Rawlings Renegade 2.0 – Best Equipment Set under $200
For years Rawlings has been known to offer high quality and affordable equipment for a wide variety of sports.
When most people think of Rawlings, they think of gloves. After all they’ve been one of the leaders in that area for years. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Rawlings Gold Glove award, which also helps keep their name synonymous with the top gloves.
However, Rawlings have made great strides in the catchers equipment area, which leads us to the Rawlings Renegade 2.0 series.
Priced at under $200, it offers lots of great features for those catchers who are beginning their competitive journey.
The Renegade chest protector is a brand new redesigned model using Rawling’s new patent pending Arc Reactor Core technology. This technology consists of an arched shape plate and impact reducing foam to really keep you protected. This chest protector also excels at rebound control in that it deadens the ball on impact so you can take care of those wild pitches.
Comfort wise one of the neat things around this chest protector are that the breaks are designed to provide better mobility and allow the catcher to achieve better movement.
Similar to the chest protector, the Renegade 2.0 leg guards offer a custom fit and feel in that the knee pads are completely detachable for better protection and fit when needed. The design gives the Renegade 2.0 series incredible flexibility while keeping the leg guards as light as possible. This allows you as a catcher to get down in the dirt easier to be able to block balls and perform at a high level.
The Rawlings Coolflo helmet is one of the more comfortable ones available. Using carefully placed ventilation holes to enhance air circulation you’ll feel much cooler than before in those hot summer days. Using 3 levels of foam padding on the interior makes the helmet very sturdy and resistant to high impact. Finally, with a fully adjustable jaw pad, you’ll find that you can mold the helmet to be your very own.
Easton Gametime X – Best Choice for Ages 9 – 12
One of Easton’s most successful lines from a few years ago was the Natural series. Catcher after catcher purchased this set and made it one of the most popular that I’ve seen.
Although no longer in existence, it has been replaced by the brand new Easton Gametime X which has many of the same features. Perfect for all levels of catchers, the Gametime X series is much less expensive than some of the premier sets allowing any and all catchers to get a high quality set of gear at a great price.
The Gametime X is not the cheapest set of gear available to beginning catchers however we recommend it to quite a few people as we feel it provides the most bang for your buck.
The following sections describe a breakdown the set.
Gametime X Chest Protector
The Gametime chest protector is quite light despite the amount of protection it provides. Built with numerous layers of advanced foam, it is designed to handle rebounds and protect the full chest area. With newly included ventilation holes strategically placed throughout, you’ll never have to worry about excess sweat and will remain cool throughout.
Catchers can also expect a nice fit as the Gametime chest protector provides 4 different points of adjustment.
Gametime X Leg Guards
The Gametime leg guards offer quite a bit of customization in that they have removable inner knee and shin pads to provide a better fit and more comfort in the crouch position. Protection wise, using a double knee design, you can rest assured that your full knee area will always be protected. In addition with a knee and thigh connection, catchers can feel more secure and easier to move around.
Gametime X Catchers Helmet
If you are looking for superior comfort and increased protection then you’ll like the Gametime helmet. With an ABS shell that is fully NOCSAE approved, you can rest assured that your head will always be safe from impact. It also includes a steel face mask which offers incredible protection without limiting your eye sight.
All Star Players Series – Best for ages 7-9
Nowadays, it seems like All Star has taken over the catching landscape.
We’ve reviewed and suggested All Star quite often on our homepage as they seem to have taken over in terms of quality and value.
One line that All Star has had for numerous years now has been their Player Series. The gear is perfect for beginner to intermediate catchers looking to learn how to become the best catcher possible.
All Star is a great company and as mentioned earlier looks to be on the rise. Going with one of their oldest models would make a wise choice for many catchers.
Let’s breakdown each component.
For this age group, there are not many chest protectors that offer a fit like the Players Series offers.
With full over the shoulder protection, the chest protector also offers 4 points of adjustment for even more customization. This is quite a big deal as this young age group can either feature children who are smaller than their age suggests, or much bigger. The Players Series also features advanced level inserts in the throat, and shoulder areas to further diffuse impact.
Furthermore, addition padding around the abdominal area is provided for better ball control and blocking abilities. Importantly as well, this chest protector fully meets the NOCSAE standard for commotio cordis protection so as a parent you can feel more at ease.
