Looking for a baseball chest protector for you or your loved one? Then you've come to the right place!
We sorted through all the brands and options in the current marketplace to present you with our top chest protector picks for baseball catchers.
Keep reading to discover our overall top choice and to learn more about our other picks...
Please Note: This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclaimer for more information.
Best Baseball Chest Protector
One of the most noticeable pieces of equipment that a catcher wears.
Necessary to protect your collarbone, sternum, ribs, and everywhere in between. They're an absolutely critical component of catcher's gear.
Quick History of Chest Protectors
Chest protectors originated in the game of baseball as far back as the 1880s. At that time most catchers wore no protective equipment, not wanting to be on the receiving end of jeers from the crowd.
In fact, research I've read shows that early adopters during this period would wear a type of chest protector underneath their clothes to disguise that they had anything on.
The first chest protectors were said to have used "sheepskin". A short while later, catchers used an inflatable vest - meaning, a rubber material pumped with air.
Eventually, chest protectors were designed with the normal padding that we have today. A 1963 design increased the flexibility of chest protectors, forming the rough basis for what is used today.
For a detailed history, check out SABRs article at this link. I found it especially interesting to learn that "the 2008 version of the chest protector weighs less than half the chest protector that was available in the 1920s through the 1940s."
Characteristics to Consider When Buying
All the gear we review here is generally evaluated against the rock solid criteria of Protection, Cost and Comfort. These should be evaluative criteria used when purchasing chest protectors too, no doubt.
Other qualities you should also consider are its durability, its weight, its fit, its adjustability, and its shock absorbent capabilities, among others. We discuss many of these characteristics in our reviews below.
A Quick Note on Sizing
Chest protectors are sized in inches. This indicates the distance between the bottom of your throat to your belly button.
Finding the right size for you can be done very simply by using measuring tape with the assistance of a friend or family member. For more details, see our article on how to measure for catcher's equipment.
Typically, kids that are tee ball aged will end up being sized starting at a 10 or 11 inch chest protector, while adults will usually need 15 or 16 inches on up.
Onwards to our Reviews!
With this in mind, let’s now take a closer look at our top picks.
We believe the best baseball chest protectors on the market today are:
- All-Star System 7 Axis (overall best choice)
- Easton Pro X (second place)
- Mizuno Samurai (third place)
- Easton Gametime (budget pick)
Our reviews below will get into more detail about why we like these particular four chest protectors. Keep reading to learn more.
Note: these reviews will focus on chest protectors for intermediate and adult sized baseball catchers.
#1. All Star System 7 Axis
Catchers Home's pick for the best baseball chest protector on the market
Our top choice for the best chest protector for baseball that's available today is the All Star System 7 Axis (CP40PRO). This is an incredibly high quality product made by one of the most popular catcher's gear brands out there - All Star.
This particular chest protector stands out above the crowd for not only looking great, but for having moldable polyethylene (PE) protective plates in the throat, collarbone and sternum areas.
The PE plates were added to provide superior protection to these vulnerable spots as well as to ensure a comfortable and tapered fit.
It is very thin and light, and it has wedged abs designed to deflect balls straight down when blocking.
The Axis conforms to the body well, and the chest protector does a good job or wrapping around the sides of the torso.
All in all, this is an excellent chest protector that should last you for years.
Internal moldable protective plates covering vulnerable areas
Light and thin with "Diamond Vents" to help with air flow
Flatter, wedged ab design for knocking the ball down
Exceptional fit with adjustable harness
Multiple colors are available
As a premium product, its cost is higher than average
Back Side of the Axis Chest Protector
Video Detailing How All-Star Builds & Tests Their Chest Protectors
#2. Easton Pro X
Our runner up choice for the best chest protector for baseball catchers
The Easton Pro X is a great pick for those who want a good looking, well designed baseball chest protector made by a popular and well known brand.
While providing excellent protection, the Easton Pro X also scores high marks for being lightweight and breathable, yet durable, able to take a beating on the field season after season.
