In this guide, we’re looking at the best conducting batons for use with an orchestra. Conductors almost always need to make a decision on the baton they want to purchase at some point. Conducting batons can be some of the most important pieces of equipment for orchestras, and though there is a relatively simple process to choosing, many conductors have their own specific criteria they use for choosing their baton. They may just be an extension of the conductor’s arm, but it is important to make the right choice and get something that is comfortable and effective for long term use.
In a hurry? Here are our top picks..
What is a Conducting Baton?
This is something you need to fully understand before you make the choice of which baton is for you. If you are an experienced conductor then this might not be your first time buying a baton, but if you are a composer or conductor who is having their first attempt at conducting an orchestra or group of musicians then you need to think about what the baton is and why it is such an important piece of kit.
A conducting baton sits in the hand and it is basically an extension of the arm for a conductor, allowing musicians to see your expressions and movements, even from range. It is more or less just a way to extend your arm!
How to Choose Conducting Batons
The batons on the market are numerous, and there are so many decisions for you to make when you are buying a music baton. If it is your first time making this sort of purchase, it is likely that you will look at a music store or on Amazon and wonder where to even start making the decision. Our list of the features to consider should help you to make the right choice when it comes to a baton, but naturally, there is an element of personal choice with all of the decisions.
The handle of your music baton is a big decision and you need to decide on something that you are comfortable with. The handle is one of the key components of a conducting baton so you might find that the material makes a huge impact on the price, too. If you want something with a rosewood handle then you might have to pay a little extra for the quality. Other types of wood are available, and plastic and cork are also popular materials for a conducting baton to be made out of. If you are a new conductor and just want an affordable baton then either a cork handle or a plastic handle can be decent, but they are not the highest-quality materials. Luckily, buying plastic can be a way to save some money.
The shaft of the baton can be made out of a number of different materials, too. Fiberglass is common, and these are both durable and very flexible. The wooden shaft batons on the market are lighter in weight, and a lot of conductors prefer this as they are flexible and expressive for the conductor to hold in their hand and direct the orchestra. Once again, the shaft is a part of the music baton that is more or less down to personal preference, like the handle.
The Balance Point and Size
This can be a really hard thing to get your head around if you have never had a go at being a conductor before. A balance point and size are both very closely connected. If you have a bigger baton, the balance point will probably be further away and therefore feel a bit bigger and bulkier in the hand.
Size is a key consideration, and a lot of people don’t know exactly how to make the choice of what size conducting baton to go for. If you are in the market for a new conducting baton and wondering what size to look for, many people will tell you to measure your forearm and get something that is a similar size from handle to tip. This can be a comfortable size for a lot of conductors.
Matching up the size of the baton to the size of your hand can be important, and consider your height and general size before you make a choice.
Do you need a baton case? If you are a true professional and you want to be a conductor at a high level of ability then you will need to protect your equipment just like any other musician. If you are investing a decent amount of money in your baton then you should absolutely think about getting a case. What’s more, if you turn up at a concert and your baton has broken in transit then it doesn’t look very professional. There are many different options for sizes and materials of case, with many being made out of wood as you would expect. If you are looking to find a baton case to go with your conductor baton then you’ll be pleased to learn that some of the options come with their own case which you can guarantee is going to fit the baton itself.
Luckily, conducting batons aren’t that expensive. As you become more and more experienced you may opt for a personalized or custom model, and this can cost hundreds of dollars, but many of the models on this list are $20 and under. if you buy a multipack of batons you can even get a product that is super cheap, with some plastic beginner batons costing just a few dollars each. Unlike a lot of music equipment, a conducting baton is not a huge investment, and you can give it a go without spending too much money.
The Best Conducting Batons for You – Making The Choice
If you can, it is good to choose a few different styles of baton to have a play around with and work out which shape and size is for you. If not, you might even want to order a couple of different options so that you can get used to the feel of the batons and decide which is best for you. Many conductors go through a few different baton options before they settle on one type. You might even have different batons for different playing situations.
As you can tell from reading our baton buying guide, there are a lot of personal decisions to be made, but the models we’ve reviewed below are all decent choices and if one of them takes your fancy it is certainly worth trying.
1. Music Baton Orchestra Baton Wood Handle Music Conducting Baton – Best Overall
If you are looking for a baton that has the best of all worlds then this could be a great option for you. It has a classy wood handle design and a professional feel to it, all at a very reasonable price point, and this includes a case, too.
The baton is made out of wood, with a lightweight wooden handle but also a fiberglass shaft to give a good level of flexibility. It’s about 15 inches, so if you measure the size of your forearm you can get some idea of whether or not this is a suitable length for you.
The baton has a pear-shaped wooden handle and this is a popular design for both cork batons and those with wood.
