Be it a professional bowler or an amateur, your bowling ball is your ultimate weapon for a clean strike. While all the bowling balls might look the same to you, there are very distinct features that each ball comes with that decides its quality and fit for you.
For you to pick the perfect bowling ball, you need to know the different types and varieties of bowling balls that are available in the market. A good quality bowling ball will check off the following three important points.
The core of the ball
The core is one of the main parts of a ball that you need to focus on. If you are a beginner, then it is suggested that you pick a pancake core. It is not just for beginners but also for standard players as well. Most of the bowling balls in the club come with a pancake core only.
Weight of the ball
The weight of the ball is the next big thing that you need to look at is the weight of the ball. Too heavy and you might not be able to make a strike; too light and you won’t even be able to make a spare. Before picking a ball, test out a couple of balls in your local bowling arena and then choose the right weight that fits your line.
Finger hole positions
Finger hole positions and their distance from one another is also a very important factor to consider as they determine the curve and the trajectory of the throw. Balls with symmetrical cores and highly equidistant hole placements are usually more preferable. If they are too big, you might lose the grip and the ball slips.
Apart from these three, there are a bunch of other factors that you need to consider while choosing a bowling ball. We have mentioned all of them and a few more in the Buying Guide section of the article. Be sure to check that out as well.
Now let us jump in and list down some of the best Bowling Balls
Best Bowling Balls
|Bowling Balls||Core Type||Coverstock||Buy Now|
|Michelin Storm Phaze III||Velocity Core||R3S Hybrid Reactive||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Brunswick Tzone Bowling Ball||Bullet Core||N.A||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Pyramid Path Bowling Ball||Symmetric and Asymmetric||Polyester||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Brunswick Tzone Ocean Reef||Bullet Core||Polyester||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Michelin Storm !Q Tour Emerald||C3 Centripetal Core||R3S Pearl Reactive||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Hammer Black Widow Pink Bowling Ball||Asymmetrical Gas Mask||Pearl CFI||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Columbia 300 White Dot Scarlet Bowling Ball||Pancake||Polyester||CHECK ON AMAZON|
7 Best Bowling Balls Reviews
Core Type: Velocity Core
First on our list is a Bowling Ball from the 130 year old tyre manufacturing company, Michelin. The Storm Phaze 3 by Michelin has an innovative coverstock and core technology that is built for both pro players and people who are just starting out.
What makes it great:
- Highly rated and reviewed
- Impressive R3S Hybrid Reactive Coverstock that blends lane transitions on medium oil conditions
- Even out any backend reaction through the Velocity core and reduce over-reaction
- Aesthetically pleasing colours
- Grapevine fragrance
- Available in 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 pound weights
Core Type: Bullet Core
The Brunswick Tzone Deep Space bowling ball is more of a beginners ball rather than a professional ball. It is great, affordable and can be a perfect gift for someone starting out their bowling game.
What makes it great:
- Crown factory shine for a shiny and glossy outer look
- Is available in multiple colour schemes and coverstock designs (10 in total)
- Has weight options ranging from 6 LBs to 15 Lbs in variations of 1 lb
- Economic pricing range
- Highly rated and reviewed
Core Type: Symmetric and Asymmetric
A bowling ball that comes with a warranty period, the Pyramid Path Bowling Ball is built for everyone and persons of all age groups. A product of the monster group, the bowling ball can also be bought with a set of cleaning accessories as well.
What’s makes it great:
- A bowling ball that is made not just for pros but also for beginners of all age groups.
- Get straight strikes and shots with the Polyester coverstock
- A good 5.0 scale rating
- Available in both symmetrical and asymmetrical core models
- Has 16 different color combinations available for the coverstock design
- Weights are available from 6 lb to 16 lb in the increments of 1 lb
- Comes with a 2 years warranty from the date of purchase.
Core Type: Bullet Core
Yet another Brunswick bowling ball, next on our list is the TZone Ocean Reef, a spare bowling ball that is made not just for beginners but also for Straight bowlers and professionals looking for light weight throwers.
What’s so great about it:
- Crown factory shine finish with good aesthetics
- Polyester coverstock material for durability
- Available in 6.0, 8.0, 9.0, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 Pounds
Core Type: C3 Centripetal Core
Yet another Michelin ball on our list, the Storm!Q Tour Emerald, one of the highest rated Bowling balls on our list. Priced towards the premium end, the ball is cut specifically for professional and seasoned players. With a unique combination of core and coverstock, the ball gives a good backend reaction.
What’s So Great About It:
- Comes with a R2S Pearl Reactive Coverstock
- C3 Centripetal control core assists in smooth gliding of the ball in any type of lane conditions (medium oiled lane conditions as default)
- 1500 grit polished finish
- Emerald colouring
- Melon mint scent
- Available in 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 pounds weights
Core Type: Asymmetrical Gas Mask
Hammer Black Widow is a Pink coloured bowling ball that is built for mid to heavily oiled lane surfaces. The bowling ball gives pro bowlers greater motion and angle and better hook than normal bowling balls.
