The Ultimate Guide to Urethane vs. Reactive Bowling Balls: What’s the Difference?

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Understanding the Difference between Urethane and Reactive Bowling Balls

Bowling is an exciting sport enjoyed by people of all ages. It’s a great way to spend time with friends and family, or just relax and have some fun. But before you hit the lanes, you need to make sure you have the right equipment—specifically choosing a bowling ball that suits your style of play. One important factor to consider when selecting a bowling ball is whether it’s made from urethane or reactive material.

Urethane balls are known for their durability and control, while reactive balls provide more power and hook potential on the lane. Although both types of materials can be used effectively in different situations, understanding their differences will help you find the best bowling ball for your game.

What is Urethane?

Urethane is a synthetic polymer that has been commonly used in bowling balls since its introduction in 1985 as an alternative to plastic balls which had become popular during the 1960s and 70s due to their low cost but lack of performance ability on oiled lanes compared with rubber-covered balls which were common prior to this period.. Urethane offers improved durability over plastics as well as increased friction which helps generate greater spin rates on dryer lane conditions than what is possible with plastic materials alone – helping bowlers achieve tighter lines towards their target pins when needed most!

What Is Reactive?

Reactive resin coverstocks are composed primarily of polyester particles suspended within a larger matrix structure consisting mostly of resins like urea formaldehyde or phenol formaldehyde glue/adhesive components – providing bowlers with improved traction upon contact against oily surfaces thanks largely due its higher coefficient surface energy allowing it absorb oils better than other materials such as urethanes could offer alone (especially at lower velocities). This extra traction translates into more “hook” potential at various points throughout each frame making them ideal for players who require stronger curves into targets during competition play or those looking for added challenge adjusting line strategies around challenging layouts found in many modern day houses today!


In conclusion, there are clear distinctions between urethane and reactive bowling ball covers when selecting your next purchase. Urethane balls offer more control and consistency on oily lane surfaces, whereas reactive balls have more potential for hook and bite down the lane if desired, depending on individual playing styles and preferences. Additionally, these two types of covers are not exclusive, as hybrid combinations featuring both technologies are often available within the same product lines. This allows bowlers further flexibility in finding the best fit options among diverse conditions they may encounter while throwing strikes on any given night out in town.