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While bowling balls all have the same basic dimension, what makes up the materials of a ball can be completely different. It is this difference that will determine how much you can expect to pay for a bowling ball. The more complex the ball the more it will cost but what would be reasonable?
New bowling ball costs anywhere from $40 to $250. I broke down what you can expect to pay depending on the type of ball you are considering.
Bowling Ball Cost
Plastic Bowling balls ($40 – $60)
Bowling ball in this range is generally ‘plastic’ or polyester balls that don’t have a customized core to give the ball a hook. These types of bowling balls are great for shots that require a straight path like on spare pickups or those tough corner pin (7 or 10) shots. Because these types of balls are for a specific purpose, many bowlers will have a plastic ball and a high-performance ball.
Vanity Bowling Balls ($75 – $150)
These types of bowling balls are the same as the plastic balls but are branded with popular logos, images, or sports teams. For example, if you’re a fan of the Chicago Bears like I am, then you could get a bowling ball with their logo on it. There’s a wide variety of image-based or branded bowling balls that you could choose from. Even though these are just ‘plastic’ bowling balls, they cost more because of the trademark and extra artwork that gets added to them.
Entry-Level Performance Bowling Balls ($75 – $150)
Entry-level performance balls have a custom core that gives the ball that little extra momentum to hook but they don’t have a huge hook potential like that you often see professional bowlers can achieve. Casual league bowlers generally can benefit from these types of balls because of the combination of value and performance.
Mid To High-Level Performance Ball ($150 – $250)
These are the creme-de-le-creme of bowling balls. The ones that are going to be the main weapon in your bowling arsenal. These balls will have technologically advanced cores that give the ball the hook flare needed to hit the pocket just right to get that coveted strike. The outer surface (also known as the coverstock) usually are of a higher grade that is designed to perform on well on different lane conditions and oil patterns. Now the price range can vary in this category as well as the performance. But just because a bowling ball has a high price tag doesn’t mean its the best bowling ball for you. The higher price tag usually means that there was more that went into creating the ball.
Top Bowling Ball Comparison Chart
|Bowling Ball||The Purple Pearl Urethane||Black Widow Pink||Tzone Deep Space|
|Coverstock||Urethane Pearl||Aggression Pearl CFI||plastic/polyester|
|Factory Finish||500/1000/2000 Abralon||500/1000 Abalone Polished||–|
How to Choose a Bowling Ball to Fit Your Needs
What are bowling balls made of
There are many types of bowling balls on the market today. Each of them is made of unique materials and designed to produce different types of performance. Understanding what bowling balls are made of, can help you match the best ball for your style and level of play.
The type ball that most recreational bowlers will recognize is the polyester bowling ball, which is commonly referred to as a “plastic” bowling ball. Polyester bowling balls have been available since the 1960s. They generally have a lower cost compared to the other types of bowling balls. They are very durable, which is why they are used as “house” balls on the racks of most bowling alleys. The durability comes from the hard, low friction nature of the polyester cover. This low friction nature causes the “plastic” ball to skid more and maintain a straighter trajectory. “Plastic” balls are primarily used by beginning bowlers; however, many experienced and professional bowlers use them for spare shots and for very dry lane conditions.
In the late 1970s, bowling manufacturers experimented with coverstock softer than polyester to create more “hook” potential. The result of these experiments was a polyurethane coverstock or urethane for short. Urethane has a higher friction surface than polyester which allows the ball to grab the surface better so it will hook more. It can be easily sanded or polished to control its hook potential. Urethane is the preferred coverstocks for beginning hook bowlers. It is also the ball of choice for many experienced bowlers when bowling on very dry lanes.
In the early 1990s, the ball manufacturer started adding resin particles to their urethane coverstock. The resin made the ball tackier then plain urethane which increased its hook potential. A side effect of the resin is that it makes the ball hydroplane on the oil more than plain urethane. The combination of the increased skid on oil and stronger hooking ability on dry boards gives the resin ball a bigger backend reaction for more striking power than prior ball types. Reactive resin is the primary coverstocks for most experienced bowlers on most lane conditions.
Experienced bowlers preferred the smooth reaction and controllability of urethane, but they could not refuse the power provided by reactive resin balls. The ball manufacturer’s response to this situation was to add textured particles such as ceramics and glass to the resin enhanced polyurethane balls. The added texture gave the ball more grip in the oil for a smooth, controllable hook style while maintaining the powerful backend of reactive resin. The hook potential for most particle bowling balls is higher than all of the other types of coverstocks. This extremely high hook potential means that most particle balls are for use on oily lane conditions only. However, ball makers are constantly tinkering with the quantity and size of the particles used, so particle balls are becoming more versatile across many types of lane conditioning.
What’s inside a Bowling Ball?
At the end of the day, selecting a bowling ball doesn’t have to be too difficult as long as you know what to look for. Now that you have an idea of what you can expect when considering buying a bowling ball, deciding on which one is the best for you and which fits your budget will be a much easier process. Happy hunting on your next bowling ball.
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