The 10 Best Bowling Balls

Updated January 16, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best Bowling Balls
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. In bowling, just like with anything else, your choice of equipment will greatly affect your performance. So if you have some "spare" time, check out the "frames" in this video of some of the best balls available. We're sure you won't "strike" out in finding the perfect one to take your game to the next level. (Sorry! Couldn't resist.) When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best bowling ball on Amazon.

10. Columbia 300

The Columbia 300 pairs a two-piece nitrous core with a coverstock designed to grip the lane. The result is a ball that's perfect for medium-oil lanes that can be consistently rolled and won't slip too much as it heads toward the pins.
  • great for any skill level
  • has a gentle break
  • not great for power throwers
Brand Columbia
Model CA165 13-P
Weight pending
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

9. Ebonite Maxim

The Ebonite Maxim has a polyester coverstock that is very well balanced for a straight and true roll. It is a good mid-level option that should help you improve your score a bit as you start to pick up more advanced techniques, and the cost is easy on the wallet.
  • makes a good spare ball
  • hard to make it curve right
  • the swirl isn't evenly distributed
Brand Ebonite
Model EB133 8
Weight 9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Hammer Black Widow Legend

The Hammer Black Widow Legend is an intimidating choice that will strike fear into your opponent's heart. It uses a hybrid coverstock and provides awesome movement on the back end that carries through the pins, helping to knock a few more down on every roll.
  • multiple drilling patterns
  • high hook potential
  • comes in only a few weights
Brand Hammer Bowling Products
Model pending
Weight 14.9 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

7. Pyramid Antidote

The Pyramid Antidote is a mid-level option for players who are getting more serious about the game, but who are not quite ready to lay out the cash for a premium model. It has a polished 2000-grit Abralon finish and a GPS navigational coverstock.
  • barrels through the pins
  • sets well down the lane
  • medium to high axis rotation
Brand Pyramid
Model pending
Weight 14.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Motiv Venom Cobra

If you have an aggressive playing style, you need a ball to match, and that's just what the Motiv Venom Cobra offers. Its fast response to lane friction and cool snake graphics ensure you look good whether you hit that strike or not.
  • impressive striking power
  • dual density block center
  • retains energy until the back end
Brand Motiv
Weight pending
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Brunswick Lizard Eye

The Brunswick Lizard Eye is a great choice for teens who want to impress their friends with their skills and their style. Its graphics are incredibly realistic and it glows under blacklights to really stand out during those fun cosmic bowling sessions.
  • well-suited to all lane conditions
  • eyeball is perfect for intimidation
  • very low hook potential
Brand Brunswick
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. DV8 Vandal Destroy

The DV8 Vandal Destroy features a smooth hybrid composite cover that makes it roll clean at the front. It's versatile enough to work on a variety of lane conditions, but offers the most control on medium-oil lanes where it is able to pick up a nice hook.
  • good continuation through the pins
  • seems to float across the lane
  • 500-grit siaair finish
Brand DV8
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Hammer Gauntlet

The Hammer Gauntlet has a carbon fiber-infused core for added strength and durability. Its coverstock is designed for heavy-oil conditions and will speed down the lane faster and more aggressively than other options, making it ideal for experienced bowlers.
  • can change direction quickly
  • backed by a three-year warranty
  • cuts the back end hard
Brand Hammer
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Pyramid Path

The original Pyramid Path is the perfect option for beginners who are tired of using the local alley's balls. It can be picked up for an affordable price and comes in a huge range of weights, from 6 pounds all the way up to 16 pounds.
  • best for straight rollers
  • arrives un-drilled
  • some colors glow under blacklights
Brand Pyramid
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Storm Timeless

Designed in collaboration with professional PBA Tour bowler Jason Belmonte, the Storm Timeless is a hard-hitting option that has a dual drive core, with two weight blocks to give it fast revving action and greater energy transmission when it hits the pins.
  • available in 12-16 pound models
  • lots of back end movement
  • reacts well in any lane condition
Brand Storm
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

A Brief History Of Bowling

The first time an activity resembling the modern sport/pastime of bowling was undertaken dates back at least 5,000 years. We have evidence that the Ancient Egyptians enjoyed target-style rolling or throwing games as far back as 3,200 years before the advent of the Common Era. The Egyptians were hardly alone in their nascent love for what would become a sport beloved by tens of millions of people worldwide. The Ancient Romans also enjoyed similar sports, using balls made of everything from leather-wrapped dried plant fiber to stones and spheres wrought of porcelain.

