3 Key Things to Know Before Buying An Outdoor Batting Cage By admin | Published on November 28, 2019August 22, 2020 Our 18 years of experience designing and installing over 1,000 batting cages throughout the U.S. has given us some good insider knowledge on cages and netting. We decided to share the love, by preparing a complete “buyer’s guide” for those shopping for outdoor batting cages online. We don’t know if you’re a school administrator, coach, homeowner, or all three. What we do know is you’re thinking about purchasing and installing an outdoor hitting cage for your home or facility. Below you’ll find everything you need to know before you buy and install your outdoor batting cage, but if an Ultimate Review / Guide is too much, then maybe start with our Outdoor Batting Cage FAQ. Or if you like to jump with both feet, take a look at our outdoor batting cages. Then, if you realize you have a few questions, this comprehensive review will still be here. 1) How to Select the Right Outdoor Batting Cage for Your Needs Whether you’ll be using your batting cage for your backyard, school / university, or commercial facility, the first question you need to ask is “How will we be using this cage?” That one question can save you thousands of dollars, not to mention a lot of trouble, so be sure you know the answer. If you’re a homeowner that’s just setting up a backyard batting cage for the weekend so the kids can play in the backyard; or you’re a school or commercial facility and you just need the cage up for a weekend tourney or fundraising event, then a temporary, above-ground batting cage is a perfect choice. If you’re looking for a cage that will perform day in and day out for years to come, then you’re looking for a more permanent batting cage like an in-ground batting cage. Here’s a quick break down of those two types of cages. Above-Ground vs In-Ground Batting Cages Above-Ground batting cages are generally temporary outdoor batting cage solutions, perfect for backyard cage use, corporate, or fundraising events. While above-ground cages can usually be installed quickly, they are not designed to stay up for long periods of time, and are particularly susceptible to high winds. Most above ground nets are considered portable, and can quickly be set up at any location with a flat surface. The exception to this rule is the Bolt-Down cages, which as the name suggested, need to bolted down, usually to a concrete surface. Types of Above-Ground Cages Inflatables – Inflatables provide good durability but are more expensive than other models and are more susceptible to high winds. Free-Standing – Freestanding cages are inexpensive and easily portable, perfect for home backyard use.. Bolt-Down – The least portable of the Above-Ground options, Bolt-Down cages are typically bolted down to existing concrete surfaces. In-Ground Batting Cages In-Ground batting cages are used for more permanent outdoor batting cage solutions. To install these batting cage frames, you’re going to have to do some digging. The frames of these cages and nets can last for years. Many schools, universities, and commercial facilities benefit from side-by-side multi-lane batting cages that not only reduce the overall footprint of the cage, but also help to reduce costs. Types of In – Ground Cages Varsity– Multiple sections of uprights and cross-members are buried in-ground. Number of sections is dependent on cage length. Often requires more ground holes than other types of in-ground cages. Collegiate–Requires fewer ground holes than the Varsity model. Fewer cross-members increases player safety by cutting down on ricochet possibilities. Stabilizer kickers may be required on cages longer than 55 foot. Pro– With no overhead cross-members, this is the safest outdoor batting cage available. Increased pole diameter means no kicker stabilizer required. A cost-effective choice for side-by-side outdoor hitting cages because less overall hardware is required. Beefy frame also comes with limited 25-year warranty making this hitting cage a great choice for schools and universities. 2 Best In-Ground Batting Cage Brands Here’s a list of our favorite In-Ground Batting Cage Brands nCage Mastadon 2) Determining Your Cage Size Now that you know which TYPE of cage you need, the next step is determining what SIZE of cage you’ll need. No matter what type of cage you’ve selected, you’ll need a flat surface for your cage to occupy. Be sure to leave a minimum of 3 feet between net and existing structures like sheds, garages, and houses to prevent damage and potential ricochet. Please don’t install your cage near trees and other objects like fence or telephone poles that can become potential ricochet points. If you don’t have much room, don’t despair. Other measures can be taken to install buffers inside your batting cage such as NetShield, or padding on the object itself using pole padding to deaden the impact. These steps can allow you to place your batting cage closer to a structure, but please do still be cautious with delicate items such as glass – and ALWAYS require your players (EVEN the pitchers) to wear helmets with face-masks when working inside a batting tunnel. Now that you’ve got your basic footprint, you can review the various sizes of above ground batting and hitting cages. If you’re going to be doing an in-ground frame, you can decide if you’ll need a standard size batting cage net, or a custom sized batting cage net. All of our in-ground batting cages can be used to fit almost any footprint. Special Tip For Homeowners: If you’re installing an In-Ground Cage in your yard, please be sure to check the local building codes, and Home Owner Association policies. 3) Outdoor Batting Cage Installation In-Ground In-ground batting cages don’t require a cement pad for installation. The poles do require being buried in concrete footers. The depth of the poles depends on local factors like soil conditions and frost line. Please consult local experts for that information. A local fence installing company is usually very helpful. Generally, they can also provide installation services for our in-ground batting cages as well. Ground sleeves are a great solution if you think you will one day have to remove your outdoor batting cage from its current site. We make ground sleeves for all of our in-ground outdoor batting cages. Here’s a quick run down of the most important tips to keep in mind when determining what cage type you’ll need: Please don’t install your batting cage near existing structures to help prevent damage or potential ricochet. Above-ground hitting and batting cages are meant for temporary use only.Please take down cages when not in use. All batting cages work best on a flat surface. Inflatable cages are particularly susceptible to winds. BONUS TIPS: Outdoor Batting Cage