With bowlers moving towards reactive resin bowling balls, the urethane bowling ones are losing their market. What was once the ideal ball is now being deprived of the bowling circle. But is it coming back? Why do some bowlers (including those who are at the top of their game) still prefer a urethane cover stock? Find out all about these balls, and what advantage they can bring to your game, what are bowling balls made of, as well as the reviews of our most recommended urethane bowling balls for this year.
What are Urethane Bowling Balls?
Urethane bowling balls were introduced in the 1970s to give bowlers a higher hook potential that they were looking for. The cover stock of urethane bowling balls is more long-lasting than the plastic ones. Due to a higher level of friction on the lane, the urethane bowling balls deflect less, and this results in a better pin action.
The urethane bowling balls are of two kinds:
- Solid urethane
- Pearl urethane
The Difference Between Urethane and Reactive Resin Bowling Balls
You may ask yourself the question “what is a bowling ball made of”, and the two most frequent materials are urethane and resin.
Urethane balls are predictable on dry lanes, something that the reactive resin ones lack. These balls have more control and lane length which can be quite helpful to a bowler. On the other hand, the reactive resin bowling balls take the edge due to their hook variance, hook sharpness, as well as their backend reaction.
As a bowler, you need to try both before deciding which one works better for you and your bowling skills. If you are having trouble finding your mark with the hook variance, or are generally new to the concept of hooking, you may find that urethane bowling could be the one you need. Their cover stock is designed to ignore the oily conditions, hence giving more control to the bowler. These bowling equipment bring predictability to the game by enabling you more control over the paths to the pins, which is a game-changer.
The reactive resin bowling balls are designed to absorb the oil that they encounter on their way to the pin and work around it. This gives these equipment the freedom to react (hence the name reactive balls) and work their magic. As a bowler, you may need the reactivity that a reactive resin bowling ball can provide, or much better, the predictability and control factor of the hook shot – you decide! There is no good ball, bad ball debate here. Their usability and importance depend upon your preference as a bowler.
Top 5 Urethane Bowling Balls
If you are thinking about purchasing such a ball, here are our top 5 recommendations:
1. Hammer Black Widow
Leading the urethane technology, Hammer is a trusted name in the bowling industry. Its Black Widow product highlights the urethane coverstock covering the highly successful gas mask core. In addition to this, the inner core of the ball has carbon fibers which provide additional stability to your ball. This core gives your ball the predictability of a urethane product as well as the hook of the Hammer Black Widow line.
The Hammer Black Widow comes in 5 weights: from 12 pounds to 16 pounds. It is pure black with the Black Widow sign – a symbol of quality that you can trust. These Hammer Black Urethane Balls do not come with holes, so you will have to drill it or opt for drilling services when you order.
- All of you Hammer heads out there that are looking for a cool Black Widow Spare ball, here it is, These are made of a polyester material
- The image is actually embedded in the surface of the bowling ball and does not wear off over time
- This bowling ball is perfect for the recreational bowler, bowler's who prefer to throw the ball straight and competitive bowlers for shooting spares at those pesky corner pins …
2. Storm Pitch Black Solid
Whether you love to play on wooden lanes or dry lanes, you need an innovative approach in urethane bowling balls that offers you the best of predictability and lane length. You get this by the amazing Storm Pitch Black Solid Urethane which provides you full control over shorter and lighter oil conditions. These Pitch Black bowling balls come with the technology of a capacitor core that provides a strong core along with a robust delivery.
These Storm Pitch Black Bowling Balls come in different sizes, from 12 pounds to 16 pounds. One of the most successful dry lane balls currently out there, this one is a must-have if you are looking for a durable and great quality ball.
- Storm has created the Pitch Black, a solid urethane ball, for their Thunder Line
- This ball is intended to provide control on lighter and shorter oil conditions
- The Capacitor core gives this ball a straighter but strong delivery
3. Storm Mix
Ideal on dry lanes, the Storm Mix Urethane comes with a three-piece core that boosts predictability along with a durable urethane cover stock. It is available in different weights from 6 pounds to 16 pounds, giving you a lot of flexibility to go for lighter weights if you want.
