Best used with medium to heavy oil, this model has a nice feel to it and works great at achieving a curve when needed. Available in a variety of weights and has a stylish look to it.
May become chipped or broken in spots after long-term, heavy use.
Stylish ball has great length and can be used with light to medium oil. Has a great curve to it and is built for durability and heavy use. Boasts a moderate price tag to boot.
Arrives undrilled and will have to have holes drilled into it.
Fun patterns and colors make this option stand out from the rest. It will also glow under a blacklight. Rolls are sturdy and straight for accuracy, and it is great for beginners or casual bowlers.
Some buyers found this was a bit big and not ideal for kids or petite bowlers.
Throws easily and rolls well, making this great for new bowlers to practice precision and accuracy. Weighing only 1 pound, this ball is easy to use and easy to clean due to its foam material.
Great for kids but not a practical choice for experienced bowlers.
Made with experienced bowlers in mind, this has excellent spin to it and is made with an atomic core, making it sturdy and solid. Has a powerful roll and knocks out pins efficiently.
Some bowlers reported having to break it in before using it in games.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
A bowling ball may seem like a pretty straightforward item: as long as it’s round enough to roll down the lane, it’s probably good enough. However, the truth is that if you’re serious about bowling, the right ball can make all the difference in your game.
Unfortunately, not all bowling balls are created equal. From the weight to the materials to the grip, each detail plays a key role in how the ball performs once it leaves your hands.
Instead of wasting time finding a house ball every time you go bowling, you’ll be ready to play as soon as you hit the alley. And because you’re not worried about finding a good ball, you can focus on the game the whole time.
If you own a ball that’s perfect for you, you’ll have more control when you bowl it, which can help improve your game and increase your score.
A ball of the right weight and with the right grip is less likely to injure your fingers, wrist, elbow, or shoulder.
Hundreds of people use the house balls at bowling alleys, and it’s unlikely that those balls get washed very often. The germs and bacteria could expose you to colds, flu, or other illnesses.
Modern bowling balls have an outer shell, called the coverstock, and a large, heavy weight that balances the ball.
Some center weights are a single symmetrical shape, like a lightbulb, while others feature two or more outer cores and filler material. As a result, some balls with “two-piece” construction are technically composed of more than two pieces.
Classic bowling balls feature a coverstock, a thin weight block, and a large area of filler. The weight is heavier than the filler material, so the top of the ball is slightly heavier than the bottom, which helps balance the ball.
The first thing to consider when shopping for a bowling ball is what weight will work best for you. You can find bowls that weigh from 6 to 16 pounds. The lighter balls are typically designed for children, and the heaviest are the maximum weight allowed in professional bowling. If you bowl regularly, test a few different weights with house balls at your local alley to get an idea of what weight feels most comfortable for you.
As a general rule, take the bowler’s age into consideration when choosing the weight of a bowling ball.
Child: 6 to 10 pounds.
Teenager: 11 to 14 pounds.
Adult Woman: 12 to 14 pounds.
Senior: 12 to 14 pounds.
Adult Man: 15 to 16 pounds.
A bowling ball’s outer shell, or coverstock, is the most important part of its construction because it has the most effect on the ball’s performance. The three coverstock materials for bowling balls are polyester, urethane, and reactive resin.
Polyester (or Plastic)
Used for beginner bowling balls.
Extremely hard; not as porous as other materials.
Less friction between ball and lane.
Less hooking or curving of ball.
Usually less expensive than other options.
Used for beginner to intermediate bowling balls.
Lots of friction between ball and lane.
Ideal for learning to hook the ball.
Easier to angle ball.
Not as popular with experienced or professional bowlers.
Used for advanced and professional-grade bowling balls.
Most friction between ball and lane.
Hooks extremely well.
Carries pins more effectively.
Three types: reactive solid, reactive pearl, reactive hybrid.
Reactive solid moves most evenly.
Reactive pearl has added mica to reduce friction; sharper motion as it moves toward back of lane.
Reactive hybrid performance falls between solid and pearl.
Most expensive option.
These cores often have one flat side and one rounded side, though some have a puck-like shape. Pancake cores are often found in balls with polyester coverstocks, though some beginner urethane and reactive resin balls feature them as well. Pancake cores typically don’t offer the best performance.
These cores have the same shape horizontally and vertically. The center of the core is usually marked on the ball to allow you to take advantage of it. These cores typically offer the most even movement.
These cores are heavier in one portion of the core than the other and spin better than other balls. Experienced bowlers prefer asymmetrical cores.
A conventional grip is the most common. It allows you to place your thumb all the way into its hole in the ball, while your middle and ring finger fit into their respective holes to the second knuckle. A ball with a conventional grip tends to work best for new bowlers because it allows firmer control over the ball.
A fingertip grip allows you to place your thumb all the way into its hole in the ball, but your middle and ring finger only fit into their respective holes to the first knuckle. Intermediate and advanced bowlers often prefer a fingertip grip because it provides greater leverage, which makes hooking the ball easier.
A bowling ball’s color doesn’t affect its performance; it’s simply a matter of personal preference. Balls are available in a wide range of colors, making it easy to find one that fits your style and personality. While solid-colored balls are available, most bowling balls feature a marbled or swirled design of two or more colors. Choose a ball with a distinctive pattern or color combination and you will always be able to find it easily.
Bowling ball prices vary based on the coverstock material and the weight of the ball. In most case, you can expect to pay between $44 and $225.
6- to 10-pound balls usually range from $44 to $95.
11- to 14-pound balls usually range from $55 to $100.
15- to 16-pound balls usually range from $60 to $110.
6- to 10-pound balls usually range from $60 to $100.
11- to 14-pound balls usually range from $68 to $130.
15- to 16-pound balls usually range from $72 to $140.
Reactive Resin Balls
6- to 10-pound balls usually range from $70 to $100.
11- to 14-pound balls usually range from $78 to $215.
15- to 16-pound balls usually range from $85 to $225.
Q. What type of bowling ball is best for new bowlers?
A. If you’re just learning to bowl, a ball with a polyester or plastic coverstock is usually the best option. These balls tend to be less expensive, so you don’t have to invest too much when you’re just learning the game. Polyester balls usually offer the widest weight range, too, so you can easily find lighter balls for people of any age who are just starting to bowl.
Q. What type of bowling ball offers the best hook shot?
A. If you’re determined to bowl the best hook shot possible, a reactive resin ball is your best bet. The resin offers more friction between the ball and the oil on the lane, so the ball curves into the pins more easily. However, if you’re just learning to hook the ball, urethane can be a good option because it’s less costly and offers a little more control.
Q. What type of cleaning or maintenance does a bowling ball require?
A. A bowling ball can pick up oil from the lane, so it’s a good idea to wipe down the ball with a microfiber towel throughout each game. Many serious bowlers wipe their balls before each throw. At home, apply a ball-cleaning spray, and wipe down the ball with a clean towel to keep it from soaking up any oil before you store it.