If you love to bowl, you would understand the importance of a bowling ball. The whole game surrounds this ball. The ball essentially touches all aspects of the game: the oil pattern, the lane, the pins, and most importantly, the player. The best bowling ball would deliver the best game.
The quality of a bowling ball varies, which is why it is important to understand the technology behind it. The game has evolved quite a lot over the years, and today, there are different balls for different conditions. If you know the bowling balls, you can easily win the game.
The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) regulates the design of the bowling balls. This independent body helps regulate the size, hardness, number of holes, etc. to ensure fair play. It sets all the standards for ten-pin bowling games.
Top 10 Best Bowling Ball Reviews
Choosing the best bowling ball can be tedious as there are many options out there. Whether you are a newbie or a pro, you want to make sure you get the right bowling ball. Your game heavily depends on what the bowling ball is like. Here are ten of the best bowling balls:
Brunswick Tzone Deep Space Bowling Ball
The Brunswick T-Zone bowling ball comes in a variety of colors. This one is called the Deep Space and has a unique celestial theme finish on the coverstock. Speaking of the coverstock, it is made of plastic/polyester. The finish is a high-gloss polish that makes the ball look fancy.
You can use it in almost any lane condition. Since it is plastic, the hook potential is low (25). It does not come pre-drilled, which means you can drill the holes the way you like. Since it does not hook, it is good as a spare ball. It just goes straight and hits the pins, so it would be best to knock out your remaining pins.
The weight of the T-Zone bowling ball is 16 pounds. However, since it is not pre-drilled, expect the weight to drop a little after drilling the holes. Usually, it is not more than four to six ounces. As is the standard with bowling balls, this one has the USBC stamp and number, in addition to the T-Zone logo.
This one has a lot of fun colors available. Aside from the Deep Space color, you have Arctic Blast, Gold Envy, Green, Pink, and different combinations. They have used marbling with different colors, and as a result, the ball has a very artistic look.
- Reasonable price
- Great performance as a spare ball
- Available in many colors
- Beginners and pros both can use
- Not the most durable as the coverstock is plastic
- You have to pay extra to drill the holes
Pyramid Path Rising Bowling Ball
The Pyramid Path Rising bowling ball is best for dry to medium lanes. The ball features New Era 139 symmetric core. As a result, it gives you the freedom to drill holes wherever you like. You can drill it to go long and have a low hook potential. The finish is a 1500 grit polished finish that gives it a very smooth surface.
The coverstock is a reactive resin named as the Path Reactive Pearl coverstock. It offers an angular reaction. The scale of the ball is 181.30. The RG of the core is 2.54. The flare potential is three to four inches (medium). It is designed keeping in mind the ever-changing conditions of lanes and the game, in general.
It should be a breeze to clean with any bowling ball cleaner, especially the Monster Tac. coverstock, as well as the core of this bowling ball, makes it versatile enough for bowlers of all experience levels.
It is a great entry-level bowling ball that can be used to get the outcome you want. It can hook well, given that it is rolled properly. Also, the outcome depends on the holes, your rev rate, and what the conditions are on the lane.
- Comes undrilled so you can drill holes according to your needs
- Best for beginners
- Available in many cool color combinations
- It has a perfect scale rating
- Not great for very dry or heavily oiled lanes
- The center of gravity is more towards the surface
Ebonite Maxim Bowling Ball
Ebonite Maxim bowling ball has a size for everyone. The ball comes in nine different sizes ranging from 6-pound to 15-pound. Regardless of what level you are on, you can find a Maxim bowling ball that fits your needs.
The coverstock of this bowling ball is plastic/polyester. It has a vivid marbling in the shades of purple, blue, and silver. With a three-piece core, it is a sturdy ball, even for a plastic coverstock one. It is a lot more versatile than you would expect it to be.
You would get the best performance from it on dry lanes as it is plastic. Nevertheless, on a heavy oil lane, it will go straight wherever you throw it. So you can use it as a spare ball for heavily oiled lanes.
This is good for beginners, given you can choose any weight you like and that it is easy to work with. It is more of a straight ball, so it does not offer much hook. Nevertheless, it delivers the bang for your buck. Holes are not drilled, so you will have to do it yourself or take it to a professional to get it done.
