Some of the funniest videos ever involve people slipping on a bowling alley lane. Of course, when running with a 8-16 lb. ball, the objective is to knock down some pins… hopefully without falling.

The most critical elements to improving your bowling scores are skill and practice, but having the right ball can go a long ways. Whether you bowl as a hobby or competitively, selecting an ideal ball can greatly increase your enjoyment of the game. There are many factors to consider when purchasing a bowling ball, including size, weight, coverstock, core, budget, and your amount of bowling experience. There are balls professionals and ones for amateurs, so it’s important to make an informed decision about your purchase.

So let’s roll out our lineup, here to help you hit the lanes in style.

1. Vandal Smash Bowling Ball by DV8

Why we like it: The versatile bowling ball will send the pins flying no matter what the lane conditions are.

The Vandal Smash is a dark sphere of destruction that’s yours to wield. It’s an improved version of the original Vandal. While it has the same core as its predecessor (by the way, that’s the Vandal asymmetric core), its coverstock is much stronger and is made with a composite finish. The original had trouble on slick lanes, but this ball is particularly ideal for medium to heavy oil. Packing in a strong backside flip, the Vandal Smash is sure to give you an edge over the competition. It will travel a medium length down the lane before hooking thanks to its coverstock.

DV8 stands behind the great quality of this product with an incredible 2 year warranty. Since this is a pro level bowling ball, you’re going to need to get the finger holes drilled. Though we found most customers were extremely satisfied with their purchase, keep in mind that this ball is better suited to more experienced bowlers. With its asymmetrical core, the ball is almost certainly going to hook. If you want to smash those pins, we’re happy to recommend the Vandal Smash.


[amazon fields=”B07HZ35MZT” value=”thumb” image_size=”large”]

[amazon box=”B07HZ35MZT” template= “horizontal”]

Why we like it: This is a classic bowling ball with an updated finish from one of the top brands in the bowling world.

Just over 20 years ago, Brunswick released the Danger Zone. Now this beloved ball is back and better than ever with the 2016 PK finish. For the Brunswick fans out there, that’s an improved version of the PowrKoil 18. The 2016 PK is a reactive coverstock, by the way. The ball has the same light bulb core as the original. The balls skids with high rotational energy. If you plan on drilling the ball yourself, you’ll be happy to know that the same drilling instruction can be used for all sizes. Get those holes drilled and you’re all ready to unleash some vintage fury on those pins!

Unfortunately, there’s no warranty on the ball, but Brunswick products are very reliable. Some more important specs that you should consider are the ball’s highly angular and somewhat late breakpoint. These features make the ball more suitable for medium to high oil conditions. Fans of the original were ecstatic with this revised edition, but chances are if you liked the original you’ve been bowling for quite some time. We recommend it for those with some bowling experience under their belts. If you’re ready to bowl in style with an improved yet vintage ball from one of Bowling biggest names, look no further than the Danger Zone.

3. Antidote by Pyramid

[amazon fields=”B01KP4EHCC” value=”thumb” image_size=”large”]

[amazon box=”B01KP4EHCC” template= “horizontal”]

Why we like it: Another great product by Pyramid, this is an ideal reactive resin ball that gives players the smoothness and control they desire from a bowling ball.

When the oil spreads to the backend, what are you going to do? If you have the Antidote with you, you’re going to own this moment. The ball is appropriately called the Antidote because it provides the control and smoothness of Pyramid’s Pathogen, but it is ideal for medium to heavy oil conditions. The smoothness of the ball path is thanks to its symmetrical core. The ball has a very high hooking/flare potential due to the GPS Navigational solid coverstock. That’s just a fancy name for a reactive resin coverstock. With this awesome core and coverstock duo, Pyramid’s designed a ball that will give you a smooth, controlled flare.

We recommend this ball for more experienced bowlers, but if you’ve never used a reactive resin ball this could be the one to make the change with. The ball is strong and durable, and comes with a 2 year warranty. Don’t worry about a smooth early hook not giving you a strong finish. The ball path may be predictable, but it’s not messing around. Whether you’re a long time fan of resin balls or you’re looking for your first one, the Antidote by Pyramid is solid choice.

4. Ebonite Cyclone Bowling Ball

[amazon fields=”B009AMB648″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large”]

[amazon box=”B009AMB648″ template= “horizontal”]

Why we like it: This is an outstanding performance ball and it is affordable. This ball has the ability to absorb oil with its durable, high quality design.

Whether you bowl in a league or just bowl occasionally, this is a great performance bowling ball. First of all, it looks amazing with its fiery red and orange cover that gives off a molten lava vibe. That cover is for more than just looks though. It’s a GB 10.7 cover, which is engineered for medium to thick oil patterns. Quickly absorbing oil, it gets maximum contact with the bowling lane. With its cyclone core, the ball is very conducive to powerful hook shots. We love how it hurls down the lane and decimates the pins with overwhelming force.

In case you’re wondering, you can still do straight shots with the cyclone bowling ball. You’ll have to adjust for a slight curve, but if you throw it straight, it will pretty much go straight. But if you want something that will resist spinning, this is not it. But for those wanting to pull some hook shots, this is a great choice.

5. Pyramid Path Bowling Ball

[amazon fields=”B005GJ3G8S” value=”thumb” image_size=”large”]

[amazon box=”B005GJ3G8S” template= “horizontal”]

What we like about it: This affordable bowling ball is great for beginning and intermediate level players and comes in a wide variety of size and color options.

If you’re purchasing a bowling ball for the first time, there’s a good chance this is the ball for you.  The available sizes range all the way from 8lbs to 16 lbs. Pyramid offers a total of seven color combinations for this particular model: aqua/silver, orange/black, silver/black, blue/black/white, emerald/acid yellow, hot pink/lime green, and hot pink/black. No matter which fantastic color you choose, the balls respond to black light with a cool glowing effect. Do be warned that the glow is faint. You aren’t going to get a  light show with this ball. The outside of the ball is polyester and the inside houses a pancake weight block.

