How many times have you been confident to get a strike but inevitably hit nothing but the gutter? No matter how much you bend your knees and aim with precision, your performance won’t improve without the right bowling ball.
If you want to go beyond casual playing and move toward competitive and professional bowling, you should seek for the best bowling ball.
Indeed, house balls at your local bowling alley might just do the trick, but you should ideally use something that’s perfect for your hands and fingers. After all, there’s nothing quite like hitting consecutive strikes and completing seemingly impossible spares in ten-pin bowling games.
5 Of The Best Bowling Balls For 2018
In looking for the perfect bowling ball, we had to consider several factors. Of course, our preferences when it comes to the visual design are subjective, but other characteristics needed to be considered objectively.
Primarily, coverstock classification is one of the most defining elements of a bowling ball. Without further ado, let us show you the finest bowling balls we used that greatly improved our performance.
|Bowling Ball||Coverstock Classification||Number of Color Variants|
|Brunswick Rhino||R-16 Reactive||5|
|Hammer Black Widow Legend||Hybrid||1|
As you can see, Brunswick had two impressive entries to our definitive list of the best bowling balls of 2018. Check out our detailed individual reviews of each bowling ball for a better understanding of their differences and similarities.
Brunswick Rhino – A Mighty Bowling Ball for Hooks
First, we have the Brunswick Rhino. The corporation has long been in the business of bowling, with its variety of products ranging from bowling balls to rental shoes. Here, the company has gone all out to ensure that it is the best bowling ball brand.
With the Rhino bowling ball, did Brunswick smash the competition and deliver on its powerful identity?
Let’s begin with the various colors you can choose from. The photo you see above features the black pearl variant, which oozes minimalism and professionalism. Personally, we loved this color the most due to its simplicity, but they have a selection of four other color schemes to choose from if you want to be more vibrant.
For the weight, you can choose from as light as ten pounds or go for as much as 16 pounds.
Furthermore, the Brunswick Rhino bowling ball features a reactive coverstock, which is quite similar to urethane. This defiant bowling ball is actually a decent first pick for those of you who would like to own a reactive ball. Brunswick boasts of the R-16 reactive coverstock that hopes to maximize power without letting go of ball control.
Likewise, the R-16 formulation is primarily made for bowling lanes that have light to medium oil conditions.
The Brunswick Rhino is advertised as a phenomenal reactive bowling ball for beginners. Of course, we immediately had to test the claim.
The first thing we observed was that the Brunswick Rhino was surprisingly light despite its tough name. Even if your arms and shoulders are not used to carrying a bowling ball, we assure you that using the Rhino won’t be as stressful as you might think.
Now, let’s talk about the Brunswick Rhino’s hook performance. We know that hooking a ball is significantly dependent on the way a player moves and rotates his fingers, but the best bowling balls for hook should lessen the chances of error.
We could clearly see just how powerful the Rhino bowling ball was. After all, throwing hooks means that you don’t have to make the most precise throws since a reactive ball generates tremendous pin action.
Aside from hitting more pins than we could have ever imagined, Brunswick Rhino also had decent control.
This meant that for the experienced players in our team, they could throw hooks as precisely as they could. Also, the R-16 reactive formulation does a swell job of harmonizing power and control. If you like doing backend hooks during your bowling games, the Brunswick Rhino could improve your performance.
After all, reactive bowling balls such as the Rhino do have impressive traction and grip that allow great hooks. Then again, the reactive coverstock is complemented by a light bulb core shape. This core shape is perfect for ball motion and pin action.
Overall, the Brunswick Rhino does a splendid job to be a contender for the best bowling ball for hook beginners.
The only downside of this bowling ball is that it’s not one of the top bowling balls for heavy oil.
What We Liked
- Five beautiful color schemes
- ?R-16 reactive formulation enhances power and ball control
- ?Perfect for throwing hooks
- Light bulb core shape improves motion and pin action
What We Didn’t Like
- Not suitable for heavily-oiled or slicker lanes
Pyramid Path – A Fantastic Spare Bowl for Straight Shots
Moving from the Brunswick bowling ball, let us shift our attention toward the Pyramid Path. The company, Pyramid Bowling, was only founded in 2011 by some bowlers. Yet in that short span of time, Pyramid has gone on to become one of the best brands providing quality yet affordable bowling equipment.
