|#12||1500 Series||Not suitable for batting cages, but is an excellent choice for keeping birds out of your garden.|
|#18||2100 Series||The very minimum for batting cages. With light use may last 2-3 years.|
|#21||Pretty good. Not commercial, but a decent net. With moderate use may last up to 4-5 years.|
|#30||Generally considered a lighter duty commercial quality. Moderate to heavy use 4-6 years.|
|#36||Jugs 96||A decent net. Considered light commercial quality. Don’t let the Jugs 96 label fool you!|
|#42||Many pro teams use #42 twine for heavy use. Great for commercial batting cage applications|
|#62||The #62 twine is suitable for extreme weather and heavy duty use.|
The most important component in any batting cage is the netting material. Why is it so difficult to compare? Go to one site and you’ll find 96 netting. At another you’ll find a 1500 series. So how do you compare N30 to 1500? It’s tough. Most batting cage manufacturers don’t want you to directly compare, so they code the net twine size. One company in particular sells a 36 and calls it a 96!
As a general rule, netting comes in twine sizes. The smaller the number, the thinner the twine. A #24 is about twice as thick, and twice as strong as a #12 twine. A #36 twine is about twice as thick and strong as a #18.
That’s really all there is to it. The problem is, how do you know the twine size? Many companies simply advertise the twine making it easy. Other companies code their product, so you don’t know unless you ask (a few won’t tell you even if you do ask).
Example: One company sells a 1500 series net. You might think they mean #15 twine size, right? Wrong. Their 1500 series is a #12. Their 2100 series is a #18, and their 96 is a #36. Their own numbering system is close enough to the popular twine sizes that people naturally assume a direct correlation. This is deceptive.
Another company does it a little differently, and a lot more honestly. Their N36 netting should be a #36 twine right? Well, it is and their N30 is a #30 twine. The bottom line is this, just because you see a model number that is close to a twine size, don’t assume it is the twine size.
At Batting Cages, Inc. we make products using urethane treated nylon, polyethylene, polyester, and KVX200™. KVX200™ premium netting is a commercial polymer that is also used in bullet proof vests. This material is strong, lightweight, does not absorb water, and resists breakdown in direct sunlight. KVX200™ employs an integral UV inhibitor. This means that the UV inhibitor is one component that is already inside the polymeric blend that gets extruded into individual fibers. Those fibers are then twisted or braided into twine. Since the UV inhibitor is built right into KVX200™, the UV inhibitor doesn’t wear off, as it can with nylon. Since KVX200™ doesn’t absorb water as nylon can, it resists rotting better than nylon or other materials.
KVX200™ is more expensive than polyethylene, although it is less expensive than nylon. While KVX200™ may be stronger than polyethylene, it doesn’t have the break strength of Nylon. KVX200™ is priced between nylon and polyethylene netting. For outdoor use the performance is nearly on par with nylon. These cages may provide the best value for those concerned with both quality and price.
If you have an indoor cage, and durability and break strength is more important than budget, nylon netting is right for you. Nylon has the strongest break strength, and is by far the most durable netting for indoor use. Nylon has excellent resistance to abrasion, and outstanding overall durability. However, nylon is expensive.
Because nylon netting can absorb water, many manufacturers treat the nylon with some sort of bonding agent by either dipping or spraying the twine. Although treating nylon with a bonding agent will dramatically reduce nylon’s tendency to soak up water, it doesn’t stop it entirely. Eventually, nylon will likely shrink and rot.
When compared with polyethylene netting, nylon is initailly stronger than polyethylene, but deteriorates faster. Nylon loses between 15% and 20% of its strength each year depending on conditions. For year one, a #36 nylon will have a greater break strength than a #36 polyethylene, but depending upon weather conditions, by the end of the third year polyethylene may be as strong, and KVX200™ may be stronger.
Although nylon netting has a high initial break strength, if left outside that strength can deteriorate rapidly. Nylon absorbs water and loses strength in direct sunlight. For indoor applications, nylon is an excellent choice. If your netting will be exposed to adverse weather, consider polyethylene or KVX200™.
