How Much Does a Bowling Ball Weigh and Which is Suitable for me?

bowling ball weight

Bowling is a versatile game that’s widely popular throughout the world. Be a teenager or in your mid-forties, there’s something about bowling that makes it popular among people of all ages. However, choosing the right bowling ball is important for having a fun-filled gaming session.

Bowling ball comes in several different weights. Since its widely popular among people of different age groups and gender, the variation in weight enables people of different bodyweight to choose their perfect match.

 The rule of thumb is to opt for a ball that is 10% of your overall body weight. However, it may not work well for everyone, as the playing style varies from person to person. 

How Much Does a Bowling Ball Weigh?

The weight of the bowling ball ranges from 6 pounds to 16 pounds. Choosing the right bowling ball is a key decision a bowler has to make. The best way to choose the right weight of the bowling ball is to have confidence over your strength and choose the ball accordingly.

If you’re struggling with a 16-pound ball, then we recommend to downsize it to find your perfect match. Just because a ball weighs heavy doesn’t mean it will knock down more pins and help you play better. 

What Is The Average Bowling Ball’s Weight?

It is hard to identify the average weight as there are many categories of bowlers. Besides that, the average bowling ball weight is also different for Bowlers of different ages. However, in a general sense, the average weight of the bowling ball is 14 pounds for males and 12 pounds for females.

Heavyweight Bowling Balls

The heavyweight balls are a big no-no if you’re a beginner. It will make your hands go fatigued easily. Every it can cause serious injury for beginners and kids. If you have just started your bowling journey, it’s advisable to opt for a medium weight ball according to your body weight.

But there is also an exceptions. Some professional senior bolwers have chosen 16 pound equipment and they said it works best for them to hit the pin like a truck. But still it does not prove that 16 pound bowling ball is best for seniors.

However, once you level up on the game and gather some experience, it’s time to try balls with a higher weight limit. A heavier ball will enable you to throw it with more force and better accuracy.

It’s important to have a proper balance while throwing the ball to ensure that it hits the pins. It may take some to master the art of bowling with heavyweight balls. Once you get a grasp of it, you’ll rock the bowling alley in no time.

Men generally prefer balls between 12-16 pounds, and women usually go for the ones with 10-14 pounds. The preference is based on the strength of your arm as you don’t want to go for a ball that will cause discomfort and make you perform poorly after a few games.

Lightweight Bowling Balls

The lightweight bowling balls are the holy grail for novice players and beginners. Many out there are struggling with the heavyweight balls as they are harder to control. These balls are a perfect choice for children as they have less arm strength.

As you start your bowling journey, it’s safer to begin with balls weighing around 6-8 pounds. They will ensure that you don’t get tired or put any strain on your hands. I also suggest this type of ball for pregnant women as they are advised not to lift heavy things.

However, Lighter Balls don’t provide as much force as the heavyweight ones. You may knock down a lesser number of pins. You can raise the weight limit as you become more experienced and gather up more skills.

Also, these balls are also suitable for professionals who have recently suffered injuries as they tend to put less strain on the body.

Which Size is Suitable for me?

Well, there’s no specific answer to this question as it depends on quite a lot on your expertise and playing style. You can go for a trial and error session at the bowling alley to find your perfect match. We have come up with this basic idea that will help you pick the best one that’s compatible with you.

For Rookies

Just because you’re a novice player, it doesn’t mean you need to put a stop on your bowling journey. Also, you don’t need to spend a lot on the custom-made bowling balls. The house-balls have lightweight bowling balls that you can begin with and gradually increase the sizes. 

Also, there are labels on the balls that will help you figure out which one works the best for you. Typically, the balls weighing between 6-10 pounds are the rookie favorite. They may not provide extreme force but they’re easy to throw. 

For Children 

The lightweight balls are intended for children as they have lesser body mass and arm strength. A heavy bowling ball may cause strain and cramps on their muscles. Teenagers on the other hand, usually opt for balls weighing between 10-14 pounds.

Make sure the ball is suitable for their hand size. You can also choose the size of the ball according to the age of the child. For example, if the child is 10 years old, then you can opt for a ball weighing 10-pounds.

For Adults 

Adults with some level of expertise can go for balls with a weight of 12 pounds to 16 pounds. No matter what size you go for, make sure that you can have control over it and it’s comfortable for your hands.

The holes on the house balls may not feel comfortable for everyone. You can make custom-made bowling balls with holes that conform to the shape of your fingers. This will ensure that you throw at the target with better accuracy and optimum force.

For Professionals

Professionals prefer bowling balls that weigh between 13-16 pounds. The heavier balls hit the pins with greater force. This will ensure that you knock down more pins easily. 

