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How Much Do Bowling Balls Cost? The Complete Guide to Bowling Ball Prices

  • Reading time:12 mins read

Selecting the perfect bowling ball is an exciting experience for any bowler, whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out. But one of the first questions on most people’s minds is: how much can I expect to spend on a bowling ball? The cost of a bowling ball can vary quite a bit depending on several factors.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take a deep dive into the typical price ranges for different types of bowling balls, the key factors that influence those prices, and where you can find the best deals. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of what to budget for your next bowling ball purchase.

Types of Bowling Balls and Average Costs

Bowling balls can be categorized into three main groups based on their intended use and the skill level of the player: beginner/recreational, intermediate, and high-performance. Let’s take a closer look at the average costs for each type.

Beginner/Recreational Bowling Balls ($50 – $150)

For casual bowlers or those just starting out, a basic, entry-level bowling ball will typically cost between $50 and $150. These balls are designed for maximum forgiveness and are made with lower-cost materials.

The core and coverstock of a beginner bowling ball are relatively simple. The core is usually a basic symmetric or asymmetric design, providing a moderate amount of hook potential. The coverstock is often made of lower-performance materials like polyester or plastic.

Beginner balls usually weigh between 6-16 pounds, making them easy to grip and control, even for younger or smaller bowlers. They may come with features like finger inserts or finger holes to help with grip and comfort.

While these balls won’t provide the high-performance hook and reaction of more expensive models, they are perfect for recreational use, league bowling, or getting started in the sport.

Intermediate Bowling Balls ($150 – $300)

As a bowler’s skills progress, they often graduate to an intermediate-level bowling ball in the $150 to $300 range. These balls offer more advanced technology and increased performance potential.

Intermediate bowling balls typically feature higher-quality core designs, like low-RG (radius of gyration) asymmetric cores, that provide more hook and backend reaction. The coverstocks are also made of more advanced materials, like urethane or early reactive resin, which further enhance ball motion.

Many intermediate balls also come with customization options, such as the ability to have the weight hole and balance hole drilled to your individual specifications. This allows you to fine-tune the ball’s weight and motion to match your particular throwing style and release.

Weights for intermediate balls usually range from 10-16 pounds, catering to a wider variety of bowler sizes and strengths.

High-Performance Bowling Balls ($300 – $500+)

For the most serious bowlers, high-performance bowling balls represent the pinnacle of technology and performance. These balls typically cost between $300 and $500, with some premium models going even higher.

The cores of high-performance balls are engineered for maximum power and hook potential. They often feature highly asymmetric designs or even multiple cores within a single ball. The coverstocks are made of the highest-quality reactive resin materials, providing incredible hook and backend motion.

Many high-performance balls also come with advanced features like grip inserts, balance holes, and other customization options. This allows bowlers to fine-tune the ball’s weight, balance, and overall reaction to their specific needs.

High-performance balls typically weigh 14-16 pounds, catering to the strength and skill level of experienced bowlers. These balls are favored by pro and elite amateur bowlers who demand the ultimate in ball reaction and performance.

Factors That Affect Bowling Ball Prices

Now that we’ve covered the general price ranges for different types of bowling balls, let’s dive deeper into the specific factors that can influence the cost of a bowling ball.

Ball Weight

The weight of a bowling ball is a significant factor in its price. Heavier balls, typically in the 14-16 pound range, tend to be more expensive than lighter balls in the 6-12 pound range.

Heavier balls are often made with more premium materials and advanced technologies to ensure they maintain the desired weight and performance characteristics. Lighter balls, on the other hand, can be produced with more basic, cost-effective components.

Core and Coverstock Materials

The core and coverstock materials used in a bowling ball are major contributors to its overall cost. Higher-quality, more advanced materials like reactive resin coverstocks and asymmetric cores tend to be more expensive than basic polyester or plastic counterparts.

Manufacturers investing in research and development to create new, innovative core and coverstock technologies can also command higher prices for their balls.

Brand and Manufacturer

Like with any product, the brand name and manufacturing reputation of a bowling ball can significantly impact its price. Well-known, established brands in the bowling industry, such as Storm, Roto Grip, Brunswick, and Hammer, typically charge more for their balls compared to lesser-known or generic brands.

Factors like the brand’s reputation for quality, their investment in research and development, and their marketing campaigns all contribute to the higher price tags on their bowling balls.

Special Features

Some bowling balls come equipped with additional features that can increase their cost, such as:

  • Grip inserts: Provide a more customized and comfortable grip for the bowler
  • Balance holes: Allow for fine-tuning of the ball’s weight and balance
  • Specialized coatings or finishes: Enhance the ball’s hook potential or aesthetics

These types of specialized features require more advanced manufacturing processes and materials, leading to higher prices for the end product.

