Bowling Ball Dimensions: Diameter and Circumference

Bowling ball dimensionsDo all bowling balls have the same dimensions? Definitely, not! Based on the kind of bowling you are intending to play, bowling balls come in various specifications. Candlepin and Duckpin bowling balls are more on the smaller side while the Ten-pin bowling balls are comparatively big, almost twice as big. As we all know, the Ten-pin bowling ball is the most traditional and common type of ball bowlers use to bowl, today we are going to discuss the ten-pin bowling ball dimensions particularly. So shall we begin?

Bowling Ball Dimensions

Knowing about bowling ball dimensions gives you more idea about the vast spectrum of bowling. When you learn about the specifications of the bowling balls, you understand their construction better which helps you pick a bowling ball that is suitable for you. So do you realize, how important it is to learn about bowling ball dimensions?

Every bowling ball that is made by its manufacturer, goes under the verification procedure of the United States Bowling Congress. Without the identification and approval of USBC, a ball cannot be even listed as a bowling ball. USBC carefully checks every bowling ball model’s material, core, coverstock, and its finish, holes, weights, circumferences, and diameters. Therefore, every bowling ball is made under the guidelines provided by USBC. So what are the ideal measurements of a bowling ball? Keep on reading to know more.

What is the diameter of a bowling ball?

Well, what is the shape of a bowling ball? Of course, it’s round. Meaning, bowling balls have no length or width, they have a diameter. Oftentimes, this diameter is referred to as length by players. So when you hear someone talk about their bowling ball’s length, they are actually meaning the ball’s diameter. Generally, bowling balls have a diameter of 8.595” (21.83 cm). Not to mention, this is the maximum value of a bowling ball’s diameter. Balls that are 13lbs or more should have a minimum diameter of 8.5” (21.59 cm). Any ball that has a diameter of less than 8.5” or more than 8.595” is not approved by USBC and hence, they cannot be used to practice bowling.

What is the circumference of a bowling ball?

The perimeter of your bowling ball is called the circumference. In other words, it is the arc length of your bowling ball. Typically, the circumference of a bowling ball is 27” (68.58 cm). According to USBC, bowling balls that are 13 lbs or bigger than that should have a minimum circumference of 26.7″ and a maximum circumference of 27.002″. Any ball that has a circumference out of this range is not considered an approved or ideal bowling ball. It is highly recommended not to use any bowling ball that has a defective circumference.

How to measure the diameter of a bowling ball?

There are two ways to measure the diameter of a bowling ball. One is the easy way and another is the hard way. Yes, the hard way is more complicated and you need more equipment, but it is 100% accurate. The easy way, on the other hand, may or may not be 100% correct, but it gives you a basic idea about your bowling ball’s diameter. Plus, it saves time. Let’s get into the details now.

The Easy Way

Although this method is simple, it has a catch. You have to know the circumference of your bowling ball first. And how do you know the circumference of your ball? Well, you can acknowledge that from the ball specs or you can just measure it yourself. To measure the circumference of your bowling ball, first, grab a measurement tape and wrap it around the bowling ball.

Now write down the number, it is your ball’s circumference. Now, divide the circumference number by pi (π). If you don’t remember the value of pi, it is π = 3.14. Once you are done dividing the ball circumference by 3.14, you’ll have the value of the ball diameter. So this is how you can successfully calculate the diameter of your bowling ball.

A More Complicated But Accurate Way

For this method, you will be needing a few types of equipment. If you don’t have this equipment, you can just get the diameter measured by a pro shop that is nearby. But if you want to do it yourself, help yourself with these few steps.
1. To continue this process, make sure you have a bowling ball cup where you can put your ball for stability, a grease pencil, an outside micrometer caliper (Starrett no. 436, preferable range 8’’-9’’), and a pro sect (Turbo 2-N-1 is preferable).
2. Once you have gathered the tools you need, time to start the procedure. Place your bowling ball on the ball cup. Now grab your pencil and put a mark on the left side of your bowling ball.
3. Put your grease pencil on that mark you made on the left and with the help of the Pro Sect, mark another point on the right. Both points should be at a 180-degree angle.
4. Time to place the micrometer on the ball. Make sure the left measuring contact is placed just below the pencil mark of step 2 on the bowling ball. Now focus on where the top of the measuring contact is. Is it just below the mark? Then it’s perfect, it cannot be right on the mark.
5. Now, start to tighten the micrometer using the right dial at the end of the caliper. By doing that, the measuring contact will be just above the mark (from step 3) on the bowling ball. Remember, the measuring contact won’t be in direct touch with the mark.
6. Keep on tightening the micrometer until it looks like the right measuring contact is completely tight against the bowling ball. Make sure they are not clamped, just a little bit of resistance if you try to move the measuring contact.
7. What’s next? Just read the vernier scale and record the diameter of the ball you’re measuring. There you go! That’s how you can measure the diameter of your bowling ball.


I hope this article was helpful enough to understand bowling better. Understanding the diameter, circumference, etc is essential if you want to know more about1q your bowling ball.1 Moreover, you will never make a mistake while buying a new bowling ball. If you have any furt@her questions, feel free to getting touch and I will get back to you in a bit.


I’m an aspiring bowler with an immense love for bowling. I started playing the game at a very early age and it’s been an integral part of my life ever since.

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