How Much Do Bowling Pins Weigh?

How much does a bowling pin weigh? It’s a simple question, but, unfortunately, the answer isn’t as straightforward. 

A bowling pin usually comes in standard weight and size ranges. A ten pin bowling association sets its base diameter, width, weight, and other specifications to ensure that the game isn’t too easy or too hard. 

Even though tenpin bowling is the most common game played, and most wooden pins match those standards, different types of games use other pins. 

For example, in Canadian five-pin, the bowling pins have a wide rubber band that runs along their midsection, while kegel’s pins have the approximate shape of a standard bowling pin. 

Thus, the regulated weight of a bowling pin differs depending on the game. 

How Much Does a Bowling Pin Weigh?

The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) sets the standard for ten pin bowling pins with a weight of 3 pounds and 8 ounces, plus or minus two ounces. So, regulation bowling pins, and the ones you’ll find at most bowling alleys, are between 3 pounds and 6 ounces and 3 pounds and 10 ounces. 

Most pins are at the minimum weight of 3 pounds and 6 ounces, but in Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) tournaments, they use the heaviest size at 3 pounds and 10 ounces. This bowling pin is called a Brunswick PBA Gold Pin and has the PBA logo on it. 

The standard bowling pin also has specific dimensions set by the USBC and approved by World Bowling. 

The USBC sets the standard regulation bowling pin at 15 inches tall and 4.75 inches at its widest point. The base should have a diameter of 2.4 inches. 

Most bowling pins are made from hard maple wood. The maple has to be either new or unused. 

Other materials have been tested, such as polypropylene fiberglass, foam, and shredding wood, but they didn’t work as well as maple wood and were never approved.

Other substances besides laminated maple can be used as the core because maple is scarce. The USBC has approved certain synthetics to make up for the scarcity and to protect the environment. 

Ten pin bowling pins are covered in white lacquer to make them easier to see and more appealing to the eye. A plastic coating is then placed over the ball to protect it from wear and make it last longer. 

Why Are the Weight and Dimensions of a Bowling Pin Important?

Organizations created bowling pin specifications to ensure the right weight ratio was maintained so bowlers could get a decent amount of pin action. If you have pins that are too heavy, then you’d be playing a frustrating game where you wouldn’t be able to knock any of them down because the bowling ball would be too light. 

Conversely, bowling pins that are too light will fly everywhere, and the game would be too easy. 

The USBC decides the bowling pin weight by taking into account the weight of the ball. 

The maximum weight of a bowling ball is 16 pounds, according to USBC standards. So, the ten pin bowling pins are 24% of 16 pounds. 

The size and spacing of the bowling pins matter as well. For example, the duck pin bowling pin is small and wide, which makes it easier to hit.

But duckpin bowling is tricky because the pins are spaced out far from each other in the pin deck. A large amount of space between the bowling pins makes it harder to get the pins to bounce off each other and offers very little wiggle room to get a strike. 

In regular ten pin bowling, the bases of the pins are 12 inches apart, so there are 7.2 inches of space between them. 

When the ball travels down the bowling lane, there is more chance of it hitting a bowling pin. Since the pins are reasonably close, they also bounce off each other more. 

Finally, the shape of the bowling pin is essential. The World Tenpin Bowling Association sets the form of ten pins bowling equipment, but even bowling organizations don’t understand why people chose this particular shape. 

Most likely, the hourglass shape became popular because they’re harder to knock down since they are balanced. Also, the shape makes it easier for the machine to pick them back up with the wires attached to the crown. 

Other Bowling Pins

There are other types of bowling pins and bowling games outside of the standard ten pin bowling. 

Duckpin bowling is a more challenging version of tenpin bowling, where the pins are smaller and broader than regulation bowling pins. Duckpins are 9.4 inches tall, and the bowling balls used are five inches across and weigh three pounds and twelve ounces. 

Duckpins only weigh one and a half pounds, which is half the pin weight of a regular pin. Also, the bowling ball does not have any finger holes, making it a bit harder to hold. 

Ninepin bowling is popular in Europe but almost extinct in America. It is also called kegel and is mainly a German bowling game that uses a different bowling pin setup. 

The pins form a diamond shape, with the back pin forming a straight line with the front pin. A ninepin bowling pin weighs 2.86 pounds, so it is slightly smaller than average. 

The type of pins used in Canadian five-pin bowling have an inch-wide band around their middle to go farther than other types when hit. These bowling pins have a maximum weight of 2.45 pounds and are 12.5 inches high. 

Their overall diameter is five inches, while their base diameter is 1.625 inches. 

A candlepin is one of the strangest looking of the bunch if you aren’t used to it. Candlepins are wooden, cylinder-shaped, and thin. 

The pins are 15-inches tall and slightly tapered at both ends, while the candlepin ball is smaller at only 4 ½ inches in diameter. A candlepin weighs about the same as the ball at around 2 pounds and 7 ounces. 

How Much Do Bowling Pins Cost?

The amount of money you will spend on a set of 10 depends on the type you want. For example, a used set can be as low as $100 or less. 

A new set typically costs about $170. Of course, the price can change depending on how many pins you need and the type you prefer. 

For example, synthetic pins are more expensive and cost around $195, but a used synthetic set will be cheaper. You can also find less expensive bowling pins on the internet rather than in a pro store. 

Bottom Line

So, how much does a bowling pin weigh? 

Overall, the weight of a bowling pin depends on what game you’re playing. Bowling pin weight changes based on the game a person is playing to make it harder or easier. 

Pin weight also depends on how much the bowling balls weigh. The minimum weight for most games is three pounds and six ounces to accommodate the heaviest bowling ball

Duckpins, conversely, are almost half the weight of what a regular bowling pin weighs. 

Therefore, for the most part, a bowling pin weighs approximately 3 1/2 pounds.