If you’re an enthusiast of tenpin bowling or any other bowling game, you know that bowling pins can be both your best friends and your worst enemies. Sometimes, it feels like all ten pins are destined to go down when you’re in a groove at your local bowling alley. Other times, even the heaviest bowling ball you can throw is no match for the frustrating game at hand.

For those who really want to take their bowling skills to the next level, it’s not just about bowling style and bowling lane dominance. It’s about having a base of knowledge about the game that sets you apart from your peers and your competition.

That means learning about the equipment at hand, including the regulation bowling pins at the other end of the lane. What makes learning about a bowling pin important? Well, knowing the ins and outs of both the standard bowling pin and other bowling pins will help you zero in on the task at hand.

The more you know about the game, the better you’ll play. So, let’s start with the basics — when bowling pins are made, how much are they supposed to weigh?

How Much Does A Bowling Pin Weigh?

The weight of bowling pins differs from game to game. The most popular of bowling games, of course, is ten-pin bowling. No matter what city you might live in around the world, chances are that there’s a ten-pin bowling alley not far from you. And in ten-pin bowling, there are precise pin specifications that include the weight of the bowling pin, the base diameter, the approximate shape, and the right weight ratio for standard bowling pins.

How Much Do Ten-pin Bowling Pins Weigh?

The United States Bowling Congress dictates that a bowling pin weigh no less than 3 pounds and 6 ounces, and no more than 3 pounds and 10 ounces. World Bowling, formerly known as the World Tenpin Bowling Association mirrors these regulations. That means that both the USBC and the former World Ten-Pin Bowling Association leave very little wiggle room for bowling pin manufacturers during the construction process.

The regulated weight of a bowling pin helps to regulate the game. If the front pin is much heavier than the five pins behind it, it will create a chain reaction that might throw off bowlers’ approaches altogether. Thus, the laminated maple pins used in regulation ten-pin bowling are sized just right to ensure the game plays pretty much the same at bowling alleys around the world — lane oil conditions notwithstanding.

What Is The Weight Of A Bowling Pin In Other Bowling Games?

Ten-pin bowling isn’t the only game in town, though. Here are the weight regulations for other pins in other games around the world.

Candlepin Bowling

Candlepins are more slender that ten-pin bowling pins and taller. They also weigh 2 pounds, 8 ounces — nearly a full pound less than a regulation bowling pin in ten-pin bowling.

Incredibly enough, a normal candlepin ball weighs about as much as a single candlepin. Candlepin balls also don’t have finger holes.

Duckpin Bowling

A duckpin bowling pin weighs 1.5 pounds on average. They are basically mini-version of ten-pin bowling pins with a smaller base diameter and circumference at their thickest point. A 0.5 to 1 inch wide band made of rubber is wrapped around the widest part of a duckpin to help with increasing pin action.

Duckpin bowling balls have no finger holes and weigh no more than 3 pounds and 12 ounces.

Five-Pin Bowling

Smaller than a standard bowling pin in the ten-pin game, five-pin bowling pins weight 2 pounds and 2 ounces.

Ninepins Bowling

A German bowling game popular in various parts of Europe, Ninepins is also known as Kegels. Each ninepins bowling pin weighs 2.86 pounds and is connected by a wire from its head to the pinsetter on the bowling lane.

What Are The Different Types Of Ten-Pin Bowling Pins?

While there are strict regulations for ten-pin bowling pins, there are also different types of bowling pins within those regulations. Let’s take a look at the three most common types of pin at bowling alleys around the world.

Brunswick PBA Gold Pin

Weighing out at the maximum of 3 pounds and 10 ounces, Brunswick PBA Gold Pins are used during professional tournament play. Along with the normal Brunswick logo, they feature a colorful PBA logo to differentiate them from standard bowling pins used in open bowling environments.

Winsome Bowling Pin

Featuring the classic Brunswick logo, Winsome bowling pins are the cheapest pins to buy for bowling alley operators. If you think about how many pins a bowling center must keep on hand to stay in business, cutting costs makes sense. And the cool thing about Winsome bowling pins is that they still offer great quality and durability at a reduced price point.

Vulcan Vultex 2 Bowling Pin

These durable bowling pin beauties don’t just have some random plastic coating protecting them. They are covered in Surlyn — the strongest bowling pin coating there is nowadays. Vulcan bowling pins cost more than Winsome pins, but usually last longer (and much longer than older pins made of single blocks of hard maple wood.)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum and maximum weight for bowling balls?

While there is no minimum weight for bowling balls, the maximum weight of a regulation bowling ball is 16 pounds. For a bowling ball to be sold with the blessing of the sport’s governing bodies or used in a tournament or sanctioned league play, it cannot exceed 16 pounds in original or modified form.

Does bowling pin weight really matter?

Yes! If a bowling pin doesn’t fall into the required weight range, it could throw off the entire set of ten pins during a game. It will change how the pins act, how they carom, and how they react when you slot the ball into the pocket. The weight of bowling pins is a crucial factor in keeping the game fair for players of all skill sets.

Does the United States Bowling Congress have a say in the weight of a standard regulation bowling pin?

Yes! The United States Bowling Congress has set the regulation weight of a bowling pin to a range of 3 pounds, 6 ounces to 3 pounds, 10 ounces. Other governing bodies have followed suit.

How long do most bowling pins last?

According to data secured from bowling alley operators around the world, most regulation bowling pins last around 1-2 years.

Is a bowling ball strong enough to break a bowling pin?

It just depends on the pin. If a pin is on its last legs, it might crack with an impact just so. However, modern bowling pins are built to withstand hundreds to thousands of direct impacts without incident.

Are synthetic pins stronger than other bowling pins such as wooden pins?

They can be. Most regulation bowling pins are made of hard maple wood pieces and are covered in a synthetic compound. The synthetic compound helps with durability, but the core remains real wood.

Do bowling pin weights vary at different bowling alleys?

Not much. As we said before, there is very little wiggle room allowed when manufacturing bowling pins. With a total weight range of just 4 ounces between the minimum and maximum weights, you won’t see too much variance at different alleys.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you know how much a bowling pin weighs, everything from the minimum weight of a ten-pin bowling pin to the standard weight of a candlepin, it’s time to go. You can go into the world bowling your heart out, with more information than most bowlers around you. And by calibrating your shot just right, you can turn 3 pounds and 6 ounces into powerful pin action shot after shot.