- Versatile plastic bowling ball
- Variety of weight
- Smooth polished finish
- Good value for money
- Does not hook well
- Best only for entry-level players
Hammer Black Widow Legend Bowling Ball
There is a reason why they named it Legend, and it is called Legend to by its patrons. Yes, this bowling ball is quite popular in the bowling world. It is perfect for any type of lane conditions. From the Black Widow Legend line, it is one of a kind. It is perhaps the only bowling ball with a hybrid coverstock.
The ball features the Gas Mask core, which helps carry it through to the pins. It contains a flex-resin additive, ceramics surface process with a carbon fiber outer core. However, the 12 and 13-pound balls do not contain the gas mask core.
The hybrid construction of the coverstock makes it lightweight and comfortable. The ideal condition of lanes when using the Hammer Black Widow Legend is medium-heavy oil lanes. It looks glossy with its polished finish. The red Legend logo on the black ball looks quite nice.
As for the weight, you have ample choices to fit your needs. The ball comes in 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16-pound variations. The corresponding RG is 2.63, 2.56, 2.50, and 2.51, respectively. The differential is .025, .030, .056, .058, and 0.048 respectively.
- Tough, durable construction
- Innovative coverstock design
- Different variations for different types of bowlers
- Three-year manufacturer warranty
- Great pin action
- Not great for dry lanes
- A bit pricey
Brunswick Rhino Bowling Ball
If you bowl on light to medium oil lanes, this could be a perfect choice. The Brunswick Rhino is a reactive resin bowling ball, ideal for such bowling conditions. For those trying to bowl for the first time, this should come in handy in learning to improve the release of the ball.
It features the R-16 of the reactive resin coverstock that ensures backend hook motion. There is no extreme sensitivity to dry or oily parts of the lane when you bowl with this. The light bulb core, found in most Brunswick bowling balls, helps give the ball better motion. You will be surprised to see the great pin action bowling with this reactive resin bowling ball.
The RG max is 2.554, and the RG min is 2.524, with a differential of 0.030. The weight range is 10 to 16 pounds. It comes in five different color combinations, including the classic Pearl.
The finish of the ball is equally great, with 500 Siaair/royal compound/royal shine. Once you receive it, you can get the holes drilled from a professional to make it perfect for your personal use.
If you are learning to hook, you should consider getting this. It offers just the right construction to master hooking. The hook potential is approximately 95 on a 10-250 scale.
- Easy to use
- Versatile in terms of lanes
- Perfect finish with royal shine
- Great value for money
- Not quite durable
- May need to get it resurfaced often
Storm Timeless Bowling Ball
Think of this bowling ball as a collectible. It is not your regular bowling ball, it was designed in collaboration with Jason Belmonte, a three-time PBA player of the year. The manufacturer Storm has started a new line of bowling balls, and this is the first from that.
It is made of the dual-drive weight block and an R2S coverstock. As a result, it is a very versatile ball with fast-revving like the Q! Tour and the hard-hitting power of the Hy-Road. The dual-drive weight block is the latest technological advancement of the company that has been in the making for years. They place a weight block of a particular size, and shape is placed inside a different weight block.
You have several weight options up to 15-pound. The RG in the 15-pound ball is 2.57, while the differential is 0.050. The finish is a 1500 grit polish with an aromatherapy citrus fragrance. Storm is known for this signature fragrance. The ideal lane condition is medium-heavy oiled lanes.
Because of its unique backend motion, it can clear the front lane easily. This is mainly due to the R2S coverstock with a balanced set of additives. The equal additives ensure the right consistency and give the ball its fast-revving ability.
- Good value
- Great pins action on medium-heavy oil lanes
- New dual-drive core makes it one of a kind bowling ball
- High-quality finish
- Not suitable for beginners
Bowlerstore Products White Dot Bowling Ball
This is a classic bowling ball that has gotten a makeover with new colors. White Dot bowling balls have been around for over 40 years. It is a favorite among many bowling champions as a spare ball. For kids, teenagers, and beginners, it is the perfect ball to start bowling.
