Best bowling equipment reviews
Bowling equipment – Buying Guide, Ratings, & Comparison
Whether you’re just starting out or already have considerable bowling knowledge, finding good bowling equipment can be quite tough with the huge selection of products on the market. You probably don’t have the time or patience to go looking for the best models in each category. In order to save you time and effort, we have studied dozens of models from different brands to ensure that you get to choose from the most appreciated products available. Our top pick goes to the Brunswick TZone Green Envy bowling ball. Made by a legendary manufacturer, this medium-weight 10-pound ball is strong and sturdy, with a high RG rating and a heavy cover stock, capable of providing quality long shots and accurate hooks on many types of surfaces. In case this product is out of stock, our second recommendation is the Storm Pitch Black urethane bowling ball.
Top features to consider
If you’re looking to get the best bowling ball or some apparel but have no idea which models to go for, we have compiled a short buying guide to help you decide on the most important features so that you get to choose the right equipment for your bowling adventures.
Which bowling ball to go for?
In order to answer this question, you need to think about what sort of bowling you want to practice, and how much you are willing to spend. Bowling balls come in all sorts of types and sizes, and you can get anything from a cheap plastic ball to a professional-grade reactive resin model.
Weight is also important, if you’re just starting out and want to practice your shots, then a lighter 10-pound ball should do the trick. Professional balls usually weigh between 14 and 16 pounds, and you should forget about plastic at this level.
At higher levels, you have a choice between urethane and resin bowling balls. You should go for the best urethane bowling ball if you plan on bowling on drier lanes since the non-porous cover stock should provide you with great friction and control over your throws. For medium and wet conditions, a resin ball would work better. If you’re still unsure about which bowling ball you need, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to read our bowling equipment reviews in the bowling ball section below and check out some real models and what they’re suited for.
There’s no bowling without the pins
While this might seem obvious, you can’t bowl if you don’t have any pins. You can take your balls to the bowling alley, but if you want to build your own lane, or want something less serious and plan on bowling with your kids in the backyard, then you’ll need to get some pins.
Great bowling pins are made of blocks of hardwood such as maple, which are glued together and then treated with resins and other types of coatings in order to give them strength and other physical properties required for serious bowling.
You can also go for the less expensive plastic bowling pins, they are a great choice for a present, and they can also be used successfully for training your kids for the big league in the distant future.
Protective equipment is important
If you plan on bowling, then you need some protective equipment as well. In order to protect your hands from injuries, you should go for some bowling gloves. These will ensure that your wrist stays in a proper position while also providing your fingers with protection against sores and scratches.
The best bowling glove will also increase your performance by providing you with a firm and stable grip, preventing oil or sweat from affecting your throwing performance. You will also get a better feel for the ball by buying a model with a sensitive padded layer which will also increase protection against accidents.
Bowling shoes aren’t there just for the looks
Regardless if you’re a true bowling fan or someone who only bowls a couple of times per year, you probably know that showing up without bowling shoes is a big no-no. You might be wondering why bowling alley owners force everyone to wear bowling shoes. Why should you pay for these shoes when you have your own pair of snickers? After all, those ‘special’ bowling shoes don’t look that special to you.
In reality, bowling shoes aren’t there just for the looks. First of all, the approach, or the part of the lane that’s just before the foul line, is made to be moderately slick. Most people who bowl expect to slide during and after throwing the ball. If you were to wear street shoes, you could risk coming to an abrupt and unexpected stop and land on your face. So shoes are there to prevent injuries.
Excellent bowling shoes also provide increased performance, and that’s why you always see professional bowlers wearing them. These are custom-made to ensure certain properties a particular bowler desires. So you really do need to get bowling shoes, and which type you get depends on your style and skill level. Some shoes come with a rubber sole for better braking, others use mix materials to provide controlled sliding. Check the shoe specifications and choose the ones suited to your bowling style.
Keep your bowling ball clean and performing great
Once you’ve got one or more bowling balls, shoes, and some protective equipment, you might believe that you’re done. You wouldn’t think that something as small as a cleaner is important. In reality, getting the best bowling ball cleaner will ensure better performance as well as increased safety on all your throws.
By properly cleaning your bowling ball, you will prevent accidental slips or poor throws due to dust, debris or too much oil on the ball surface. You will also keep sweat away from interfering with your hooks and other techniques and ensure you get constant and accurate throws every time. With a professional cleaner, you will also protect your ball from damage due to drops and also help preserve its shine and colors for a longer period of time.
