With the lanes offering different oil patterns, bowling balls have to compulsorily undergo a lot of changes in their designs and materials. From plastic coverstocks to urethane and then to reactive resin, all these changes have been in response to the changing lane conditions. Similarly, from Pancake to, Symmetrical and then to Asymmetrical cores, the efforts have been to adapt to the changing oil patterns.
Reactive bowling balls convert the constraining oily lane conditions into a favorable one by imparting more hook and aggression to the ball on these lanes. However, it is often tricky to select the most suitable reactive ball among a huge variety of available options. And for this reason, we have listed the most top-rated reactive balls among the large variety. You only need to compare each of these reviewed balls with your specific needs and select the one that best fits your requirements.
Top 9 Best Reactive Bowling Balls Reviewed
- Brunswick Rhino Bowling Ball
- Pyramid Path Rising Bowling Ball
- Storm Timeless Bowling Ball
- Motiv Golden Jackal
- Storm Code Red Bowling Ball
- DV8 Pitbull Bowling Ball
- Storm Hy Road Bowling Ball
- Brunswick Kingpin Rule
- Radical Katana Legend
- Coverstock: R-16 Reactive
- Core: Light Bulb Symmetrical
- Finish: 500-grit stair pad
The Brunswick Rhino bowling ball with its R-16 Reactive cover offers very impressive hook potential. The 500 grit finish adds to the traction on the oily lanes and further enhances the hook potential of the ball.
The rolling sphere has a Light Bulb Symmetrical weight block wrapped under the reactive cover. It provides very good control to the ball in different lane conditions with particular suitability to medium and heavy oil lane conditions.
The bowling ball has low RG and low differential giving it a highly predictable movement without causing much distraction on the lane and therefore offers very consistent performance in the alley. For its high consistency, Rhino is the favorite ball among intermediate and pro-bowlers.
It is a USBC (United States Bowling Congress) approved bowling ball. You can play with this ball in any of the leagues organized by or under the bowling congress. The ball has a wide weight range from 10 to 16 lbs to cater to adult male and female bowlers.
|Impressive hook potential||Not pretty rugged|
- Coverstock: Path Reactive
- Core: New Era 139
- Finish: 1500-grit polish
High performance with longevity is something every bowler dream for. The Pyramid Path Rising fulfills this dream by offering wonderful performance in the alley from shot after shot and league after league. And it continues with the same performance level for years together.
The high-performing path reactive cover wrapped over New Era 139 Symmetrical core provides a great option for the strokers to play their natural game in the oily lanes. The ball has super versatility. It offers enough control for newbies to learn the art of bowling. The high affordability of the ball adds more attraction to its already impressive performance features.
It is a wonderful ball to transcend from the beginner to the intermediate level and perfect the bowling skills at that level before transcending to the advanced level. The high durability of the ball offers you company during all these changing phases.
For the heavy oil lanes, the ball offers decent hook potential allowing pro-bowlers to use their bowling skills in destroying the deck. On the dry lanes, the ball moves straight making it a perfect spare bowling ball for these lane conditions.
|Perfect when transcending to higher skill level||Not very aggressive on heavy oil lanes|
|Good spare ball option for dry lanes|
|Decent hook potential on oily lanes|
|Ideal for beginners|
- Coverstock: R2S Hybrid Reactive
- Core: Dual-Drive
- Finish: 1500-grit Polished
The Storm Timeless bowling ball is a class apart. The perfect blend of R2S Hybrid Reactive and Dual Drive Core was the design idea of Jason Belmonte, the three times winner of the prestigious PBA player of the year award. He also suggested for the 1500-grit polished finish to add further grit to the already stunning combination of high-performing cover and the weight block.
The bowling ball is extremely reactive and aggressive on the lane and you need to be a pro-bowler to properly control the unpredictable movements of the ball. The ball offers excellent hitting power, as well. So, once you are able to control the ball on the lane surface, you can continue to dislodge the deck pins consistently with quite an ease.
The rolling sphere has a high quality of cover and core making the ball highly durable. So, despite being on the higher price range the ball proves to be pretty cost-effective in the long run.
It is an ideal ball for the advanced bowlers and excellent for the intermediate bowlers who wish to transcend quickly to the pro-level.
|Excellent for intermediates transcending to the next level||Pricey|
|Very impressive hook potential|
|Ideal for pro-bowlers|
|Superb flare potential|
- Coverstock: Hex ion SE Pearl
- Core: Predator V4
- Finish: 4000 Grit LSS
The Motive Golden Jackal offers a deadly mix of Hex ion SE Pearl coverstock and Predator V4 weight block. The high-performance bowling ball is a masterpiece built to perform on medium to heavy oil lane conditions. It is rare to find controlled aggression in a reactive ball. However, the Golden Jackal is an exception. Through its mid-RG, high differential core properties, the ball offers a mix of power and elegance.
As a bowler, you don’t need to put a lot of effort into delivering perfect shots consistently even in the long competitions.
