With pitches coming in hot and heavy plus the occasional flying bat, it’s important to find the best youth catcher chest protector available.
You’ve seen chest protectors before: This essential piece of gear provides protection for the chest, abdomen, and shoulders, preventing painful bruises and more serious injuries.
Here are a few vital factors to consider when starting your search for the right chest protector.
Size:Since chest protectors are measured in inches, it’s fairly easy to find the correct size. Simply measure from the bottom of the throat to the navel while the child is standing up straight. Use the resulting measurement to choose a catcher chest protector that will fit properly. If the child is between sizes, opt for the larger one. They can always grow into it!
Kids’ ages:If you have a few players who need to share a chest protector, you can guesstimate by age to find one that’s likely to fit everyone. Kids between the ages of 4 and 6 typically fit in sizes 10-13.5, while those between the ages of 7 and 9 usually need a 13 to 14.5-inch chest protector. Youth between the ages of 9 and 12 are normally in the 14 to 15.5-inch size range.
Adjustability:Most youth catcher chest protectors are adjustable. It’s a good idea to look for one that is easy to adjust, particularly if you have more than one catcher sharing the same equipment. Take a look at the closure system while you’re at it. Common options include snaps, hooks, and velcro. Many kids prefer snaps and velcro as they’re often easier to put on and take off, but hooks have a good reputation for staying secure. This is mostly a matter of personal preference but it’s definitely something to think about.
Whether you’re looking for the best youth catcher chest protector for your child or an entire team, you’ll find that the following options get good marks for comfort, protection, durability, and other important factors. Here are five of the best youth catcher chest protectors on the market right now.
Quick Links: Our Picks for Best Youth Catcher Chest Protectors
The Easton M5 Qwik Fit Youth Catchers Chest Protector features a two-point strap system for fast, easy adjustability. Wedges of dual density foam provide protection over the chest, collarbone, sides, and groin region, and extend slightly over both shoulders. The multi-layer design features built-in perforations that encourage heat dissipation. This chest protector is sized to fit kids between the ages of 9 to 12 although younger/larger and older/smaller kids are likely to find it comfortable as well. It is available in your choice of royal blue or black.
Easy to put on and take off
Good protection for entire torso
No extended shoulder pads
If you’re looking for a comfortable youth chest protector that’s very easy on your budget, you may want to give the Easton M5 Qwik Fit a look. This chest protector is super easy to put on and take off when kids are in a hurry, and its lightweight design encourages player agility. This chest protector may not be the very best but it offers a decent level of protection at a very affordable price.
The Easton MAKO Chest Protector features an asymmetric design and 4-way stretch material for a snug, reliable fit. The abdominal wedges move independently to allow for greater mobility, and shock absorbing foam provides protection without excessive bounce. This catcher’s chest protector comes with one detachable shoulder guard. It is available in a few popular colors as well as sizes for youngsters all the way through tall, heavier teens.
Great blocking without a lot of bounce
Available in sizes to fit any player
Not as many color options as some other models
Players who are looking for a great combination of comfort and reliable protection are likely to appreciate the Mako chest protector. While this unit might not come in your child’s favorite color, it does a great job of minimizing impact. The velcro strip on the shoulder pad lets individual wearers find the best position for their body shape and size. Overall, this is rated one of the best youth catcher chest protectors on the market right now.
The Muzuno Samurai Youth Catcher Chest Protector features pre-curved detachable shoulder pads for freedom of movement, along with a dual adjustment system so kids can easily find a comfortable fit. A removable groin protector is included. This chest protector comes in a variety of popular color combinations to complement your team’s jerseys.
Fully adjustable fit
Many color options available
Reliable protection from impacts
Just one size option available
If you have a child between the ages of about 9 and 12, it’s likely that this youth catcher chest protector will be a good fit for them. Be sure to measure to ensure proper length; the only complaints about this piece of equipment is that it sometimes doesn’t fit the kids who are planning to wear it. In terms of protection, adjustability options, and other desirable features, this is a solid buy all the way around.
Mizuno Samurai Chest Protector in 15” and 16” Sizes
The Mizuno Samurai Chest Protector comes in a variety of colors and is sized to fit older kids as well as some adults. With two removable shoulder pads, an air mesh back for breathability, snap closures and full adjustability, it features a thick, sturdy chest plate that can withstand hard impacts, as well as reliable protection for the collarbone and ribs.
Withstands hard impacts
Provides reliable protection and maximizes flexibility
Kids under about age 12 may have to grow into it a bit
If you’re looking for a good chest protector for a larger child or a teen, this one is an excellent choice. The dual shoulder pads are a nice touch, as is the airflow mesh backing. This is a well-constructed chest protector that is likely to last at least a few seasons, and kids will love having the option to choose from the many exciting color combinations.
Wilson Pro Stock Hinge FX 2.0 Baseball Catcher’s Chest Protector
The Wilson Pro Stock Hing FX 2.0 Baseball Catcher’s Chest Protector features sewn-through hinges that protect the front and sides of the torso while maximizing flexibility. The lo-kick memory foam keeps balls from bouncing too far, and a mesh backing combines with perforations to ensure maximum ventilation. This breathable design is lightweight and comfortable, and it comes with one removable shoulder cap. It is available in a variety of size and color combinations.
Excellent combination of quality and affordability
Flexible, comfortable design
Reliable torso/shoulder protection
No groin protection
Some colors may not be available in desired size
While the Wilson Hinge FX 2.0 chest protector isn’t perfect, it does offer reliable protection at a surprisingly affordable price. The color combinations are basic however this protector does come in sizes to suit a variety of players from younger youth through taller teens.
Considerations when Choosing Baseball Chest Protectors
When choosing the best youth catcher chest protector, there are just a few more things to keep in mind.
Durability: This factor is important particularly if you want the chest protector to last more than a single season. It’s less important for those who aren’t hard on their equipment, i.e. T-ball players who are just getting started, and who will soon outgrow their chest protector.
Weight:Remember those old-fashioned leather chest protectors? They did a good job of deflecting blows but they weighed a ton. Today’s best youth catcher chest protectors are lightweight and breathable thanks to the addition of space-age foams and other materials. The lighter and more comfortable a chest protector is, the more agile the catcher will feel and the better their performance is likely to be.
Shoulder protection:Some chest protectors have two shoulder pads, and some have just one. Some offer the option of protecting one shoulder or the other. Shoulder protection is a matter of personal choice; knowing what feels most comfortable to the player can help make it easier to choose.
Color Options:We’re no longer saddled with basic blacks and browns. Many of the best youth catcher chest protectors come in a few different colors to complement team uniforms. While multiple color options aren’t exactly essential, it’s a nice feature to consider.
Price:Since catcher chest protectors are essential safety equipment, you don’t want to skimp. At the same time, you don’t want to overpay. We recommend getting the best youth catcher chest protector for your budget or your team’s budget. Comparing durability, overall quality, and other features can help you determine whether the chest protector you’re looking at is a good value or not.
We hope these pro tips help you find the best youth catcher chest protector for your player. With proper padding and a comfortable fit, they’ll feel confident and perform better behind the plate. Here’s to a great ball season ahead!