What Weight Bowling Ball Should I Use?

There is nothing better than a fun late-night bowling session with your friends—even if it gets a little too competitive! It is essential to choose the right bowling ball weight to get an impressive strike as it majorly affects the throw. So which bowling ball weight is best for you?

A common rule of thumb is that the ball’s weight should be 10 percent of your total body weight, but this also depends on your age, gender, and physical condition. It is essential that you choose the ball weight you feel most comfortable with. 

If you weigh around 180 pounds, you obviously won’t be using an 8-pound bowling ball. On the flip side, don’t go for the heaviest ball available just to seem more macho. Try out different weights and sizes to see which one fits best and doesn’t tire out your arm quickly or strain your muscles.

What Weight Bowling Ball Should I Use?

Is a lighter or heavier bowling ball better?

Technically speaking, a heavier bowling ball is better than a lighter ball, as the more mass a ball has, the easier it is to hook at the back end. Heavier balls also have more inertia and will strike the pins with greater force, optimizing your shot. Pro male players usually tend to go with the heaviest ball, which is 16 pounds (the maximum bowling ball weight allowed legally).

Check out this youtube video from the YouTuber “220 Average Bowler“, where he compares a 20LB bowling ball to an 8LB bowling ball. See specifically in frames 5 and 7, where you clearly see the downside of using a lighter bowling ball.

You can read an in-depth article on why here: What Size Bowling Ball Do Pros Use?

However, using a heavy bowling ball will increase your wrist’s chance of spraining, especially if you don’t have much prior experience with it. While not the best for getting a good hook, lighter balls are much easier to throw and control. Watch this video to learn How To Hook A Bowling Ball or read about it here: How to Hook a Bowling Ball

There are loads of other factors to consider as well. First of all, have you had some recent injury, trauma, or surgery? This can be on any part of your body, not just your arms. Suppose you are recovering from a physical injury. In that case, it is crucial not to over-exert yourself and go with a lighter ball that is easier to throw.

Female players, on average, choose lighter bowling balls than male players, and kids use light bowling balls as well, usually in the 6 to 10-pound range, depending on their age. 

How do I know if my bowling ball is too heavy?

If the bowling ball is too heavy, the most obvious marker is that your hand and arm will feel strained after a few shots. To test whether the ball is correct, choose a few different weights that seem suitable for you. One by one, hold them above your head, then bring them down in a swooping motion, like a practice throw.

If the ball drops out of your hand, it is too heavy. If it stays there and feels comfortable, it could be the one but try out more weights; the heaviest ball you feel comfortable with is the best ball for you.

Alternatively, hold the ball out before you, keeping your arm straight. If you can hold it easily for a few minutes without tiring, then it’s too light. If you drop it almost immediately, it’s too heavy, and you need to go a few pounds lower. 

You should try out a few different ball weights and ideally go with the heaviest one that feels comfortable and doesn’t strain your hand.

You might want to read this? Bowling Balls – Do They Float or Sink?

Should I bowl with a heavier ball?

It is tempting to go all out and choose the heaviest ball available, but that could backfire since you would start on a high but feel tired out after a few throws and eventually end up losing your momentum. Not to mention that this would also increase your chances of getting injured and straining your wrist, which is definitely something you don’t want.

A heavier ball is preferable if you can throw it repeatedly without any strain because it has a more significant impact, gives you a better hook, and increases your chances of getting a strike. 

It is best to go with the heaviest bowling ball you can comfortably throw repeatedly. Lighter balls will not give you the proper force required for a perfect shot. However, some people might prefer to have a lighter ball because it is faster and easier to control.

The ‘heavier is better’ rule is probably not for you if you’re a beginner. It is best to start with a lighter ball and eventually upgrade one or two pounds when you’ve had some practice. Exercising your wrist and arm muscles will give them a chance to develop, and over time you will learn how to control your ball better.


Bowling ball weight by age

For adults below 60, age is usually not a significant factor when considering which bowling ball to choose, and other factors such as gender and general health condition weigh in more heavily. But for children and senior citizens, the ball’s weight does matter a lot.

  • For children, the recommended balling ball weight is decided by a simple rule: the child’s age is the weight (in pounds) of the bowling ball they should use.
  • For example, a six-year-old would use a 6-pound ball, and so on. Keep in mind that this rule doesn’t work for everyone, and other factors such as the child’s health should be considered.
  • It is crucial to choose the appropriate ball weight with children as they could injure themselves easily. Read more here: Bowling for Kids
  • Teenagers are usually comfortable with balls ranging from 11 to 14 pounds.
  • For senior citizens, balls of a lower weight than usual are suggested, starting from 10 pounds.

Which bowling ball weight should women use?

Women generally feel comfortable using bowling balls in the 10 to 14 pounds range, with 12 pounds being the average. Of course, this could vary depending on an individual’s physical fitness, preference, and how much practice they’ve had. Professional female bowlers usually use a 14-pound ball on average, with a few going for 13 or 15-pound balls as well.


Choosing the correct bowling ball weight for a good throw is essential. The ball should not feel too heavy or light but be comfortable to hold and get a good grip on. Try out a few balls with different weights on your next trip to the bowling alley, and go for the one that gets you the perfect shot!

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