The coverstock is polyester, and it has a high polish finish. The RG of this ball is 2.716. This one has low to none hook-ability. This is why it is perfect for spare. If the spare ball you are using has some sort of hook, this should solve the problem.
It has low flare potential. The weigh blocks inside the core are pancake-shaped. The factory finish is 2000 polished. It comes in 6, 8, and 9-pound sizes. The hook potential is just 8 on a 0-60 scale, which is quite low. It should work out great on virtually any lane conditions.
- Great value for money
- Best for beginners and children
- Lightweight core
- Iconic bowling ball
Motiv Venom Shock Pearl Bowling Ball
This is one of the most versatile balls from Motiv. You can easily play it on light to heavy oiled lanes. It features the new Hexion coverstock and has a dual-density weight block at its core. The Hexion cover is Medium Friction Pearl (MFP) reactive cover.
The ball has a 5500 Grits LSP finish, which helps improve its performance. It has a fast response to friction, which is why it is great on almost any type of lane. The dual-density structure of the core gives it a more angular backend movement. The top gear weight gives it a low RG and low differential. For instance, the 15-pound ball has RG 2.47 and differential 0.035.
This is especially great for Rev dominant bowlers. They will get great length and angle from this bowling ball. Those who have been using the solid edition can switch to this one for their third game when the oil pattern is not the same.
You have a size/weight range of 12 to 16 pounds. You can get the holes drilled from a professional and play with it like a pro. The Venom Shock Pearl or VSP is one of the latest innovations from Motiv.
- A versatile ball that can be used on any kind of lanes
- High-quality construction
- A long-lasting ball that will give hundreds of games
- Very cool color and finish
- A bit pricey
- Best for expert bowlers only
Pyramid Antidote Bowling Ball
The Pyramid Antidote Bowling ball comes in a variety of sizes with varying prices. So there is something for every age and level of bowler. It features a new era 149 symmetric core and a GPS solid navigational coverstock. You should use it for medium-heavy oil lanes.
The perfect scale rating is 201.60. The RG is 2.55, and the differential is 0.054. This is a high RG and high differential core bowling ball that provides maximum flare. It has medium flare potential at three to four inches.
In terms of finish, it is a step ahead from the Pathogen bowling balls from Pyramid. With a 2000 grit Abralon/factory finish, it gives a much smoother reaction. Not just smooth, it also is resistant to scratches from the wear and tear the ball would experience. If you clean it regularly, it would stay just like new all the time.
As for the coverstock, the GPS solid navigational coverstock has proven time and again its many qualities. This includes protecting the core from impact or shocks.
The core is equally amazing on this bowling ball. It will last quite long, given its quality construction. It brazes through in a predictable trajectory, and it will provide the dynamic stability needed for minimal inertia.
- Great for medium-heavy oil lanes
- Good value for money
- Innovative core design that complements the coverstock
- Hooks quite a lot
- Two-year warranty
Roto-Grip Bowling Halo Ball
The Roto Grip bowling ball’s highlight feature is in its core. The middle of the body of the ball has a disc shape, which gives it a continuous rotation/spin. You will see some great pin action when you use this bowling ball on any heavy oil lane conditions. It took the company almost a year to make this a possibility.
The coverstock of this ball is the MicroTrax-S18. It was also on the IDOL ball and remains one of the sturdiest solid coverstocks. Regardless of how heavy the conditions you are playing with, this will perform great.
They combined this strong coverstock with a new, albeit just as strong, Centrum asymmetrical core. Think of it as an extension of the Hyper Cell or the No Rules. It has a similar motion but with much more intensity.
The finish of the ball is 2000 Grit Pad with a high flare potential. The weight is between 12 and 16 pounds. The RG and differential for 12-pound are 2.62 and 0.040, respectively. For 13-pound, RG is 2.60, and the differential is 0.040. For 14-pound, the RG is 2.54, and the differential is 0.050. For 15-pound, the RG is 2.49, and the differential is 0.050. Finally, for the 16-pound, ball the RG, and differential are 2.49 and 0.050, respectively.
