How Heavy is a Bowling Ball in Pounds?

Bowling is a popular recreational activity and competitive sport enjoyed by millions of people worldwide. Central to the game is the bowling ball, a spherical object that plays a crucial role in determining a player’s performance. One of the key factors to consider when selecting a bowling ball is its weight, as it directly influences how it behaves on the lane. In this article, we will delve into the topic of bowling ball weight, exploring its significance, and helping you understand how to choose the right weight for your game.


Bowling balls have a rich history dating back centuries. Originally made from wood, they have evolved significantly over time. Today, modern bowling balls are made from advanced materials like urethane, reactive resin, and particle, offering enhanced performance and control. But why does weight matter? Let’s find out.

History of Bowling Balls

To comprehend the importance of bowling ball weight, we must first examine its historical context. Early bowling balls were often crafted from hardwoods, such as lignum vitae or applewood. These wooden spheres were significantly lighter compared to contemporary bowling balls. However, as the sport advanced, so did the materials used in manufacturing bowling balls.

Understanding Bowling Ball Weight

When it comes to choosing a bowling ball, weight is a crucial consideration. The weight of a bowling ball affects various aspects of the game, including control, accuracy, and power. Let’s delve into some factors to consider when selecting the appropriate weight for your bowling ball.

Standard Weights for Bowling Balls

Bowling balls typically come in a range of standard weights, starting from 6 pounds and increasing in increments of 1 or 2 pounds. The most common standard weights are 12, 14, and 16 pounds, with variations available for different skill levels and preferences.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Weight

Several factors influence the ideal weight for a bowling ball. Understanding these factors will help you make an informed decision:

  1. Bowler’s Skill Level: Beginners or younger bowlers often benefit from using lighter balls, allowing them to develop proper form and technique before advancing to heavier options.
  2. Physical Strength and Ability: A bowler’s physical strength and overall ability play a significant role in determining the ideal weight. It’s essential to find a weight that can be comfortably controlled and swung during the bowling motion.
  3. Lane Conditions: The lane conditions, such as oil patterns and friction, can impact how the bowling ball behaves. Adjusting the weight can help compensate for these conditions.

Weight Ranges for Bowling Balls

Bowling balls are available in various weight ranges, catering to different preferences and skill levels. Let’s explore the different weight options:

Lighter Weight Options

  1. 6-8 pounds: These lighter weight balls are primarily designed for children or individuals with limited physical strength. They provide better control and allow for improved accuracy.
  2. 8-10 pounds: Ideal for beginners and those who prefer lighter options, these balls offer enhanced maneuverability and control.

Medium Weight Options

  1. 10-12 pounds: A common weight range for recreational bowlers and those with average physical strength, these balls strike a balance between control and power.
  2. 12-14 pounds: This weight range caters to a wide range of bowlers, including intermediate and advanced players. They offer more power and hitting force.

Heavier Weight Options

  1. 14-16 pounds: Heavier bowling balls are often favored by experienced bowlers. They provide greater hitting power but require more strength and control.
  2. 16+ pounds: Typically used by professional bowlers, these balls offer exceptional power but necessitate significant strength and skill to handle effectively.

Finding the Right Weight for You

Choosing the right weight for your bowling ball is crucial for optimal performance. Here are some tips to help you find the weight that suits you best:

Consulting with a Pro Shop

Visiting a pro shop and seeking advice from knowledgeable staff is an excellent starting point. They can evaluate your physical capabilities and guide you toward the appropriate weight range.

Trying Different Weights and Assessing Comfort

Don’t hesitate to try out various weights to gauge your comfort level. Experimenting with different weights allows you to find the optimal balance between control and power.

Considering Personal Preference

Ultimately, personal preference plays a vital role in determining the ideal weight for your bowling ball. Factors like your bowling style, technique, and comfort level all contribute to your overall performance.

The Impact of Bowling Ball Weight on Performance

Bowling ball weight affects performance in different ways, influencing a bowler’s game and overall experience on the lanes. Let’s explore the impact of lighter and heavier bowling balls:

Lighter Bowling Balls

Lighter bowling balls offer enhanced control, making them suitable for beginners or those with limited physical strength. They allow bowlers to focus on developing their technique and accuracy without sacrificing control.

Heavier Bowling Balls

Heavier bowling balls generate more power and hitting force, making them advantageous for experienced bowlers who possess the necessary strength and control. They can help generate higher pin carry and increased pin action.

Skill Level and Weight Relationship

It’s important to note that the relationship between skill level and weight is not fixed. A beginner might find success with a lighter ball, while an experienced bowler may prefer a slightly heavier option. Experimenting with different weights and seeking guidance can help you determine the best weight for your individual circumstances.


In conclusion, the weight of a bowling ball is a crucial factor that significantly impacts a bowler’s performance. By considering factors such as skill level, physical ability, and lane conditions, you can choose the appropriate weight that maximizes your control and power. Remember, it’s always beneficial to consult with experts and try out different weights to find the perfect match for your game.


What is the standard weight of a bowling ball?

The standard weights for bowling balls range from 6 to 16 pounds, with the most common weights being 12, 14, and 16 pounds.

Can children use regular-sized bowling balls?

Yes, there are lighter bowling balls specifically designed for children, typically ranging from 6 to 10 pounds.

Do professional bowlers use heavier balls?

Professional bowlers often prefer heavier balls, such as those weighing 14 to 16 pounds, to generate more power and pin carry.

Can I change the weight of my bowling ball?

Bowling ball weight is not adjustable. However, you can explore different ball options within the appropriate weight range to find the right fit.

Are lighter bowling balls easier to control?

Yes, lighter bowling balls can be easier to control, making them suitable for beginners or individuals with limited physical strength.

Nick Spieth