A bowling ball is a piece of sporting equipment that is used to hit the bowling pins in a bowling game. If you’re familiar with bowling then you already know the importance of the bowling ball in the game. Though the game might seem a lot about luck, however, in reality, it’s mostly about skill, techniques, and practice.
There are many major factors that play a crucial role in the game and the bowling ball is one of them. Finding the right equipment might seem a daunting task as it has quite an impact on the overall performance. In this article, we have gathered the best bowling balls that will help you take your game up a few notches.
In a single list it is not possible the compile the best bowling balls, as there are different categories of balls for different purpose. Some balls are best for hook potential, some balls are created for straight bowlers, some are suitable for beginners and some might have the tag for spare ball. All of them are important and we have tried our best to include balls from different categories in this article so that everyone can take advantage of it.
Top Bowling Balls 2019 at a Glance
The Best Bowling Balls Reviewed
1. Storm Drive Bowling Ball
The Storm Drive Bowling Ball is an absolute beast. It’s a pro-level bowling ball, in fact an upgrade from Storm Timeless, that will help you take your game to the next level. Storm Timeless was a product of the collaboration of Timeless with Jason Belmonte, who you already know if you’re a bowling enthusiast. Increased midlane of more than 5% tells us the amazement this ball offers.
When it comes about looks, the Storm Drive is an absolute beauty. It comes in three colors: gold, navy and red. The price of the Drive is a bit on the steeper side, however, this can in most conditions, be it oily, wet or dry, perform equally. So, if you’re a professional then it’s absolutely worth the splurge.
One of the very first things you’ll notice about the Storm Drive is the beautiful citrus mint aroma that comes from it. It also has the unique dual-drive core that pairs with amazing R2S nano hybrid coverstock, which is an upgrade from R2S. The dual drive gives it superb fast-revving action that hits the pin with monstrous force.
The Storm fans are already aware of the coverstock that glides through the lane effortlessly and reacts to the back end with a unique motion. The outer weight block of the Timeless incorporates strategically placed geometric shapes that in conjunction with the inner weight block establishes a new standard in bowling ball motion.
- Citrus Mint aroma – unique feature of Storm Balls
- 1500 Grit polish finish
- Super-fast revving
- Three color variation
- R2S nano hybrid coverstock
- Bit expensive
2. Pyramid Path Bowling Ball
If you’re a beginner who’s stepping into the bowling world and doesn’t want to spend a fortune on the ball then the Pyramid Path bowling ball is the perfect match for you. This ball is designed to meet the needs of all ages and skill levels.
There are different size variants available ranging from 8lbs to 16lbs along with wide range of color variations. If you’re a person who’s picky about colors then no worries! There are seven colors available for this particular model: aqua/silver, orange/black, silver/black, blue/black/white, emerald/acid yellow, hot pink/lime green, and hot pink/black. On top of that, it responds to black lights and gives a glowing effect.
The outer layer of the ball is made with polyester and the insides have a pancake weight block. The polyester coverstock is perfect for straight shots. If you’re a two-handed bowler or a stroker, the Pyramid Path have you covered. It’s suitable for all lane conditions and ideal for medium oil condition.
Also, there are plenty of drilling options that add to the versatility of the ball. The Pyramid Path provides splendid performance whether you drill the ball strong or to hook hard. Whether you’re a skilled player or a beginner, it’ll give you a hassle-free experience.
- Suitable for all ages and skill level
- Splendid design
- Variety of color selection
- Crack-proof design
- Ideal for most bowling surfaces
- Holes need to be drilled that requires additional cost
3. Hammer Gauntlet Bowling Ball
The Hammer Gauntlet bowling ball is the hybrid version of Semtex CFI coverstock and it’s wrapped around the new Gauntlet asymmetric core. This ball is designed for medium to heavy oil lanes. It features 2000 Abralon pad which gives it a dull surface that enables it to glide smoothly on an oil surface. The Gauntlet is designed to be aggressive on the mid lane as well as the back end.
It has the new Gauntlet core design with an RG of 2.5”. The Gauntlet also has Hammer’s patent-pending carbon infusion in both the outer core as well as the coverstock. This unique feature makes this ball one of the most robust and durable available in the market.
The Gauntlet has a weight of 15.2lbs and a top weight of 3.2lbs. This ball is best suited for heavy oil patterns. However, it easily polishes more length on medium conditions. The Gauntlet provides sufficient traction in the oil and with a strong hook at the back end.
Overall, the Gauntlet is an awesome bowling ball with a superb flip down the lane. It’s suitable for all skill levels, so if you’re someone who’s comfortable with oil lanes then the Gauntlet is the one for you.