- Very strong motion
- The core has innovative design
- Great action on heavy oil lanes
- Variety of sizes to fit different players
- Strong construction, built to last long
- Relatively better for experienced players
- Very expensive bowling ball
Before buying bowling balls, you should know everything there is to know about them. It may look like a simple spherical object, but a lot is going on behind it. The key features of any bowling ball are holes, friction, and mass distribution. These determine the motion of the ball on a lane.
The ball essentially has two parts: the core and the coverstock. The core is the inside of the ball and helps determine its mass distribution. The coverstock determines the friction the ball will experience rolling down the lane. Therefore, the difference between balls boils down to the coverstock mainly.
There is no one standard size for bowling balls, however, there is a range. Its circumference should be between 26 to 27 inches. It is also important to note that a bowling ball should not be heavier than 16 pounds. It should be made from solid materials not exceeding a density of 3.80 g/ml.
The ball should have the center of gravity marked before the drills are holed. The USBC allows up to five holes in each bowling ball. Not all holes are to be used to lifting and throwing the ball. The additional small holes are called the balance holes and their purpose is ventilation. There is another hole called the mill hole, that is used for inspection.
These balls have a balanced weight because of how the holes are distributed. If the center of gravity is off it would fail to meet the standards set by the USBC. The left and right sides of the ball should not have a difference of more than one ounce. Similarly, the difference between the top and bottom of the ball should not exceed 3 ounces.
Since the rules keep updating, it is best to make sure that the ball has a USBC serial number and logo. It should also have the logo of the manufacturer.
The material of the ball has a major impact on its performance during the game. The material of the coverstock is the main thing to consider. Since the coverstock is the part that comes in contact with the surface of the lane, it is important to know which materials it is made of usually and what that means.
These are the common coverstock materials:
Plastic offers the least friction of all the materials. It is also lightweight and has a smooth surface. Since it has a low hook potential, it is best for the beginners of bowling. Even though it has less friction on the lane, it offers a great grip to the hand. It is ideal for knocking out spare pins as its course is largely predictable.
Urethane is a favorite on account of its durability and great hook potential. It offers more friction than plastic. It does not deflect easily and offers a lot of control to the player.
A proactive ball’s surface is bumpy, so it creates a lot of friction on an oiled lane. It is best for those who have at least some experience bowling in professional alleys.
This material is perhaps the least durable but it offers the most friction. For this reason, these can easily be affected by lane conditions. Also, players may have to be very meticulous with this given its high friction. That said, it does have the potential for great pin action.
The area beneath the coverstock is called the weight block. It can be low mass or high mass. The high mass weight block has pancake-shaped blocks. Low mass, on the other hand, has various shapes blocks. These blocks are more centered inside the ball.
The high mass bowling balls are heavier and better for long length lanes. The lower mass is better when you need a heavier roll with increased hood potential. The core of the ball can either be symmetrical or asymmetrical, depending on how the blocks are distributed.
- RG and Differential Rating
When you buy a bowling ball, you will come across the terms RG and differential. Understanding these two terms will help you make the best decision for which bowling ball you should get.
RG is the Radius of Gyration and it is the distance inches from the axis of rotation. The axis of rotation is where the mass is concentrated. Usually, it is between 2.460 and 2.800 inches. Simply put, it helps indicate the distribution of mass in a bowling ball.
The higher RG indicates the mass is distributed more towards the coverstock whereas a low RG indicates it is concentrated towards the center. The latter means it would have an earlier roll in the front of the lane. Most bowlers consider medium RG to be the best as it allows the ball to skid the considerable before transitioning into the hook phase.
The differential is the difference between the maximum and minimum RG of the bowling ball. It is usually indicated by two to three decimal places as it is very small. The differential is directly related to flare potential. Low differential means low flare potential, whereas high differential means high flare potential. Low flare potential means the ball will have more of a smooth arc motion at the backend of the lane.
Aside from the material of the coverstock, the finish plays a vital role in the ball’s performance. There are essentially two types of surfaces: sanded or polished. Manufacturers usually use a combination of these finishes to get different types. However, one can further modify the finish to modify to match it better with the lane.
The rougher the finish, the more friction it has. As a result, such a ball would have more hook potential. On the other hand, smoother finishes have lesser friction and lower hook potential.