The double layer foam in the chest protector is "low rebound", and the silicone grips over the abs help to reduce ball spin when blocking. These are great features and are especially helpful for blocking.
Additionally, this chest protector has a very customizable strap and harness system with clips in the front, allowing the wearer to get the precise fit they need. Overall, the Pro X is a solid choice.
Meets NOCSAE commotio cordis standards
Lightweight with great breathability
An internal dual layer foam deadens impact for easier ball recovery
Customizable straps and harness system allows for a precise fit
Adjustable shoulder cap comes on the right side
Ab design reduces ball spin
Available in multiple colors
Its cost is higher than average
Back Side of the Pro X Chest Protector
Brief Video of Pro X Gear, featuring MLB catcher Austin Hedges
#3. Mizuno Samurai
A strong choice to round out our top three picks
The Mizuno Samurai is a popular product, and for good reason. It provides very good protection, has an attractive design (and multiple color options), and contains different value added features.
And all at a competitive price.
It is very lightweight and comfortable, and has detachable wings and dual shoulder caps to allow for a more customized fit.
Ventilation is also good on the Samurai, and the back of this chest protector is made of a breathable mesh material.
Additionally, as an added bonus, this baseball chest protector comes with a detachable neck pad if you wanted to create a personalized name plate.
Has competitive pricing
Comes with detachable shoulder pads and wings for better fit
Contains internal moisture management technology for added comfort
Comes with a detachable neck pad for personalization
Designed to ensure low rebounds when blocking the baseball
Its harness system uses hooks instead of snaps (not necessarily a con, just an observation for preference considerations)
Back View of the Samurai Chest Protector
Budget Pick: Easton Gametime
The Easton Gametime is Catchers Home's choice for the best baseball chest protector for those on a budget.
It has thick padding built not only to protect the wearer but to help reduce the rebound of the baseball.
The Gametime chest protector is very durable and should be able to be used season after season. It is lightweight and has a four point harness system with a steel clip on the front.
If you are looking for a low priced chest protector but you don't want to compromise on quality, this could be a really good option for you.
It has thick padding for protection and rebound reduction
Four point harness system with front clips
Removable velcro shoulder cap
Multiple color options
Does not have added inserts to cover vulnerable areas of the body, like some of its competitors do
Does not contain much added technology (such as moisture control or odor fighting) like others have
Back Side of the Gametime Chest Protector
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is a baseball heart guard?
Answer: A heart guard for baseball and softball is a hard plastic shell in the rough shape of a diamond that is positioned over the heart area of the chest.
It stays in place either by a shirt with a sleeve inside for the guard, or by using a series of straps to keep it suspended.
The purpose of heart guards is to help prevent commotio cordis, which is a rare but often fatal condition that can happen when a ball strikes a certain part of the chest.
If you’re a catcher and you use a NOCSAE approved chest protector, then you don’t need to worry about using a heart guard because your chest protector will provide the same protective function.
Question: What is NOCSAE and why is it important to know if I'm a catcher?
Answer: NOCSAE stands for the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment.
The organization reviews and certifies protective equipment like catcher’s gear as being safe for use based on a set of research backed safety standards.
If your catchers chest protector is marketed as being “NOCSAE approved”, it means that it passes the standards NOCSAE put in place for certifying chest protectors as able to reduce the risk of commotio cordis.
Question: Should I wear a chest protector shirt under my normal chest protector?
Answer: Our recommendation is for catchers to use a NOCSAE approved chest protector, as we mentioned above. If you do so, there’s no need to use a chest protector shirt underneath your chest protector.
Question: Can I buy replacement (or extra) catchers shoulder pads?
Answer: It’s difficult but not impossible to find separate shoulder pads (aka shoulder caps) for chest protectors. They typically come with the full chest protector.
Nonetheless, there are some options. For example, this product on Amazon is an option, and All Star Sports sells replacement shoulder caps directly on their website.
Thanks for reading!
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