Make transport easy and safe for your bowling equipment
Because you also need to carry your bowling equipment from home to the bowling center and back, you probably don’t want to carry the ball in your hands and risk dropping it or looking like a complete rookie. Carrying a ball in your hands is also quite uncomfortable, and you’re also supposed to bring other stuff such as your own shoes, apparel, and other pieces of equipment.
Even an excellent bowling ball bag will cost little compared to other investments in this sport, and getting a quality model will provide you with safe and easy transport for all your equipment pieces. You will be able to organize all your things, protect your ball during transport as well as benefit from an easy way to transport your bowling accessories comfortably, regardless if you’re going by car or on foot.
Top rated products
If you’re searching for the best bowling equipment yet don’t have enough time on your hands to read dozens of web pages for info on balls, protective equipment, shoes and other accessories, then we have prepared a list with the top products for each category, so you get to choose the best for your bowling passion.
Bowling balls have suffered a variety of changes over time, going from wooden balls to balls made of rubber, plastic, urethane, and resin. One of the most important aspects to consider before buying a ball is the size. There are small 6-pound balls suited to kids, heavier balls for women and even 16-pound balls – the type that professional bowlers use.
Bowling balls also vary in construction, the center of gravity as well as the number and shape of the holes. Buying your own ball is the best choice since you get the right weights as well as the proper hole patterns, so that your fingers fit tightly without being too loose, thus significantly improving accuracy while minimizing injuries.
There are all sorts of ball models, and choosing one will depend on your skill level, preferred bowling style as well as other factors such as the lane conditions you will be bowling on, which type of tournaments you plan to enter, etc.
Brunswick TZone Green Envy 60105298930
If you plan to get a medium-sized bowling ball to improve your game, then the Brunswick TZone Green Envy is a great choice. The ball is made of strong and durable materials and has a polyester finish as well as a high gloss polish, allowing it to run smoothly on many types of alleys and perform great on different oil patterns.
This ball is great for improving your throwing skills since it weighs 10 pounds, which is quite the average when it comes to practicing bowling balls. While its hook potential is not the greatest, this ball is great for exercising basic throws and to improve your accuracy when going for the strike zone.
With a bullet-type center, the cover-heavy Brunswick TZone Green Envy has a high RG rating, with an RG max of 2.715 and RG min of 2.696, meaning that your shots will have a lot of length. You can improve your aim while also ensuring that you learn how to handle a less-oily pattern on dry to medium lane conditions. Because the ball will start spinning towards the end of the lane, you will get to save energy on your shots while also ensuring that the ball doesn’t hook too early.Click to see the price on Amazon!
Urethane bowling balls were invented in the 1980s to replace the plastic balls. These were better-suited to dry lane conditions so that users could throw more predictable shots. While reactive resin balls have become more popular, urethane balls are still used on dry to medium lane conditions.
Because their coverstock is not porous, they will not absorb oil, and thus have much higher friction on the dry part of the lane. This helps bowlers throw better hooks which translate into more accurate shots hitting the pockets. Pocket hits translate into a higher percentage of strikes, which is basically the easiest way to win a bowling game.
Urethane bowling balls, just like other types of balls, come in different weights, core types, grip hole patterns, etc. Thanks to the non-porous properties of these types of balls, it is easy to polish and sand their surface in order to customize and improve performance.
Storm Pitch Black
Whether you’re a bowling beginner wishing to practice hooks or an experienced bowler who prefers bowling on dry lanes, the Storm Pitch Black is a great addition. Weighing 13 pounds, it is just perfect for both practicing throws and hooks, yet heavy enough for even professional bowling tournaments.
While the urethane technology is not new, this ball is made according to modern bowling standards. This model is a common choice by professionals who prefer shorter oil patterns and wood lanes. One of the top qualities of the Storm Pitch Black is its predictability, allowing skilled bowlers to find the pockets again and again.
Thanks to its capacitor core, this model provides you with excellent flare potential control. The 13-pound version has an RG of 2.61, with a differential of 0.021. Thanks to its high RG and low differential, this ball can provide you with the finest motion control, allowing you to throw long shots and ensure smooth rolling every time even on tougher lane conditions. Hook potential is also greatly increased, as this ball offers high friction on the dry part of the lane. This model comes with a 1000-grit pad factory finish.Buy from Amazon.com for ($119.95)
No matter what kind of equipment you have and how good your bowling ball collection is, there’s no bowling unless you have some bowling pins. If you don’t want to go to the bowling alley each time you feel like throwing some shots, then you definitely need to look at some bowling pin sets to enjoy a great game at home or a friend’s gym.