- Suitable for all skill levels
- Amazing design
- Three size variants
- Best for heavy oil lanes
4. DV8 Hitman Enforcer Bowling Ball
Well the name says a lot about a bowling ball and you can guess what the DV8 Hitman Enforcer can do for you down the lane.
The Hitman Enforcer has a hybrid reactive coverstock which is similar to the Vandal Grudge hybrid. It pairs the asymmetric low RG core with the hybrid reactive coverstock to provide versatility on a wide array of laying conditions and a way powerful back end than its predecessors.
It has a weight range of 12-16 pounds that works fantastically on a wide variety of lane conditions and you’ll face no issues with grip in any surface condition. There are also plenty of drilling options so you can drill it according to your preference.
The DV8 Hitman Enforcer is best suitable for medium oil lanes. It comes with hybrid coverstock that has low RG rate with a high differential core that provides maximum flair and amazing mid lane read for a controllable but devastating back end hook. It’s also equipped with 500 SiaAir/Crown factory compound finish that will clear the heads easily providing controlled angle into the pocket.
- Sturdy looks
- Asymmetric core
- 500 SiaAir/Crown finish
- Ideal for medium oil lane
- Not ideal for heavy oily lanes
5. Motiv Venom Cobra Bowling Ball
The Venom Cobra lives up to its name and attacks quickly as a snake. The Motiv Venom Cobra is designed for bowlers who play on light to medium oil patterns. It features the premium Turbo-Charged Dual Density top gear weight block that’s wrapped with the new Sabotage Hybrid Reactive coverstock that’s finished out of the box at 5500 grit laser scan polish.
It has a weight of 15lbs with a low RG rate with a low differential that gives it a good control at the breakpoint and predictable shape. The Venom Cobra provides a straight angle through the front with a very strong back end motion. It’s purposely built to push through the fronts and the mid lane in a super-fast reaction off of friction. The Cobra is an incredible complement to the Venom Shock.
The ball comes undrilled so you can drill it according to your playing style. On top of that, it also includes a one-year manufacturer warranty so if you face any issue with the ball, you can ask for a replacement or repair.
- Various color options available
- Turbo-Charged Dual Density top gear
- Sabotage Hybrid Reactive coverstock
- One year warranty
- Slightly expensive
6. Pyramid Antidote Bowling Ball
The Pyramid Antidote is a perfect option of mid-level players who are trying to up their game but don’t want to spend a fortune on the ball. Along with its sturdy looks, it also has superb performance that will wow you instantly. It provides excellent performance for the price and it’s one of the best mid-range bowling balls that’s available in the market.
The Antidote has a dimension of 9 x 9 x 9 inches and weighs 14.7 pounds. It has Pyramid’s revolutionary New Era 149 symmetric core wrapped with GPS Navigational solid coverstock. The cover has 2000 Grit Abralon/Factory Finish Polish. It has an RG of 2.55 with 0.054 differential.
This ball is an ideal choice for a bowler who prefer medium or heavy oil lanes. It’s capable to provide maximum flare as well as a continuation. It offers a strong and smooth reaction in all lane conditions.
There are five sizes available ranging from 12 pounds to 16 pounds so that the bowling enthusiasts can choose according to their preference. Overall, it’s a great ball that offers excellent performance and receptive to surface changes.
- Good price to performance ratio
- New Era 149 symmetric core
- Different size variants
- Amazing backend reaction
- Excellent performance on heavy or medium oil lanes
- Not suitable for dry lanes
7. Hammer Black Widow Legend Bowling Ball
Hammer is the new addition to the Black Widow family that does have a heavy impact like a hammer. This ball is most suitable for heavy oil lanes so, if you’re comfortable on the heavy lanes then the Hammer is the perfect match for you.
The Hammer Black Widow is designed for the professional bowlers who are looking for a great companion in the bowling alley. It has a Gas mask core wrapped with NBT Hybrid coverstock and the cover uses the 1000 grit Abralon.
It provides the right amount of length along with an optimum hook that will surely take up your game to the next level. Many elites who participated in the PBA Championship swear by its performance. Hence, it will provide you with the ultimate bowling experience at all times.
However, this ball isn’t suitable for dry lanes so it isn’t ideal for regular bowling games. But, if you’re an advanced player then the Hammer Black Widow will leave you no room for regret. The price also on the steeper side but it would be a worthy investment if you’re serious about the game.
- Suitable for professional use
- Sturdy looks
- Available in different weight variants
- Not suitable for beginners
- Doesn’t work well on dry lanes
8. Ebonite Maxim Bowling Ball
If you’re a beginner who’s looking for a bowling ball to upgrade the game then the Ebonite Maxim bowling ball is the match made in heaven for you. This ball has a 3-piece core that helps to keep balance to the weight of the ball.
