Review - Baton Bat Detector

The Baton is an inexpensive frequency division bat detector. Over the last two years I have used four or five Batons along with many other ultrasound detecting gadgets during bat surveys in the U.K. I develop strong feelings about the equipment I use.


The Batons I have used vary a lot in terms of volume and/or sensitivity. The very best one was acceptable for general work requiring FD surveying IF the battery was changed every 3-4 hours. But the other three were not. I tried cleaning the contacts, different batteries and fiddling about, but have come to the conclusion that they just vary from unit to unit. For this reason I don’t think the Baton would be a good online purchase; you really need to turn it on and try it out to make sure you are getting an inexpensive bat detector and not a cheap one.

The baton is very light, a pleasant design and comfortable to hold. But there is no lanyard attachment, the sound cuts out if you plug a recorder into it, the only button is easily pushed accidentally when the detector is in transit/storage.. All these faults are really inexcusable in the 21st century. The battery compartments often need wedging to keep the contacts secure. 

If I were a child I would find the baton rather boring, Bats don’t sound as good at they do in heterodyne and there isn’t any way to vary the sound or anything to mess with. The lack of lanyard means children and adults alike will drop their Batons, and because it is black and almost designed to be hard to spot at night, time and Batons will be lost forever. But it is relatively inexpensive and its inconspicuous appearance makes a sensitive version useful for leaving outside to record activity of louder bats. My colleagues have tied them to weather balloons to monitor Leisler’s bat activity at high altitudes and they apparently perform well under these conditions.

Summary: I don’t trust the Baton. It would have been a great idea if they made them in bright colours and had better quality control, but unless you try a few out and pick the best one you are likely to regret the purchase. If you get a good one, tape a string onto it, wrap some bright tape around it and don’t be a cheapskate with the batteries.