The Storm Mix is an attractive pearl urethane one and showcases a marble effect of black, white, and grey – so you do not have to rely on boring monotone bowling balls! It is an ideal strike ball for new and intermediate bowlers. This urethane specialty is nicely priced ($69.94 to $75.95) and will be your bowling buddy for a long, long time.
- Storm is MIXing it up with the new Storm Mix
- This ball is recommended for the bowler who needs a colorful spare ball
- Since this is a urethane you may also prefer this ball as your strike ball since it works best on desert dry conditions
4. Hammer Purple Pearl
With a lot being said and reviewed about urethane balls that are best suited for drier lanes, the Hammer Purple Pearl Urethane is the total opposite. It is specially designed to work its magic on oily lanes (medium to heavy). So, if you are looking for a urethane ball that also has a hook potential and goodness of a reactive resin ball, Hammer Bowling Balls fulfill your wish of getting the best of both worlds by introducing their Hammer Purple Pearl Urethane.
This Hammer Purple Pearl bowling equipment has a urethane pearl cover stock with a strong symmetrical LED core. With a strong back-end reaction, this attractive purple pearl urethane bowling ball is available in three sizes: from 14 pounds to 16 pounds.
5. Motiv Combat Tank
If you are looking for a urethane ball that offers more length as well as down lane continuation, the Motiv Combat Tank can be the one for you. It boasts Motiv’s Alchemy Hybrid Urethane cover stock (that is rarely found in a urethane one) along with Recon core.
The Motiv combat Tank is shipped without any holes drilled in it unless you specify otherwise. This black and burgundy bowling ball is available in size 16. This ball is a limited release, so you need to get your hands on it fast!
Urethane Bowling Ball Characteristics
The characteristics of urethane bowling balls that set them apart from others are:
Urethane is a super-strong material that was used in manufacturing wheelchairs and rollercoasters. This kind of ball, for this reason, is very rugged and long-lasting. If you are maintaining it well, your urethane equipment can be your bowling partner for many years without compromising on its performance.
The inside core of a urethane ball found today are better than what was found in urethane balls back in the 80s. The new technology has replaced their previous pancake core technologies and now they come with superior symmetrical cores. This resulted in a better bowling performance, which is exactly why such balls are back in trend.
As discussed above, these bowling balls are sturdier than their counterparts due to having a solid cover stock as well as a superior symmetrical core. The cover stock is non-porous, so the oily lanes do not ruin the performance of your bowling ball, making them extremely durable.
The hitting potential of a urethane product is almost the same as that of a reactive resin bowling ball. You can have greater control over urethane bowling balls which often make them a better option. The older pancake core versions of urethane balls may not have a hitting potential as good as a reactive resin, but with the new technology used to create balls now, they are giving their competitors a tough time!
Urethane bowling balls are great in dry to medium lane conditions. You will notice that you have better control and they will provide you with a pretty decent hook in the lane.
Ideal for Beginners
Urethane bowling balls have always been a major part of all the bowling championships. Even today, the number of professionals using reactive resin and urethane balls are neck to neck. What is great about these balls that they are not just good for pros and intermediate level players, the urethane bowling balls are also ideal for beginners. They have a good hook and hitting power which is what helps the beginners a lot. Also, these balls are durable, and a beginner can learn many bowling techniques with the control that these balls provide. Their cost, which is often less than a reactive resin ball, is also a factor that attracts beginners.
How to Choose the Best Urethane Bowling Ball?
What makes a urethane bowling ‘the one’ for you? Consider the following factors while choosing the best urethane bowling ball:
The bowling balls, urethane as well as others, come in different weights. You need to know the right weight for you as a ball that is too heavy can impact your back. Normally women choose a bowling ball that is 10 to 14 pounds in weight, as men prefer a weight of 14 to 16 pounds. You can normally find your urethane bowling ball between 6 to 16 pounds.
A urethane bowling ball is not as smooth and glossy as a plastic bowling ball, and for this reason, it creates relatively more friction. This friction lets the ball hook in the bowling lane, which is great for the bowlers.
The urethane bowling balls have an easy grip which is great for the bowlers, and their bowling experience.
