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How Expensive are Bowling Balls? A Comprehensive Price Guide in 2024

  • Reading time:13 mins read

Bowling is an immensely popular sport enjoyed by people of all ages around the world. Whether you’re a casual bowler hitting the lanes for fun with friends or a seasoned league player always seeking to improve your game, having your own bowling ball is an absolute must.

However, the cost of bowling balls can be quite confusing, with a wide range of prices based on various factors. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about how expensive bowling balls can be and what influences their prices.

Types of Bowling Balls:

Before we dive into the specific pricing factors, it’s essential to understand the different types of bowling balls available on the market. The cost can vary significantly based on the ball’s construction, materials, and intended use.

  1. Entry-level/Basic Plastic Balls: These are the most affordable bowling balls, typically ranging from $40 to $100. They are made from a basic plastic material and are designed for casual or beginner bowlers. While they may lack the more advanced features of higher-end balls, they are a great starting point for those new to the sport or looking for a reliable spare ball.
  2. Mid-range Reactive Resin Balls: A step up from plastic balls, reactive resin balls are typically priced between $100 and $180. These balls feature a reactive resin coverstock, which provides more traction and hooking potential on the lanes. Mid-range reactive resin balls are a popular choice for intermediate and league bowlers seeking improved performance without breaking the bank.
  3. High-end Particle/Pearl Balls: For serious bowlers looking for maximum performance, high-end particle or pearl balls are the top choice. These balls feature advanced coverstocks made from materials like solid reactive resins or pearled/particle coverstock blends. They offer superior traction, backend reaction, and overall performance but come with a heftier price tag, typically ranging from $150 to $300 or more.
  4. Custom-Drilled Balls for Professional Bowlers: At the highest level, professional bowlers often opt for custom-drilled balls specifically designed and laid out to match their unique bowling styles and rev rates. These custom balls can easily cost $200 or more, with some of the most advanced and specialized balls reaching even higher price points.

Factors Affecting Bowling Ball Prices:

Beyond the general ball types, several other factors can significantly impact the cost of a bowling ball. Understanding these elements will help you make an informed decision when purchasing your next ball.

  1. Core Type: The core is the heart of a bowling ball, and its design can influence the ball’s overall motion and performance. Pancake cores are more affordable and provide a more predictable and controlled ball motion, while asymmetric cores are more expensive but offer increased flare potential and backend hooking action.
  2. Coverstock Material: The coverstock is the outer shell of the bowling ball and plays a crucial role in determining traction and overall performance. Basic plastic coverstocks are the most affordable, followed by polyester, reactive resin, and finally, the high-performance particle or pearl coverstocks, which are the most expensive.
  3. Brand: Just like any other product, bowling ball prices can vary significantly depending on the brand. Premium brands like Storm, Roto Grip, and Motiv typically command higher prices due to their reputation for quality, innovation, and performance. On the other hand, lesser-known or off-brand bowling balls may be more affordable but may lack the same level of engineering and quality control.
  4. Entry-level vs. Professional Grade: Bowling ball manufacturers typically offer different lines or series targeting different skill levels. Entry-level balls are more affordable and designed for casual or beginner bowlers, while professional-grade balls are engineered with advanced materials and technologies, resulting in higher prices but superior performance.
  5. New vs. Used/Resurfaced: Like many sports equipment items, you can often find significant savings by purchasing used or resurfaced bowling balls. While these may not have the latest technologies or be in pristine condition, they can be a cost-effective option for bowlers on a budget.

Other Costs to Consider:

Beyond the bowling ball itself, there are several additional costs that bowlers should factor in when budgeting for their equipment.

  1. Drilling Costs: Most bowling balls require drilling to accommodate the bowler’s specific grip and span preferences. Drilling costs can range from $30 to $100 or more, depending on the complexity of the layout and the pro shop’s rates.
  2. Bags and Cases: Investing in a quality bowling bag or case is essential for protecting your equipment during transportation. Prices for bags and cases can range from $30 for basic models to $200 or more for premium, multi-ball cases with wheels and additional features.
  3. Bowling Shoes: While not strictly necessary for casual bowling, serious bowlers often invest in their own bowling shoes for improved traction and slide. Prices for bowling shoes can range from $30 for entry-level models to $150 or more for high-performance shoes designed for tournament play.
  4. Wrist Supports and Accessories: Bowling can put significant strain on your wrists, so many bowlers choose to use wrist supports or braces to minimize injury risk. Additionally, various accessories like towels, ball cleaners, and polishes can add to the overall cost of bowling equipment.

Where to Buy: Pros and Cons:

When it comes to purchasing bowling balls and equipment, bowlers have several options, each with its own pros and cons.

  1. Pro Shops: Buying from a dedicated pro shop at your local bowling alley can be advantageous as you’ll have access to expert fitting advice and guidance from experienced professionals. However, pro shops generally have higher prices due to overhead costs and the personalized service they provide.
  2. Online Retailers: Online retailers like,, and Amazon offer a wide selection of bowling balls at competitive prices. While you may not get the same level of personalized fitting advice, online retailers often have sales and discounts that can help you save money.
  3. Used Bowling Ball Stores and Classifieds: For bowlers on a tight budget, checking out used bowling ball stores or online classifieds can be a great way to find high-quality equipment at significantly reduced prices. However, it’s essential to inspect used balls carefully for cracks, damage, or excessive wear before making a purchase.