Bowling pins are made of all sorts of materials, although professional-grade pins will always be made of wood. These high-end models are normally made of blocks of rock maple wood which are glued together. Then the pins are covered in protective layers made of plastic or other synthetic materials such as nylon. These confer bowling pins with resistance against repeated mechanical shocks.
A good bowling pin must be solid, durable, relatively easy to strike down, as well as to have the typical sound bowling fans love.
Cosom White Weighted 10 Bowling Pin Set 000304
While you may not be able to set up a professional bowling alley anywhere, you do have the opportunity to bowl in your backyard, thanks to the new Cosom White Weighted 10 Bowling Pin Set. While these are not professional-grade bowling pins, they are great for birthday parties or for setting up a quick bowling game. Luckily, they also don’t have the price of professional bowling pins, so getting this set won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Each of the bowling pins has the official shape and size, measuring 15 inches in height. Additional sand ballast has been added to each pin in order to provide them with realistic action, making them behave close to professional bowling pins.
The 10-pin set is easy to setup, you can easily mount it in a gymnasium or even your backyard and start a game of bowling with your kids or family friends. You also get a score pad so that you can keep up with who’s winning. This set also includes a colored 5-pound ball which has grip holes of varying shapes and sizes, perfect for a custom hold for both kids and adults.Buy from Amazon.com for ($144.01)
Top bowling glove
Whether you’re a rookie or a bowling professional, wearing a bowling glove is never a bad idea. With a good glove, you get to protect your wrist from injuries, prevent calluses from forming in the palm of your hand and on fingers while also enjoying a better feel for the ball.
Another advantage to wearing a bowling glove is that oil from the ball or sweat from the palms won’t affect your performance. The glove will provide you with a firm grip every time and ensure that you get to throw those superb hooks and increase your chances for a strike.
Bowling gloves come in many shapes and sizes. Some are meant to protect only the wrist from injuries, others come with one finger to protect the pinkie or the pointer finger. There are also two-finger gloves as well as full-finger gloves for maximum protection and grip.
Storm Xtra-Grip Plus
If you’re looking for a professional-grade bowling glove that comes at an affordable price, then the Storm Xtra-Grip Plus is a great choice. Made from resistant and durable materials, this glove is bound to provide you with the protection and performance you’re looking for to improve your bowling game. This glove can offer excellent gripping power as well as increased control over the ball so that you can throw predictable shots or complex hooks every time.
This glove is made of strong materials that will keep your wrist into the correct position and prevent injuries that could affect your hand. You also get a reinforced backhand support to ensure a consistent position every time. The palm is covered in a special gripping compound so that you get a great feel for the ball despite wearing the glove.
The finger gussets are made of spandex fabric, providing you with a firm grip while also preventing skin injuries from prolonged bowling or inadequate throwing techniques. You also get an elastic wrist wrap to ensure proper support for the tendons which might otherwise be at risk. Despite its strong build, this glove also has an ingenious ventilation system so that you can maintain your hands dry and free of sweat.Buy from Amazon.com for ($17.95)
Best bowling shoes
Whether you’re serious about bowling or just want to go several times per year to have some good old bowling fun, you will need to wear bowling shoes. These are not only meant to look good and match the bowling alley, but they serve two purposes: to provide protection and increase performance.
Bowling shoes are specially made to ensure that you don’t come to a full stop after making a throw, especially considering the relatively slick approach area. These shoes have soles which are designed to prevent abrupt stops, yet still, provide enough slide to continue the throwing motion.
With a pair of good bowling shoes, you also get to improve your performance. You can buy shoes which are made for a particular type of bowling lane, such as wet conditions, where the sole needs to provide better grip to compensate for the high oil content.
KR Mens Flyer Bowling Shoes
The KR Mens Flyer Bowling Shoes are great for both enthusiast and intermediate-level bowlers. These are made of high-quality materials that are made to last, are great for various lane conditions, and they come at a more than affordable price.
