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Choosing the Best Bowling Ball for You

Man's hand holding a red bowling ball ready to throw it down the lane
George Rudy/Shutterstock

Bowling is a popular, widespread sport for good reason. It’s a relatively inexpensive pastime that people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy together. Even better, unlike a lot of other sports, you don’t have to own your equipment in order to play. However, if you’re a big fan of bowling and hit the lanes quite often, it may be worth your while to buy your own bowling ball instead of always using a rental one at your local bowling alley. Using the same ball every time can go a ways towards improving your game as you won’t have an adjustment period to a new ball and grip each time you play. Owning your own ball can help prevent injuries as well, especially if you have a custom made ball designed especially for your hand and wrist. You won’t be surprised by an alley ball that has an unusual curve or backend you’re not expecting. You also won’t waste time picking out a new ball every time you go to the alley or rick catching the germs of whoever used the rental ball before you. If you’re an avid bowler, whether beginner, intermediate, or expert, there are many good reasons to buy your own personal bowling ball.

What to Consider in a Bowling Ball

Here’s what to look for when purchasing a bowling ball:

  • Weight: Most bowling balls you can buy will fall in the 10-to-16-pound range if you’re buying for an adult. You can find lighter or heavier ones, but they’re not as common. Think of which weight you find most comfortable to use at the bowling alley, and try to find one of the same weight.
  • Price: Bowling balls can be pricey, but they don’t necessarily have to be. A customized one will obviously cost more money than a standard one. If you spring for a beginner or junior ball, you can save even more.
  • Design: You can find a bowling ball in just about any color or shade you might want. There are solid colors and mixed, ombre, marbled, glittery, or tie-dyed options. You can find patterned options too, or even ones dedicated to your favorite sports team. If you get a custom ball, you might have even more options depending on the company.

Top Choice: Brunswick Tzone Deep Space Bowling Ball

This is a glossy, spare-style bowling ball that is equally perfect for beginner, intermediate, expert, or pro bowlers alike. The design is ideal for hitting those tough, tricky spares that are the bane of many bowlers. Made of high-quality polyester and plastic with a high-gloss finish, you know this ball will look great on the lanes, no matter which of the ten multi-colored options you decide on. A few of the color choices are mixed with glitter if you want a ball with a little bit of extra sparkle or shine. You also have the choice to buy this ball in ten different weights, with a minimum weight of 6 pounds and a maximum weight of 16 pounds. The holes do not come pre-drilled, so you’ll have to have them drilled yourself at a pro shop. This allows you to have holes installed that perfectly fit your hand and fingers, with just the right grip that is most comfortable for you, reducing your risk of injury.

Top Choice

Brunswick TZone Indigo Swirl Bowling Ball (12-Pounds)

A spare-style bowling ball with a glossy sheen and a good selection of weight and colors.

Best for Beginners: Sportime UltraFoam Junior Bowling Ball

If you’re just starting out as a bowler or if you’re looking to get your little one into the sport, this lightweight, marbled orange and blue ball is designed specifically with beginners and children in mind. It weighs only 1 pound, so your child will have no trouble lifting and bowling with this ball. It’s made of rubber foam and plastic, free of any latex for those with allergies, so it’s perfectly safe to use as well. The urethane foam is resistant to wear and tear, shock, and abrasion, so you won’t have to worry about it breaking if dropped by mistake. The material is resistant to oils, grease, and liquids as well, so it’ll be a cinch to keep clean. It’s a great option for elementary and middle school kids for gym class or for recreational fun.

Best for Beginners

Sportime UltraFoam Junior Bowling Ball

A lightweight, foam bowling ball that is designed with beginners in mind.

Best for Extra Backend: MICHELIN Storm AstroPhysiX

Here’s a high-performance bowling ball with plenty of power and extra features for serious bowlers. The marbled bright blue and deep purple colors have a glossy finish and subtle shimmer that guarantee it’ll look great on any lane or bowling alley. The Atomic patented core and R2S Pearl Reactive coverstock supply the ball with plenty of power and an optimal angle. The reaction will be delayed on all throws in order to better explode on the backend, something that many bowlers may find useful. It’s an ideal ball for anyone who has or wants a big swing. Choose between a 12-, 13-, 14-, 15-, or 16-pound ball. You’ll have to have your own finger holes drilled separately to place and size the holes to best suit your hand.

Best for Extra Backend

Storm AstroPhysix 14lb

A powerful ball with extra, explosive backend that is ideal for bowlers with a big swing.

Also Great: Storm Phaze III Bowling Ball

This is a bowling ball with a new and improved hybrid design, built for toughness and innovation. You have the choice of buying this ball in five different weights between 12 and 16 pounds. The new Velocity Core gives the ball a fast-revving shape and levels out any backend reaction while also preventing an overreaction. This gives the ball a perfect balance and counterbalance. The marbled teal and magenta color gives the ball a unique look, and it’s scented with a grapevine fragrance as a fun bonus, so you know it won’t stink up your carrying bag or car. The holes are not pre-drilled, so you’ll get to pick exactly how big you want them to be, where they’re placed, and how far apart you want them spaced for your own comfort and preference. The hybrid coverstock is designed for transitioning easily to a variety of bowling styles and oil patterns, though it is especially well-equipped for lanes with medium oil conditions.

Also Great

Storm Phaze III 14lb

An innovative, newly designed bowling ball that is adaptive and well-balanced.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and How-To Geek and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »
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