The best thing about the Players Series leg guards are how light in weight they feel around your legs. Using lighter foam (but still highly effective), catchers should barely notice them as they play. With 4 adjustable straps, catchers of all size are provided with a nice snug fit so that the knee guards are not flopping all over the place.
Fitting head sizes from 61/4 to 7 inches, the MVP2310 helmet is perfect for those looking for advanced level protection and great field vision. This ABS shell that protects the head area is made to absorb any sort of high impact that may come its way (let’s hope this doesn’t happen).
With a steel wire cage, the helmet offers some of the best vision possible, so you know what is always happening around the field. Baserunners beware! Lastly, the MVP2310 has three adjustable straps to keep the helmet secure to your head.
Wilson EZ Gear – Best Choice under $100
One of the more commonly purchased equipment sets year after year for youth catchers is the Wilson EZ Gear series.
Now admittingly, this set of gear is not going to blow you away with its advanced features, or be used by catchers at a competitive level.
However, it is great for beginner catchers in that 5 to 8 year old age range that are just trying the position for the first time.
And at under $100, it is easily one of the most affordable sets available which is much more cost effective than spending over $300 to have gear that doesn’t get used very often!
With a wide variety of color schemes available you be able to fit right into any color scheme used by your team. Let’s look at the set.
Based off the Wilson ProMotion series (geared towards more advanced catchers), the chest protector provides a nice form fitting design providing a great fit for younger catchers. Protection wise, using high density foam padding provides the young player with all they need to keep their chest area safe.
Another aspect of why this gear is a great choice for beginners is that it uses a QuickChange system which suggests that catchers can get their gear on and off within 10 seconds.
Although not as advanced as some of the better leg guards featured on this page, there is still quite a bit to like. These 11-inch leg guards offer a sufficient amount of coverage for the age group and like the chest protector are easy to put on and take off. They more than likely wouldn’t be the greatest for running around, but at this age that shouldn’t be high on the priority list!
The primary concern for any level of catcher is the protection to the head area. The helmet included the EZ gear set uses high grade ABS shell that offers full protection all the way around the head area. It also includes a ventilation system to keep the younger player cool under that hot summer heat!
Tips for finding the best youth catchers equipment
The position of catcher is one of the greatest positions for young baseball players to try or play full time. It will teach them many life skills including leadership, and team work along with many baseball skills such as strength, flexibility, and game management.
The sport of baseball (or softball) is a sport often enjoyed by many younger players at schools or in various recreational and competitive leagues throughout the summer time. Playing baseball teaches young players many skills both on and off the field that can be used in everyday life. Often times the position of catcher is the most popular among young players as they get to play a large role in the outcome of the game. Unfortunately (for parents) the role of catcher also requires much more equipment than any other position which presents both financial and sizing challenges.
Without a doubt the biggest obstacle faced by parents and coaches when finding the right set to match the growing player. We’ve all seen it, either when we were younger or watching our own kids grow up, but some young people just seem to grow quicker than others. This is especially true in young adolescent boys as some might already be sized similar to adults whereas others look like they are still aged in single digits. This presents a huge problem for the people buying the equipment as one year it will fit perfectly, and the next it won’t.
Properly sized gear is another important consideration to make when looking into new equipment. As mentioned earlier, younger players are constantly changing body size and the additional weight of heavy equipment can cause many issues on the young player’s body. With many not having fully developed muscles, equipment like catchers helmets can cause a huge strain on the young player’s neck and subsequently back areas. The last thing a parent or coach wants to do is cause any additional discomfort to the young player and having them not enjoy America’s great pass time.
Another factor that should be looked into is how competitive the young player is and what level he plays at. If they are anything like me, they will probably change their mind about what sport they enjoy the most every single month. Non-competitive and beginner players should primarily be focused on an inexpensive full set of gear. This way if the player decides they no longer enjoy the game you are not out a ton of money. Conversely however there are many competitive leagues out there focused on young baseball and softball players. These players should look into individual pieces of gear or on higher end youth catchers gear sets to bring their game to the next level.
We hope that you’ve found all you need when it comes to youth catchers gear/equipment. If there is anything we can help you find, please do not hesitate to contact us.