How Heavy Is A Bowling Ball?

How Heavy Is A Bowling Ball? (Not What You Think)

Last updated on June 6th, 2022 at 06:23 pm

When I was younger, I loved the sport of bowling. I always played when I had the chance. 

At the time I didn’t realize how heavy the bowling ball actually was.

I knew it was heavy but I didn’t know the actual weight. 

Many people don’t know the weight of a bowling ball. 

If you are one of those people, don’t worry as this article will explain everything you need to know about the weight of bowling balls. 

Choosing the proper bowling ball weight is important as everyone is different.

There is no one size fits all and bowling balls vary in weight. 

Weight of bowling balls

As mentioned, bowling balls can vary in size and weight.

The lightest bowling ball is 6 pounds and the heaviest is 16 pounds. The weight of the bowling ball used during play will also vary from person to person. 

How heavy of a bowling ball should I use?

If you are a current bowling player or want to start playing, you need to decide on a proper bowling ball weight that is best suited for you. 

There is no set rule of the game that states you must use a certain sized ball for your weight and size. But there is a general rule of thumb that you can follow.

Many people will choose a ball that is near 10% of their body weight.  

For example, if you weigh 160-170 pounds, you can use a 16-pound ball. If you weigh over 180 pounds, you might use an 18-pound ball. 

The most common bowling ball weight is between 12-14 pounds. 

Keep in mind that this is only a rule of thumb and an important consideration when choosing the weight of a bowling ball is your personal strength and overall health along with other factors. 

As there are 10 frames to play in bowling, you will need to ensure that the ball weight you have chosen can be used comfortably throughout the length of the game. 

You want to avoid injury so choosing a ball that is not too heavy for you will help prevent injury and fatigue.

If you find that the ball you are using is too heavy, you can always select a lighter ball.

Using the proper ball weight that suits you the best will improve your game and it will become more enjoyable. 

How do you know that your bowling ball is too heavy?

It can be difficult to determine the exact bowling ball weight for you.

You may try a few different ones to find the right fit.

To know if your bowling ball is too heavy try the following:

Stand with your arm placed by your side and extend your forearm out with the palm facing up.

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Place a bowling ball in the palm of your hand. If you can hold the ball comfortably without struggling and if your arm isn’t shaking, then the ball should be the right weight for you.

If your arm is shaking and you are finding the ball difficult to hold, then the ball is too heavy and you should try the next size down.

Read: How wide is a bowling lane with gutters?

How can you find out how much your bowling ball weighs?

Weighing your bowling ball is not as simple as placing it on a scale.

Chances are, the ball will roll off the scale and give you wrong numbers. 

You can take the ball to a pro bowling shop and have them weigh it for you.

The manufacturer would have already weighed it but if you are not sure you can either have them weigh it or follow these steps:

  • Weigh yourself on a scale and note the number.
  • Pick up the bowling ball and weigh yourself again. 
  • The difference in weight will be the weight of the ball. 

How heavy of a bowling ball is right for kids?

When choosing the right bowling ball weight for kids, you will want to stick to the lighter balls that are 6,8, or 10 pounds.

Kids will struggle holding a ball that is too heavy for them and they can easily hurt themselves. 

A rule of thumb for determining the right bowling ball weight for kids is to reference their age and use that number for the weight of the ball. 

For example, if the child is 8 years old, a bowling ball that weighs 8 pounds may be a good fit.

Of course, everyone is different and you may find that a 6 pound ball is more suitable. 

A teenager will find a slightly heavier ball more suitable like 12,13 or 14 pounds. 

Can you adjust the weight of a bowling ball?

While you can adjust the weight of a bowling ball, it is not recommended.

The main way to reduce the weight is by putting balance holes in the ball.

You can drill into the finger holes making it lighter, but usually, the weight will only change slightly.

This can dramatically change the dynamics of the ball and it’s better to choose a lighter ball than adjusting the weight of an existing ball. 

Bowling balls vary in weight from 6-16 pounds.

What weight of bowling ball do pro bowlers use?

As mentioned, a rule of thumb to determine the right bowling ball weight for you is to use 10% of your weight as a starting point. 

Most professional bowlers will use either a 15 or 16-pound ball.

Those are the most common weights. Many years ago it was quite common for all players to use the 16-pound ball which is the heaviest you could play with.

Now players will choose the ball weight that will help perfect their game and not just use the heaviest one available.

These days, more pro players use a 15-pound ball than the 16-pound ball. 

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