How Many Types of Bowling Balls Are There: Bowling Balls Basics

How Many Types of Bowling Balls Are There: Bowling Balls Basics

Ten Pin Bowling is a pure form of entertainment that we love. Once you pay a visit to your close door bowling club, you will witness players of different levels here. 

However, it is very common to grow an interest in bowling balls. If you want to start your first journey in bowling, you should learn about the different types of bowling balls first.

Bowling Balls Basics 

Bowling Balls are spherical-shaped balls. They are usually 21.6 inches in diameter. However, their weight varies between 6-16 pounds depending on the materials used to build them.

Bowling balls usually have three holes for two fingers and one thumb. However, there are also other pin bowling sports like 5 pin bowling, Duckpin Bowling, Candlepin Bowling, and Kegel available. In these games, the balls used are smaller in size. Hence, there are no holes in these smaller balls. And players can grab them in the middle of their palm. 

Types of Bowling Balls 

There are four types of bowling balls available. Each type of ball can be a gamechanger depending on players’ skills and experience. Here we will talk about each type of bowling ball and its subcategories in detail. 

Note: A bowling ball made of a specific element, doesn’t mean that the entire ball is made of that element. We determine the type of each bowling ball by their coverstock, the layer that gets in contact with the surface lane.

When we say, a urethane bowling ball, it means that the coverstock of that bowling ball is made of urethane, not the entire ball. 

Polyester or Plastic

Plastic Bowling Balls are the most basic form of balls for bowling. They are easily affordable and do just fine for regular practice and training.

Due to their low price, beginners are the primary customers of polyester bowling balls. These balls are also incredibly easy to control and hold without driving too much force from the arms. This is why it is flexible for beginners to practice with these balls. They are also very lightweight when compared to other types of bowling balls.

When it comes to using these balls for professional levels, the results might not satisfy you. Professional bowlers know what they want and which type of bowling balls suit their skill. Bowling balls that offer a lower friction rate and poor absorbing quality cannot be on the selection list of professional players. 

Plastic balls are cheaper in rate. However, they will hold you back against the increasing experience you will gain. This is why plastic bowling balls are kept as spares for professional bowlers. 


Urethane Bowling Balls were officially introduced in the market during the ’90s. Before that, plastic and rubber balls were the only means of the game. However, ever since then, Urethane Bowling Balls became much popular both for beginners and professionals. 

Urethane bowling balls offer higher friction and hook potential. They are suitable to go with almost any lane conditions (Best for dry and medium oily platforms). The outer coverstock of urethane makes these balls durable. There is hardly any environmental erosion that can stop Urethane Bowling Balls. 

Also, they do absorb oil to some extent making them suitable for better control and flexibility. 

Urethane Bowling Balls are a popular choice both for beginners and professional bowlers. They are very easy to control and offer better consistency in the field, making them a smart choice for beginners. 

Visit to learn more about urethane bowling balls. 

Reactive Resin

Reactive Resin bowling balls are advanced forms of bowling balls. Experts mention Reactive Resin balls as another type of Urethane Balls. They are almost the same as Urethane balls but offer higher hook potential and pin action. 

These types of bowling balls are appropriate for both medium and high oily platform conditions. Because they offer more hook potential and friction, they can immediately boost the performance of the game. However, due to their sensitivity in control and flexibility, players need to be extremely professional about managing these bowling balls. 

In a nutshell, Reactive Resin balls are not recommended for beginners at all. They can be highly proficient in the bowling game if maintained correctly within the right hands. 

Particle or ProActive 

Particle or ProActive Bowling Balls are very unique forms of bowling balls. They are usually not suggested for beginners. Only a handful of bowlers who are confident enough to run these bumpy balls are consumers of Particle Bowling Balls. 

Particle or ProActive bowling balls have a very rough surface, to begin with. They don’t share the common smooth surface like other bowling balls. Hence, Particle bowling balls offer extremely higher friction. Due to this property, Particle bowling balls are extremely hard to control and operate.

These balls are suitable for heavy oil lane conditions. 


How do I choose a bowling ball?

The selection of a bowling ball should depend on how experienced you are in this expertise. If you are just a beginner, you should go with lightweight balls, especially plastic balls. However, for professional bowlers, their bowling balls should be within 10% of their body weight. 

Should my spare bowling ball be lighter?

There is no concrete theory that your spare balls have to be lighter than the regular bowling balls you use. It can be just the same weight as any bowling ball you use for practice.

Switching to lighter balls can dramatically fluctuate results. Because lighter balls have different pin carry and they offer different properties of which you may not be used to. This is why spare balls with regular weights will do just fine for you. 

The Verdict

Before you begin your journey in Bowling Sport, pay heed to our guide on “Types of Bowling Balls”. Participating in bowling games is not just about picking up any ball and starting shooting. It’s about preciseness, compatibility, and increasing your skill at each level. 

We hope our article will help you to learn the basics of bowling balls and one step more to that. 

Sarah Del Rosario
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