What’s So Great About It:
- Aggressive backend reaction length
- Gas mask core that is asymmetrical for greater motion
- Aggressive Pearl CFI Coverstock
- 500/1000 abralon polished with powerhouse factory finish polish
- Better hook and better motion angle
- Weights available in 12, 14, 15, 16 pounds
Core Type: Pancake Core
Finally, we have the Columbia 300 white dot, a scarlet red bowling ball. Built with a brilliant red colour scheme, the ball does justice for beginners and novice bowlers. It can also act as a great spare for pro bowlers as well.
What’s So great about it:
- Pancake core for great and balanced torque movement
- Bright red colour scheme
- Polyester coverstock
- 2000 Abralon powerhouse Factory Finish Polish
Buying guide: How to pick the perfect Bowling Ball that suits your game?
For a seasoned player, a bowling ball is very sacred and for a beginner or just about any standard player, it is the difference between making a strike and a miss in the gutter.
If you are a beginner, then you might find it informative to know about the different parts of a bowling ball.
Main and Important components of a Bowling Ball to consider
Generally, bowling balls have two major components. The core and the coverstock. When you look at the general theme, there are very small general thematic differences like the 3 piece, 2 piece or multi-core balls etc., But in general, we’d like to place the bowling ball as the core and the coverstock.
The core of a bowling ball is one of the most important factors that you need to look at while choosing a bowling ball. The core of the ball decides the type of ball.
Generally, bowling balls are available in the multiple of their cores. You have the two-piece core, three-piece core or modified cores as well. A brief representation is shown below.
Another format of core distinguishing is the type of the core irrespective of the pieces. It can be either of the following.
- Pancake Cores
Also known as a traditional core, a pancake core has a small disc that looks like a pancake inside the ball. The core sits on one side of the ball that will create an uneven satire on the weight. Its weight is comparably lesser than that of most common bowling balls today.
For a basic bowling ball, it is a perfect choice as it gives steady momentum on standard lanes and is very reliable. It does not need any special custom considerations for good performance.
- Symmetrical core
Improvement of design over the conventional core type, symmetrical core, as the name suggests, comes with a symmetrical shape. This is to keep the weight consistent in order to influence the overall performance of the ball. One of the most iconic and famous symmetry shapes is probably the lightbulb shape usually found in the two-piece balls.
The shape and the build of these balls give you a higher hook potential and is also suitable for different types of coverstocks. Also, symmetrical cores are available in multiple hole configurations and thus this lets you manipulate the weight of the ball to suit your hooks and different techniques.
- Asymmetrical core
A performance enhancer core that has asymmetrical weight than that of a symmetrical core, manufacturers use shapes that are not exactly symmetrical for the manufacturing of these cores. These shapes can be semi-circular ridge filled cylinders or low radius spheres etc.,
This is done in order to influence the spin of the ball when thrown in order for higher friction against the lane. There is a lot of mathematics involved in it and is usually picked by professionals and experts. The downside to this type of core is that it can increase the drilling risk when you punch in your own finger holes. I.e, standard finger hole configs will have different effects on the balls.
- Marketing Influences on the Core
Apart from the standard 3 types of cores, there are a bunch of other custom-built cores that are marketed by different brands that include types such as the Bullet core etc., which could either be a combination of symmetrical or asymmetrical cores with a standard core or with different design tweaks.
The coverstock of a bowling ball is the outer shell material using which the core is covered and the ball receives its shape and form factor. The coverstock material decides the performance and the throw of the ball.
The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) has tested a wide range of Bowling balls with different coverstocks and has given out 3 guidelines to determine a good quality coverstock. They are
- The hardness of the ball:
A bowling ball must be a type D with a minimum hardness of 72 if it is measured on a Shore Durometer.
- Dry Lane Coefficient of Friction (COF)
COF value, as attested by the USBC laboratories dictates that the bowling ball has to have a friction coefficient less than 0.32.
- Average Peak to Valley Surface Roughness (Ra)
The coverstock with 50 micro inches of Average Peak to Valley surface roughness (denoted by Ra) is desirable. This is after itis tested against a 500 Abralon surface
Based on these factors, coverstocks are made out of different materials. Let us look at some of the top materials.
One of the most common and less aggressive coverstock material, plastic-based balls are great if you need the ball for straight up the board movement in the lane. It is also great for spare shooting and corner pin spare shooting and also great for dry lane condition shooting.
Urethane balls come with greater entry angle into the pocket and can cover more board on any lane condition than a normal plastic ball. Also, Urethane is used as a base material to classify various coverstock materials such as particle, hybrid or reactive resin etc.,
These balls are incredible for dry lanes and also on medium-dry lanes. They aid in controlling the movement of the ball midline and also near the breakpoint at the pocket.