The bowling ball is available with 14, 15 and 17 lbs weights making it ideal for the adult men bowlers.
|A superb blend of aggression and elegance||Suitable only for adult men bowlers|
|Amazing mid-lane read|
|Rugged and durable|
|Ideal for strokers|
- Coverstock: R2S Hybrid Reactive
- Core: RAD4
- Finish: 1500-grit Polished
The Storm Code Red bowling ball is literally the red signal for the deck pins at the far end. And the pins are pretty aware of it… but not prepared for the storm that is approaching them with extreme intensity.
The R2S hybrid reactive cover with a 1500-grit finish offers extreme hook potential to the ball. The RAD4 weight block allows the ball to glide smoothly in the front part of the lane. Gaining momentum at the mid-lane, the ball causes relentlessly destruction at the other end through its absolutely stunning back-end reaction.
The red sphere looks very attractive on the shelf as well as on the lane. Like other Storm bowling balls, the Code Red also has very high durability.
|Ideal for intermediate bowlers||Not very impressive hook potential|
|Aggressive back-end reaction|
- Coverstock: Composite fang max
- Core: Asymmetric Pitbull
- Finish: 1000 grit pad
The DV8 Pitbull Bark is a unique combination of Composite fang max cover with 1000 grit pad finish and Pitbull asymmetrical weight block. The highly attractive sphere is a killer on the heavy oil lane surfaces and offers extremely high hook potential.
The weight block also supports the high reactivity of the cover with its low RG and high differential asymmetrical design and provides extremely aggressive backend reaction and pin-carry to the ball.
The ball is ideal for the advanced bowlers who have enough grit to control this highly unpredictable and uncontrollable ball on heavy oil lane conditions.
|Most suitable for heavy oil lane surfaces||Pretty difficult to control|
|Extremely high hook potential|
|Aggressive back-end reaction|
- Coverstock: R2S Solid Reactive
- Core: Inverted Fe² Technology
- Finish:1500 Grit Polished
The Storm Hy Road bowling ball is one of the most impressive reactive bowling balls. The bowling ball with R2S Solid Reactive cover offers a strong hook potential on the medium to heavy oil lane conditions.
The inverted Fe2 Technology weight block offers decent flare potential and aggressive back-end reaction with very impressive pin carry and action. The bowling ball has a very good mid-lane read that makes the ball very predictable despite high aggression.
The ball offers a great opportunity for the bowlers who wish to perfect their hook shots on heavy oil lane conditions. The pros find the ball perfect for scoring high in any competition.
|Impressive mid-lane read||Lacks balance|
|Very good hook potential|
|Superb back-end reaction|
|Rugged and durable|
- Cover stock: ECA-XR(Solid Reactive)
- Core: Kingpin Ultra Low RG
- Finish: 500/2000 Siaair Micro Pad
The Kingpin Rule is the perfect reactive bowling ball for the professionals to play on heavy oil lane conditions. The ECA-XR Solid Reactive CS offers strong hook potential to the ball. The Kingpin Ultra Low RG weight block supports the highly reactive cover with amazing pin carry.
The 500/2000 Siaair Micro Pad finish adds to the already impressive hook potential of the bowling ball. The ball, however, displays the rare feature of smooth front lane motion with a sharp angular movement.
|Good blend of aggression and balance||Not impressive on low oil pattern|
|Strong hook potential|
|Smooth front motion|
- Coverstock: Forged + Pearl
- Core: Katana Asymmetric
- Finish: 500 And 1000 Stair
The Radical Katana is a unique combination of high-performing Forged+Pearl Coverstock and Katana Asymmetrical core. The ball offers high traction down the lane thus imparting very strong hook potential to the bowling ball.
The asymmetrical core provides an extreme back-end reaction with highly impressive pin-carry. The ball is a perfect sphere for the medium to heavy oil lane conditions. Ideal for pro-bowlers, the ball offers a great opportunity to the intermediates to perfect their hook skills and quickly reach the next level.
|Impressive pin-carry and back-end||Difficult to control|
|Strong hook potential|
|Ideal for pros|
Features To Consider When Buying Best Reactive Bowling Ball
Coverstock contributes to almost 60-70% of your performance in the alley. And that is why it is the single most important factor to consider when buying any bowling ball including the reactive ball.
- There are three major types of coverstocks viz. Polyester, Urethane, and Reactive Resin.
- The invention of the latter two was necessitated by the oil used over the lanes.
- The contemporary Polyester balls were smooth, solid, and non-porous. They did not offer enough friction nor do they absorb the lane oil.
- For this reason, they didn’t offer any hook in these oily conditions.
- Polyurethane (PU), popularly known as Urethane coverstocks with their reasonable roughness and porosity proved to be a good alternative to the oily lanes.
- They offer decent hook potential on these surfaces.
- However, the modern game of bowling calls for more aggression, and hence the ball manufacturers added resin additives to the Urethane balls to create more hook potential on these lanes.
- There are three different types of Reactive resin CS, viz. Solid, Hybrid, and Pearl.
- Reactive Solid is the most reactive among the three Reactive resin Coverstocks.
- Different styles of bowlers prefer one reactive coverstock over the other among the three.