- Great value for money with a fantastic case included protecting the baton.
- Fiberglass shaft.
- Good for larger conductors and taller people to use.
- Some find that the balance on the handle is not ideal.
You’ll struggle to find a model of baton with case included for such a good price. This model definitely comes with our recommendation due to the fact that it is well-made, but some people have said the weight balance isn’t totally ideal. This is a matter of personal opinion.
2. King David 12WTCK 12-Inch Baton White - Tapered Cork Handle – Best Cork Baton
This is a slightly smaller model and has the cork design a lot of people know as being the main design of a music baton. You might prefer wood such as a rosewood handle, but cork has a nice balance and is often pretty affordable and lightweight. The shaft itself is made out of fiberglass.
The King David model is probably a little small for some users. If you have a big hand you might want a music baton that suits, with a larger handle, but for a female or younger conductor then 12 inches is likely to be plenty.
- Fairly good value for money.
- Good balance with cork design.
- Doesn’t come with a baton case.
- Not suitable for larger hands.
This is something of a “no-frills” conducting baton. It’s not a big and fancy model, instead, it is much more likely to allow you the balance you need without costing too much money. For smaller hands, this can be a good way to get started with conducting music.
3. BQLZR 1 Pair 15 – Budget Pick
If you are looking for some cheap conductor batons that can do a decent job then these could be worth considering. They don’t come with any sort of case, but for the money, getting a pair of hard-wearing conducting batons is fantastic.
This has an ABS handle which is not the most traditional, it is technically a form of plastic, and this gives it a really hard-wearing design that allows you to take this baton out and about with you and not have to worry about damage. The baton handle is pretty well-balanced due to the fact that it has a reliable ABS design.
They’re very lightweight and they will do a decent job of keeping a weight balance on a budget. These show that beginner conductors and students don’t have to spend a fortune to get a decent baton. One word of warning to go with these; be sure that you are holding the handle properly. If you hold any higher up on the shaft then you might have some issues, such as some splintering.
- Very affordable, budget choice of conducting baton.
- Reliably well-weighted.
- Sturdy plastic design.
- If you don’t hold the baton right you can get some splintering.
As long as you don’t expect too much from this conducting baton and you hold it correctly then it can do a good job, especially for beginners.
4. Hamel Baton - 16 – Best for Big Hands
If you are looking for a large handle and a large shaft so that you can make a bigger statement with your conducting and make sure all your musicians can see you, the Hamel could be a good choice. It’s the longest shaft on the list with a 16 inch design.
Though this doesn’t ship with a case, we recommend getting one with this baton. It’s pretty good quality with a nice, balanced, wooden handle, and you wouldn’t want to ruin this through wear and tear.
- Good for bigger hands and to give more of a statement with conducting.
- Nice wooden handle.
- Doesn’t come with any sort of case.
Generally, the high-quality Hamel design gives plenty of balance and a good option for any conductors who are bigger and need something to suit. A 16-inch shaft makes this an ideal model for larger conductors, but should be avoided by children or younger players.
5. Lovermusic Fibre Glass Music Conductor Orchestra Choral Baton – Best Multipack
We should qualify this being included on our list by mentioning the fact that it is not the most professional. A lot of people who are searching for the best conducting batons are looking for something for music classes where everyone can have a go. You might need a lot of different batons for your students, and a multipack can give you an option to do this, and ensure you always have a “stock” of orchestral batons.
They’re not the most professional batons on the market, but they are a very good option for those who want a lot of batons on a budget.
They have a fiberglass design with 15-inch shaft. They’re ideal for students who are first having a go at conducting.
- Exceptional cheap option, great for music classes.
- Decent balance with a plastic handle
- Fiberglass can be prone to splintering so it must be held correctly.
- The build-quality of these could be better.
These are cheap conducting baton options. Make no mistake about it, they are not a set of batons you are like to see at the proms or any high-end classical concert, but for beginners, they have a decent balanced feel and can give you a great starting point without spending loads of money. These may well be a music teacher’s best friend, as they’re so cheap it doesn’t matter if you get the odd breakage.
Conclusion – Choosing Your Conducting Batons
As you can see from our list, there are so many different types of conducting batons out there, and some have very different feels and features to others. If you get a good “gut feeling” about a certain design, there is no harm in giving it a try. Fortunately, most conducting batons are relatively affordable. As long as you aren’t looking to get something custom-made then you don’t need to spend a fortune to try out some different batons, whether you want a rosewood handle, a plastic handle or a cork handle, you can make a choice knowing that it doesn’t cost too much to replace your baton in the future.
All of the models on our list have their charms, and your situation will probably dictate which conducting baton you go for. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional makes a big difference. Like any other instrument, the more experienced you become, the more likely you are to want a more professional feeling baton with a handmade feel to it.