The ball is meant for straight shots and scoring spares, making it ideal for less experienced players. Since it is a straight shot ball, it should respond to all lane conditions in the same way. Don’t worry about poor quality, it comes with a 2 year warranty. Keep in mind the ball does not come with finger holes, which means you’ll have to get it drilled. This is ideal in many ways because the ball will be customized for your performance and comfort. If you want an affordable ball ideal for straight shots, this could be the one for you.

6. Hammer Black Widow

[amazon fields=”B00LA4WHIS” value=”thumb” image_size=”large”]

[amazon box=”B00LA4WHIS” template= “horizontal”]

Why we like it: Strong and durable, this high quality ball is sure to impress.

Let’s start off with the biggest selling point for the Hammer Dark Legend: it’s strength. Trust us, you won’t have to worry about this one chipping.The ball is infused with carbon fiber, making it ultra tough. Hammer offers a three year warranty on the Dark Legend, which is much longer than the warranty on most bowling balls. With it’s purple and black swirls, the Dark Legend looks worthy of its name. It’s made with a gas mask core, which includes Flex-Resin additive, ceramix surface process, and a carbon-fiber outer core. This is the pinnacle of evolution on Hammer’s already respected Black Widow line.

This bowling ball is the strongest we’ve looked at so far. It’s also one of the more expensive entries on this list. It’s not the cheapest option out there, but at least it will last. While we’re talking about weight, the lightest size is 12 lbs., which may be more than you’d like. The ball has great rotation and superior mid and backend continuation. It works best on medium to heavy oil lane conditions. If you’ve been bowling for awhile and want to step up your game, we definitely recommend the Dark Legend by Hammer.

7. Sportime UltraFoam Weighted Bowling Ball

[amazon fields=”B0042SX0QC” value=”thumb” image_size=”large”]

[amazon box=”B0042SX0QC” template= “horizontal”]

Why we like it: The UltraFoam design makes this an excellent practice ball that you can use in all sorts of places.

If you want a ball for bowling practice around your house without a bunch of extensive setup, Sportime has you covered with their UltraFoam weighted bowling ball. Sportime understands that you probably don’t have a bowling alley in your house, so they’ve designed a ball that has the same kinesthetic behavior as a standard ball, but with a special foam cover that prevents damage to your walls and furniture. There’s a lot of shock absorbency beneath that blue and yellow swirl. The UltraFoam is fully washable, so you don’t need to stress if the ball gets dirty. Your game is bound to improve with all the extra practice you’ll be getting.

The holes are already drilled, so you won’t have to pay any extra expenses in order to use it. Worried about it not fitting your hand size? This UltraFoam ball has more than three holes, so you’re almost guaranteed to find a comfortable fit. That said, the grip is not going to be ideal as a ball with holes custom drilled for you. The ball allows you to practice where most bowling balls would cause damage; it’s not going to replace a performance ball at the lanes. Still, practice makes perfect, and the Sportime UltraFoam bowling ball will help you get a lot more practice in.

8. Tropical Breeze Hybrid Black/Cherry by Storm

[amazon fields=”B008BS5N9Q” value=”thumb” image_size=”large”]

[amazon box=”B008BS5N9Q” template= “horizontal”]

Why we like it: What’s not to like about this entry level ball that has great control for beginner bowlers and a great smell?!

Yes, you read that right.This is a scented bowling ball. It smells like cherries to be exact. We doubt the smell will boost your score, but it’s an innovative touch. The ball is black with cherry colored swirls. The ball was designed for entry level and casual league bowlers. The ball’s movements are easy to predict thanks to Storm’s Chamber Core, which is shaped like an inverted light bulb. Reliable ball behavior is great for beginners and the extra degree of control will help you develop your technique. Besides the futuristic core, the hybrid coverstock allows for smooth, gradual curve shots.

As with many bowling balls, this one does not have any drilling. Though the vast majority of customers were satisfied with their purchase, we did find the ball to be more susceptible to denting than we would like. Another downside is that ball is not covered by warranty. Thankfully, it’s not terribly expensive.  Since the covering tends to give the ball a slight spin, if you want to make sudden back hooks or super straight shots, you’ll need a ball with a different coverstock. If you’re looking for a ball with a great look and a great smell, we’re happy to recommend the Tropical breeze.

9. White Dot Bowling Ball by Columbia

[amazon fields=”B00MHRY1KY” value=”thumb” image_size=”large”]

[amazon box=”B00MHRY1KY” template= “horizontal”]

Why we like it: This reliable and affordable bowling ball is a solid choice for players of all skill levels.

Columbia has a reputation for making quality bowling gear and this is no exception. Made with a polyester coverstock, this ball is ideal for straight/spare shots. Columbia offers a huge size selection on this model, from 6lb to 16 lbs. The cover is very thin on the 6 lb version, so we don’t recommend drilling the holes yourself. The larger sizes have thicker covers, so they’re a lot harder to crack. Since we’re talking about Columbia here, don’t worry too much about cracking. Just make sure to get the holes professionally drilled.

The very polished finish means the ball will glide over the oil, rather than absorbing it. The particular ball we’ve linked to is the lime slime color, but Columbia makes other hues within the White Dot series if the color isn’t to your taste. Unfortunately, there are no additives in the cover to make it react to blacklight. If the lanes are dry, you should be able to do some slight hooks, but in most cases, the ball will go straight. If you are looking for a straight shot ball from one of the most trusted names in bowling, pick up one from the Columbia white dot series.