These are the bat brands that I’m most familiar with. Readers should also know them very well as they are used by some of the top international players around the world.
This is a list of the best cricket bat manufacturers based in the UK.
Gunn & Moore
Personally, I’ve used Gunn and Moore bats more than any other brand. They are one of the oldest and most respected manufacturers around, having been originally founded back in 1885. From their factory in England, G&M, as they can also be known, use English willow exclusively and they also produce a range of bats from junior level upwards.
While they are UK based, Gunn and Moore bats are used by international players from around the world. The Zelos is one of their best selling products and this is currently used by Ross Taylor, Aiden Markram and Dawid Malan amongst others.
I’ve also used Gray Nicolls cricket bats and I bought my first one mainly because David Gower used to play with them. One of the most distinguishing features of these bats was the scoop where a section of the back was ‘scooped out’ to assist with aerodynamics.
Gray Nicolls also produced a double scoop which was popular in Gower’s time during the 1980s but the brand has endured and remains popular in the present day. While they may seem like a more recent name, Gray Nicolls have actually been around for a long time. They were originally founded in 1855 as H.J. Gray and Sons so they predate Gunn and Moore by some 30 years.
My first memory of anyone using a Newbery bat came when Mike Gatting scored heavily for England in the 1980s. Based in Hove in the south of England, the company produces a range of bats to suit all budgets.
The Heritage range is the more expensive of the two and this is where the premium English willow is used. Newbery also have a performance range where the willow can go down to grade three. There’s even a bat builder service where customers can design their own equipment.
While use of the Mongoose has virtually died out, it’s worth mentioning for its curiosity value if nothing else. The design made this bat unique with its extended handle and a blade which was around 33% shorter than regulation.
The thinking was that more power was put into the blade and that more powerful batters could hit the ball further with a Mongoose. Suresh Raina and Matthew Hayden both scored runs with it in the 2009 edition of the Indian Premier League so there may have been some substance but use of a Mongoose has virtually stopped in 2021.
Salix may be one of the lesser known brands but their profile is being raised thanks to increased use among professional players. They are based in Maidstone in Kent and were established back in 1990 by founder Andrew Kember.
The company hand makes every bat, using high quality English willow, to exacting standards. The S3 is perhaps the most recognisable among the professional game. Interestingly, Salix make a big deal over their attention to detail on junior sized bats which enjoy the same care as the adult versions.
B3 cricket bats are based in Nottingham, the same city as the more established Gunn and Moore. They were set up in 2012 and, to stand out in a crowded market, they have introduced what they describe as a revolutionary way in which to choose and buy a bat.
Buyers can opt to purchase a bat ‘off the shelf’ or they can choose to have one made to their own specifications. Options in this respect include the grade of willow, the weight, the shape, and even the grip and decals.
By choosing a low key approach, Blank Bats have actually managed to make their brand really stand out. Their ethos is ‘minimal branding – maximum performance’ and that’s ideal for those who are looking for more value for their money.
High quality English willow is still used and the craftsmanship is in evidence but the Blank Bats stand out for their lack of decals. There’s just a small black triangle underneath the handle with the company logo. As a result, club players may find Blank Bats to be more affordable.
This brand is named after Peter Kippax who enjoyed a brief first class career with Yorkshire in the early 1960s. When he retired from the game, he ran a bat making business for over 30 years using English willow.
In the main, Kippax supplied players from Yorkshire County Cricket Club and the local leagues but the brand now has a wider following. Since Peter Kippax’s death in 2017, the business has been run by his son Chris.
Like Peter Kippax, Paul Aldred turned to bat making when his professional playing career came to an end. He represented Derbyshire for seven years and, while his playing record was quite modest, Alred’s bats are outstanding.
Like all of the good manufacturers on this list, Aldred bats are handcrafted using the finest English willow. Paul Aldred has an interesting background and has also worked in the building trade with a focus on sustainability. That environmentally friendly ethos has been carried over into Aldred bat production.
Boom Boom Cricket
Their name may bring to mind the great Pakistani all rounder Shahid Afridi but Boom Boom Cricket bats are quintessentially English. They are based in Coventry in the West Midlands and their philosophy centres around Freedom to Play.
Their bats are heavily branded and are designed to offer a brash approach that can give a batter confidence. One of their bats is even called Arrogance to emphasise that point. Afridi endorses these bats as does Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa.
CP are based in London and are another manufacturer where minimal branding lets the quality of the bat stand out. Their main sponsored player is John Mooney who is among a number of Irish cricketers making a name for themselves within one of the newest test playing nations.
This is another producer who believes in providing the same quality for both junior and senior players. They are not too well known as yet but the quality is there and hopefully CP will be able to sign up some more high profile players in the near future.
Millichamp & Hall
James Bracey made his England test debut against New Zealand in 2021 and this was a big moment for Millichamp and Hall. The manufacturer has been producing cricket equipment for over 30 years and Bracey is currently their star sponsored player.
Jack Leach is also with the company whose products are frequently abbreviated to M&H. They have very distinctive branding and, while they are one of the more expensive brands, the quality can be worth it for the serious players out there.
English bats are more familiar to me and, presumably, to other readers here in the UK. However, not all of these names will be recognisable at first glance. On this list we have the bigger brands such as Gray Nicolls and Gunn and Moore which are used more extensively in the modern game. Also included are the up and coming manufacturers.
What’s also interesting is the different approaches to branding. The established companies rely on their name while others have to compete in a crowded market. We therefore have a wide mix from the brash names and logos of Boom Boom to the understated products at Blank Bats.
How do they perform? Aside from some of the bats I recently reviewed, that’s a big question and I can only comment on a handful of these manufacturers so it would be fascinating to hear the thoughts of others.
If you are interested in other cricket bat brands outside the UK, you should head to our article discussing the best Indian, Australian and other world famous cricket bat brands.