With the Pyramid Path, it looks like the company has succeeded in creating the best bowling ball in 2018 made of polyester. However, will this satisfy the requirements of every competitive bowler?
One of the slight advantages the Pyramid Path has over the Brunswick Rhino is the variety of color schemes. Instead of just five options, Pyramid Bowling provided eight of them.
This bowling ball has no minimalist design, but some of the variants are blacklight reactive. We all know how fun it can be to play bowling with our buddies on a Saturday night when the blacklight or cosmic mode is active at the bowling alley.
The company says that this is a Pyramid quality, which basically means that it’s their golden standard. Well, you won’t be disappointed as this bowling ball is beautiful and tough.
The polyester build is fantastic and it’s ridiculously smooth. Pyramid does offer a two-year warranty for the Path bowling ball, but you probably won’t be using it. This ball survived all of our games without showing signs of damage.
Unlike the Brunswick Rhino, the Pyramid Path is a bowling ball made for straight shots and perfecting spares.
With the Pyramid Path, we had no problems whatsoever in throwing straight shots. Other polyester or plastic bowling balls promise to be straight as possible, but none of them were as consistent as the Pyramid Path. This one is reliable and will not betray you by suddenly jumping around even as you attempt a straight shot.
Moreover, many of our beginners were impressed with the relative lightness of this ball. If you have issues on your lower back or you simply cannot carry heavy bowling balls, you should consider having this one. Likewise, young bowlers will easily learn the basics of the sport if you get them the Pyramid Path.
All in all, the Pyramid Path delivers in both quality and performance. The color schemes are abundant, straight shots work great, and the polyester build is flawless and tough. A minor gripe we have with this is that the backlight reactive feature is not as visually impressive as we expected.
Furthermore, this isn’t a bowling ball that can be considered as the primary choice throughout many games. The Pyramid Path is the best bowling ball meant for straight shots and spares.
What We Liked
- Tough build
- ?Eight color schemes
- ?Superior spare bowling ball
- Straight shots are easy with this
What We Didn’t Like
- Reactive backlight feature is average
Brunswick TZone – An Impressive Spare Ball
Our third pick is another bowling ball from Brunswick. Dubbed as the TZone, this bowling ball serves as Brunswick’s answer to the Pyramid Path when it comes to spare balls and straight plays.
The Brunswick TZone has a ton of color schemes to please each and every bowler, such as their Candy Apple Red, Pink Bliss, Green Envy etc.
Sadly, the vibrant design we were anticipating didn’t arrive as advertised, because the bowling ball was not as colorful and alluring. Don’t get us wrong, it’s still pretty, but the images were slightly deceiving. The positive thing is that the reactive backlight feature works better here compared to the Pyramid Path.
We appreciate the weight options they provided. If you like light and quick throws, there’s an eight-pound Brunswick TZone. On the other hand, you can also get the 16-pound bowling ball if you perform better with heavy ones.
Interestingly enough, carrying this bowling ball felt light regardless of the chosen weight. Perhaps it’s because the weight is just as advertised, unlike the color display.
Moreover, do not be surprised when you receive the TZone and see no holes. While having it drilled on your own will mean more expenses, professional and customized drilling allows a better fit to enhance performance.
Do take note that going for cheap drilling can lead to having chips and further damage. You must always think of your bowling ball as a worthy investment if you want to play competitively.
Similar to the Pyramid Path, the Brunswick TZone has a polyester coverstock, which is ideal for straight and spare shots.
We tried this out for dozens of games, and we think that it’s an okay spare bowling ball. The radius of gyration (RG) differential of this ball is 0.019, which means that it has a low flare potential. Those of us who don’t like dealing with unintended hooks and curves loved this RG differential.
Of course, the Brunswick TZone can’t have the best of both worlds. Due to a low RG differential, it isn’t the ideal choice for playing in slicker or heavily oiled bowling lanes. Still, you can’t go wrong with this spare bowling ball if you’re playing on a dry lane.
However, the Brunswick TZone is not a bowling ball you could use in the long run. The initial games worked out well without, but minor cracks started to appear as each succeeding throw led to chipping.
If you’re a casual player, this is a fine choice for a spare bowling ball.