Urethane Pearl Vs. Urethane Solid
The urethane solid bowling balls hook sooner than the pearl bowling balls as they create a higher amount of surface friction. This could be ideal for some bowlers. The downside is that these urethane solid balls have an early outflow of energy and as a result, they transport less energy to the bowling pins. As a result, if these two types of balls are thrown with the same hook shot, a pearl bowling ball will slide to the pins with better energy than its solid bowling counterpart.
From the cost perspective, the pearl urethane bowling balls are relatively more expensive than the urethane solid bowling balls. But this is just for the average quality of bowling balls. If you observe the price range of some great quality bowling balls (solid and pearl), you will see that the difference is not that much. The reactive resin bowling balls, on the other hand, are quite expensive.
Why Are Urethane Bowling Balls Suitable for Beginners?
Urethane bowling balls are great for professionals, but they are also great for beginner bowlers. The reason for this is that as a new bowler, one needs better control over the ball to have a better aim and improved throw. The best urethane bowling balls give you good control that not all bowling balls give. In addition to this, the urethane ball grips the lane better than the plastic bowling ball, which is great when you are a newbie. Also, these balls are relatively less expensive than reactive resin bowling balls. As a beginner, you would not want to make a big investment before knowing the game – something that works great in urethane bowling ball’s favor.
Why do Professionals Choose Urethane Bowling Balls?
In the 2018 Bowling World Championship, some of the most popularly used balls were urethane balls. Many professional bowlers, such as Ryan Ciminelli and Jakob Buttruff prefer urethane bowling balls over others. This is especially because urethane bowling balls are predictable and you have better control over them. Also, these balls have a great grip and awesome hitting potential. They have a sturdy cover with a robust core, for instance, the Storm bowling balls, Hammer bowling balls, etc.
Why Use a Urethane Bowling Ball?
The urethane bowling balls are famous for the control they provide. They offer a good hook and hitting power. These balls are sturdy and long-lasting and are great on dry lanes.
Is a Urethane Bowling Ball Good for Dry Lanes?
Yes, the urethane bowling balls hook extremely well on dry lanes and the bowler does not lose control over them.
Do I Need a Urethane Bowling Ball?
If you are looking for a bowling ball that offers a better hook potential as well as control especially in dry lanes, you must go for a ball like this.
How to Clean a Urethane Bowling Ball?
To clean, you can use a good oil cleanser with a microfiber towel. Also, make a habit of wiping off your ball between frames. You can hold a towel in one hand, put your bowling ball on it, and spin it around the oil track so there is no oil buildup. The urethane bowling balls should be properly cleaned (using a urethane ball cleaning agent) after every couple of weeks.
Do Urethane Bowling Balls Absorb Oil?
No, they don’t. The urethane bowling balls have an almost non-porous cover which means they do not absorb the lane oil.
Can you Polish a Urethane Bowling Ball?
Yes, you can polish such a ball at home, but it can be a bit hard for you, especially if it is your first time. There are many polishes available in the market; go for a reliable brand.
How to Increase Hook on a Urethane Bowling Ball?
Make sure your ball is clean and oil-free to have a better hook in the bowling lane.
How to Drill a Urethane Bowling Ball?
It is better to seek the services of an expert before drilling holes in your ball. The expert will take measurements of your hand and fingers to determine the placement of holes. Drilling these holes correctly is very important as the location of these holes will determine how your ball will perform at the lanes.
The drill expert will locate the pin and the center of gravity of the ball. He/ she will also help you find the PAP (Positive Axis Point) ideally using some tools. A PAP is a point on your bowling ball that has the same distance from every piece of oil ring around the ball. You must ask any questions that are bothering you at this time and your professional bowling ball driller can help you with the answers. After all the specs, he will drill the ball. You can now enjoy the game with your new urethane bowling ball.
The urethane bowling balls are coming back! They may have lost their market in the 2000s when reactive resin bowling balls came and conquered the bowling alleys. However, old is gold. And with their new core technology and with the same control and performance, these urethane bowling balls are now in the trend. And they truly deserve to be back. There are numerous lane conditions where a such a ball can be just right. Many bowlers prefer a urethane bowling ball as their strike ball. What about you?