What you're about to read is a detailed compilation of all of our top picks for the best catchers gear on the market. This represents many, many hours of research and writing on catcher's gear.
These particular picks are geared towards Baseball and Fastpitch Softball catchers, generally around the ages of 13 and older.
If you're looking to quickly and easily find all of the top rated catcher's gear out there for catchers, then look no further. This is it.
Please Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclaimer for more information.
Best Catchers Gear for Baseball and Fastpitch Softball Catchers
Components of Catchers Gear
Catchers have a handful of important pieces of gear to wear behind the plate. We talk about this key gear, and many of the accessories that catchers use, in our overview post called Catcher's Gear 101.
We tend to think about the equipment catchers wear as being divided between two categories: required gear, and optional gear.
There are four primary pieces of required gear. They are:
- Catcher's Helmet (or Mask with Skull Cap)
- Catcher's Mitt
- Chest Protector
- Leg Guards
Please note that this list does not, of course, list cups as a required piece of gear. However, we recommend all male catchers to wear one, regardless of age. See our post for more information on this.
Can I Buy Catcher's Gear Online?
A large number of online retailers sell gear from an incredibly wide variety of brands, with variations of sizes and colors to choose from.
Generally speaking, you won't be able to match the huge variety of options and brands that you'll find online with the few pieces or models of gear you tend to find in a physical store.
So it's pretty clear to us that buying online is the way to go.
But what if you're concerned about the ability to get the right size without trying the gear on first?
If this worries you, it shouldn't. This is for two reasons. First, it's incredibly easy to measure yourself or your child for gear. Second, the majority of online retailers today (especially one of our favorite retailers) have simple return policies in the unlikely event that gear you carefully pre-measured for doesn't fit.
How to Size Yourself or Your Child for Catcher's Gear
It is super simple to measure yourself or your child for catcher's equipment needed for Baseball or Fastpitch Softball.
We provide instructions on how to do this in our individual posts published on this site. For example, you can find out how to measure for a chest protector if you read our post on the best Baseball chest protectors.
For ease of use we've included an illustration below summarizing how to measure for key components of catcher's gear. Take a look, and be sure to review our other posts for additional information.
(Note: The instructions in the picture below really applies to gear for both men and women.)
Overview of our Methodology and Picks
We have reviewed a substantial number of products sold by every type of brand that produces catcher's equipment.
Our reviews were based primarily on our evaluation of the protective qualities of the equipment, on its durability and cost, and to a lesser extent, on its design and available color options.
These evaluations and reviews led to the below list of top picks for adult (13 +) Baseball and Fastpitch Softball catchers.
(Please note that we also have a separate post looking at the best catchers gear for youth catchers, or those 12 and younger. Click here to see that post.)
Without further delay, let's take a look at our top picks by category for best catchers gear this season!
Best Softball Catcher's Helmet: Jen Schro The Very Best
Our pick for the best catcher's helmet for Fastpitch Softball catchers
(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our Fastpitch Softball catcher's helmet picks!)
Jen Schro’s The Very Best is Easton's newest model of Fastpitch catcher's gear. The signature helmet in this lineup is high quality and earns our top overall pick.
This helmet was design for Softball catchers, as it provides more of an aerodynamic and closer fit than a typical catcher’s helmet for Baseball.
It’s built with a standard Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (or ABS) shell and a steel cage, with a black matte paint finish.
Inside the helmet is ‘Dual Density Foam’, which is designed to absorb shock with minimal impact to the wearer. It’s also comfortable to wear, and the padding comes treated with anti-microbial properties to fight off sweat and stink.
In addition to these features, we simply like the look of the helmet with its slim design and matte paint job. It's a top pick for sure.
Designed specifically to fit female athletes
Gives good protection with its strong ABS shell and steel facemask
Available in multiple color options
Includes high quality dual density foam designed to absorb impact
Comes in two sizes: Small (6 1/2-7 1/8) and Large (7 1/8-7 ½)
The most expensive helmet on this list. Not surprising considering its newness and high quality.
Brief Video Review of 'The Very Best' Gear
Best Baseball Catcher's Helmet: All Star System 7
CatchersHome.com's pick for the best overall helmet on the market
(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our Baseball catcher's helmet picks!)