The Ebonite Maxim offers no hook and it’s perfect for the dry lanes making it the perfect match for the beginners. The 3-piece core is wrapped in a polyester/plastic cover which enables it suitable for straight bowlers.
Along with superior performance, the blue shades of the ball makes it aesthetically pleasing to the eyes as well. The Ebonite Maxim comes in several weight variants ranging from 6 pounds to 15 pounds. While the lightweight ones are a great fit for beginners and female bowlers, the heavier ones are well-fitted for the advanced players.
It doesn’t provide good hook options instead it goes straight down the lane. To sum up, the Ebonite Maxim is an absolute steal for the price. It might not be the best bowling it the market but it does justice to the money spent on it.
- Various size options
- Aesthetic looks
- Great for beginners
- Not ideal for professional players
- Doesn’t hook
9. Columbia 300 Nitrous Bowling Ball
The Columbia 300 Nitrous is another excellent bowling ball for the entry-level players. It comes in three gorgeous black, blue and bronze color range so that you can pick one according to your preference and style. The Nitrous has a two-piece symmetric core design that offers low RG and low differential.
This ball has a moderate price range. It doesn’t come cheap like many other entry level bowling balls, but compared to the high-end ones, it does come at a decent price for its performance.
The Nitrous is equipped with super reactive Boost/R coverstock that has 500/2000 Abralon factory finish polish. It has a glossy finish that adds to the speed of the ball. This ball is perfect for medium oil lanes as the Nitrous core and Boost/R coverstock provides the perfect amount of grip that you’re looking for.
It has a weight of whopping 16.8lbs that enables you to throw a powerful hit to the pins. It allows you to play in both straight as well as in angles. The Nitrous has an RG of 2.55 with a low differential rate of 0.033 that enables it to be consistently rolled, also refrains the ball from slipping as it heads towards the pins.
- Three color options
- Suitable for all skill levels
- Low RG and diff
- Reactive coverstock
- Not suitable for heavy oil lanes
10. Brunswick Rhino Bowling Ball
The Rhino is a new edition to the Brunswick’s entry-level bowling balls that provides extremely powerful performance. Along with superior performance, it’s also quite a good-looker. There are five aesthetic color variants available and the eye-catching looks of the Rhino bowling ball will surely give you a premium feeling once you get your hands on it.
The Brunswick Rhino has light bulb core wrapped in an R-16 reactive coverstock. It provides excellent hook and continuation through the pins. This ball is versatile as well as powerful enough that will put you in control of the game.
The light bulb core results in an excellent moving action as it helps to improve the movement. On the other hand, the superior quality of the coverstock absorbs the oil thus making it suitable for oil lanes.
You’re probably not expecting much hook as this is an entry level ball. Behold! The Brunswick Rhino will leave you awestruck with its excellent hooking ability. It’s very smooth and easy to control. The Rhino is more suitable for the shorter patterns instead of the longer ones.
- Versatile enough to work on different speeds
- Suitable for all sorts of skill levels
- High-quality core and coverstock
- A wide range of color selections
- Not very durable
Features of a Bowling Ball
The core of the ball is a very crucial factor if you’re a professional bowler. However, it wouldn’t be much of a big deal if you’re a recreational bowler. The main types of cores are pancake, symmetrical, and asymmetrical.
The bowling balls that are made with pancake cores are the ones that deliver the most standard result irrespective of the player’s skills. The bowling balls with symmetrical cores have a large core in the center. The symmetrical core offers a decent level of mid-ground and break. They also provide more curve as well as bite. The most common types of symmetrical cores are the light bulb cores.
On the other hand, the asymmetric core is quite similar to the symmetric cores. As the name suggests, the sides are asymmetric means the sides aren’t equal. Using a bowling ball with asymmetric core requires quite some practice so these are more suitable for the advanced players.
The outer layer of a bowling ball that is wrapped around the core is known as coverstock. There are several kinds of coverstocks such as plastic, resin, urethane etc.
The bowling balls with plastic covers are generally used by entry-level bowlers. The reason behind this is that plastic covers are harder than other coverstocks. This hardness of the plastic results in less traction as well as less hook potential.
The urethane coverstocks are softer than the plastic ones. Hence, they offer more friction that allows better curve at the ball rolls down the lane. The urethane coverstocks offer better hook potential than the plastic ones. The bowling balls with urethane covers are more used by intermediate players who are trying to up their game.
Resin coverstocks are hot favorites right now. Resin coverstock offers better spin and control compared to the other kinds of coverstocks. They are softer than plastic or urethane thus provide less durability. Since they are easier to spin so they provide a more accurate hit down the lane.
