Trying to roll a bowling ball straight down the middle of the lane is for newbies (OK, and improvers too I guess).
These days though, bowling veterans should really make the most out of new developments in bowling ball technology to deliver those sharp, violent hooks with excellent pin carry that net you the strikes you need to really send your score through the roof.
For that you need an aggressive bowling ball. The good news is that there’s plenty of them out there. The bad news is, they’re so good it’s hard to pick just one.
But don’t worry, help is at hand. We’ve been checking out some of the best, most aggressive bowling balls out on the market today. And, we’ve handpicked our Top 6 to show you. We’re going to show you the most talked about aggressive bowling balls in bowling lanes everywhere and across the internet.
And after these short reviews, we’ve also got a handy buying/information guide for you which explains what goes into these balls to make them so aggressive, with a spotlight on reactive resin coverstocks.
We then take this opportunity to highlight some of the different things you might like to think about before you buy, and at the same time we will also tackle some of your most frequently asked questions.
In addition to talking about how to choose your aggressive bowling ball, we also shed some light on how to maintain your ball’s aggressive reaction, so you can get a good lifespan from the ball, and be sure to get your money’s worth out of it.
OUR TOP PICK
The Hammer Scandal/S uses a Semtex Hybrid CFI coverstock.
What this means is that it has a reactive resin outer layer. Reactive resin coverstocks can come in different varieties, this one being a hybrid between a reactive solid and a reactive pearl.
As a hybrid, the Hammer Scandal/S has the mid-lane reaction of a solid coverstock, but with the back end reaction of a pearl coverstock. (We go into these things in more detail in our buying guide later, just scroll down.)
What really makes the Hammer Scandal/S stand out above the rest however is it’s patent pending carbon fiber infused outer core.
The effect of this carbon fibre infusion is that you get an aggressive mid lane reaction, coupled with a continuous back end reaction.
It’s rugged, durable, offers great traction, and has great hook potential.
And better yet, it looks as good as it rolls, with a blue and red finish with Scandal/S emblazoned in yellow on top.
The Hammer Scandal/S is available in several different weights, starting at 12 pounds, and going up to 16 pounds.
It may also interest you to know that the Hammer Scandal/S is listed under Amazon’s best sellers for the category.
Hybrid reactive coverstock
Carbon infused outer core
Decent weight options
An Amazon best seller
Not well suited to lanes with low oil condition
This is a super aggressive bowling ball.
Ebonite have improved on their range yet again!
They’ve taken the Centrex Symmetrical Mass Bias core shape from their iconic THE ONE, and modified it in such a way that you get easier length through the front part of the lane and better continuation afterward.
But that’s not the best part. They have a brand new coverstock, ripe to take the bowling world to storm!
The GSV-1 coverstock is a resin reactive hybrid, and as a result of all these features, the ball picks up strong in the midlane, and then no matter how oily the backend, you get some great traction, and you can really smash those pins down with it’s sharp hooks!
The Ebonite Choice is available in several different weights, starting at 12 pounds, and going up to 16 pounds.
The color is great too, a “tie-dye” look of red white and blue.
Almost symmetric core
Hybrid reactive coverstock
Decent weight options
For some reason the lighter versions cost more than the heavy versions
Roto Grip spent over a year developing the Halo’s Centrum Core. It’s designed to increase the ball’s rotation and its continuation once it’s rolling.
And, more importantly, the coverstock, the MicroTrax-S18 is their strongest and most aggressive coverstock across their range of solid reactive coverstocks.
No matter how oily the lane, you can rely on this beauty to really perform. Which is thanks not only to the coverstock but also the strong asymmetrical core.
The factory finish provides really strong traction and flare potential, meaning it can really migrate while traveling down the lane.
It has a “striking” color, with a swirled fuchsia pink and silvery blue, topped with the bright yellow Halo emblem.
The Roto Grip Halo is available in several different weights, starting at 12 pounds, and going up to 16 pounds.
It has made the Amazon best seller list for the category, and has had fantastic customer feedback through Amazon - check out the average Amazon customer rating!
Solid reactive coverstock
Decent weight options
An Amazon best seller
Great customer ratings
Premium product at a premium price
What we love about this bowling ball from Hammer is it’s Juiced Solid reactive coverstock which creates unmatched friction at the breakpoint, and allows the Diesel Torque to maintain its reaction shape for longer.
The ball’s outer core is an upgrade on Hammer’s previous models, featuring their patent pending carbon fibre infusion.
It has a symmetric core, and provides a strong mid lane reaction coupled with a continuous backend reaction. It’s great on medium to heavily oiled lanes.
The color is a vibrant semi-swirled Orange/Gray/Black, with the Diesel emblem emblazoned in bright yellow opposite the drilled holes.
Where this bowling ball is different from the others we’ve shown you, is the extra weight options at the lower end of the scale. Most bowling balls are available from 12 pounds up to 16 pounds, but this ball is also available in 10 pounds and 11 pounds. This really opens the market up to more players.
Better yet this ball comes complete with a 3 year warranty. So reassuring.
Juiced Solid coverstock
Carbon fibre infused outer core
Symmetric weight block core
Available in low weights
3 year warranty
Due to its popularity, this ball is sometimes out of stock with retailers
The Physix bowling ball from Storm was years in the making.
It has an asymmetrical weight block coupled with a lightweight outer core.
Then, on the outside, it features an NRG hybrid resin reactive coverstock.
What we love about it is it’s flare potential, you get plenty of mid lane length, coupled with additional backend motion, thanks to the quicker spinning of the inner core.
