The 3 Most Common Types of Bowling

There are various types of bowling games invented all around the world, which date back thousands of years ago. But you may wonder, what is the most common type of bowling? 

The most common types of bowling are ten-pin, five-pin, and candlepin. Some less common variants include duckpin, skittles, Gorizia, and nine-pin. These variations aim to knock down as many pins as possible to score as many points as possible.

What Are The Most Common Types of Bowling?

  • Ten-pin bowling
  • Five-pin bowling
  • Candlepin

Ten-Pin Bowling

Ten-pin bowling is the top of the list of the most common bowling types. In fact, it is the most popular type of bowling. To start the game, you must arrange ten white bowling pins inside a pyramid at the top of the lane. You only need a heavy bowling ball to start the game. Each player has two strikes to knock down as many pins as possible. At the end of the game, the player with the most points will be declared the winner.

In ten-pin bowling, various procedures and rules are involved in keeping score. Each player receives two rolls of pins in a frame. They have to make it to the end of the game, and if they do, they will get ten points. If they fail, their score will be the number of pins they have knocked down minus ten.

​​Five-Pin Bowling

Although ten-pin bowling is familiar to most players, five-pin bowling is a more manageable bowling type. This variant of ten-pin bowling has pins that are about 75% smaller than the size of standard ten-pins. The rubber hand of 5-pins around their middle makes them fly harder when hit, which increases their likelihood of taking down people around them.

The balls are made from a rubber ball about the size of a human palm. It’s played predominantly in Ontario, Canada. The game’s ball is about 5 inches long and doesn’t have finger holes. The players aim to knock down the pins using a triangular pattern. They get points for each pin they eliminate.

Candlepin Bowling

A candlepin bowling game is similar to ten-pin bowling but with a ball 3 inches in diameter. These candlepins are made of cylinder-like materials, which are incredibly hard to tackle. Also, the pins aren’t cleared between frames, which adds to the difficulty. These are arranged in a triangular shape.

Each player has four rolls to knock down three pins. If they succeed, they earn 2 points for every pin they knock down. The game’s objective is to eliminate all the pins from the frame.

Every player has four opportunities to accomplish this, and if they are successful, they will be awarded two points. Their frame score is based on the number of pins they can knock down.

In addition, each frame in candlepin bowling consists of four opportunities to knock down all the pins in the lane. The first three tries are each worth one point. The fourth attempt is worth double that amount, and so on. The more attempts you make, the more points you get.

What Is A Normal Bowling Game?

In the US, ten-pin bowling is a popular type of normal bowling game that involves forming a triangular around the bowling alley’s exit. The game’s goal is to knock down as many pins as possible within a given period. You can play it with a team or solo.

The American Bowling Congress first introduced the concept of ten-pin bowling in 1895. It is characterized by various features, such as the heavy ball’s three-finger holes. Each stage features ten levels, with two turns given to the participants. The only exception to this is those who roll a strike.

These pins are acrylic or wood and can weigh up to 3 pounds. Your package’s dimensions should be 15″ high and 4.7″ wide to be eligible.

How Does Nine-Pin Bowling Work?

During the time of the colonists, you may wonder, “what is the most common type of bowling?” Nine-pin bowling was a popular sport in the US. However, it was eventually prohibited in various regions. Ten-pin bowling eventually replaced it. A nine-pin bowling lineup is more flexible than a traditional ten-pin setup. 

The team captain chooses the first and second bowler in each frame, and the other members rotate through. Instead of having ten players each, 9-pin bowling uses six. It’s more flexible, and the team captain can change the lineup. The “caller” chooses the first and second bowlers in each frame, and the opposing team can switch lanes with them after three frames.

How Does Duckpin Bowling Work?

The pins and ball size difference between ten-pin and duckpin bowling is significant. Duckpin bowling is a type of game that involves using a ball that weighs around 3.75 pounds. Unlike other types of games, it does not have finger holes. The pins are wider and shorter. Each player gets three turns in the game.

The players in this game make use of a ball that is roughly the size of a softball. The game of duckpin bowling is more difficult than regular bowling because the pins used are lighter and smaller than those used in conventional bowling.

The goal is to remove as many pins as possible in ten frames using as few rolls as possible. Each player has three chances to eliminate all their pins, but it can be challenging since the balls and pins are different sizes.

Like ten-pin bowling, duckpin bowling has a system that rewards a strike when a player successfully knocks down all ten pins on a single roll. Each pin has ten points after it has been knocked down, and a spare is awarded if all ten pins are taken down within the first two rolls of the game.


There are three popular types of bowling. These are the candlepin, ten-pin, and five-pin. But regardless of the type of bowling, one thing is sure; bowling is a fun and engaging game for all ages. Now that you know the most common types of bowling, it will be easier for you to know which types suit your bowling skills best. 

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