For many years, Tanner Tees were the standard for serious baseball players.
Recently, Cage Pro came out with a tee that has caught some Tanner users' attention. It's time to take a look at whether this tee is a contender or a pretender.
The biggest difference between the Cage Pro and the Tanner becomes apparent when you pick up the Cage Pro Tee.
The "Travel" version of the Cage Pro Tee has a five pound base, noticeably heavier than the Tanner. "Travel", BTW, does not refer to "travel baseball" but instead to the easier carrying weight of the tee for when you travel with it (compared to its "Classic" cousin, which weighs 10 pounds).
The purpose for a heavier base is to address what I mentioned in my Tanner Tee review: mis-hits knock over the entire tee. It's significantly more difficult to knock over the Cage Pro Tee (although I have actually seen it happen...it just happens a lot less).
To be sure, it's more annoying to pick up fallen tees. That said, whether or not the ease of knocking over the tee is a dealbreaker for $30 extra will be up to the individual coach and parent.
The other significant difference between the Cage Pro Tee and the Tanner Tee is what Cage Pro calls a "pivoting" teetopper. I prefer to call it a "breakaway" teetopper. As seen in the image above, the tee topper is not permanently attached to the stem. This makes it easier to care for the teetopper; no more fretting about storing the tee in your car's trunk in a way that will bend the teetopper. Nice feature.
One point of contention regarding the Cage Pro teetopper, though, from the company's YouTube video
The video mentions a "fold point" when the Tanner Tee teetopper is bent. I've had my teetopper bent multiple times but it has been resilient enough to not have any significant permanent tilt. Perhaps if you store it bent for days but I've not done that.
That said, it would be nice to not have to worry about bending the Tanner Tee topper in the trunk of the car.
The video also mentions the Cage Pro being both taller and shorter than the Tanner Tee. From my perspective, though, the difference is so minimal, I doubt any user is going to seriously wish that their Tanner Tee was an inch higher or an inch shorter.
The Cage Pro's higher price tag ($100 for the Travel version; $120 for the Classic) could sway some more budget-conscious parents and coaches to go with the Tanner instead.
Also, if you're the coach who lugs a lot of equipment from the car to the field (and back), the extra weight at that particular time may not be welcome.
If the Cage Pro and the Tanner were the same price, this would be a slam dunk: go with the Cage Pro. But they're not the same price. So that makes it a bit trickier. What's my recommendation?
If you can afford to pay $30 more, a Cage Pro Travel version may be worth the extra cost. The combination of being harder to knock over and a breakaway tee makes for two useful conveniences over the original Tanner Tee. Justin Stone also prefers a Cage Pro.
On the other hand, if you are budget-conscious, I don't think those two useful conveniences are "must haves". Additionally, I've had the Tanner Tee for over 5 years, used by multiple teams plus my own kids during that time, and have not had any breakage or cracking issues; they still look almost new.
One thing is for certain: I would not spend $120 on the Cage Pro classic, and I'll explain why in my next review in this series on batting tees.
4 of 5 Edgy Balls: Above average.
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