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The Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Used Bowling Balls for Cash

  • Reading time:13 mins read

If you’re an avid bowler, chances are you’ve accumulated a collection of used bowling balls over the years. Whether you’ve upgraded your equipment, changed bowling styles, or simply don’t have a use for certain balls anymore, those used balls taking up space in your garage or basement could be worth some extra cash. But where exactly can you sell used bowling balls, and how do you get the best price for them?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the top places to sell your used bowling equipment, along with valuable tips to maximize your profits. By the end, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to turn your old bowling balls into a tidy sum.

Why You Should Consider Selling Your Used Bowling Balls

Bowling balls are not cheap investments. A quality new ball can easily cost $150 or more. So when it comes time to upgrade or replace your equipment, you don’t want those initial costs to go completely to waste.

Selling your used bowling balls allows you to recoup some of that original purchase price. Even if you don’t get full market value, you can usually get a decent amount back – enough to put towards a new ball or other bowling accessories.

Beyond the financial benefits, selling used equipment is also an environmentally-friendly option. Throwing away old bowling balls just contributes to landfill waste. By reselling them, you’re giving them a new life and preventing unnecessary disposal.

Many bowlers are also looking to save money on their sport by buying used equipment. So you’ll be doing a service to the bowling community by making your old gear available to those who can’t afford brand new balls.

Now that we’ve covered the key reasons to sell your used bowling balls, let’s dive into the top places to do so.

Where to Sell Used Bowling Balls

  1. Local Bowling Alleys

One of the easiest places to sell your used bowling equipment is right at your local bowling alley. Many bowling centers will actually buy back used balls and other gear from their regular customers.

The main benefit of selling to a local bowling alley is convenience. You won’t have to deal with the hassle of shipping, meetups, or online listings. Simply call ahead, bring your balls in, and negotiate a fair price with the manager or owner.

When approaching a bowling alley to sell, keep these tips in mind:

  • Call ahead first to see if they are interested in purchasing used equipment. Some may have specific policies or budgets in place.
  • Bring the balls in person so they can inspect the condition. Bowling alleys will want to ensure the balls are still in good, usable shape.
  • Be prepared to negotiate on the price. Bowling centers typically won’t offer full retail value, but you can try to meet somewhere in the middle.
  • Keep an open mind about the final sale price. Bowling alleys have to factor in the time and effort required to refurbish and resell used equipment. Their offer may be lower than you expect.

The main downside of selling to a local alley is that you’re limited to the demand and pricing within your immediate geographic area. You won’t get exposure to a nationwide buyer pool like you would with some online options. But for sheer convenience, local bowling centers remain a popular choice for many sellers.

  1. Online Marketplaces

If you want to cast a wider net and potentially get higher offers, selling your used bowling balls online is another great option. There are several popular marketplaces where you can list and sell your equipment:


As one of the biggest online auction and shopping platforms, eBay has a thriving community of sports equipment buyers and sellers. You can list your used bowling balls with detailed descriptions, photos, and starting bids.

The benefit of eBay is the massive user base – you’ll get exposure to bowlers from all over the country (or even internationally) who may be interested in your items. However, you’ll need to factor in eBay’s seller fees, which can eat into your profits.


Craigslist is a classic local classifieds site that’s well-suited for selling bulky items like used bowling balls. The process is relatively simple – you just create a free listing with photos and details about the equipment.

The main advantage of Craigslist is that there are no selling fees. You also get to interact directly with local buyers, which can make the transaction process smoother. The downside is the lack of buyer protection, so you’ll need to be cautious of scams.

Facebook Marketplace

Facebook’s built-in Marketplace feature has become another popular platform for selling all kinds of secondhand items, including sports gear. Creating a listing is free and easy, and you can target buyers within your local area or broader region.

The benefits of Facebook Marketplace are similar to Craigslist – low fees, direct buyer interaction, and a built-in social network of potential customers. However, Facebook’s platform does offer a bit more built-in buyer protection than pure classifieds sites.

Regardless of which online marketplace you choose, make sure to:

  • Take high-quality photos showcasing the ball’s condition
  • Write detailed, honest descriptions of the equipment
  • Research current market prices to set fair, competitive listing prices
  • Communicate promptly with interested buyers
  • Package and ship the balls safely if selling remotely

The online route gives you the widest buyer pool, but does require more effort on your part compared to a local bowling alley sale.

  1. Specialty Sports Equipment Stores

Another option for selling your used bowling balls is to approach specialty sports retailers in your area. These could be independent stores that focus on buying, selling, and trading all kinds of sporting goods – including bowling equipment.