By the later Middle Ages, bowling had become popular across much of the known world. A sport similar to bocce was popular in some areas, notably the Italian peninsula, while the precursor to modern bowling was catching on in England. In fact, the sport of lawn bowling, still practiced today, can be dated to at least 1299.

By the 19th century, bowling had become a popular pastime across much of the western world, with a National Bowling Association (yes, that's the NBA) formed in New York City in 1875. This organization was established in large part to standardize the rules of ten pin bowling, which had become and would remain the most popular iteration of the sport.

The 20th Century saw the development of more advanced types of bowling ball; the century started off with most balls made from hardwoods, but by the year 1905, many players had turned to balls made out of a material called Ebonite, a special vulcanized hard rubber which was named for the company that produced it.

Mineralite bowling balls were introduced by the Brunswick company at about the same time as Ebonite, and both materials would remain popular for decades to come. The first urethane balls, familiar to many of today's bowlers, were not produced until Ronald Reagan was in the Oval Office.

The Right Bowling Ball For Beginners

For the casual bowler who is ready to own their first ball, there are several factors to be considered, and they are decidedly different than those the more experienced, dedicated roller needs to worry about. The first, of course, is price. Frankly speaking, in the hands of an inexperienced and less-than-skilled bowler, even the most reactive ball won't do all that much more than a more basic bowing ball, because putting the right spin and attitude on a ball takes skill and experience.

So, don't spend too much on your first ball; chances are it's going to get pretty beaten up anyway. Instead, consider less expensive balls and keep weight, coverstock, and grip in mind.

First let's talk about weight: the mechanics of bowling are specific, so even a stronger person might do better with a lighter ball. Aim is more important than power, and balance is critical to aim.

As for the coverstock, or exterior of the ball, a "pearl" or "stiff" coverstock is usually the best choice for newer bowlers, who tend to send their balls straight down the lane rather than worrying about hooking it into the pins regardless of the lane's oil conditions.

And finally, consider your grip in terms of finger position. Your palm should rest more or less flat on the ball when your middle finger, ring finger, and thumb are inserted, but work with a pro shop to determine the ideal spread between your ring and middle finger prior to ordering or drilling, if possible.

For the record, most novice bowlers should settle for a basic plastic ball rather than a urethane or reactive resin option. Plastic balls cost less, and you won't miss out on the control properties of those other balls at this point anyway.

The Right Bowling Ball For Experienced Rollers

For the more experienced bowler, the roller who enjoys frequent visits to the lanes for fun or who even takes part in more serious league and competition play, choosing the right bowling ball is a critical decision. You can't control the conditions of the lane and you can't always roll strikes, after all, but you can control how your ball pairs with your rolling style to give you an edge and make sure you at least pick up that spare.

As it is with the novice, so too is it with the master: size matters. Just because you've been bowling for years doesn't mean it's time for a heavier ball. In fact, as your control increases, your ball's optimal weight might even go down.

The experienced bowler isn't just throwing their ball straight down the line, so a plastic ball is pretty much out. Rather, you need to consider a urethane or reactive resin ball that can be made to curve and drift at your deft command.

Hook is, of course, directly affected by the material/coverstock you choose, but there is also the Radius of Gyration to consider. Simply put (or as simply as possible), the RG of a bowling ball is a measurement of the distance that its mass can rotate without changing the inertia of the ball. What that really means, boiled down, is the ball's resistance to spinning around, which is defined by the density of its core. The more dense a ball's core, the sooner it will start to spin, which is great if you have masterful aim and like wide hooks. The less-dense a ball's core, the longer it will slide straight ahead, resisting the spinning that will pull it across the lane.

So know your style, then pick your RG, then pick your material, then pick your ball. Then, go for that turkey.

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Last updated on January 16, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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