What We Liked
- 10 color schemes
- ?Low RG differential for better straight shots
- ?Works great on dry lanes
- Decent spare bowling ball
What We Didn’t Like
- Colors not as vibrant as expected
- Not intended for heavy use due to minor chipping
Hammer Black Widow Legend – Powerful Bowling Ball for Hooks
With such a deadly name, we were eager to test this bowling ball and see if it does have a potent performance on the bowling lanes. With quite a lot of professional bowlers as part of its crew, Hammer Bowling does have the experience and knowledge to craft the best bowling ball.
In fact, the company has developed a good reputation with the Black Widow line – and this seems to be their grandest output yet.
The Legend bowling ball is the first Black Widow product that utilizes a hybrid coverstock. Thus, the Hammer Black Widow Legend combines the advantages of a solid coverstock and a pearl coverstock.
You might be disappointed with the lack of color scheme options, but that’s actually the beauty of it. As the Legend, this Black Widow is supposed to have a single, daunting appearance. In addition, this bowling ball has a Gas Mask core that is significant in terms of performance.
It also has a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty, but here’s the thing: This bowling ball is tough and reliable.
If you are playing on a lane with medium oil, you can achieve a front end glide while also attaining the correct breakpoint to seamlessly hit the pocket. Of course, these strategies will be hard to understand if you are a beginner. But for the experienced bowlers in our group, the Hammer Black Widow Legend allowed them to consistently go for the right breakpoints.
Do take note that finding the correct breakpoint also requires a consideration of the lane surface and the oil type. But once you do take all of this into the equation, the Black Widow Legend will help you make precise switches.
Hammer Bowling really went all out with the Legend bowling ball. Even those of us who were used to playing straight shots easily transitioned into hook throws. There is no denying it: This hybrid ball lands the best hooks. If you’re a beginner trying to hook for the first time, you can choose between this and the Brunswick Rhino.
For experienced bowlers with a hook style, however, the Black Widow Legend is the best bowling ball they can get.
Furthermore, this is likely the most aggressive bowling ball you’ll find. If you’re like us who play hard, you’ll appreciate the polished cover and the Gas Mask core, which enhances backend movement.
In particular, this core has a Flex-Resin additive and a carbon fiber outer core. Going back to its polished cover, the Black Widow Legend bowling ball allowed us to make skid-flips.
Not only is a skid-flip visually interesting but it also allows the ball to sharply and accurately enter the pocket from the breakpoint. Likewise, the skid-flip is made possible thanks to the .058 RG differential, which gives the bowling ball a high flare potential.
If there is a downside to the Hammer Black Widow, it’s that it takes some time to master it. New bowlers won’t easily get the hang of things since this type of bowling ball relies on hooks, skid-flips, and the right breakpoints.
Even if you are an experienced with throwing hooks, you will still need to make minor adjustments before you get optimum results. But once you do, you will love this bowling ball. Overall, this might just be the best bowling ball for hook throws.
What We Liked
- Gas Mask core improves backend movement
- ?Hybrid coverstock works great for breakpoints
- ?Enables powerful and precise hooks
- Polished cover allows skid-flips
What We Didn’t Like
- Quite difficult to master
- Only one design
Ebonite Maxim – A Visually Alluring Spare Ball
Finally, we have the Ebonite Maxim bowling ball. The company has offered a lot of products in the past, and the Maxim line is one of their latest entries. With a focus on capturing the entry-level market, this bowling ball should ideally be easy to use without sacrificing the materials and overall construction.
Since the Ebonite Maxim bowling ball is meant to be enjoyed by beginners first and foremost, the weight options are quite varied. You can have your kids start with the 6-8 pound versions while the stronger and older ones can get bowling balls as heavy as 15 pounds.
A positive aspect we identified is that the weights are exactly as they were advertised. If you’re expecting a light bowling ball, you won’t get anything more than that. Likewise, the Maxim line from Ebonite offers five color schemes to choose from.
Furthermore, the coverstock of the Ebonite Maxim bowling ball is polyester, which means that it’s built for throwing straight shots and spares.
Supporting this coverstock is the 3-piece core – a rather traditional choice utilizing an inner core and a pancake-type weight block.