5. Reactive Resin
This coverstock material is used to make highly aggressive bowling balls. It is made out of the same material used to make urethane coverstock balls but mixed with different additives as well. This mixture gives the balls a tacky feeling that adds to the traction of the ball and gives a strong back end reaction on the lane.
Apart from the standard reactive resin balls, you also have solid coverstock, hybrid coverstock or pearl coverstock as its subcategories. They all give a wide range of motion for the ball and are some of the common choices among pro players
6. Solid Reactive
A type of reactive resin ball, solid reactive coverstock have large amounts of microscopic reactive pores on the surface of the ball than any other reactive coverstock balls. This gives the ball a polished finish and thus it can give you better control in any lane condition
7. Pearl Reactive
When mica material is mixed into a typical reactive coverstock ball material, you end up with a Pearl Reactive coverstock. The mica toughens up the microscopic pores and leads to the ball have extended range of motion on the lanes. These balls have high reactivity to high friction surfaces and add a certain sparkle to the appearance of the ball’s surface.
8. Hybrid Reactive
A combination of solid and pearl reactive coverstock, a hybrid reactive coverstock comes with the added benefit of both the coverstock types. It gives you a back end reaction and also a mid lane reaction as well.
These coverstocks have a versatile friction match up and are made specifically for being an aggressive option for pro players.
Other Important Factors To Consider Before Purchasing a Bowling Ball
1. Weight of the ball
The weight of the ball determines your control for the range of movement. You can pick the right sized and weight of the ball depending on how you bowl. Heavy or light depending on your movement.
Typically, adult bowling balls have a weight between 15 and 12 pounds. For women, bowling balls have a slightly lower weight range. For teens, best fit lies between 10 and 12 pounds.
Keep in mind that age and gender is not a stipulated factor and depending on your arm prowess and experience, you can either pick a lighter or heavier ball as well.
For some pro players with high experience, they like lighter weighted balls as they give a better range of motion whereas a few like heavier balls than recommended as they have better friction for smaller throws. Everything is dependent on experience and hand feel.
2. Finger Hole Positions
Finger holes are something that is made post-purchase. The positioning of these holes give direction and the amount of curve your ball can have. This too, much like the weight is all about personal preferences and technique oriented.
Before punching in the holes, try out a few balls at your local bowling range and this gives you an idea on where your fingers feel comfortable, where you can throw the best and control the movement as well.
A pro-tip is to have a symmetrical core ball as it gives you greater versatility when it comes to drilling holes. This also gives you a better bowling experience too. If your ball is personal, it is always good to have the finger width perfectly fit and not wider or smaller. This makes you lose control while you swing.
3. Style and appearance
While it is not a big deal, given that you might want to take your ball with you for playing out, maybe tournaments or even out with you on dates, looks do matter.
Start with the finish and the colours. Totally personal choice and high gloss give you a classy look as the ball glides down on the lane. Resin materials have not only glossy but also high friction finish as well.
Just be sure that the ball does not have a chip in because of poor finishing as durability also depends on the outer finish of the ball. Pay a few bucks extra for polishing up the ball when you get them drilled for custom howling at the store.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Are heavier bowling balls better?
Ans: Heavy balls give better motion transfer and inertia to the pins than any other pins. More energy on the ball, better movement. Weight just helps when you have a low range of motion
2. How long do bowling balls last?
Ans: A typical bowling ball lasts for about 200 or 300 games in total. Entry-level bowling balls can also last longer due to the simpler usage
3. Can I use car wax on a bowling ball?
Ans: Bowling ball maintenance is all about taking care of the coverstock cleaning and how you store it. Instead of car wax, you should be using car polishes and other finishing compounds for polishing a bowling ball. A bowling ball has microscopic pores on its surface much like our faces and when you use a wax product, the material might damage the friction of the ball. Always use wax free polishing compounds.
4. What is a bowling ball hook?
Ans: In ten-pin bowling, hook refers to the curving pattern movement of the ball than the straight movement. This is done in order to move the ball away from the lane and have a clear strike.
5. Why did my bowling ball stop hooking?
Ans: As a bowling ball accumulates dirt and oil, the coverstock will lose its friction and thus its gripping capacity. This results in the ball having lesser and lesser curvature when it moves on the lane and thus it loses its hook capacity.
The MICHELIN Storm Phaze III comes with a Velocity core and a great R3S Hybrid reactive coverstock. This lets the ball blend smoothly into the lane transitions on medium and normal oil conditions as well. Furthermore, its velocity core aids in the over and back end reaction reduction.
It’s great color scheme and grapevine fragrance make it one of the best bowling balls available to buy. While that was our list, we are intrigued by your choice? What did you think of our list? Or do you have any questions for us? Do write to us in the comments section below. Our team will write back as soon as possible.