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What You Need To Know About Reactive Bowling Ball for Better Score?

What did you need to know about reactive bowling balls? One of my favorite topics to discuss is the bowling ball coverstocks. How much do you know about them? Which one is your favorite? Today, we are going to talk about the reactive bowling balls aka the reactive resin balls. What I love about these balls is that they are very versatile and each type has its specialty.

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Reactive Bowling Ball Ins and Outs

In this article, you will find in-depth information regarding reactive resin bowling balls and how they perform. Because your bowling performance depends on the ball’s coverstock it is important to know whether and which reactive resin ball is the right one for you. So let’s get to the point, shall we?

What is a reactive bowling ball?

Simply put, reactive coverstocks have urethane with resin particles blended in it. While plastic and urethane balls were dominating the market in the 1990s, reactive resin bowling balls were introduced. These balls became popular within a short period and since then both amateurs and pro bowlers swear by them. So what’s so good about this ball that made bowlers go crazy?

First of all, these bowling ball has the extra power that you need to successfully score a strike! Within time the bowlers realized that they were getting more strikes with a reactive bowling ball than they do with their urethane or plastic bowling ball. Who wouldn’t love that, am I right? If you roll down the ball on a bowling lane your chances of getting a better average increases, you would go for a ball that makes it happen, wouldn’t you?

Besides better force and elevated bowling performance, Reactive bowling balls also improve the overall ball reaction from start to finish. You can expect better lane read, pin action, and smooth and continuous motion down the lane. Moreover, these reactive bowling balls also allow you to hook your ball which promotes a beautiful backend reaction, thanks to that extra grip!

Truth be told, professional bowlers can handle almost all kinds of bowling balls after a bit of practice. And so, reactive bowling balls are nothing too tough for them to handle. Beginners and seasonal bowlers struggle the most. But nothing a bit of practice can fix! I believe, it is the increased margin of error that made these bowling balls so admiring in the first place.

Types of Reactive Bowling Balls

Did you know that the construction of reactive bowling balls is quite similar to urethane bowling balls? So what makes reactive resin bowling balls so unique? There are a few other additional components blended with the formula of the coverstock. The three types are- Reactive Solids, Reactive Pearls, and Reactive Hybrid— each type has special additives that make it different from the other two. Plus, the differences are significant in ball motion and hooking ability.

Reactive Solid Bowling Ball

Reactive balls, particularly Reactive Solids are many bowlers’ holy grail. The best feature Reactive solids have is their early reaction and fast lane reading ability. Like most bowling balls, Reactive solids can come in either a polished or sanded finish.

Based on the surface you will throw your ball, reactive solids will let you have control over the ball’s movement and reaction. Solid balls are mostly recommended for use on fresh-medium to heavy oil patterns. However, the ball surface is going to absorb the oil from the lane pretty fast. Why? Because these balls cut through the oil like a pro, and on top of that, the surface has microscopic pores that are responsible for absorbing the oil.

Compared to reactive pearls and reactive hybrids, solids are more high-maintenance. On the bright side, they will last a long time if properly taken care of. Compared to the other two coverstocks, solids will ensure smoother breakpoint and more friction with plenty of hooking potential. I don’t think having a reactive solid ball will feel like a waste of money.

Reactive Pearl Bowling Ball

Based on longevity and performance, reactive pearls do an amazing job. Unlike solids and hybrids, Pearl balls go the longest. They also absorb less oil. Interestingly, pearl reactive balls have mica added to the coverstock mixture. It significantly minimizes the microscopic holes that are the culprit of absorbing oil from the lane. Moreover, the sparkle appearance you see comes from that mica material. How cool is that! Reactive pearl also reacts to the lane on time which leads to some badass higher friction backend motions.

So, unlike the other two, you will be able to play with this ball for the longest time. For the best pin reaction, trajectory, and flawless breakpoint, dry lanes are perfect. You will also get some additional lengths you desire with the right amount of hook. You might even enjoy some sharp aggressive arches before the pearls hit the pocket.

Reactive Hybrid Coverstock

As the name suggests ‘Hybrid’ points out the fact that it is a combination of solid and pearl reactive coverstock materials. So does that mean you will have the advantages of both of these balls? The answer is, yes! Fantastic, right? Hybrid bowling balls are carefully designed to give the mid-lane reaction you experience in a solid ball. At the same time, you will be able to witness the controllable backend reaction that pearl balls provide.

The versatility Hybrid balls ensure is unbelievable. However, some bowlers find hybrids the hardest to control. Once you get the knack for its aggressiveness, I’m sure you will love hybrid bowling balls the most. When it comes to choosing a reactive bowling ball, a good number of professional bowlers simply go for reactive hybrids without any doubt.