Our overall top pick for the best catcher's helmet on the market today is the All Star System 7 helmet.
It has a sleek design and a reputation for providing excellent protection while maintaining a very comfortable fit. Despite being a premium-quality helmet, it is priced competitively and it won’t break the bank to purchase it.
The System 7 helmet is built with an I-BAR VISION steel cage, which is a patented design that utilizes flattened bars to strengthen the cage while increasing the catcher's line of site.
Additionally, this is the catcher's helmet that you will no doubt notice many pro Baseball catchers wearing, as the All-Star brand is super popular among elite catchers.
Provides excellent protection and visibility via the I-BAR VISION design
Has removable padding that can be washed
Replacement padding is available
Very reasonable cost-to-quality ratio
Should be a dependable, long-term helmet for you or your loved one
Nothing major that we see!
Brief Video Review
Best Catcher's Mask: All Star Lightweight, Classic Facemask
Excellent quality, built by a top brand
(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our catcher's mask picks!)
Our choice for the best overall Catchers Mask is the All Star Lightweight, Classic Facemask (FM25LUC).
This mask is anchored by a strong - yet hollow - steel cage. The hollow nature of the steel reduces overall weight without compromising protection.
There are three All Star proprietary technologies built into this mask, as we discuss in our All-Star catcher's gear post. The first is the I-Bar Vision™, which is a design that utilizes thinner, flattened bars which strengthens the mask and increases the Catcher's range of view.
The second is the DeltaFlex™ harness system, which is a unique harness that has a sticky substance preventing gear from excess movement and shifting.
The third piece of proprietary technology is the LUC "Ultra Cool™" padding. This is a special "dual-density foam liner" built by All-Star that helps keep the catcher cooler than they might otherwise be in a different mask.
Lastly, the LUC pads are moisture wicking. They are comfortable and they are able to be removed and washed (ie, machine washable).
In short, it's hard to go wrong with this mask.
Provides excellent visibility due to patented cage design
Stays pretty steady - does not shift much in-game
Competitively priced despite high-quality and being a top tier brand
Strong, yet lightweight, steel bars for the cage
The All-Star brand is very well respected among catchers
Nothing we've seen thus far
Close-ups of the All Star Lightweight, Classic Facemask (FM25LUC)
Best Skull Cap: Rawlings Coolflo
(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our catcher's mask related picks!)
If you use a catcher's mask, then you need to have a good skull cap to pair with it. For that, we recommend the Rawlings Coolflo.
The Coolflo has a "rubberized matte" paint finish, with various colors to choose from. Its multiple size options means that most adult and youth catchers can wear this skull cap without a problem.
(A quick note on sizing - Coolflo helmet sizes correspond the to the following hat sizes: Small (6 7/8 - 7), Medium (7 1/8 - 7 1/4), Large (7 3/8 - 7 1/2), and XL (7 5/8 - 7 3/4).)
Air circulates well in this helmet with strategically placed vents placed throughout. Also, the covered leather headband placed inside the skull cap ensures you have a good fit and makes the helmet more comfortable to wear.
In short, the Coolflo is a good choice that will pair well with most traditional facemasks.
It is super lightweight and comfortable
It looks great with its rubberized matte finish
There are multiple size and color options
Has excellent ventilation
It tends to run large, based on comments from multiple owners
Inside View of the Rawlings Coolflo
Best Softball Chest Protector: Jen Schro The Very Best
Jen Schro's The Very Best tops out our list as the best overall chest protector for Fastpitch Softball catchers
(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our Fastpitch Softball chest protector picks!)
Our top pick for the best Fastpitch Softball chest protector is Jen Schro The Very Best.
This is one of Easton’s newest models for Fastpitch Softball catcher’s gear. The chest protector is available in up to nine colors and in three different sizes.
The Very Best chest protector has two straps that connect at the front, allowing for a much easier and customized adjustment than many other chest protectors on the market. It’s a really cool and useful feature.
Another great – and different – feature of the chest protector is that it has motivational phrases from Jen Schro on its inside lining (see picture below). It’s unique and a nice touch.
Although it has thick (and high quality) padding throughout, it still feels pretty lightweight.
Manufactured by Easton, a leading manufacturer of equipment for Fastpitch players, it’s no wonder that Jen Schro’s The Very Best came out on top of our list.