If you’re an advanced player then you’ll gradually build up more muscle strength that will help you play with heavier balls without feeling fatigued. Most professional players prefer 13-pounds balls as they’re easier to manage and provides better accuracy on the alley.

For Women

Women can carry less weight then man. 12 to 14 pound bowling is suitable for professional women. But a newbie bowling ball weight should be less then 12 lbs at starting level.

Does the Weight of the Bowling Ball Make Any Difference?

This also depends on your expertise, skills as well as strength. The heavyweight balls tend to move with greater force as they have a higher mass. Each pin weighs around 2.8 pounds so you need quite a large force to knock them all down. Most of the professional player prefer heavier bowling balls.

If you’re a beginner, then our suggestion is to start with a lightweight one. This will give you more flexibility in the alley and help you gradually improve your skills. Also, the lightweight bowling balls are more forgiving on the body as they put less strain on the muscles.

Both of the weights have their merits and demerits. Bowling ball weight does matter because one weight is not suitable for everyone. It’s important that you find your perfect match to rock the bowling alley. 

There’s no universal ball weight that will work well for everyone. Pick the heaviest ball that you can throw comfortably with the utmost accuracy. There’s no shame in choosing a lightweight ball if that helps you improve your game.

As we said earlier, there’s a rule of thumb to pick a ball, which is 10% of your body weight. Well, it may be accurate in all cases. You can weigh 16 pounds, but a 16-pound ball may make you fatigued only after a few throws. 

Many times players tend to underperform because it’s hard to have a proper grip on the house balls. Custom-Made bowling is designed to conform to the shape of your hand, whereas the house balls are designed to fit as many people as possible. 

Our pro tip for you will be to get a custom drilled ball so that you can hold the ball with maximum grip and comfort. You can give special attention to finger holes because their size also matters whether a bowler can accommodate the weight of a ball or not. This will ensure that you throw the balls to the pin with ultimate force and precision at the same time. 

The Basic Structure of a Bowling Ball

A bowling ball consists of a hard outer shell with a weight block on its core. The weight and shape of the block determine the rev rate and then spins the ball on the alley. These factors play an important role in your overall performance. The weight blocks are made with either symmetrical blocks or asymmetrical blocks. 

Types of material used for a bowling ball 

Plastic- Plastic is one of the most common materials used in bowling balls. They provide an extremely smooth surface. However, this eventually reduces the hook potential in plastic bowling balls. They’re available in various weights and an excellent choice for beginner bowlers. They will also come in handy as a spare for professional players.

Urethane-Urethane bowling balls are a top choice by professionals as they offer much more friction between the ball and the lane surface. Therefore, they have greater hook potential compared to plastic. Urethane balls are easier to control and offer better pin action. However, they’re pricier compared to the plastic bowling balls.

Reactive Resin- If you’re a professional player, then reactive resin bowling balls are a godsend for you. These balls offer incredible friction, hook potential, and pin action compared to the other materials. However, they’re less durable compared to the urethane and plastic bowling balls. 

Bowling 101

We have come up with this basic bowling guide that will help you bring out your A-game on the alley. Like every other sport, bowling also takes up some time to master. Before you start the game, choose a ball that feels right on your hands. Make sure that your fingers are firmly inside the hole and you don’t have trouble taking them out during the throw. 

Also, good bowling gears are an important part of the game. Pick good bowling shoes as that will help you keep balance on the track. Any regular sneaker or shoes will work but make sure that you are comfortable in that pair.

Having the right posture is one of the keys to make the perfect shot. Take 5/6 steps backward from the starting line. Move towards the line and then swing out the ball towards the lane. You may not be able to knock down the pins on your very first attempt. 

However, you’ll gradually learn to do better and have greater control over the ball. If you’re a beginner, then always start with a lightweight ball as that will give you the flexibility to play for a longer period of time without getting fatigued. 

Final Thoughts

Bowling is a versatile game that you can enjoy with friends, family or even alone. It’s nothing short of amazing and you can make tons of memories on the alley. It’s critical that you find your suitable match of the bowling ball to enjoy the game to the fullest. 

A bowling ball comes in various weight ranges. Usually, it ranges from 6 pounds to 16 pounds. The material of the ball has an impact on the overall weight of the ball. You must ensure that the ball is well-fitted on your hands and fingers. Also, you shouldn’t opt for the one that will easily make you tired.

Make sure the ball conforms to the contours of your fingers so that you can perfectly make the throw. Go for the one that feels right on your hands and your body weight.

There are wide selections of bowling balls out there with different weight limits. It may take a while to learn the game and find your best match. Once you figure it out, bowling will surely be one of your favorite games to play.


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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