The sanded finish is best when you need the ball to hook towards the end of the lane. It also offers a much better grip.
If you have ever bowled, you would know the weight of the bowling ball plays an instrumental role in your game. Like mentioned before, these balls should not weigh more than 16 pounds. Adult men can easily bowl with balls weighing 12 to 16 pounds. However, women may find it more useful to bowl with lighter balls.
As you get more experienced in bowling, you can bowl with heavier balls. However, some people find it comfortable to use lighter balls. This is completely acceptable as it can help create your unique pattern and technique.
In case you did not know, you can customize a bowling ball to have holes according to your needs. The balls available in the bowling alleys, called ‘house balls’, may not always be the best in your hand. They have different placements and distances between the holes. That may end up making your moves inconsistent.
For those who want to see the best results and attain more control over, you may want to get the holes customized. They will be drilled according to the distance between the fingers that is comfortable for you.
When buying a bowling ball, you may want to take into consideration the lane conditions as well. After all, the ball would be sliding down these very lanes. Now, different bowling alley lanes may have different conditions. So you ideally should consider the one where you play most often.
Manufacturers produce these balls in many varieties. You should know the oil conditions of the lane and how long it is. Usually, there are two types of lanes: dry lanes and heavy lanes. The former has more friction so you need balls with a coverstock that is less fictitious. The latter is heavily oiled so you need a solid coverstock ball that offers at least some fiction.
Believe it or not, but the appearance of the ball has somewhat of an effect on your game. When you are bowling with a nice looking ball, it just feels good. Bowling is one of those games where confidence matters a lot. The appearance can make you comfortable with the ball and give you the confidence you need to hit all those pins.
Companies that make the bowling balls realize this nature of the bowling balls. That is why they go the extra mile to make sure the bowling balls look all sparkly, vibrant, and clean. Once you get into bowling, you would know exactly what it is like.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How often should you resurface a bowling ball?
Bowling balls absorb oil over time which can result in increased friction and low hook-ability. To avoid this problem altogether, it would be best to clean the ball after every game. You can use a bowling ball cleaner with a microfiber cloth to clean the ball.
Even if you clean the ball regularly, you may still have to get it resurfaced after a certain time. The reason behind this is that microscopic pores of the ball smooth out due to impact and oil from the lanes. Resurfacing will fix this problem and give the bowling ball a new life.
You should get it resurfaced every other season or to be more exact, after 60 games. The best part is that it makes the ball look just like new.
- How do I clean my bowling ball?
It should not be too difficult to clean a bowling ball. You can simply clean it with a cloth and a bowling ball cleaner. You can find it online or in sporting goods stores. It is best to clean it before storing after every game.
However, there is another method called the immersion method for cleaning a bowling ball. If it has gotten too dirty and absorbed too much oil, you may want to try out this method. It is quite simple and here is what you do:
- Take a bucket that is bigger than the ball and fill it up half to three-quarters with water
- Put tape over the holes in the ball
- Put the ball in the bucket ensuring it is completely immersed
- Immerse it for about 30 minutes
- Remove it from the bucket when you see oil bleeding out of the ball and floating on the surface
- Clean the ball with a dry microfiber cloth and remove the tapes
This will clean out all the oil accumulated in the microscopic pores on the coverstock. This method should be your last resort if regular cleaning with a cloth does not do the job.
- What weight of the bowling ball should I use?
The weight usually depends on the age of the player. Adult men, in general, should go for the ball weighing 14 to 16 pounds. Adult women can go for balls weighing 11 to 15 pounds. Teenagers should go for the ones weighing 11 to 14 pounds. This is just a general idea, however, each individual’s comfort zone when it comes to bowling ball weights is different.
Now that you know everything there is to know, you can get a bowling ball that fits your needs. Some companies do not drill holes in the ball and you have to do it. That gives you the possibility to customize and drill the holes according to your grip.
One way to make sure you are getting the best bowling ball is to first go to an alley and try out different balls. When you find out the one that is best for you, you can order a similar one online. Those who play bowling tournaments prefer custom bowling balls instead of the house balls.