Polyethylene netting is inexpensive and does not deteriorate as quickly due to moisture. As the netting is exposed to moisture, polyethylene retains a higher percentage of its strength than nylon. Polyethylene does not absorb water, so the problem of rotting and shrinkage disappears.
Polyethylene netting has drawbacks as well. Most blends of polyethylene don’t hold up well to direct sunlight. Not all polyethylene cages incorporate UV inhibitors. Ours do. This works well for indoor application, but it may not be practical over extended periods of outdoor use, especially in warmer climates.
A: Posi-Lock stitching is a process where these machines tightly weave a thick cord around the rope perimeters in a positive locking pattern, that provides the strongest possible bond between the netting and the rope.
Next to the netting material, the construction is the most important factor determining how a batting cage will wear. If your cage is assembled with light thread, or the stitching is loose, even the best netting can separate from the rope perimeter. Our cages are assembled on state of the art computer controlled sewing machines.
Rather than simply sewing a rope border to a piece of netting, we take the extra time to weave the rope in an out through the meshes, before sewing the rope to the net. This is an important step, because if a stitch were to break, your batting cage would stay together. Other manufacturers simply lay the rope along the netting panel, and some will only stitch the rope to the net every second or third mesh. That puts extra stress on the attachment points and weakens the batting cage.
We incorporate heavy rope borders on the top, the bottom and the vertical corners. Finally, we sew an extra rib line that runs down the middle of the top panel from front to back. This provides an extra support point so you can keep the net held high.
A: Square Mesh is Better. Diamond Mesh is Cheaper.
Due to the way netting is produced, hanging a net on the diamond reduces the amount of waste netting, so hanging a net on the diamond is typically less expensive. Hanging a net on the diamond causes a few problems. First, the net won’t hang as straight. The net pattern causes the batting cage to pull in from the sides. On top of that, batting cages with a diamond mesh will usually have poorer seams, because the rope border has to be sewn diagonally across the meshes, leaving an irregular net border to sew to. Square mesh is typically more expensive to produce, because the ends must be trimmed off. Although it can take more material to hang a batting cage on the square, the finished product is significantly better. A cage hung on the square will open straighter and all four bottom edges will be more likely to reach the ground. The edges will be neater, and the border will naturally follow the edge of the netting.
This is a controversial issue in our industry. The truth is, it depends on the crossover stitch. A knotless net with a great crossover stitch will typically outlast a knotted net. A knotted net will typically outlast a knotless net that has a weak crossover stitch.
A net’s break strength is determined by calculating how much tension may be placed on a strand before that strand breaks.
#12 nylon net will have a break strength of about 116 pounds. A rolled up sheet of newspaper will have a break strength of about 240 pounds. Yet, the #12 Nylon net will last much longer. Why? The newspaper will quickly disintegrate in the sun and the rain, so nobody makes batting cages out of paper! This example is intentionally extreme, but what does this mean? Only that you can’t assume that a net with higher “initial” break strength will last longer than a product with a lower break strength.
Similarly, some batting cage materials absorb water (nylon for instance), some don’t. Some materials resist the adverse effects of direct sunlight better than others, some breakdown very quickly in diraect sun light. If all netting was made out of the exact same material, break strength would be an important factor in determining how long a net would last, but its not. A net’s initial break strength isn’t always related to its functional break strength. A batting cage will fail if it’s breaking strength drops below about 60 lbs. If a batting cage starts out at 500 lbs. and drops below 60 lbs. in two years, the cage will last 2 years. If a cage starts out at 200 lbs. and drops below 60 lbs. seven years later, that cage will last seven years.
In the case of batting cage durability it is important to consider:
- resistance to weather conditions
- size/weight of netting material
- resistance to abrasion
- initial break strength vs. long term break strength
- relative deterioration
- construction methods and quality
Sure do! If you have an idea you’d like to discuss – give us a call at 1.800.463.6865, or send an email to one of our qualified sales staff.