How Long Do Bowling Balls Last? When to Replace Them?

Bowling enthusiasts understand the importance of a high-quality ball for optimal performance on the lanes.

However, even the best bowling balls have an expiration date. The lifespan of a bowling ball depends on factors such as its material, maintenance routine, and frequency of use.

In this informative blog post, we will explore how long bowling balls last and when it’s time to replace them according to their wear and tear, performance degradation, and other crucial indicators.

How Long Do Bowling Balls Last?

On average, a quality bowling ball can last anywhere from 5-10 years with proper maintenance. Factors such as the materials used in the construction of the ball, frequency, and intensity of use, and proper care all play a role in determining its lifespan.

For most bowlers, replacing their bowling balls every 5-10 years is common practice to ensure they are getting the best performance out of their equipment.

What Affects the Lifespan Of A Bowling Ball?

Quality And Material Of The Ball

The quality and material of a bowling ball play a crucial role in determining its lifespan, as well as its overall performance.

High-end bowling balls are typically made of reactive resin, which is a type of polyurethane designed to react more aggressively on the lane surface than other materials.

This allows for better hook potential, resulting in higher scores for experienced bowlers.

Investing in a high-quality reactive resin ball can yield significant benefits over time both in terms of performance and longevity.

For instance, professional bowler Pete Weber has been known to use the same Storm Crux Prime bowling ball for multiple tournaments because it consistently delivers superior results.

Frequency And Intensity Of Use

The frequency and intensity of use are significant factors that affect the lifespan of a bowling ball. Typically, the more frequently you play, the shorter your ball’s lifespan will be.

If you’re a casual bowler who only plays a few games per month, your ball may last for several years.

The intensity of use can also impact how long your bowling ball lasts. Using it on heavily oiled lanes or throwing it with excessive force can wear down its outer shell quickly.

In contrast, using it on dry lanes or employing proper technique and grip can help prolong its lifespan.

Maintenance And Care

Proper maintenance and care are essential in extending the lifespan of your bowling ball. One of the key things to keep in mind is storage. Always store your bowling ball at room temperature and avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures or sunlight.

Cleaning your ball after each game is also crucial for optimal performance. Dirt, oil, and debris can accumulate on the surface of your bowling ball over time, affecting its hook potential and accuracy.

Another critical aspect of maintaining your bowling balls’ longevity is getting them regularly resurfaced by professionals.

Environment Of Play

The environment in which you play can have a significant impact on the lifespan of your bowling ball.

For example, excessive humidity or extreme temperatures can cause damage to your ball, weakening its structure and reducing performance.

Exposure to oil and other chemicals on the lane can also wear down your ball over time. Therefore, it is essential to store your bowling ball properly when not in use and avoid exposing it to harsh environmental conditions.

Ideally, keep it at room temperature with low humidity levels when not playing. Additionally, make sure to clean off any debris or oil buildup after each game using a microfiber towel or specially designed cleaning solution for bowling balls.

Signs That Your Bowling Ball Needs To Be Replaced

Visible Damage And Wear

One of the most obvious signs that your bowling ball needs to be replaced is the visible wear and tear on its surface. Over time, repeated use can cause scuffs, scratches, and other blemishes that can eventually affect the ball’s performance.

Dents or cracks in the ball can also indicate damage that may impact its weight or balance. As you inspect your bowling ball for wear and tear, pay attention to any discoloration or fading as well.

It’s important to note that even if your bowling ball looks pristine visually, it may still need replacing if its performance has noticeably declined.

Changes In Weight Or Balance

As bowlers, we rely on the weight and balance of our bowling balls to deliver consistent and accurate throws. However, over time, a bowling ball’s weight or balance can change due to wear and tear, leading to performance issues that may affect the overall gameplay.

When you notice changes in the weight or balance of your bowling ball, it may be time for a replacement. A decrease in weight can lead to decreased hook potential and overall power behind your throws.

Similarly, an imbalance in the distribution of weight can cause your ball to veer off course during play.

Proper care like storage at room temperature and regular cleaning can help extend the lifespan of your bowling ball but eventually wear will take its toll on even the most well-maintained balls.

Loss Of Hook Potential And Performance

As you use your bowling ball over time, you may notice that it begins to lose its hook potential and overall performance. This can be a sign that your ball needs to be replaced.

The loss of hook potential means that the ball is not gripping the lane as well as it did when it was new, which can result in lower scores and frustration on the lanes.

Extending The Lifespan Of Your Bowling Ball

how long do bowling balls last

Proper Grip And Technique

One crucial aspect of extending the lifespan of your bowling ball is proper grip and technique. First off, make sure you choose a ball that fits well in your hand. A comfortable fit minimizes the chances of dropping the ball or squeezing it too tightly, both of which can cause damage over time.

When bowling, try to maintain a relaxed grip on the ball while keeping your wrist straight and firm.

Another tip is to be mindful of how you release the ball. If you tend to “throw” or “heave” the ball with excessive force, it increases its chances of getting dinged up from collisions with other equipment or hitting the lane hard enough to cause cracks or scratches.

Appropriate Storage And Handling

Appropriate storage and handling are crucial in extending the life of your bowling ball. When not in use, it’s best to store your ball at room temperature and away from direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, and humidity.

Avoid leaving your bowling ball in the trunk of your car or any other area where it’s exposed to high temperatures for extended periods.

Always carry your bowling ball using both hands while gripping it firmly around the finger holes rather than carrying it by its coverstock surface as this can cause damage to the reactive resin material.

Proper handling also involves avoiding rolling or throwing your ball onto hard surfaces such as concrete floors or pavement which can cause chips and cracks on its surface affecting performance.

Regular Cleaning And Polishing

To maintain optimal performance and extend the lifespan of your bowling ball, regular cleaning and polishing are essential. After every game, wipe down your ball with a microfiber towel to remove any oil or dirt buildup.

Use a bowling ball cleaner approved by the manufacturer to deep clean your ball periodically.

Polishing your ball regularly can restore its surface texture, improving its overall performance. You can use a specialized bowling ball polish or even household products such as automotive rubbing compound or toothpaste (non-gel) to clean and polish your bowling ball’s surface.

Professional Maintenance And Resurfacing

Professional maintenance and resurfacing are crucial for extending the lifespan of a bowling ball. Over time, the surface of a bowling ball can become worn or damaged, causing it to lose its performance and hook potential.

Resurfacing is another important aspect of professional maintenance. This process involves removing the outer layer of material from the bowling ball in order to restore its original finish and improve its overall performance.


In conclusion, a bowling ball’s lifespan can depend on factors such as its quality, maintenance, usage frequency, and environment. Signs of wear and tear on a bowling ball can indicate the need for replacement.

With regular care, an average reactive resin bowling ball can offer 5-10 years of life. Professional bowlers replace their balls after 300 games or every 12 months while most bowlers will need to replace their ball every 5-10 years on average.

Proper storage and handling can also affect the lifespan of a bowling ball. Remember that your old bowling balls may still have value but may not perform optimally anymore.

Last updated on April 26, 2023