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How To Choose The Right Size Bowling Ball, Originally Posted: 4/1/2013; Updated: 5/16/2023

If you are a beginning bowler considering purchasing your first ever new bowling ball, you can learn how to choose the right size bowling ball by familiarizing yourself with a few important points.

First, all bowling balls used in the game of ten pins around the world are manufactured the same 8.5 inches diameter size with a very minute degree of diameter tolerance. The size of a ball is universal but the weight varies between 6 lbs and up to a maximum of 16 pounds.

It is the weight of the ball which must be your first serious consideration.

The most popular selection of bowling ball weight with adult bowlers is 15 lbs. on the high end and 14 lbs. for other bowlers. Some adult bowlers use between 10 and 12 lb balls if these bowlers have difficulty handling heavier weighted bowling balls. It is all about what is most comfortable for you! 

The quality of all the leading brands is extremely good these days so the weight should become your first priority, then the type of cover material and surface texture of the cover (known as the coverstock), then color, and then the length and hook potential ratings of a given bowling ball.

The type of coverstock can be plastic, regular urethane material, or reactive resin material with each generating varying amounts of surface traction on the lanes.

Some coverstocks are polished to a very shiny finish and will slide easily on the lane surface while others are textured to gain traction and grip the lane when the lanes are heavily conditioned with lane oil.

Your pro shop professional can help you select the best type of coverstock to suit your needs.

The same holds true with length and hook potential ratings. Without getting into overly scientific discussions, bowling balls are made with various constructions of inner core designs which can influence ball motion for those bowlers who have learned to use a hook style delivery.

The coverstocks also influence how soon a ball will gain maximum traction on the lane surface by virtue of the surface texture alluded to earlier. Your pro shop professional is equipped to help you choose a ball which will help you best.

The key is to choose the best weight bowling ball for you to handle. If you get an opportunity to check out new balls at your local pro shop, try bowling a game or two with a house ball before purchasing your own new ball. Get a feel for which weight house ball, which is free for use by the general public, is easy for you to handle without leaning too much to the lighter weight bowling balls.

Remember, the house balls you can use to test for an appropriate ball weight are not custom fitted to your hand and bowling fingers so the ball tends to feel slightly heavier than when you are professionally measured and fitted for a new ball. A custom drilled bowling ball can make all the difference. We offer custom drilling here at and would be thrilled to drill your new ball for you.

Keep in mind that the heavier the bowling ball, the greater force is imparted on the pins, A good strategy is to choose a ball one pound heavier than what you believe to be the best weight for you and have the ball fitted to your hand by an experienced pro shop professional. The ball will feel as light, or lighter, than the house ball you originally thought might be the best weight for your needs.

Another key is to take a bowling lesson, or a series of lessons, to learn the proper fundamentals of the game to shorten the waiting time to sharpen your new skills. Once you learn to bowl, you can advance in your choices of bowling ball equipment over time on your way to becoming an experienced bowler with a respectable bowling average.

If you are choosing a new bowling ball for someone else, it helps to investigate the weight of ball that person normally uses. If the person is a brand new bowler, ask them to go try house balls in open play bowling so you get an idea of the best weight to surprise the bowler with as a gift purchase. If you want this to be a complete surprise to them, you can always purchase a gift certificate and send it to them instantly via email so that they can choose a new ball. It's a "one size fits all" kind of gift!

If you are purchasing a bowling ball for a youngster, there is a rule of thumb for selecting an appropriate ball weight. If the child is 8 years of age, choose an 8 lb. bowling ball. As the child ages, you may have to consider stepping the bowler up in weight to add swing resistance and to help the bowler get improved pin carry.

You may have to use flexible thinking when choosing a ball weight for kids, because some kids are much stronger than others. The process should not be too difficult so perhaps it will be best to bring the youngster to the pro shop and get a second opinion about the weight of the ball you are considering.

Too light weight of a bowling ball weight can cause a bowler to be as ineffective in controlling the ball as is a ball which is too heavy. The most important thing is a good fit where the ball fits the bowler’s hand and the holes are shaped or contoured perfectly to conform with the bowling hand.

Shopping for a new bowling ball can be fun. With a little dedicated research time, you will make a good choice. And as always, if you have any questions about purchasing a new ball, we would love to help you! Simply email us at [email protected] or call us! (888)265-2695

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