Coverstock Surface Finish
The coverstocks either have a smooth finish or a rough surface. Different bowling balls come with different levels and types of finish for different lane types. However, you can also modify the surface finish of the bowling ball by sanding or polishing to get the required level of roughness or smoothness respectively.
Rough surfaces offer more hook potential and they hook early while the smooth surfaces hook lesser and hook near the far end of the lane.
A reactive ball necessarily needs to have a rough surface. So, when shopping for a reactive ball you need to have rough surfaces offering high friction. While modifying the surface finish you need to use suitable abrasive pads to increase the roughness and friction of the ball.
If coverstock is a visible destroyer of the deck-pins, the core is the invisible partner in the act. The core essentially offers weight to the bowling ball and is, therefore, also referred to as the weight block. Different balls have different shapes and weights. However, broadly there are three types of bowling ball cores viz. Pancake, Symmetrical, and Asymmetrical.
- As Polyester is to coverstocks, Pancake is to cores. It means that pancake cores are the least aggressive of the three types.
- Similarly, as Reactive Resin is to coverstocks Asymmetrical weight block is to Cores. Yes, the most reactive of the three core types.
- Symmetrical cores fall in-between and offer decent to moderate aggression depending on the type of CS wrapping.
- So, a blend of Solid Reactive Resin CS with high RG/ high differential Asymmetrical core is the deadliest combination in a bowling alley.
The weight of the ball is another very important factor that decides your performance in the league.
- You must select the ball around one-tenth of your body weight.
- Adult males generally use balls between 12 to 16 pounds while females use between 10 to 12 lbs. Balls weighing less than 10lbs are ideal for the kids.
- However, these are only the guiding rules for selecting the right-weight ball. You should try out a few balls in the alley around the standard weight and select the ball that offers optimum control and comfort while bowling.
Finger Hole Positions
Shopping of a reactive ball is not over until it is drilled with the custom holes as per your style of bowling and hand measurements. So, after you receive your favorite reactive bowling ball, visit the local pro-shop for drilling finger holes. They will take your hand measurements, observe your bowling style, and drill the holes.
- You can select between the two styles of gripping for drilling the holes viz. the conventional grip or the fingertip grip.
- The conventional grip allows your middle and index fingers to reach the middle joints while your thumb goes fully inside the thumb hole.
- In the Fingertip grip, on the other hand, your fingers enter until their last joints with the thumb position similar to the former style.
- You can also use the inserts in the fingertip types of grips.
This factor may be important for you when choosing the ball or may not hold any importance to you. However, the ball manufacturers know the glamorous nature of the game and therefore they do not compromise with the style and aesthetics of their bowling balls. In the end, you almost always get an attractive sphere when you go shopping for a bowling ball. In any case, it won’t be a bad idea to select the ball of your favorite color, design, or pattern. Playing with your favorite ball may boost your confidence in the alley.
The cost of a bowling ball is not governed only by its selling price. Selling price is only one of the many factors attributing to the overall cost of the bowling ball. The other factors being the durability and maintenance need of the bowling ball.
An expensive bowling ball with high durability and low maintenance cost may be more cost-effective compared to a lower-priced non-durable and delicate ball. This factor is more relevant for the reactive balls compared to the balls used in dry lane surfaces.
If you have a budget constrain, you should select the ball considering only the performance features while ignoring the features that do not add any value to your game.
Top Pick- Brunswick Rhino Bowling Ball
Shortlisting the top-most reactive bowling balls among the wide variety available in the market in itself is quite tricky. Further to select the best among the best is even more difficult. However, comparing the unique features of each of the shortlisted balls helped us select the Brunswick Rhino bowling ball as our top-pick.
The bowling ball has the perfect reactive ball combination of R-16 reactive coverstock with 500 grit finish and light bulb symmetrical core. The blend offers a good mix of aggression and control to the ball making it a highly versatile bowling sphere for the medium to heavy oil lane conditions.
The Rhino is a USBC approved ball, making you eligible to play with this highly consistent ball in any league organized by the congress.
A reactive bowling ball is a perfect example of converting challenges into opportunities. It is an ideal response to the changing lane conditions in the bowling game. You can also convert this roadblock into a stepping stone by choosing the right ball among the top 9 best reactive bowling balls reviewed here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long does a reactive bowling ball last?
A: Generally a reactive bowling ball can last between five to ten years. The exact duration will depend on the quality of the material used in manufacturing the ball and the attention given to the care and maintenance of the ball.
Q: What does a reactive bowling ball mean?
A: Reactive bowling balls are wrapped under the coverstock made with Polyurethane material coated with resin additives. The resin additives help increase the traction of the ball on the lane and offer more control over the angle, velocity, and revolution during the release.
Q: What is the right way of using a reactive bowling ball?
A: As their name suggests, the reactive bowling balls are REACTIVE. So, you need to have complete control over the ball while releasing it on the lane. The first and foremost requirement is to keep your hand perfectly steady during the release. Second, you need to constantly observe the behavior of the ball on the lane. You must adjust your grip and release to compensate for the unintended left or right drift of the ball. Always remember to respond and not react while playing with the reactive ball.