How Much a Bowling Ball Weighs?

When it comes to your average trip to the local bowling alley, the bowling ball will usually weigh anything between 6 lbs. to 16 lbs. Now, admittedly, this is a very wide range of weights. So, with that in mind, how can you determine the best bowling ball weight that would work best for you? This is without a doubt, the most important factor of the bowling game. So choosing the right ball will lead to a great difference in your level of skill and will definitely prevent a lot of unwanted injuries.

One bowing ball and one kettlebell on a scale weighing - Title picture for How much does a bowling ball weigh

What Weight Bowling Ball Should I Use?

Well, there aren’t exactly any fixed factors the right bowling ball weight would differ from one person to another. Still, in every bowling ball weight guide, there is a general rule of thumb that should be followed.

  • When it comes to men, the ball should be between 14 lbs. to 16 lbs;
  • As for women, they should go for a ball that weighs anything between 10 to 14 lbs;
  • For any child between the ages of 6 and 14, parents can find the ideal ball for them using this method: The age should correspond to the weight of a bowling ball. So, if your kid is 8-years old, an 8 lbs. ball would be most fitting for them. If your kid or teen aims to play professionally, then they should be able to handle a 12 lbs. ball as that’s the minimum weight in professional bowling. Professional balls also include some performance-enhancing traits like resin coverstocks, for example.

The size of the bowling ball is another thing to keep in mind. If the holes happen to be too small or too wide, then that would indicate that the ball is either to light or too heavy. But this might not be an absolute indicator as it would be influenced by the physical strength, especially upper body strength.

If you have any medical conditions such as a bad wrist or a bad back, then you should go for a lighter-than-usual ball.

Some recommend that the ball you choose should weigh 10% of your body weight. So, if you’re a 140 lbs. person, for example, go for a 14 lbs. ball.

Bowling Ball Weight: How Heavy Is Too Heavy?

To determine the best bowling ball weight range for your personal use, the simplest method would be to try out a variety of different bowling balls and find out which one “feels best” for you. If you feel any level of pain after a few games using, let’s say a 15 lbs. ball, then you should probably go for a lighter one. On the other hand, if you’re feeling that the ball handling is too easy, then you should probably go for something a bit heavier.

Bowling Ball Weight: Heaviest Is Not Always Best

Yes, it would make sense to get a heavy ball since that would mean that it will knock down pins easily. But don’t forget that the ball needs to be light enough to gain speed as it travels down the lane. What you should look for is the heaviest ball that can be easily rolled consistently on every turn. We recommend that you don’t go for the heaviest ball just to impress some friends since this can lead to injury.

Bowling Ball Weight: Understanding the Bowling Ball Dynamics

Multiplying the ball’s mass weight by the speed at which it travels will give us the force of that bowling ball. This consequently explains why the weight of the ball is not the sole deciding factor in bowling. Speed matters just as much.

For example, if you use a 12 lbs. bowling ball and you throw it at a speed of 16 mph, then you be sending a ball that delivers 200 lbs. of force. If you were to throw a 14 lbs. ball at the speed less than 13 mph, it will deliver an inferior amount of force to the former ball despite being heavier.

You truly cannot separate speed from the weight. If you can’t throw a heavy ball at high speeds, then you’ll get better results from a lighter one.

Bowling Ball Weight: More Than Just Its Coverstock

The less experienced of us might brush off a bowling ball as just being a sphere made of hard plastic, which gives it most of its weight. But bowling balls have a hidden core on the inside which works as a weight block.

As time went by, the bowling ball did not remain static. It changed and improved as did everything around us. There are cores, for example, that have been made to be performance-enhancing. This allows the manufacturers to decrease the balls’ weight while maintaining the speed that’s expected from it.

Because of this, you can’t just dismiss a slight bowling ball without knowing the technology used in making it. You’ll most likely get better performance from such a ball rather than a traditional heavier one.

Customizing Finger Holes

You might not be a bowling professional as of yet, but you can still enhance your performance by customizing your ball’s finger holes. This can significantly influence the behavior of your ball.

The hole pitches distribute the ball weight to your body. If your thumb is drilled at an angle away from your fingers and palm, you’ll be able to keep your hand behind the ball when you release it.

Some might think that the way you insert the fingers is irrelevant, but that’s not true. The core also makes a difference. Since the core can be in different shapes, the way the holes are drilled will either make the hook reaction weak or stable. Understanding this will let you get different responses based on your fingers’ position.

Which Coverstock Material Is Best?

While polyester balls aren’t uncommon and can be used by bowlers, they won’t provide a better grip than resin or urethane balls, no matter their weight. Resin coverstock balls add more friction when they get closer to the pins, which means better entry angle, better hook potential, and overall better results.

Performance-Enhancing Features

Without adding unnecessary weight, modern balls have features like inner cores and shells that enhance their performance:

  • Performance-enhancing cores will increase impact without the addition of extra weight. Today, we’ll even find 2-piece cores instead of 3-piece cores for a lighter ball and a better performance;
  • The coverstock is usually either made of urethane or resin. Light materials that lead to better results.

From August 1, 2020 there are new rules regarding bowling ball weight holes that might change your game and how you play. More information you can find in the following video.

Verdict: What Weight Bowling Ball Should I Use?

You need to find the ball with the ideal weight for you, not only to win games but also to prevent injuries. It doesn’t matter whether you’re just hanging out with friends and playing casually or playing professionally. You’ll always get better results and have a better time with the right ball, so now it’s time to use all this information on weights of bowling balls and choose the best ball.


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