Do All Bowling Pins Weigh The Same?


Have you ever thought about how much a bowling pin weighs? Pretty often, people believe that the weight of their bowling ball is the only important factor to play a good game of bowling.

While it’s true that most bowling pins have the same look, their weight depends on what kind of bowling you are referring to and, most notably, the material it’s made out of. Commonly, bowling pins weigh between 3 lbs. 6 oz and 3 lbs. 10 oz.

Many people don’t know that the weight of the bowling pins is just as important as the weight of their ball. Their weight has a significant impact on how easy or difficult it will be to get knocked over.

How Much Should A Bowling Pin Weigh Per Regulations?

The United States Bowling Congress sets the weight and size of a regulation bowling pin. World Bowling, previously known as the World Ten Pin Bowling Association, has also accepted this as the standard weight.

For some time, the standard weight for a bowling pin has been set at 3 pounds and 6 ounces. Although there are different games and styles of bowling pins, they will nearly always be of this weight. 

What Is The Ideal Weight Of A Bowling Pin?

The standard – or common- weight of bowling pins is defined as 3 lbs. and 6 ounces. An additional 4 to 5 ounces are added when they include the laminated maple and plastic coating.

What Is The Minimum Weight Of A Bowling Pin?

A regulation bowling pin must weigh no less than 3 pounds and 6 ounces. This means a standard regulation bowling pin is already at the minimum weight requirement.

What Is The Maximum Weight Of A Bowling Pin?

The heaviest regulated bowling pin can weigh 3 pounds and 10 ounces, which means only a 4-ounce increase from the minimum – regulation – size. Even though this may not seem like a big deal, 4 ounces can affect the outcome when it comes to bowling. Anything above 4 ounces makes the game unfair as it becomes more difficult to knock over the pins.

Why Is The Weight Of A Bowling Pin Important?

Bowling pins have a standard regulation weight set to be 3 lbs and 6 oz. This weight was calculated based on the idea that each pin should weigh approximately 24% of the heaviest allowed bowling ball.

Because the pin weighs about a quarter of what the heaviest bowling ball weighs, it creates a game that can be both rewarding and challenging at the same time.

Bowling pins that weigh too much are difficult to knock down, which results in a frustrating game the lighter the player’s ball is. If they are too light, the pins can easily be knocked down when the ball is delivered, even with the lightest ball.

The game will be thrilling and manageable with the right weight ratio.

Types Of Bowling Pins And Their Weight

Below you can find the three types of bowling pins most commonly being used:

Vulcan Vultex 2 Pin

These bowling pins follow the standard weight and size and are made with a coating of Surlyn. It looks like they are quite resistant, heavy-duty, and meant to last a while. There are actually two variants of these pins that can be told apart by the different logos since they have the same permit number.

Brunswick PBA Gold Pin

These are the heavier bowling pins that weigh 3 lbs. and 10 ounces. The PBA uses them in the tournament, and they have a colored PBA logo to differentiate them from the one that can be used in a regular bowling game which has the PBA logo on the bottom.

Winsome Pin

It is also made by Brunswick and integrates the Brunswick logo on it. It is common due to their lower cost while being quite great in their performance. This makes it a favorite for bowling alleys across the country.

Respective Pin Weight Per Type of Game

Depending on the game, the bowling pin weight may vary.

Tenpins Bowling Pin Weight

When we talk about “bowling,” most of us think of Tenpin Bowling.

According to World Bowling, Ten Pin bowling pins have the following minimum and maximum weight:

  • Minimum weight: 3 pounds 6 ounces (1.5 kilograms)
  • Maximum weight: 3 pounds and 10 ounces (1.6 kilograms)
  • If the pins are made of synthetic, their weight difference should not exceed 2 ounces, and 4 ounces if the pins are made from wood.

Duckpin Bowling Pin Weight

A Duck-Pin bowling pin is a small – dwarf – version of the ten-pin with a smaller base and a bit smaller hips because of its peculiar shape that looks like a duck and, therefore, the name Duckpin.