Made of synthetic materials, the upper part of the shoes is resistant and will ensure that you are confident on your feet every time you bowl. This material may be extremely durable, but it is also soft enough to provide gentle support and comfortable wearing conditions so that you can bowl for hours on end without feeling fatigue or hurting your feet. The KR Mens Flyer Bowling Shoes are also highly flexible and provide you with freedom of movement thanks to the Flex Slider Technology which employs white microfiber slide pads.
The tongue and collar of these shoes are lined with special soft textiles to prevent calluses or sores and ensure that you stay 100 percent comfortable all throughout the bowling session. The outsole is made of non-marking rubber, ensuring a confident grip even on slippery lanes while also leaving no traces, which wouldn’t just affect the look of the lane, but also advance potential risk of injury.Buy from Amazon.com
Top bowling ball bag
You don’t have to be a professional league bowler to want to have your own equipment. You probably have already purchased, or are in the process of getting bowling balls of various weights and constructions, shoes, gloves and other accessories. But how will you carry them all to and from bowling alleys?
The good news is that there are quite a few high-quality bowling ball bags out there that could help you provide your equipment with maximum protection while also helping you easily transport it anywhere.
A good bowling ball bag is made from a tough and durable material which can be with or without interior padding. This bag can ensure that your precious balls are safe from mechanical damage such as dents and scratches. You also get to protect the balls from getting dirty while also having special compartments for gloves, shoes, clothes and other accessories.
BSI Deluxe Single Ball Tote Bag 225
If you’re looking for a quality bowling bag that’s strong, durable and affordable, then the BSI Deluxe Single Ball Tote Bag 225 is perfect for your needs. Made from heavy-duty ramy and poly fabric, this bag is meant to provide one bowling ball and other pieces of equipment with the ultimate protection.
With this bag, you get to keep your bowling ball protected thanks to the foam ball cup. You also get a personal organizer pocket with a strong zipper so that you can keep your belongings neat and protected. Besides a bowling ball, this bag also allows you to keep your shoes in a special compartment which on this model can hold up to Men’s size 14.
The exterior of the bag is tough and resistant to damage. Thanks to the adjustable shoulder strap, you can ensure that you get to transport your bowling equipment safely and comfortably without tiring. This bag also features two ergonomic handles which, along with the shoulder strap, are padded so that you don’t risk developing sores in your hands before you get to even throw the first ball on the bowling lane.Buy from Amazon.com for ($24.95)
Top bowling ball cleaner
If you want to enjoy top performance whenever you go bowling, then you should be surprised to learn that something seemingly unimportant such as a cleaner is what you need. No matter how expensive your bowling ball is, you won’t be able to bowl properly if it is covered in dust and grime, especially on wet lanes with lots of oil. Your sweat will also affect your throws negatively, causing slips and improper shots, and possibly even injuries to your hands and fingers.
With a good cleaning solution and a towel or microfiber cloth, you can ensure that the bowling ball is clean and free of debris which could affect its performance on the lane. Depending on the type of surface you’re bowling on, the ball might need to be squeaky clean, especially in drier conditions when you want a lot of friction to throw those long distance hooks.
Monster Tac Ball Cleaner
If you want to get a solution to keep all your bowling balls impeccable, then the Monster Tac Ball Cleaner is just what you need. This cleaner is approved by the USBC and is used by both novice and professional bowlers throughout the United States.
You can use this product anytime, cleaning bowling balls before sessions, during tournaments and after getting home. This versatile solution works great for all types of surfaces, so you can use it regardless if you have a plastic, urethane or reactive resin bowling ball. Thanks to its improved formula, you can ensure that the ball is free of dust, oil or other debris to provide you with a reliable performance every time.
With the Monster Tac Ball Cleaner, you also get to prolong the life of your equipment as well as ensure proper reactivity in case of resin bowling balls. This product comes in 32-ounce bottles and can last for a very long time so that you get to enjoy worry-free bowling at the highest level. This cleaner is also safe to use on any kind of ball surface and will help preserve both physical properties as well as its original shine in the long term.Buy from Amazon.com for ($32.99)
Frequently asked questions about bowling gear
Are bowling balls recyclable?
Depending on the material they’re made of, some bowling balls can get recycled. Plastic balls can be recycled and reused, although they’re not very common at a professional level. Urethane and reactive resin balls are quite expensive to recycle. However, you can always donate them to someone just beginning in the sport or to some children wishing to exercise. If they’re damaged, they can still make for good decorative objects, especially the colored ones.
Are bowling shoes true to size?