There’s a common misconception that heavier bowling balls are better. However, this is not entirely true. If the ball is too heavy then it’ll make tired easily during the game. On the other hand, if the ball is too light it might swerve off the lane.
It’s crucial to figure out which weight suits you the best. You can visit the local bowling centers before making the purchase to be sure about the weight you’re comfortable with.
A hook is the sideways movement of a ball after it’s thrown on the lane. The hook potential of the ball depends on the coverstock, core, finger hole position, polish of the ball etc. The ball will hook wider if the coverstock has more friction. If the friction is less the ball will also hook less and move in a straighter way. The manufacturers rate the hook of the ball with numerical values ranging from 10 to 175.
Specification of the Bowling Balls
The bowling ball specifications are generally set by the USBC and for the professional level, the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) have their own set of rules. There are a large number of specifications given by USBC but, here, we have discussed the ones that are more common and bear more significance to the game.
The material of the ball needs to be solid, however, no pure metal or high-density materials are allowed. The density of any component used to make the ball should not exceed the limit of 3.80 g/mL. Also, apart from the logos and marking, the material used for coverstock should be distributed around the entire coverstock of the ball. Altering the ball in any way is strictly prohibited by USBC.
Except for the holes, the surface of the ball needs to be even without any bumps or grooves to ensure smooth movement during the game. Bear in mind that the logo, pictures or any sort of monogram that is engraved on the ball during manufacture are not considered as grooves.
If a ball has a crack on it then it will not be permitted to be used in competition. A bowling ball is not allowed to be polished partially. If the surface of the ball is changed by sanding or polishing then the entire surface of the ball should be changed in the same manner.
There is no fixed minimum weight for the bowling ball, however, it mustn’t exceed 16 pounds.
There shouldn’t be more than five holes but the player is not obliged to use all of the finger holes. Balance plays quite a vital part for a bowling ball. If a ball weighs more than 10 pounds then there shouldn’t be any more than the 3-ounce difference from the top and bottom half of the ball. Also, there could be a maximum of one-ounce difference between the half of the ball to the left and the half of the ball to the right of the center of grip.
The Only Buying Guide You’ll Ever Need for a Bowling Ball
Making the perfect purchase decision is a daunting task especially if you’re a beginner. There are several factors to consider before making the ultimate decision. Let’s have a look at the factors you need to consider before making the final decision.
The material of the Ball
The material of the ball usually differ and they affect the overall performance to a great extent. The materials that are used on the outer layer of the ball are usually plastic, polyurethane or reactive resin. Each of the material has its own pros and cons.
For example, plastic is a durable material whereas resin is a soft material, hence not as durable as plastic. However, plastic doesn’t provide a good grip and also has less hooking potential compared to resin.
The weight of the Ball
The weight of the ball has an immense effect on your overall performance. If the weight of the ball isn’t ideal then you’ll end up with a shabby performance. Your skill and fitness level is also crucial in determining the ideal weight.
If you have to bend down due to the heaviness of the bowling ball then it isn’t the perfect one for you. Also, getting a ball too light would be a wrong choice too as they wouldn’t generate a strong hit. Try a couple of bowling balls to decide on the weight that suits you the best.
Once you decide on the bowling ball, it’s time you drill the ball. You need to drill the ball according to your techniques. Most bowling balls come undrilled, so you need to drill it to fit the curvature of your hand. Bear in mind that drilling the will require additional expense.
Price is one of the most vital aspects of every purchase decision. For a starter, we don’t recommend spending big buck. Invest on a bowling ball with plastic coverstock and gradually invest in a better ball as you grow more skills.
How to Take Proper Care of the Bowling Ball?
If you are reluctant to take care of the bowling ball, it probably wouldn’t last you long. We have decided to give you some insights on how to take care of the ball so that you can rock the game throughout the season.
Bowling balls are expensive, so if you don’t keep it clean it will build up dirt and residues. Give your bowling ball a proper clean up if you play on oily lanes. Even if the dirt isn’t visible to the naked eye, they can severely hamper the performance.
Clean the Insides Too
Cleaning only on the outside is not enough. You need to clean the inside of the bowling ball as well to get the best outcome from it. If you’re unable to do it yourself then take it to the local bowling shop to get that extra cleaning effect.
Keep it Protected
Since you’ve made quite an investment on the bowling ball, you want to keep it in good shape, right? Keep the ball in a bag to keep it protected so that it stays away from dirt and direct sunlight.
Bowling is indeed a fun game but a sloppy ball would ruin all the fun. In this review, we have gathered the best bowling ball available in the market for all skill levels and price range. The buying is here to help you look at the factors that are crucial in your decision.
The pros and cons will also guide you in making the perfect decision to make the most out of your purchase. So, pick the ball that suits your playing style the most and rock the bowling alley.