Photo by A-La-Mode Photography

I prefer to use a batt rather than throwing directly on the wheel head.  But batts are a financial and spacial commitment.  So if you are considering purchasing batts, here is an overview of several choices.

Tile-Batt System – This is my favorite solution because for nominal cost, I have 35 batts that store easily and consume minimal shelf space.  In addition, the tiles are porous and allow the pot bottoms to dry more evenly. The tiles only accomodate pots with feet less than 6″wide but it is a great solution for any production potter with limited shelf space.  The tiles hold up well with use.

Speedball Bats – These batts are often community studio choices.  The batt pin holes do not penetrate the batt and they have an over-hanging edge that makes them easy to lift off the wheel.  They are flexible which I don’t care for because this can allow pots to torque.  Although they are inexpensive, I have had issues with warping and I find it frustrating to put them on the wheel head.

Amaco Plasti-Bat – These are durable, thin batts made of plastic.  The drilled variety are easy to put on and remove from the wheel.  The batts have some flexibility so I don’t use them when throwing heavier pots but I have not had a problem with warping.  There are various diameters; but these are expensive.

Blue Plastic Bats (also called HDPE bats) – These are thin, durable, and affordable.  These are inflexible so they don’t torque when removing them from the wheel.  They come in two sizes (13″ and 15″); and the 15″ batt is a great price.  I added foam to the 15″ batt; it is great for trimming wide bowls.

Medex Bats –  These are thick batts made of wood product that are inflexible.  They don’t warp and are inexpensive but they require a lot of storage space.  I have a few of these and find them to be difficult to remove from the wheel because the bat pin holes are very snug.  I don’t feel they are worth the space needed to store them.

Masonite/Duron Bats –  These thin batts are made of pressed wood  and have a slick surface.  They are very inexpensive but are not very durable.  Mine have held up well but I am mindful to give them time to dry out between throwing sessions.  They are thin and very lightweight so storage and portability are not issues; but, they have some flexibility.

Hydrobat – This is a more durable alternative to traditional plaster batts.  The porous surface is smooth and gives you the option of  allowing your post to dry on the batt rather than under-cutting them.  I use these for large diameter platters.  They come in various sizes (I have the 24″) but they are heavy and require some conscientious storage because they can be broken.  The batt pin holes have been reinforced with rubber grommet to improve durability.

There is a large selection of batts available.  It is best to use a batt before stocking your studio with one kind.