Urethane Bowling Balls: Why, When and How…

If you are considering 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; the most popular material is Urethane. Different materials are used to make bowling balls, but Urethane is famous worldwide.

At this point, you may wonder 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 discuss Urethane bowling balls, their benefits, when to use them, and how to maintain your custom urethane bowling balls. I will also compare the differences between Urethane and Reactive Resin bowling balls. Ensure you read this article until the end to become a bowling theory professional.

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 of polyurethane, which provides the ball with 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 it. Urethane finishes bowling balls over 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 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 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

Ask yourself, “What are urethane bowling balls good for”? The best answer is the controllability and friction that 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 a skilled holder.

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 hit more pins without taking extra turns. Pin action is quite important for getting strikes.

When to Use a Urethane Bowling Ball?

A urethane bowling ball can be utilized effectively on any surface and under any condition. However, for optimal performance, it’s worth noting that a urethane bowling ball, which doesn’t absorb oil, is ideally suited for heavily oiled bowling lane surfaces.

The ball’s movement will align with your throwing strategy, whether you’re aiming for a spare with a straight throw or a strike with a hooked or curved throw. This allows you to maximize control and achieve the scores you’re aiming for.

Check out our article Best Urethane Bowling Balls for a comprehensive guide on the top-performing 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 lasts less long.

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

According to research, a urethane bowling ball last 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 to keep your bowling ball clean and well-maintained for a long time.

Step 1: Applying Oil Cleaner

Urethane bowling balls might not absorb oil, but they have fat on their surface after multiple throws on an oily bowling lane. Thoroughly clean the bowling ball; first, remove the oil from the 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 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, rub the alcohol-moistened towel on the bowling ball’s surface. 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, please place it in the right spot. It can be your bowling bag or the bowling rack in your home or entertainment center. Juensureure the airflow in the place is g, 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 periodically is critical for the bowling ball maintenance process. It would help if you ensure that the ball is well-cleaned ais 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.

Regarding 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 even if kept well-maintained. However, reactive resin bowling balls were developed later with a stronger mix of materials, providing them with better durability and 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 and 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. Beginners, intermediates, and professional bowlers prefer these bowling balls.

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 allows you to get all your strikes and spares perfectly.

I hope you learned much about urethane bowling balls from this guide and you will practice your skills in real time. Ensure 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.

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