Comes with two adjustable straps that connect in the front
Very adjustable to help you get a custom fit
Overall it's pretty lightweight
Has an improved neck/collarbone guard
Looks great and comes in multiple colors
Supply can be limited at certain retailers
Back Side of Jen Schro The Very Best Chest Protector
Best Baseball Chest Protector: All Star System 7 Axis
Catchers Home's pick for the best Baseball chest protector on the market
(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our Baseball chest protector picks!)
Our top choice for the best chest protector available 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.
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.
The PE plates were added to provide superior protection to these vulnerable areas 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 available
As a premium product, cost is higher than average
Back Side of the Axis Chest Protector
Best Softball Catcher's Mitt: Wilson A2000 Super Skin (2019 version)
A premium Mitt with an excellent design and feel
(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our Fastpitch Softball catcher's mitt picks!)
Our selection for the best Fastpitch Softball Catchers Mitt is the A2000 Super Skin (2019 version) made by Wilson (CM34, 34 inches).
This Mitt is unique, but in a good way. It is built with cutting edge technology called Super Skin, which Wilson is using on many of their newer glove models.
According to Wilson, Super Skin is "a microfiber material that has been tested, refined, and perfected to deliver ultimate durability at the lightest weight possible."
Super Skin is also moisture repellent and has a faster break-in time than Mitts wholly made with traditional leather. This strong base material also has a cool feel and a neat look to it.
In addition to its "skin", this Mitt has other good features. It has what it calls honeycombed cell pads slightly below the pocket to help reduce stinging.
The Mitt also allows you to modify the tightness around the wrist, which allows for more of a custom fit than you might otherwise get.
The high-quality 2019 model comes in gray with some stitching and lining in gold, which looks great. It's definitely worth a close look!
Built with innovative and incredibly lightweight Super Skin
Has a horizontal hinged web design
Padding is strategically placed to prevent excess discomfort
Has a very fast break-in time
Being a premium mitt, it has a higher cost
Close-ups of the A2000
Best Baseball Catcher's Mitt: Wilson A2K® (M1D, 2021 model)
The best catcher's mitt available today for Baseball players
(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our Baseball catcher's mitt picks!)
After hours of research, our pick for the best catcher's mitt is the Wilson A2K (M1D). Please note that this M1D version of the A2K is also known as the 2021 model.
Wilson states that their A2K mitt is the most premium mitt that they make, higher quality than even their famous A2000 line of gloves.
The A2K is made with Pro Stock Leather, which is a durable steerhide leather. It goes through a triple sorting process, meaning that it is made to be even thicker and stronger than normal leather. The leather also has a snake-skin pattern, which is unique and attractive looking.
The glove leather is built with rolled dual welting, which is a method of rolling thin pieces of leather to create a durable and stable shape.
This mitt uses a double palm construction, which provides an additional layer of leather under the palm area to help create a more stable and protected pocket. The A2K has a half moon web and comes pre-shaped to help decrease the overall time to break in the glove.
It has a great looking black and dark tan colored design, which blends together both a classic and modern look, making it really pop on the field.
The mitt has both the A2k and Wilson branding stitched on the shell near the pinkie finger stall, and the Wilson logo appears prominently in white on the outside of the thumb stall.
The A2K is truly top shelf, and it's a premium mitt that will help catchers play at the top of their game for a very long time.
Please note: This catcher's mitt is approximately 33.5 inches.
Excellent padding and palm protection
Pre-shaped more than many other mitts during the manufacturing process, so break in time is not as long
Contains Dri-Lex wrist liner that helps to keep your hand cooler than expected
Its rolled dual welting build stabilizes the mitt's shape to last longer
Lightweight and the pocket is deep
Great design, and it looks phenomenal
This should be treated as an investment, because this catcher's mitt costs more than average
Close up Images of the Wilson A2K M1D
Best Softball Leg Guards: All-Star Vela Professional
Our top pick for Fastpitch Softball Catchers
(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our Fastpitch Softball leg guard picks!)
What do we like about these Leg Guards? To start, they're loaded with cool features designed to help you play your best.