When a New Ball Makes Sense:

While bowling balls can be a significant investment, there are certain situations where investing in a new ball can be well worth the cost.

  1. Skills Have Outgrown Current Ball: As your bowling skills improve, you may find that your current ball no longer provides the performance or reaction you need. Upgrading to a more advanced ball can help take your game to the next level.
  2. Ball Has Cracks or Damage: Over time, bowling balls can develop cracks or other types of damage that can affect their performance and safety. In these cases, it’s best to retire the ball and invest in a new one.
  3. Playing in Tournaments or Competitive Leagues: If you’re participating in tournaments or competitive leagues, having a high-performance ball designed for that level of play can give you a significant advantage over using an entry-level or basic ball.
  4. Ball Doesn’t Match Desired Weight or Grip Specifications: As your bowling style and preferences evolve, you may find that your current ball no longer matches your ideal weight or grip specifications. In these situations, a new custom-drilled ball can help optimize your performance.

Taking Care of Your Investment:

Bowling balls can be a significant investment, so it’s essential to take proper care of them to ensure they last and perform at their best for as long as possible.

  1. Wiping and Cleaning Balls: After each use, be sure to wipe down your bowling ball with a clean, dry towel to remove any dirt, oil, or debris that may have accumulated during play. This will help prevent the ball from becoming too dry or absorbing unwanted oils that can affect its performance.
  2. Using Ball Cleaner and Polish Products: Over time, bowling balls can become dull or develop a buildup of lane oil and debris that can impact their reaction and performance. Using specialized ball cleaners and polishes designed for your specific ball type can help restore its surface and keep it performing at its best.
  3. Proper Storage Case: Investing in a quality ball case or bag can help protect your bowling ball from scratches, dings, and other types of damage when not in use. Look for cases with enough padding and compartments to securely store all your bowling equipment.
  4. When to Resurface: Even with proper care and maintenance, bowling balls will eventually need to be resurfaced to restore their coverstock and maintain optimal performance. Most pro shops recommend resurfacing your ball every 60-80 games or when you start to notice a significant change in its reaction or hooking potential.

Budget-Friendly Options:

For bowlers on a tight budget or those just starting out in the sport, there are several cost-effective options to consider when it comes to acquiring a bowling ball without breaking the bank.

Used or Resurfaced Bowling Balls:

One of the most budget-friendly approaches is to purchase a used or resurfaced bowling ball. Many pro shops and online retailers offer a selection of pre-owned balls that have been resurfaced and restored to like-new condition.

These balls can often be found for a fraction of the cost of a brand-new ball, making them an excellent choice for those on a tight budget.

When shopping for used or resurfaced balls, it’s essential to inspect them carefully for any visible cracks, damage, or excessive wear. Additionally, it’s a good idea to have the ball checked by a professional at a pro shop to ensure that it meets your desired specifications and performance requirements.

Off-Brand or Warehouse Club Bowling Balls:

Another cost-effective option is to consider purchasing an off-brand or lesser-known brand of bowling ball. While these balls may not have the same level of brand recognition or cutting-edge technology as the premium brands, they can still provide decent performance at a significantly lower price point.

Warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club often carry bowling ball bundles or packages that include a ball, bag, and accessories at a discounted price. These can be an excellent choice for those just starting out and looking for a complete setup without breaking the bank.

House Balls at Local Bowling Centers:

For casual bowlers or those just beginning to explore the sport, using the house balls provided by your local bowling center can be a great way to save money.

While these balls may not be customized or offer the same level of performance as a high-end ball, they can be a cost-effective solution for recreational bowling or practice sessions.

Many bowling centers offer discounted rates or package deals that include the use of house balls, making it an affordable way to enjoy the sport without the immediate need to invest in your own equipment.


Bowling balls can indeed be a significant investment, with prices ranging from as low as $40 for entry-level models to well over $300 for high-end, professional-grade balls.

However, by understanding the various factors that influence bowling ball costs, such as ball type, coverstock material, brand, and construction, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your skill level, budget, and performance requirements.

Remember, while a more expensive ball may offer advanced features and superior performance, it’s not always necessary for casual or beginner bowlers. Start with a ball that fits your current needs and budget, and as your skills progress, consider upgrading to a more advanced model.

Ultimately, the key is to find a ball that feels comfortable, suits your playing style, and provides the level of performance you desire, whether that’s a budget-friendly used ball or a top-of-the-line particle ball designed for professional-level play.

By taking the time to research your options, considering all the associated costs (such as drilling and accessories), and exploring budget-friendly alternatives like used balls or house balls, you can enjoy the sport of bowling without breaking the bank.

So, whether you’re a seasoned pro seeking that perfect reactive resin ball or a beginner looking to start your bowling journey, this comprehensive guide has provided you with the knowledge and tools to navigate the world of bowling ball pricing confidently.