The Duckpin bowling pin weighs 1.5 pounds or 0.68Kg which is almost half the weight of a ten-pin. Duckpin bowlers wrap a wide rubber band around the widest part of the bowling pin in order to increase the impact when hit with a bowling ball.

Five-pin Bowling Pin Weight

The weight of a five-pin bowling pin is 2 pounds and 2 ounces (2 lbs. 2 oz). The usual height is 12 ⅜ inches, and its diameter is 4.188 inches. 

Bowling pins in five-pins weigh less than those in ten-pins because they are smaller.

Candlepin Bowling Pin Weight

Candlepins are shaped differently from other pins and are named after their candlelike appearance. They are the tallest at 15 ¾ inches and 2.5 inches wide. 

They weigh 2 pounds and 8 ounces (1.1 kg).

In fact, each candlepin weighs almost as much as the maximum candlepin ball.

Ninepins Or Kegels Bowling Pin Weight

The Ninepins – or Kegels – is a version of the bowling pin that is played in European countries, and they have different rules. They can be referred to as the European cousin of Ten-pin bowling. 

The Ninepin bowling pin weighs 2.86 pounds. The Ninepins or Kegel’s pins that are used in Kegels are a mix of designs from both Ten-pins and Duckpins, with wires attached to the head that is connected to the pinsetters.

How Do Manufacturers Ensure Consistency? Aspects That Impact Bowling Pins Weight?

Core: What Are Bowling Pins Made Out Of?

A bowling pin is made by gluing rock maple blocks in place and then turning them on a lathe to form the approximate shape. Once the pin has been formed on the lathe, it is coated with plastic, painted, and finished with a glossy finish. As wood becomes unavailable, synthetics are used to create bowling pins. Synthetic pins are currently approved for use in five-pin, duck-pin, and candlepin games. USBC has approved a synthetic ten-pin model. Synthetic pins make a different sound than wooden pins when they are struck by the ball.

Design: Anatomy Of A Bowling Pin

Designing bowling pins should consider three factors: durability, scoring, and sound. A variety of materials and coatings can be used to increase the durability of bowling pins, so it is necessary to carry more weight than it is worth. The stronger the pins are, the greater the sound they make.

The standard size for ten pin bowling pins is 4.75 inches wide and 15 inches high. 

How Long Does A Bowling Pin Last?

Depending on the usage, the longevity of a bowling pin can vary between 6-18 months. 

Centers usually have multiple sets of pins to keep them in rotation and extend their lifespan. Some centers even use their newest and best sets of pins for leagues and put to use their tired sets of pins during normal out-of-season use. 

Using tired pins can cause the pins to have a lesser reaction and just not carry the same. 

Facts

Bowling pins can easily be mistaken for juggling clubs due to their similar shape. However, the two differ greatly in weight and construction.

The British series How It’s Made created an episode in 2015 to take a look at the exact process behind making regulation weight bowling pins. They went into the factory floor with their cameras to document how carefully they weighed blocks of wood and then transformed them into the shape of the pin in a very short time.

The largest bowling alley in the world is in Japan and has 116 lanes. 

Reno is actually home to the National Bowling Stadium since 1996, and it’s made up of 78 lanes.

Final Thoughts

Let’s remember that regulation bowling pins in ten pins – the one people are most familiar with – weigh 3 pounds and 6 oz. However, you can find other bowling pins, but they will be between the regulated weight of 3 pounds and 6 oz (minimum) and 3 pounds 10 oz (maximum). Which gives very little wiggle room for bowling pin weight, but it makes it easier to bowl.

It’s crucial to use the right bowling pin weight because it gives the game a sense of challenge and makes it more enjoyable.

Tim C, M.D.

My grandfather and my mother both taught me bowling in the early 1970’s. I spent the next few decades working my way up to the top tiers of local amateur bowling leagues, and continued to participate in college at the club level. My wife and bowled in coed leagues before kids, and then taught our kids bowling as they grew up. Now I’m here to answer some of the web’s common questions about bowling rules, techniques, equipment and more. To see more about the site, check our About Page

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