How long does a reactive bowling ball last?

Just like your house pets, bowling balls require a lot of attention, except they don’t bark or meow. I’m just kidding! But, hey, jokes aside, you need to follow a maintenance routine properly to make your bowling balls last for years. If a reactive ball is properly looked after, it can last 5 to 10 years (depending on the type). My friend Josh has many discontinued reactive solids that he bought back in 2010 and he still plays with them. One great tip he shared is to use all of your bowling balls from your arsenal from time to time instead of making them sit in the back of your garage. The longest break his reactives have received is 15 days.

How to tell if a bowling ball is reactive?

Are you a professional bowler? Have you bowled with a reactive ball before? Then I assume it would be easy for you to identify a reactive bowling ball. One way to tell is by rolling them down the lane. If you see your ball having an angular breakpoint, stronger ball motion, increased hooking ability, and better friction and pin reaction, then it is more likely to be a reactive bowling ball. However, some urethane or polyurethane balls can also behave like that. So what are the other ways to tell whether the ball you’re holding is a reactive one?

One simple and easy way to acknowledge that is to read the product description. If the material section specifies that it has resin in it, then your bowling ball is a reactive resin. Some pros can even tell which is a reactive ball and which one is a urethane ball just by touching the outer shell. The reactive resin coverstock will feel denser and stronger than urethane covers. If you’re a beginner and don’t know how to figure out which is a reactive ball, just roll it down the lane. If you see that you’re having a hard time controlling it, chances are, it is a reactive bowling ball.

FAQs Of Reactive Bowling Ball!

What is a reactive bowling ball, and how does it differ from other types of bowling balls?

  • A reactive bowling ball is designed with a coverstock that reacts to the oil patterns on the lane. It provides more hook potential and overall performance compared to traditional urethane or plastic balls. Reactive balls are ideal for bowlers looking for enhanced hook and pin action.

What is the difference between solid, pearl, and hybrid reactive bowling balls?

  • Solid reactive balls have a solid coverstock, providing strong hook potential on heavy oil conditions.
  • Pearl reactive balls have a pearlized coverstock, offering a skid-flip reaction on medium to light oil lanes.
  • Hybrid reactive balls combine the characteristics of both solid and pearl, offering versatility and adaptability to various oil patterns.

How often should I clean and maintain my reactive bowling ball?

  • It’s essential to clean your reactive ball regularly to maintain its performance. Use a dedicated bowling ball cleaner after each session and periodically have it professionally rejuvenated or resurfaced.

Can I use a reactive bowling ball for spares, or should I stick with a spare ball?

  • While it’s possible to use a reactive ball for spares, many bowlers prefer using a plastic or urethane spare ball for its predictability and straight-line motion.

What is the recommended way to store a reactive bowling ball?

  • Store your reactive ball in a cool, dry place, away from extreme temperatures and direct sunlight. It’s a good practice to keep it in a bowling ball bag with a padded slot or sleeve.

How do I choose the right reactive bowling ball for my skill level and lane conditions?

  • Consult with a pro shop expert to assess your skill level and style. They can recommend the right ball core, weight, and coverstock for your needs and the lane conditions you typically encounter.

What is the importance of the RG (Radius of Gyration) and differential in a reactive bowling ball?

  • The RG and differential values help determine a ball’s stability and hook potential. A lower RG promotes an earlier roll, while a higher differential enhances hook potential. Consult with a pro shop professional to find the right combination for your game.

How do I maintain the surface of my reactive bowling ball to adjust its performance?

  • You can alter the ball’s surface by using abrasives like sandpaper or a ball spinner with various grit pads. Adjusting the surface can help you adapt to different lane conditions.

Can I use a reactive bowling ball if I’m a beginner?

  • While reactive balls can be used by beginners, they may be better suited for intermediate to advanced bowlers who can control the added hook potential. Beginners may initially find plastic or urethane balls easier to handle.

What is the lifespan of a reactive bowling ball?

  • The lifespan of a reactive ball depends on usage and maintenance. With proper care and regular maintenance, a reactive ball can last for several years. However, they may lose some performance over time due to lane oil absorption and wear.


In a nutshell, reactive resin balls have urethane and resin materials mixed. The resin will always be there. That’s all I gotta say about reactive bowling balls. If you have any more questions feel free to leave a comment and I will answer them for you. Remember, every bowling ball is playable and possible to control if you practice with them long enough. On that note, keep having fun with your reactive resin. Good luck!