The benefit of going this route is that the store owners will likely be more knowledgeable about the current demand and value of used bowling balls. They may be able to offer you a better price than a general retailer or individual buyer.

When reaching out to local sports stores, here are some tips:

  • Search online and in your community to find retailers that specifically deal in used sports equipment
  • Call or visit the stores ahead of time to gauge their interest in purchasing bowling balls
  • Be prepared to provide details on the ball’s make, model, weight, condition, etc.
  • Negotiate firmly but fairly on the price – sports store owners are experienced hagglers
  • Ask if they offer any kind of trade-in program or store credit in addition to cash

The downside of selling to sports stores is that your buyer pool will be more limited compared to online marketplaces. You also may not get as high a price as you would selling directly to another bowler. But the convenience and expertise of these specialty retailers can make it a worthwhile option.

  1. Bowling Ball Resellers/Wholesalers

For bowlers who have a large quantity of used equipment to sell, reaching out to bowling ball resellers or wholesalers may be the best approach. These are companies that specifically focus on buying used balls and other gear in bulk.

The main benefit of this channel is that you can potentially get decent prices by selling in volume. Resellers are equipped to refurbish, store, and resell used equipment, so they’re able to pay a bit more than individual buyers.

Some key things to know about selling to bowling ball resellers:

  • Research online to find reputable companies that specialize in used equipment buying
  • Be prepared to sell in larger quantities, usually a minimum of 10-20 balls at a time
  • Expect lower per-unit prices than selling individually, but higher overall payouts
  • Inquire about their inspection/grading process and what conditions they accept
  • Ask if they offer any shipping assistance or prepaid labels to make the process easier

The downside is that you may have to hold onto your used balls until you accumulate enough to meet the reseller’s minimum. And you won’t get the same level of visibility or buyer competition as you would selling online or locally. But for high-volume sellers, bowling ball wholesalers can be an efficient way to clear out old inventory.

  1. Donation Centers

If selling your used bowling balls isn’t a priority, you also have the option to donate them to various charitable organizations. This is a great way to give your old equipment a new life while also potentially earning a tax write-off.

Some common donation centers that accept used bowling gear include:

Goodwill The Salvation Army Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Bowling Ball Donation ICRC Disaster Foundation

When donating, be sure to ask the organization about their specific policies and procedures. Some may have restrictions on the types of balls they’ll accept (e.g. weight, condition) or require you to drop them off at designated collection sites.

You’ll also want to inquire about the potential tax benefits of donating. Depending on the organization and your personal tax situation, you may be able to claim a charitable deduction for the fair market value of your donated bowling balls.

While you won’t receive any immediate cash from donating, it’s a guilt-free way to clear out your used equipment and support a good cause. Just be sure to properly document the donation for tax purposes.

Tips for Getting the Best Price When Selling Used Bowling Balls

No matter which selling method you choose, there are a few key steps you can take to maximize the value of your used bowling equipment:

Research Current Market Prices

Before listing or approaching potential buyers, take some time to research the current market value of used bowling balls. Sites like eBay, Craigslist, and specialized sports equipment forums can give you a good sense of typical pricing.

Pay close attention to factors like ball weight, age, brand, and condition – these will all impact what buyers are willing to pay. Knowing the going rate will help you set fair, competitive prices.

Clean and Refurbish the Balls

Take the time to thoroughly clean and refurbish your used bowling balls before selling. This can dramatically improve their perceived value and appeal to potential buyers.

Use a ball cleaner solution to remove any dirt, oil, or other grime from the surface. Then consider having the ball professionally re-drilled and re-surfaced if it has any significant wear and tear.

Even small cosmetic touches like replacing the grip or shininess of the coverstock can make a big difference. The cleaner and more restored the ball, the more you can reasonably ask for it.

Package Safely for Shipping

If you’re selling your bowling balls online, you’ll need to have a solid plan for safely packaging and shipping them. Balls can be fragile and prone to cracking or chipping if not properly protected.

Use plenty of cushioning material like bubble wrap or foam to prevent damage during transit. And be sure to label the package clearly with “Fragile” markings. You may even want to consider insuring higher-value items.

Taking the time to package your used bowling balls securely will give buyers peace of mind and prevent issues that could lead to returns or negative reviews.


Selling your used bowling balls doesn’t have to be a hassle. By understanding the top places to list and sell your equipment, as well as some key tips for maximizing the value, you can easily turn your old gear into extra cash.

Whether you choose to sell locally, online, to specialty retailers, or even donate, there are plenty of options available. With a little research and preparation, you can find the right buyer and get a fair price for your used bowling balls.

So take a look through your equipment stash, identify the balls you no longer need, and get started on the selling process today. Your wallet (and the environment) will thank you!