For example, the Vela Professional series of Leg Guards comes with the gel-based D30® knee pad which were built to disperse impact away from your knees and to prevent bruising. The Leg Guards also have the patented DeltaFlex™ harness system, which does a tremendous job of preventing excess shifting while in motion. Also, it's more comfortable than traditional harnesses for ballplayers in shorts.
The Vela Professional Leg Guards are durable, lightweight and well ventilated. Additionally, the plastic is moldable which allows for a good, customizable fit.
Not to mention these are made by All-Star, one of the leading manufactures of catchers gear in the business today.
Unique, proprietary technology designed in to help prevent knee bruising, to prevent excess shifting while moving and to increase ventilation
Moldable plastic to ensure a custom fit
Adjustable shin pads
Internal anti-bacterial surface
Machine washable internal liners
Nothing that we have seen, heard or read
Rear of the Leg Guards
Best Baseball Leg Guards: All-Star System Seven Axis
Premium Leg Guards that stand out from the crowd
(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our Baseball leg guard picks!)
All-Star claims these are the best Leg Guards ever developed. It's hard to argue with them.
These Leg Guards were constructed with unique technology, such as their LINQ™ pivotable hinge designed to support better mobility and to ensure they don't shift on your leg.
It comes with the gel-enclosed D30® "Patella Plus" knee pad technology, which gives added protection (and comfort!) to the knee.
They come in multiple colors with matte finished stainless steel hardware. Simply put, these are fantastic Leg Guards.
Made with proprietary hinge system, providing excellent mobility
Gives expanded protection above the knee
Good ventilation and reduced weight due to rear vents
Knee pads with D30® and twice-reinforced knee straps
Upper strap helps prevent excess movement on the leg
More expensive - it's a premium product
Brief Video Review
Best Catcher's Bag: Bownet Commander
Our Top Overall Pick for Best Catchers Bag
(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our catchers bag picks!)
Bownet is a US based company that makes a variety of sports equipment like training nets, backstops, pitching machines, and Baseball and Softball bags. Their Commander catcher's bag is the largest and highest quality bag that Bownet manufactures.
You can immediately tell that this bag was well thought out when it was designed. It is huge and can hold all of the equipment that a catcher would have, and then some.
There are 14 distinct compartments in this bag. Two of the larger compartments are on the sides of the bag, one of which holds your leg guards and the other which holds up to three full size bats.
Another thing to highlight is that the Commander is a catchers bag with big wheels. Seriously. It comes with large "Big Trax" rubber wheels that make it easy to drag the bag over a variety of surfaces such as pavement, gravel and dirt.
Many catchers bags have small plastic type wheels, so the Commander's larger wheels make it unique among other bags in the market. As an added note, if wheel size or wheel durability is the most important factor for you, then this is your bag.
The Commander also has a removable personalization panel, allowing you to add something like your name or number on it.
The back side is made of a hard, rigid plastic and can take a beating without a problem. Also on the back are two feet for the bag to rest in an elevated manner off the ground.
Other things that stand out about the bag is its weather resistant fabric, its telescopic pull handle, its added hooks to hold your hat or glove and its adjustable shelves in the main center compartment. Lastly, the bottom front of the bag contains a semi-hard case made to store and protect a helmet or cleats.
In short, the Bownet Commander is definitely a big, high quality catcher's bag with some really cool features. It's for all of these reasons that it earned our #1 pick.
Note: The dimensions of the bag are 38" L 17" W x 12" H.
It’s a very big bag! You should have no problem storing your gear in it.
Contains 14 different departments in the bag
The all-terrain wheels are excellent and work well on many surfaces
Holds up to three large bats in the separate bat compartment
Can hang on a dugout fence
Has a personalization panel for name, number or team name
Sturdy, durable construction
Available in many different colors
Some users have had issues with the zippers catching
Stitching on the side compartment does not seem as strong as the main compartment
The Bownet Commander Bag with Catchers Gear Inside, and a View of the Back of a Used Bag
Brief Video Overview of the Bownet Commander Catcher's Bag
That Wraps it up!
Thanks for reading. We hope that this post and our reviews were helpful to you.
If you have any questions for us - whether you want to learn more about some of the best catchers gear, or you have questions about catching in general - then don't hesitate to reach out by heading over to the Contact Us page or by sending an email to scott [at] catchershome [dot] com.