The Ebonite Maxim definitely works as a beginner’s ball. Those of us who were new to bowling didn’t really care for throwing those dazzling hooks, so they were happy with this. Straight plays are nothing to be ashamed of, especially if you’re still not in the competitive, professional scene.
Doing straight shots requires more power than throwing hooks if you want to get a strike, but it is impossible. Thus, this is what we can consider as a terrific casual ball that works during a relaxing weekend with your pals.
It won’t last as long as the spare balls made for professional athletes, but it should be more than enough if you’re just an occasional bowler.
This bowling ball is a great entry-level bowling ball. The beautiful color schemes might not work well under a blacklight mode, but they’re still visually pleasing.
Additionally, casual players will love how the Ebonite Maxim works as a spare bowling ball and for straight plays.
What We Liked
- Works well as a spare ball
- ?Beautiful color schemes
- ?Assures straight shots
- Great entry-level bowling balls
What We Didn’t Like
- Does not have a reactive blacklight feature
- Not suitable for long-term bowling
Best Bowling Ball – Buyer’s Guide
Knowing how a bowling ball is made and how it works effects your performance to a higher standard. Knowing what is the best bowling ball on the market today means understanding the various factors that shape how they are made.
One of the most important things aspiring bowlers need to understand is the coverstock classification and how each of them performs on different lanes and for different types of bowlers.
Types of Coverstock
It is the coverstock that directly interacts with the surface of the lane to create friction. If the friction is high enough, bowlers can successfully make hooks.
The rubber bowling balls were the first ones used, but they have since been replaced by better coverstock types. Once the rubber balls were no longer used, it was the polyester bowling ball that ruled the scene.
In fact, casual bowlers will often have this since polyester bowling balls are affordable, relatively durable, and great for beginners. A good example of this is the Brunswick TZone.
Compared to other coverstocks in this day and age, they are not quite aggressive on both oily and dry lane sections. In other words, their hook potential is insufficient. If you need a spare ball for competitions or you always go for straight shots, this is the coverstock you should be looking for.
Compared to polyester, the urethane coverstock provides better entries to the pocket while still being a similarly great entry-level choice. In fact, urethane is heavily used in making other coverstocks.
A urethane bowling ball is what you should get if you want to finally learn how to throw hooks. This is because the lane motion here can be easily observed unlike when you immediately go for reactive resin balls.
If you’re ready to make the most powerful hooks, you should get a reactive resin bowling ball. The friction this material creates is significantly better than urethane balls.
Accordingly, this kind of coverstock greatly enhances pin carry and pocket entry. These are not as affordable as the first two bowling balls, but they are worth the investment if you want to throw great hooks. The reactive resin coverstock can be further divided into three: Solid reactive, pearl reactive, and hybrid reactive.
The solid reactive has a polished and sanded finish while the pearl reactive coverstock includes the mica material. This material not only gives a stunning shine to the look of the bowling ball but it also allows fast responses to high-friction lane sections.
On the other hand, the hybrid reactive coverstock combines the first two coverstocks to offer great mid-lane and back-end reaction.
Particle coverstocks are quite similar to the reactive resin, but the former has blended microscopic materials that enhance the response to the lane surface.
The tricky part here is that the particle bowling ball will generate too much friction early on if the front end of the lane is heavily oiled – leading to less impact with the pins.
Lastly, the epoxy coverstock allows better traction on the oily parts of the lane while generally having a great hook potential.
After hundreds of bowling games, we’re ready to identify the bowling balls that have emerged at the top. In particular, we’ll be awarding two bowling balls: one for spare and straight shots and another for hook plays.
Now, if you are a beginner who’s only used to making straight shots or if you need a fantastic spare ball, we highly recommend the Pyramid Path.
Compared to all others, this is the greatest bowling ball in terms of straight shots. Not only does it have eight color schemes but also a tough quality and a reactive backlight feature. This is surely the superior spare ball.
On the other hand, the best ball for hooks is the Hammer Black Widow Legend.
Yes, it looks like Hammer Bowling has indeed created a legend with the best bowling ball. If you love making precise and powerful hooks, this is the one. Likewise, its hybrid coverstock polished cover, and Gas Mask core all work together to enhance backend movement, allow skid-flips, and provide consistency in determining ideal breakpoints.
The Hammer Black Widow Legend does take some time to master, but it’s definitely worth it.