Customization and Drilling

When purchasing a bowling ball, many bowlers opt to have it professionally fitted and drilled to their individual hand and release characteristics. This customization process can add significantly to the overall cost of the ball.

The fees for professional drilling and fitting services can range from $30 to $100 or more, depending on the pro shop and the complexity of the customization. Bowlers may also need to purchase additional accessories like grips, thumbs, and finger inserts, further increasing the total investment.

Where to Buy Bowling Balls (and Average Costs)

Bowling balls can be purchased from a variety of sources, each with its own advantages, disadvantages, and typical price ranges. Let’s take a look at the most common buying options:

Pro Shops ($50 – $500+)

Pro shops, located within bowling alleys or as standalone businesses, are the go-to destination for serious bowlers. These specialized retailers offer the widest selection of high-quality, name-brand bowling balls, along with expert advice and customization services.

Prices at pro shops can range anywhere from $50 for entry-level beginner balls to over $500 for the most advanced, high-performance models.

The added benefit of professional fitting and drilling services, which can cost an additional $30 to $100, is often included in the purchase price at pro shops.

The expertise and personalized service provided by pro shop staff can make the slightly higher prices well worth it for bowlers looking to optimize their equipment and performance.

Sporting Goods Stores ($50 – $300)

Retail sporting goods stores, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods or Sports Authority, also carry a selection of bowling balls, although their inventory is typically more limited compared to pro shops.

Prices at these stores generally range from $50 for basic beginner balls up to around $300 for mid-range, intermediate-level models. The balls available may not have the same level of customization options or advanced features as those found at pro shops.

However, sporting goods stores can be a more convenient and budget-friendly option for casual bowlers or those looking to get started in the sport without a significant initial investment.

Online Retailers ($50 – $500+)

In recent years, the online shopping landscape has expanded the options for purchasing bowling balls. Websites like Amazon, eBay, and specialty bowling retailers offer a wide selection of balls at various price points, often with the convenience of delivery straight to your door.

Prices on online bowling ball purchases can range from $50 for entry-level balls to over $500 for high-end, premium models. The advantage of online shopping is the ability to compare prices and reviews across multiple retailers, potentially finding better deals than what’s available locally.

The downside is the inability to physically inspect or try out the ball before purchasing, as well as the lack of professional drilling and fitting services. Bowlers may need to factor in additional costs for custom drilling if they go the online route.

Tips for Getting the Best Value on a Bowling Ball

With the wide range of bowling ball prices, it’s important to carefully consider your needs and budget to get the best value. Here are some tips to help you find the right bowling ball at the right price:

Evaluate Your Skill Level and Needs

Before making a purchase, honestly assess your current skill level as a bowler. Are you a beginner just starting out, an intermediate player looking to improve, or an experienced, high-performance bowler? Matching the ball type to your skill level will ensure you get the most value and performance out of your investment.

Consider factors like the amount of hook you need, the weight you can comfortably handle, and the features that will be most beneficial to your game. This will help you determine the appropriate price range to focus on.

Consider Used or Clearance Balls

For budget-conscious bowlers, purchasing a used or clearance bowling ball can be a great way to save money without sacrificing performance. Many pro shops and online retailers offer pre-owned balls that have been well-maintained and are still in excellent condition.

Clearance balls, which are often last year’s models or inventory being cleared out, can also provide significant savings compared to the current year’s lineup. Just be sure to inspect any used or clearance balls carefully to ensure they meet your needs and expectations.

Take Advantage of Package Deals

Some bowling ball retailers, especially pro shops, offer package deals that bundle the ball with accessories like a bag, shoes, or other gear. These package deals can sometimes provide a better overall value than purchasing the individual items separately.

Pay attention to any promotions or sales at your local pro shop or online retailers, as they may offer discounted package deals from time to time.

Get Properly Fitted and Drilled

While the cost of professional drilling and fitting services can add to the overall price of a bowling ball, it’s an investment that can pay dividends in the long run. A properly fitted and drilled ball will provide better performance, comfort, and control, ultimately enhancing your enjoyment and success in the sport.

Take the time to work with an experienced pro shop staff member to ensure your ball is customized to your unique hand size, grip, and release characteristics. This small additional cost can make a significant difference in the playability and longevity of your bowling ball.


Bowling ball prices can vary widely, from as little as $50 for a basic beginner ball to over $500 for the most advanced high-performance models.

Understanding the different types of bowling balls and the key factors that influence their cost can help you make an informed decision and find the best value for your needs and budget.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to upgrade your equipment, take the time to research your options, consider your skill level, and work with experienced professionals to ensure you get the perfect bowling ball to elevate your game. With the right ball at the right price, you’ll be on your way to striking success on the lanes.