So it has great power for ending with a hook, and smashing those pins regardless of the lane conditions. Some customers have even said that using it feels like cheating!
It also has that blue/red tie dye appearance that bowlers love.
And whilst it doesn’t help the game in any way, we also love the ball’s gorgeous apple berry scent.
asymmetrical weight block
lightweight outer core
hybrid resin reactive coverstock
Great power and spin
Really aggressive ball
Gorgeous apple berry scent
The link provided only takes you to one weight option of the bowling ball, 15 pounds, so if you need another weight of ball, you will have to search, but you can get it from 12 pounds up to 16 pounds in weight.
We love the look of this bowling ball, maroon orange and white, so easy to spot and identify, no more picking up the wrong ball.
It’s another really aggressive bowling ball, and an upgraded version of Brunswick’s previous balls, combining different elements from different series of balls.
It has Brunswick’s popular ECA-XR solid reactive resin coverstock, which can handle any amount of oil on the lane to gather great traction and friction and deliver powerful hooks.
Furthermore, it also features the Kingpin Ultra Low RG w/Dynamic weight block core, and it’s this asymmetric core that gives it better spin for amazing pin carry.
ECA-XR solid coverstock
Dynamic weight block core
Great customer rating
Cons:The link provided only takes you to one weight option of the bowling ball, 15 pounds, so if you need another weight of ball, you will have to search, but you can also get it in 14 pounds or 16 pounds in weight.
Most aggressive bowling balls Buying Guide
So, before we really get into it, let’s start with the basics. And don’t worry we won’t boggle your mind with “radius of gyration” specs.
What to avoid
If you want to concentrate on adding aggressive bowling balls to your arsenal, then you should avoid balls with plastic, polyester, or urethane coverstocks.
Don’t get us wrong, a plastic coverstock ball is a great choice for knocking down spares. But they’re designed to be rolled straight, not to hook.
And whilst urethane balls are great for those just learning to roll a hook, the reactive resin variety provides far better traction on the lane and gives a much stronger back end reaction.
What makes a bowling ball aggressive?
An aggressive bowling ball is one that can give a strong back end reaction on the lane, delivering powerful hooks as it reaches the pins. And it can handle this, no matter how oily the lane is.
Bowling balls can vary a lot in terms of how they’re constructed. The shape and positioning of their weight block for example can vary greatly. But what really sets them apart is their outer layer, known as the coverstock.
Basically, the more friction that’s created between the bowling ball and the lane, the more aggressive the bowling ball and the easier it becomes for the ball to deliver those hooks.
When it comes to aggressive bowling balls, there are two main types of coverstock in play. There are the reactive resins, which can be further subdivided into solid reactive, pearl reactive and hybrid reactives.
Alternatively, you can now also get particle coverstocks, but we won’t look too much into those because they tend to create too much surface friction causing the ball to use energy early and leave too little energy and power on the back end for impact with the pins.
Spotlight on Reactive Resin Coverstocks
Solid reactive is the more even rolling of the three types of reactive resin coverstocks. This is because of its greater amount of microscopic reactive pores on the ball surface. This causes them to produce more friction, and this results in a smoother back end reaction. Solid reactives can come in polished or sanded finishes.
Pearl reactive coverstock meanwhile is different from the solid reactive variety because it features the addition of mica material into the ball’s surface. This allows the ball to react more quickly to the high friction in the back end of the lane.
As you may expect from the name, a hybrid reactive combines the qualities of the other two, specifically, the mid-lane reaction of a solid reactive, but with the back end reaction of a pearl reactive.
What to look for in an aggressive bowling ball
As I believe we’ve already established at this point, the main element in making a bowling ball aggressive enough to provide stunning generous hooks to smash those pins down, no matter how oily the lane, is the ball’s coverstock.
For an aggressive hook, you should look for a ball with a reactive resin coverstock. As to which type might be best, well there is still much debate about that. In our Top 5 picks, we have included some balls with solid reactive resin coverstock and some with hybrid reactive resin.
Of course other elements of the ball also affect its performance. Many aggressive bowling balls feature asymmetrical weight block cores because this increases the wildness and angular hook potential. That said, you can also get many aggressive bowling balls that have symmetrical weight block cores, which better conserve the ball’s energy for a stronger back end reaction.
It is certainly worth noting at this point that the level of oil in the bowling lane has a significant impact on which might be the best bowling ball for you to use. As a general rule, if you want to use sharp hooks in your game, then the tackier the coverstock the better, as it will absorb the lane’s oil better, and in turn provide better traction to produce hooks.
How to keep the reaction of your bowling ball
Once you’ve identified which bowling balls you want to use, it’s important to maintain the outer coverstock in order to keep it’s reaction on the lane and with the pins.
Aggressive bowling balls achieve their hooks by absorbing the lane’s oil to produce more friction. Consequently the ball’s coverstock picks up a lot of oil and dirt. And without treating this, you will soon notice a gradual deterioration of the ball’s performance.
But help is at hand. There are a variety of different ways that you can clean the ball to maintain its reaction.
Between shots we strongly recommend that you wipe the ball down with a shammy such as the Brunswick Reactive Shammy, and after each game you should clean the ball down with a dedicated cleaner such as the Big B cleaner. This is the minimum you should do.
Ideally you should also treat the ball every few games or so, say every 10 games. As to how you should treat, that depends on whether your ball has a shiny or matte finish. Shiny surface balls should be polished, whereas matte finish balls should be scuffed. After about 60 games, we would recommend a complete resurface.
Putting the ball away without cleaning allows the oil and dirt to be absorbed deeper into
the coverstock, and you won’t get as much lifespan as you ought to out of the ball.