Our Top Spare Bowling Ball Picks
As you improve and begin building up your bowling average, you are going to realize just how important having a spare bowling ball is. Not only does one lane differ from another in lane condition and oil placement, but even on one lane the oil pattern can be spotty and inconsistent. This is especially true in competitions when these types of inconsistencies and spottiness are done intentionally.
To maximize success, it's just not practical to try to throw a strike ball at every spare. When you consider the countless angles and positions you could potentially throw a spare from, along with at times very sporadic lane conditions, the risk of missing a spare with your strike ball increases more and more. This is where a spare ball comes in.
A strike ball is designed to spin, driving the ball into the pocket for maximum pin action. But this type of driving and pin action isn't necessary for the vast majority of spare shots. Thus, a good spare bowling doesn't need much, if any side to side movement. Rather, it ideally would go straight to its target, with no side to side movement, regardless of where the ball was thrown from, or regardless if throwing from right to left (think 7 pin) or left to right (think 10 pin).
Because a good spare ball doesn't need lateral movement from spin, it typically will be made from plastic/polyester. This helps the ball move straight towards its target regardless of how oily or dry a lane, or any portion of the lane is. A great ball for throwing spares isn't nearly as difficult to find and match to any particular bowler's style because there just aren't as many nuances to consider. That said, we've tested dozens of bowling spare balls and have provided our reviews and top picks below.
Spare Ball Bowling Top Picks
Best Spare Ball – Our Top Pick
Hammer Black Widow Spare Ball
The Hammer Black Widow Spare ball has a polyester coverstock with a highly rated asymmetric gas mask core. It is available in weights from 12 to 16 pounds and particularly well-suited for lanes with light oil conditions.
This ball is a great spare ball, probably the best polyester ball we've ever tested. The ball is easy to control, and we even had great success using it as a strike ball in some really difficult conditions where typical strike ball reactions were very tough to control. For us, this is an easy pick for best spare ball.
Top Spare Bowling Balls Runner-Up
Motiv Allegiant Sniper Pearl Bowling Ball
The Motiv Allegiant Sniper Pearl boasts what Motiv terms as TruShot Polythane technology. This coverstock is said to give the true, predictable performance of polyester, while also providing the durability you get with urethane. It also comes with Motiv's popular Hollow-Point core.
We found this ball to be reliable and accurate. It performed well in most conditions and we really liked how ease this ball was to control when picking up any variety of different spares. This ball has the latest technology built into it, it was performant and accurate, and for these reasons it is our runner-up pick for top spare bowling balls.
Good Spare Bowling Ball Affordably Priced
TZone Deep Space Bowling Ball
The TZone Deep Space Ball doesn't have the advanced features of the Motiv Midnight Sniper or the Hammer Black Widow, but it is still a good spare ball. It is designed to go straight, and that's what it does.
We are big fans of the Deep Space ball because although it doesn't have the bells and whistles of other balls, it rolls straight, and it rolls true. We often recommend this ball to straight bowlers because of how easy it is to control. This along with its affordable price point are what make the TZone Spare Ball a good spare bowling ball.
Good Spare Ball that Looks Amazing
The Brunswick Lizard Glow Viz-A-Ball is a spare ball with a polyester coverstock and a crown factory polish finish. It's a solid performer, ideal for straight throwers and spare shooters.
Not only is this ball a solid spare ball, it is also a real head-turner. The graphics are amazing on this ball – they look even better in person than they do on the screen. If you want a spare ball that will do its job on the lane, while also demanding attention when on the rack, this is your ball. You can even get a matching t-shirt and towel to make an even bigger statement.
What Makes a Good Spare Ball
A good spare ball is something every serious bowler will come to need at some point. But what makes a spare ball good? The answer to this question is actually rather simple: it must go where it's supposed to go, regardless of lane conditions or oil patterns.
A ball that rolls true and accurate will make picking up spares a much easier task, thus these are the characteristics you should look for in a spare ball. Regardless of how technologically advanced the core, the coverstock, or other materials used are, ultimately the only thing that matters is the ball must roll straight. You're looking for as little left to right or right to left movement as possible.
Two of the main characteristics that make a ball roll straight are the cover stock and the hook potential, which typically go hand in hand. That is, the hook potential is typically determined by the cover stock. I high hook potential means the ball is built to grip the lane, providing a sweeping hook for maximum momentum into the pocket. Conversely, a low hook potential means the ball is designed to go straight with as little hook as possible. A plastic/polyester coverstock gives the ball a very smooth outer surface, which reduces friction and provides the least amount of hook potential.
We love testing the latest and greatest bowling equipment, and we are passionate about helping others find the tools that will best help them improve as bowlers. You can be sure that each of our picks above are a great choice for a spare ball because each of them rolls true and accurate – this is the very first criterion each ball must have met to even be considered for our list of picks.