Best Urethane Balls for Bowling Reviews
Before urethane bowling balls, polyester is what everybody used. Polyester is a great ball for bowling straight, especially for beginner bowlers and shooting spares. Because of this, polyester balls can still be used by virtually any level of bowler. But they lack the ability to grip the lane, and therefore offer little to no hook in most conditions. Enter the urethane coverstock.
Urethane gives bowlers the ability to achieve a much more pronounced hook more easily. This in turn allows for a greater angle of entry of the ball into the pocket, which creates a larger transfer of energy as the ball contacts the pins. The hook achieved by urethane begins sooner, is more drawn out, and is more controllable than the hook of more advanced reactive balls. Interesting to note here is that urethane is still used as the base layer on these more advanced, more aggressive balls.
Bowlers looking to learn how to hook or become more consistent with their hook would benefit from a urethane ball. This is because the hook is predictable and controllable. A urethane bowling ball will also be a good choice on certain lane conditions when controlling more reactive balls is extremely difficult. This explains why several PBA titles have been won recently by pros primarily using a urethane ball.
We are big fans of urethane, especially for beginners and intermediate players. We also believe that players of all skill levels can benefit from them. But there are a lot of choices out there. We have tested nearly every urethane option and have laid out our reviews and recommendations below. We will provide our top urethane balls picks from Storm, Hammer, and Brunswick, as well as our top two overall picks.
Our Picks – Top Bowling Urethane Balls
Hammer's Best Urethane Bowling Balls
Hammer Top Pick - *Best Urethane Ball*
Web Pearl Urethane Ball
The Hammer Web Pearl is a very well regarded ball by just about everybody. It is strong and works particularly well on light and medium oil patterns – it works very well on shorter length patterns. It has a thick-shelled, pearl urethane coverstock and boasts Hammer's new LED core, the latest iteration of the famous bulb shape core.
This may be the most popular urethane ball out there. And for good reason. It looks great with its smokey look. But its control is what makes this a truly standout ball. It truly provides the best control throughout the entire lane of any ball we tested. For this reason, the Hammer Web Pearl is our pick for best urethane ball.
Storm Urethane Bowling Balls
Storm Urethane Top Pick
The Storm Pitch Black is a great ball that has a solid coverstock and Storm's patent Capacitor Core. It excels on oil patterns that are shorter as well as wooden lanes. The solid urethane coverstock really made this ball predictable and easy to control.
We really like the classic matte black look with neon green graphics. We were also really impressed with the control of the Pitch Black. It was especially performant on dryer lane conditions. We felt that it didn't have quite as much control as the Hammer Purple Pearl, and that's the only reason it wasn't our top pick among all balls. It is still our Storm Urethane top pick and our runner up pick for best overall.
Storm Urethane Runner Up
The Storm Mix comes with Storm's Traditional 3-piece Core and had the best durability of the balls we tested. This ball isn't as versatile as some of the other picks on this page, but it would serve as a great pick for somebody's first ball, particularly as that person ventures into the world of hooking. The Mix would more likely be a good spare pick for you upper-intermediate to advanced players. We also weren't a fan of the cartoonish font used for the lettering.
Storm Urethane Honorable Mention
Storm Timeless Bowling Ball
Part of Storm’s new Signature Series, the Timeless bowling ball is the first release of specialized products. It came out in February of 2017 and has received fantastic reviews. This ball was made in collaboration with Jason Belmonte and offers Dual-Drive weight block and lightweight core. It’s also got R2S hybrid coverstock and a 1500-grit factory finish helping it become one of the fastest revving balls out there. The color is a solid blue/platinum with black pearls… making it look somewhat planetary (some of our bowlers call it the Timeless space bowling ball). The weight comes in 12 lb - 16 lb, and has a high flare potential of 5-6 inches.
The Dual-Drive symmetric core, which is a brand new, innovative feature provided by Storm, features a high RG and high differential which means that the retention of energy and backend reaction can’t be matched with other balls.
One very attractive aspect of this ball is that it is designed for any bowler regardless of style.
As part of a Storm Timeless bowling ball review, our bowlers spent some time with the Storm Timeless 14 lb, and the Storm Timeless 15 lb balls. They were happy with how it gripped the lane and allowed for hooks as well as straight shots. The price of the Storm Timeless tour bowling ball is on the higher end, but it seems worth the investment when you consider how versatile it is on various surfaces.
Motiv Urethane Bowling Balls
Motiv Top Choice
This modern urethan ball offers a competitive advantage over traditional urethan and reactive resin balls. MOTIV’s Frixion cover is the best of both worlds. Unlike a traditional urethan bowling ball cover, the Covert Tank is capable of absorbing oil but absorbs at a much slower rate than reactive resin giving you better pin carry and follow through. This is a great, versatile ball for all types of bowlers.
Brunswick Urethane Bowling Balls
Brunswick Top Pick
The Brunswick True Motion is a throwback ball by Brunswick that includes the new Magnitude 035 low differential symmetrical core. This ball has the control you want out of a urethane, but it also produces a bit more kick in the middle of the lane to increase the energy transfer at impact.
We liked the True Motion. We liked it a lot, actually. The extra bite the core creates on the lane makes it a bit more of an advanced ball compared to the other picks on this page. That's certainly not a bad thing, we just wouldn't recommend this ball for those just picking up the hook or looking for maximum control throughout the lane. That said, it's a great pick if you are looking for a little more advanced action and movement that covers more boards.
Brunswick Runner Up
The U-Motion gave a solid performance and worked best on lighter oil and patterns that were shorter (are you seeing the pattern here?). The colorway is great on this ball; the dark purple could go unnoticed without a closer look, and the bright purple graphics really pop. The U-Motion features Brunswick's DynamiCore that improves durability and decreases ball impact compression, which results in better power at impact.
We didn't really have any complaints with this ball. It had good control, good power, and looks great. It fell just short of the Purple Pearl and the Pitch Black, but it is still a great option and we have no problem recommending this ball for most users.
What is the difference between Polyester/Plastic, Urethane, and Reactive Resin?
The major difference between these three materials is how they react to oil on the lanes, and therefore how much hook you can achieve with them. Plastic (polyester) will give you the smallest amount of reaction – virtually no reaction if that's what you want and are going for. This makes plastic ideal for straight bowlers and beginners.
Urethane starts to incorporate balls that will grip the lane, so you can start throwing prolonged, predictable hooks. These are the easiest to control, while still getting some good angles as the ball moves into the pocket.
Reactive Resin absorbs oil and grips the lane the most, thus producing the greatest reaction. These are known for their aggressive hooks, and while they potentially will generate the greatest angles and energy distribution at impact, they are the most difficult to control and are really designed for advanced bowlers.