Batting cage tips when shopping...
We've been at this since 1998 and have learned a lot. Are you shopping for a batting cage? Here are some batting cage tips and questions to keep in mind while shopping.
Find out what type of netting is being used. This is the most expensive part of the cage and the quality can make all the difference. We only use knotted nylon. We do not use poly net. Knotted nylon is stronger and lasts longer than poly net. Poly net is quite a bit weaker (40% to 50%) and less expensive than knotted nylon. You would need just about a #42 poly net to be as strong as our #21 knotted nylon. By then you would have spent a lot more money. In my opinion, knotted nylon is a lot more durable than poly net. Since we started in 1998, we have never had a water problem, UV deterioration, dry rot, or any breakage of our net due to baseballs or softballs hitting the net. Also knotted nylon is easy to repair.
Find out what you need to have a complete hitting system. Our system only requires that you buy the frame poles locally. Everything else is included. Some "unbundle" their pricing and sell "net only." They sell frame kits separately, don't include an L-screen, or don't include the poles for the L-screen. Some companies sell the connectors with thumb screws you tighten by hand. Hitters will eventually hit the thumb screws and break them off. We use 1/2" bolts so they don't stick out very far. With some systems you have to buy cables, turnbuckles, or dig holes and pour concrete. Many companies do have you buy the frame poles locally. This can save you hundreds of dollars on shipping. Find out the total price.
Are the frame poles on the inside or outside? One of the most important batting cage tips, is to consider how safe your batting cage is. In our system the poles are on the inside so you don't want a ricochet problem. This is the reason we use 3/4" EMT. They are strong enough to hold up the system, but they have flexibility and absorb the momentum of the batted ball so it just dies and falls to the ground. We want batter and pitcher to be safe. We are more and more concerned about some of the competition's copies of our cage. Be very careful. Some of these batting cages are made with 1 3/8" poles ON THE INSIDE! Some do have their poles on the outside, but very close to the netting. Remember our design is based on "The Law of Conservation of Momentum" which states: The total momentum of a group of objects is the same after they interact as it was before. Momentum of an object is its mass times its velocity (p=mv). Before collision, a batted ball has positive momentum and the pole has zero momentum. After the collision the total momentum is the same. But if the pole cannot give at the time of impact the final momentum of the ball will be about the same as the initial momentum of the ball. Thus there can be tremendous ricochet and this is very dangerous.
Do you need any accessories? We get calls about accessories for our batting cages. Some of the competition provides leaded rope, others sell backdrops, still others offer other things for sale. We're cheap, sorry frugal, and try to find inexpensive alternatives. Here are some. Leaded rope is expensive and heavy to ship. We used to offer it, but now we make our net wider. It is 36' wide and the perimeter of the frame is only 30', so there is 3' of overhang all the way around. But if you still feel you need something, try a simple garden hose. It is much cheaper than leaded rope and will do the same thing - provide a little extra weight on the net so it won't blow around as much in wind. Some companies offer expensive backdrops. We suggest an inexpensive piece of carpet. Hang it from the roof corner connectors.
Find out the guarantee and return policy. Some allow up to 60 days. Ours is one full year.
Caveat Emptor - Buyer Beware: We hope these batting cage tips help and may have prompted even more questions. Shopping for a batting cage can be time consuming and frustrating. While a Wheelhouse Batting Cage is affordable, it still is an outlay of your hard earned money. So take your time, be diligent, and ask a lot of questions. Find out the complete cost of a batting cage before you buy.