Nets Outdoor batting cage nets are available in Polyethylene and Nylon. Poly nets are inherently UV and water resistant because they are made from a plastic-based material. However, because Poly is essentially a plastic it’s not as durable as Nylon and tends to break down faster because it lacks the shock absorption and “s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g” properties compare to Nylon. Nylon nets, while more durable than Poly, are not inherently water resistant. Be sure to add some sort of water protection to your Nylon net. DuPont Nylon offers a Varnish dip to protect their nets from absorbing moisture. FlexNets offers a Latex Dip, called NetSeal, to help prevent exposure to moisture. Varnish is a “paint-like” oil-based treatment; while NetSeal is a water-based latex treatment. Varnish will last longer outdoors, but has a much stronger odor. COMMERCIAL TIP: Some indoor batting cage facilities will even choose to add a “dip” to their cages to extend the life-span – in this case we recommend Latex due to the lower odor. Taking down your net during the off-season will most certainly help increase the lifespan of your net. The #36 nylon is our most popular netting. It is available in 55 and 70 foot lengths. We can also custom build a net to any size. We can also provide replacement nets. Simply enter your dimensions in to our Custom Net Calculator to receive an instant quote. IMPORTANT: If your batting cage net is going inside a chain link tunnel, PLEASE be sure to keep your net at least two feet away from the walls and ceiling. Chain link fence batting cage tunnels will chew up a net every time a baseball or softball pushes the net in to the fence. If you can’t maintain this distance, consider installing a BASE ANCHOR CABLE to secure your net to the ground and maintain a fixed footprint. Frequently Asked Questions Do I need to install a cement pad for my net? You don’t have to install a cement pad for outdoor indoor batting cages. A crushed rock surface is also a good choice. You can even use your cage on dirt or grass. How deep should my poles be? The depth of your poles will be determined by local soil conditions and frost line. We recommend talking to a local fencing company. They can often help with installation as well. Do you provide installation services? We do provide installation services, however, because we have to travel, it can often be difficult to compete with local general contractors. Do you have anyone local to me that you can recommend for installation? Unfortunately, we don’t have any local installers that we recommend, but most fence installation companies are capable of installing our cages. (Fence companies are already good at digging and installing poles, so they are a great resource. If your installer has any questions about installation, we provide instructions, and we are more than happy to provide phone support as well.) Is a poly net or a nylon net better for outdoor use? Poly nets, because they are plastic, are inherently water-resistant. However, poly is not as durable as nylon. Nylon nets require additional treatment to be water-resistant. Treatments include a Varnish Dip for Dupont Nylon or a Latex Dip, for most other nets. #36 Nylon is by far our most popular netting for homes, and is our minimum recommendation for high school players. Are your batting cages HOA compliant? We have no idea if our cages are compliant with your HOA. Before you make any purchases you’ll want to consult with your HOA to be sure you are following their existing guidelines. What type of netting do you recommend? The netting material really depends on the type of weather you encounter according to your location and the ages using the net. For outdoor use a Nylon net with Latex Treatment is typically your best option. Depending on the ages and use, #36 Nylon is ideal for moderate little league to high school use. #42 Nylon is used for heavy high school and light collegiate use. And the #6o Nylon is ideal for collegiate team use and professional netting. There’s also a #96 Nylon available but due to the cost, it’s not accessible for most residential applications. However for commercial, collegiate, and professional use, this is one of the best materials available. An economical option on the nets is to go with a Poly material. The Poly is a plastic based material and is available in #21 or #36 gauges. These nets cannot have the latex treatment added since it won’t adhere to the Polyethylene material. But again since it’s a plastic based material, these will stand up to the elements on it’s own. The trade off is the Poly has a shorter life-span than a comparable Nylon (e.g. #36 Poly vs. #36 Nylon). What is the best backyard batting cage frame for private home or residential use? The Varsity Batting Cage or YardCage kits are the best options for residential use. The YardCage kits are free-standing, so no holes to dig or concrete to pour! The Varsity kit uses several frame sections. The number of sections depends on the length of the cage. For a 55’L net there is a four frame section and for 70’L nets there is a 5 frame section. Each section consists of two uprights and a cross-member. Ground sleeves are included with each option which allows the user to remove the uprights. This is handy for HOA’s since the inclusion of the ground sleeves means it’s not a permanent structure. What do you recommend for high wind areas? For high wind areas, either the Collegiate Batting Cage or ProModel Batting Cage Frames are recommended. The Collegiate consists of 3’6″ diameter poles while the ProModel is available in both 6-5/8″ & 8-5/8″ diameter poles. These are both heavy duty options to ensure the poles won’t break in cases of high wind weather. Do your frames on the website include everything I need to hang the net? Yes, the frames on our website (except the *YardCage) include all framing plus all the hardware components to support and hang the net from either the frame or the hardware. *YardCage requires local sourcing of the poles – it’s easy to find, and will save BIG on shipping costs. Can I get custom size frames? Yes, you can get custom size frames but there are limitations. Depending on the type of frame, there are max pole lengths available. The Varsity frame uses 13’4″L uprights (with 1-7/8″ or 2-3/8″ diameter poles), the Collegiate uses 20’L uprights (with 3’6″ diameter poles) and the ProModel also uses 20’L uprights (with either 6-5/8″ or 8-5/8″ poles). Any size shorter than those uprights aren’t a problem but if you need poles longer than what’s listed for each individual frame, please contact any sales rep to get pricing. How much is shipping on the frames? The shipping on the frames is free to the continental US. There are some delivery fees on the ProModel frame if it’s going to a residence.