Urethane Bowling Balls: Why, When and How…

If you are thinking of starting a bowling career, learning about the art and the game’s basics is necessary. One of the most important parts of bowling theory is the bowling ball’s material, and the most popular material is none other than Urethane. There are different materials used to make bowling balls too, but Urethane is famous worldwide.

At this point, you may be wondering what a urethane bowling ball is? How does it react to the lane surface? How does it compare to other bowling balls? I am glad to say I am here to answer these and all other questions you might have in your mind.

In this article, I will talk about Urethane bowling balls, their benefits, when you should use them, and how you can maintain your custom urethane bowling balls. I will also compare Urethane bowling balls with Reactive Resin bowling balls to see the differences. Make sure you read this article until the end if you want to become a professional in bowling theory.

How, when and why use Urethane Bowling Balls

What is a Urethane Bowling Ball?

A bowling ball is made up of the coverstock, also called the finish of the ball, and the weight block resides within the bowling ball to provide it heft and balance.

Polyurethane is one of the most durable and popular coverstock materials for a bowling ball. Urethane bowling balls are made up of polyurethane, which provides the ball a frictional capability when in contact with the lane surface.

This makes Urethane bowling balls great for hooking and getting into splits. That is why professionals and beginners prefer Urethane finish bowling balls over other materials like plastic and reactive resin.

Benefits of Using a Urethane Bowling Ball

Want to learn why urethane bowling balls are so popular and great for all kinds of bowling situations? Let us look at some of the incredible benefits that come with the use of a urethane bowling ball.

Hook Capability

One thing about urethane bowling balls is that the shiny yet patterned finish on the ball creates friction. This friction is in full fledge when the ball comes in contact with the bowling lane.

This friction allows you to maneuver the ball according to your liking. You can get into nooks and splits and get the ball to curve. This ball is more beneficial for strikes because of the better hooking capability.

Want to learn more about hooking? Please read our article How to Hook a Bowling Ball.


Another of the most significant benefits of using urethane bowling balls is the sheer controllability and balance you get from it, irrespective of how proficient or new you are to the bowling game.

So you can use it for the excellent hook potential it comes with, or if you want to throw it straight, you can control the movement and the ball’s angling effectively without making a mistake.

Good for Beginners and Professionals

The controllability and friction make urethane bowling balls ideal for all kinds of bowlers. Whether you are a beginner who does not use the bowling ball’s hooking technique or a professional who wants to get a strike every single time with a curved throw, the urethane bowling ball will be ideal for all types of skill holders.

Read more about strikes here: A Strike in Bowling – Did you know all this?

Better Pin Action

Since the friction between the lane and the ball is high, the urethane bowling balls tend to deflect pins very little, which helps the pins knock each other out and not get knocked into one corner. Better pin action means that you will be able to knock more pins without taking extra turns. Pin action is quite important for getting strikes.

When to Use a Urethane Bowling Ball?

That is a great question. The simple answer is that you can use a urethane bowling ball effectively on any surface and in any condition. However, to achieve the best results, since the urethane bowling ball does not absorb any oil, a heavily oiled bowling lane surface would be ideal for it to be used.

The ball will be able to move according to your throwing mindset, whether you want to score a spare with a straight throw or a strike with a hooked or curved throw. This way, you will be able to achieve maximum controllability and score the points you want.

Check out these amazing Urethane Bowling Balls: Urethane Bowling Balls

How Long Does a Urethane Bowling Ball last?

The longevity of a bowling ball, on average, depends upon the material of the coverstock. A plastic bowling ball is less durable than a urethane bowling ball and would last less long.

Read our article on the plastic bowling balls here: Plastic Bowling Balls – When to use it.

According to research, a urethane bowling ball would last from around 5 to 10 years, depending upon the ball’s maintenance and usage. That translates to roughly 250 to 300 games. This shows that urethane bowling balls are some of the most durable coverstock material bowling balls on the market.

Cleaning a Urethane Bowling Ball

Maintaining a urethane bowling ball is incredibly important if you want your ball to last as long as possible. Otherwise, it will not stay good for throwing for more than 5 years. Here is a step-by-step guide you can keep your bowling ball clean and well maintained for long life.

Step 1: Applying Oil Cleaner

Urethane bowling balls might not absorb oil, but they have oil on their surface after multiple throws on an oily bowling lane. To clean the bowling ball thoroughly, you first need to remove the oil from the bowling ball surface. For that, apply a high-quality oil cleaner to the ball surface.

Step 2: Put alcohol on a towel.

The next step is to take a clean towel and put alcohol on the towel to moisten it for rubbing. Make sure you do not put too much alcohol on the piece of cloth. Only a small amount will be enough for the cleaning process.

Step 3: Rub the Towel on the Bowling Ball

To remove the oil effectively, you will take the alcohol-moistened towel and rub it on the surface of the bowling ball. The urethane bowling ball will not get scratches and marks on the surface, and all the oil residue will come off without a problem. Now your urethane bowling ball is squeaky clean.

Step 4: Keep the ball in a clean spot

Once you have cleaned the urethane bowling ball, make sure you place it in the right spot. It can be your bowling bag or the bowling rack in your home or entertainment center. Just make sure the airflow in the place is good and there is not a lot of dust or debris around the bowling ball.

Step 5: Clean the ball regularly

Another essential thing that you must always do is clean the ball regularly. Cleaning the urethane bowling ball, you own regularly is essential for the bowling ball maintenance process. It would help if you made sure that the ball is well cleaned and is not in a state where it has not been cleaned in ages.

Check out our in-depth article on maintenance: How to clean a bowling ball – Do it yourself.

Urethane Ball vs. Reactive Resin Ball

Urethane bowling ball is an incredible choice for all skill-level bowlers, but reactive resin bowling balls are also commonly used. How do they compare? Let us find out.

Hooking Capability

Let’s compare the hooking capability of both Urethane and reactive resin bowling balls. We will see that the surface of reactive resin balls is grainier and therefore provides better friction in contact with the lane surface.

In terms of hooking capability, reactive resin bowling balls provide a bigger curve to the ball and are thus better for making strikes and getting into pockets.


Polyurethane bowling balls are quite durable. So much so that they can last for up to 10 or more years is even if kept well maintained. However, reactive resin bowling balls were developed later with a stronger mix of materials, providing them with better durability, making reactive resin balls more durable than urethane bowling balls.


It all boils down to controllability and ease of use. Reactive resin bowling balls are very hooking-forward, which is why they are difficult to control. They are mostly used by intermediate and professional bowlers looking for strikes.

Compared to reactive resin bowling balls, urethane bowling balls are much easier to control due to their lesser friction and hook ability on the bowling lane surface. These bowling balls are preferred by beginners, intermediates, and professional bowlers.

Check out our in-depth article on reactive resin bowling balls here: Reactive Resin Bowling Balls – Who is it for?


Urethane bowling balls are a great choice, no matter how skilled or new to the game you might be. These balls’ ease of use, controllability, convenience, hooking capability, and durability allow you to perfectly get all your strikes and spares.

I hope you learned a lot about urethane bowling balls from this guide, and you will practice your skills in real-time. Make sure you apply all this guidance the next time you play with your friends and family in the bowling alley. I hope you have great bowling experiences in the future.

Check out: Best Selling Bowling Balls

Check out the latest posts

Do you need gift ideas for bowlers?
Check out this article: 10 Bowler's Gift Ideas