Yes, bowling shoes have the same size as regular shoes. However, just as with ordinary shoes, sizes might vary from one brand to another. This is why it is better to try out the bowling shoes when possible. If ordering them online, you can use size charts ensure that they are a good fit. In the unfortunate event that you still get the wrong size, many online retailers accept product returns, so that you can swap them for the right size.
How are bowling balls made?
In the past, bowling balls used to be made from hardwood such as Lignum Vitae. Hard rubber was used in the early 20th century, only to be followed by plastic and then urethane in the 1980s. The most modern are the particle or reactive resin bowling balls. They are made of polyurethane or ‘urethane’ and then covered with special additives to create porous coverstocks. Modern bowling balls have complex construction designs, with differently-shaped cores, covers made of various mixes and different manufacturing procedures.
When was bowling invented?
The oldest known bowling balls were made of grains covered in leather and were discovered in Egypt, dating back to 3200 BC. Bowling became a popular sport in the Middle Ages, although the game was different from how we know it today. The emergence of modern bowling is credited to have happened in 1841 when the state of Connecticut banned 9-pin bowling because of gambling, and thus 10-pin gambling was born.
What bowling ball to use?
This will solely depend on your skill level and intended use. If you plan to set up a bowling alley in your backyard just for fun, then plastic balls are fine. Urethane and resin balls are required for conventional bowling alleys, and which ones you use depend on the conditions of the lanes, e.g., how oily the surfaces are. The weight will also vary depending on your style as well as age and technique.
Which bowling ball brand is the best?
There is no single best bowling ball brand, although there are some established brands such as Brunswick, Ebonite, Motic, Pyramid, and Storm with loads of products on the market. Each brand comes with its own line of balls, and which ones you should get depends on price, level as well as preferences. You can get by with affordable models to practice your techniques but will need to invest in high-end equipment from a reputable brand at a professional level.
What are the best bowling brands?
Originally founded by Bill Chrisman as High Score Products back in 1985, the company started out by selling cleaners for the then-new urethane bowling balls. Starting from 1991, the company began to manufacture its own balls, coming with great models that earned it critical acclaim and the appreciation of countless professional bowlers after just 3 years in the new business.
Storm has become a reputable brand which dominates the professional bowling ball market, with many models presenting complex designs and superior coatings which provide enhanced performance to novice and expert bowlers alike. Although the company manufactures all types of balls, it is perhaps better known for its high-end models.
Brunswick is one of the oldest bowling ball brands out there, with a legendary reputation for manufacturing high-quality bowling balls as well as other accessories. The company dates back to 1845, although back then they operated in the billiards industry.
They started producing bowling balls in the 1880s, and have spearheaded the bowling revolution with countless innovative technologies and improvements. In 2014, the company announced that it planned to exit the bowling business, and it succeeded in doing so the following year. Now, Brunswick bowling balls are manufactured under the ownership of BlueArc Capital Management, and many bowling fans have noticed an improvement in newer models.
Headquartered in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Ebonite is one of the most popular bowling ball brands on the market. It operates under its parent company, Ebonite International, which also produces high-quality balls under the brand name Hammer. Ebonite bowling balls are known for their superior design and endurance.
Thanks to its popularity, the brand has also managed to acquire other bowling companies such as Columbia, which it purchased in 2007. Now, Ebonite sells 3 of the most internationally-recognized brands: Ebonite, Hammer and Columbia 3000. These brands provide both entry-level bowling balls as well as professional models for tournaments.
Dating back to the 1990s, Motiv is a company that was initially known for manufacturing high-quality bowling ball cores. After coming with many innovative designs, the company decided to build its own bowling balls in 2007. After some initial success, the company started to diversify, coming up with newer and better bowling balls.
All balls sold by Motiv benefit from the patented NeoMark graphics technology which enables sophisticated and visually-appealing graphics which aren’t engraved but impregnated into the cover stock structure. This doesn’t just provide them with long-lasting beauty, but also with a uniform surface which improves performance and provides consistent results at a professional level.
Pyramid is one of the younger brands of bowling balls which has succeeded in becoming popular among bowling aficionados. The company was founded in 2011, initially offering polyester bowling balls under the Path line series.
After some success, the brand started to expand its line of products with both amateur and professional bowling balls as well as other accessories such as shoes, protective apparel, bags and other accessories. Now, Pyramid is one of the most reputable industry leaders, with a diverse line of products which provide performance, durability, and comfort for bowling fans around the world.