Urethane Bowling Balls Vs. Reactive Resin | In-Depth Analysis

Going to a bowling alley with preparation can help you with a confidence boost. But wait, is it enough, the preparation? No, it isn’t; you need the right practice to feel the confidence within you. Well, attire being one thing and equipment the other. Choose the right equipment to enhance your bowling skills.

The bowling ball is the main equipment that will impact your skills, not the pins. There are three kinds of cover stocks for bowling ball plastic, Urethane and Reactive Resin. The most commonly used are urethane and reactive resins by most bowling ball players. The question is which urethane bowling balls vs. reactive resin is the best. 

In this article, we will explore urethane and reactive resin balls, going through their morphology advantages, disadvantages, similarities and differences.

1. Urethane Bowling Balls

Urethane balls have been in the game for a long time since the 1970s as one of the pioneers and are yet used. They are made of polyurethane; when you touch them, it has a soft feel. The ball gives a predictable reaction on the lane during the smooth feel. 

This predictable nature has made them the best choice for many bowling players. These balls especially work best for the players who are straight shooters and the bowlers with a slower ball speed.

Advantages of Urethane Balls

  • Smooth Hook: The hook potential offered by urethane balls are gentle compared to the others, which means they can produce a controlled and steady arc toward the pins. This makes bowling balls ideal for dry conditions on the lanes for bowlers who need a consistent reaction. 
  • Spare Shooting: As they are predictable, urethane balls are often considered ideal for light shooting. These balls are suitable for shooting corner pins and tricky spares.
  • Durability: Bowling balls with urethane coverstocks are more durable than reactive resin balls; they last longer. So, investing once in a urethane ball could go on for years compared to other options.

Disadvantages of Urethane Balls

  • Limited Hook Potential: Although they have a smooth hook, the hook potential is limited. They usually need help to handle heavy oil patterns, leaving bowlers with reduced pin carry and hitting power.
  • Lack of Heavy Oil Conditions: Due to their soft feel, they could be better for heavy oil lane conditions because they lack the strong backend reaction that reactive resin balls possess, which is necessary for severe oil conditions.

2. Reactive Resin Balls

The significant advancement in bowling ball technology came through the introduction of Reactive resin bowling balls in the 1990s. These balls have been labeled to revolutionize the game with enhanced friction-generating cover stocks and dynamic cores.

This ball is the choice of professional players because they offer more hook potential and angular rotation on the lanes. It makes it easier for skilled players to dominate the lanes for both candlepins vs ten-pin setups.

Advantages of Reactive Resin Bowling Balls

  • Strong Hook Potential: Reactive resin balls are designed to hook more aggressively and vigorously against the lane’s friction to achieve the fastest bowling ball speed. The increased hook potential also allows the bowler to create an angle that hits the pin powerfully and carries great striking potential. 
  • Versatility: The reactive resin ball is designed to handle many lane conditions, from medium to heavy oil patterns. They can adapt their speed and rev rate according to the needs of the lanes. 
  • Improved Pin Carry: Due to their strong backend reaction, reactive resin balls yield a higher pin carry percentage than the other balls resulting in better strike percentages.

Disadvantages of Reactive Resin Bowling Balls

  • Less Predictable: Where strong hook potential gives the edge to the player, it also works as a double edge sword because they are not much predictable. They might have high striking power but are less predictable than urethane balls, especially on drier lanes.
  • Less Durable: The ball made up of reactive resin covers tends to wear and tear more rapidly than a urethane ball, which is a crucial disadvantage for money. So, the covers need more frequent maintenance or change.

Similarities and Differences: Urethane vs Reactive Resin

Now that you know both types of balls have their advantages and disadvantages, make it clear what can be best for your playing conditions. Let’s look at the similarities and differences between urethane and reactive resin ball.

Urethane Bowling BallsReactive Resin Bowling Balls
SimilaritiesUsed in the sport of bowlingBoth used for hook potential
Suitable for various lane conditionsUsed by bowlers of all skill levels
Require regular maintenanceBenefit from proper drilling
Vary in weight options.Offer versatile drilling options.
It can be customized for individual bowlersProvide enhanced pin carry
DifferencesMade of polyurethane materialMade of reactive resin material
The smooth and predictable reactionStrong hook potential
Limited hook potentialHigh hook potential
Ideal for dry to medium oil lanesEffective on medium to heavy oil lanes
Reduced pin carryImproved pin carry
Long-lasting coverstockFaster wear on coverstock
Excellent controlVariable control
Reliable for spare shootingLess ideal for spares
Preferred by straight shootersPreferred by power players and hook bowlers

Wrap Up

Wrapping the debate on urethane bowling ball vs. reactive resin, it is clear that both cover stocks have advantages and disadvantages. So, if you are looking for a ball that works better on dry lane conditions, then a urethane ball is your choice, but if you are a skilled player with control already and need something to cater to heavy oil patterns, then a reactive resin ball is your answer.

Share your opinion if this article helped you to find out which ball will enhance your bowling skill, then share your feedback below.


The reactive resin ball has more hook potential, so the players use it mostly for hook shots with heavier oil patterns on the lane. In contrast, urethane balls are preferred more at dry lanes due to their lower hook potential.

Urethane balls work best for beginners and mid-skill set bowlers very well. They are easy to control, launch to lower hook potential, and have long lives. At the same time, reactive resin ball is good for professionals with specific demands. 

Reactive resin is known for more hooking power, friction and pin action. However, they are not long-term as compared to urethane balls.

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