Skip to Content

Beach Ball Vs Bowling Ball – 11 Key Differences

Beach balls and bowling balls are both spherical objects used in popular activities. But in terms of purpose, design, and performance, they differ greatly.

**Here are 11 ways beach balls and bowling balls differ:

  • Weight – Beach balls extremely light, bowling balls heavy
  • Size – Beach balls much larger
  • Materials – Beach balls thin plastic, bowling balls resin shells
  • Bladder – Beach balls air-filled, bowling balls solid
  • Density – Beach balls low, bowling balls high
  • Bounce – Beach balls bouncy, bowling balls roll
  • Water use – Beach balls get wet, bowling balls avoid moisture
  • Durability – Beach balls easily punctured, bowling balls super durable
  • Speed – Beach balls float slowly, bowling balls roll fast
  • Tactile feel – Beach balls soft, bowling balls hard
  • User skills – Beach balls casual fun, bowling balls technique**

Let’s explore these differences in more detail!

A man bowling a bowling ball down an alley

Difference in Weight

The weight contrast is obvious:

  • Beach balls weigh just a few ounces – regulation size balls are under 9 ounces. This allows them to float gently.
  • Bowling balls weigh between 6 to 16 pounds, with 10 to 14 pounds being common sizes. The hefty weight provides driving momentum.

You can bat a beach ball effortlessly with your hand. Bowling balls need two hands just to lift!

Difference in Size

Beach balls come in a much larger diameter:

  • Beach balls are typically 12 to 24 inches across – regulation size is around 21 inches inflated.
  • Bowling balls have set diameters of 8.5 inches (for smaller designs like duckpin balls) up to 8.59 inches for tenpin bowling regulation balls.

The beach ball’s huge size makes them visible and easy to hit during casual outdoor play. Bowling balls fit the hand and roll true.

Difference in Materials

These spheres have very different constructions:

  • Beach balls use thin, flexible plastic materials like PVC or polyethylene for the bladder and outer cover. This produces a soft, pliable ball.
  • Bowling balls have hard resin shells surrounding a weight block core. Polyester, urethane, and reactive resin are common materials.

Pliable plastic beach balls bounce and float. Tough resin bowling balls drive hard and true towards pins.

Difference in Bladder

Related to materials, the bladder differs considerably:

  • Beach balls contain just air – they are inflated vessels designed to float gently.
  • Bowling balls are solid throughout – no bladder or air pocket exists inside. The weight block core gives bowling balls their heft.

It’s the air inside that makes beach balls light and airy. Bowling balls use solid materials for powerful impacts.

Difference in Density

As a result of these material contrasts, the density differs tremendously:

  • Beach balls have extremely low density, often around 0.25 ounces per cubic inch. This enables buoyancy and flight.
  • Bowling balls are very high density, up to over 6 ounces per cubic inch. This compact heaviness powers downlane strikes.

You need lots of air and little plastic to create floating beach balls. Bowling balls pack heavy resin and minerals as tightly as possible.

Difference in Bounce

The bounce profile of each ball aligns with its density:

  • Beach balls are bouncy on hard surfaces thanks to their high air volume and light plastic skin. Kids love ricocheting them off the ground and each other!
  • Bowling balls have an extremely low bounce due to their resin shells and weight blocks. Balls transfer energy into the lane for true rolls.

Bouncy beach balls are for casual scattered play. Bowling balls drive relentlessly towards the pins without recoil.

Water Usage Differences

Beach balls and bowling balls interact very differently with water:

  • Beach balls are made to be used in water – they can float on the waves or be tossed into the pool with no issue. Water play is their element.
  • Bowling balls avoid water contact – the slightest bit of lane oil alters ball roll. Water on the lanes stops bowling completely.

Splash and toss beach balls in the lake to your heart’s content. But never submerge your custom bowling ball!

Durability Differences

These balls are on opposite ends of the durability scale:

  • Beach balls are easily punctured by small pokes, abrasions or gentle abuse. Their thin plastic skins are fragile.
  • Bowling balls are extremely durable – it takes massive force to chip or crack a ball’s resin shell. Balls withstand repeated hard impacts in play.

A popped beach ball gets quickly discarded while sturdy bowling balls roll on for years.

Speed Differences

When set in motion, the balls exhibit very different speeds:

  • Beach balls float and bounce at low speeds in the wind – perhaps 5-10 miles per hour rolling or drifting at best.
  • Bowling balls roll extremely fast – up to 27 miles per hour thrown hard by pros! The momentum keeps balls hurtling towards pins.

A beach ball putters haphazardly along. A well-rolled bowling ball is a force of nature.

Tactile Differences

The tactile sensation also contrasts noticeably:

  • Beach balls feel soft and airy – kids enjoy squeezing and squishing them gently in their hands.
  • Bowling balls feel hard and dense – the resins have no give and sit heavily in your palm. Muscle ensures control.

Kids paw at the spongy beach balls. Bowlers cradle 14 pound balls with focused form and grip.

User Skill Differences

These balls differ greatly in terms of user competency required:

  • Beach balls are used casually just for fun – no skill or training needed. Bop the ball around haphazardly!
  • Bowling balls require dedicated technique to maximize strikes. Release, rotation, speed, and lane targeting all take practice.

Floating beach balls encourage freeform play. Bowling success demands refined skill over time.

Top Beach Ball Brands

Popular beach ball manufacturers include SwimWays, Water Sports, and Blue Wave:

  • SwimWays Spring Float – Giant 40″ ball for pools. Fun gripped handles. Super durable.
  • Water Sports Pro-Quality – Vibrant tropical designs. Thick durable plastic. Sizes from 21″- 34″.
  • Blue Wave Inflataball -Affordable quality. Vivid colors. Perfect density for water play.

Top Bowling Ball Brands

Leading bowling ball companies include Brunswick, Storm, Hammer, and Motiv:

  • Brunswick Twist – Iconic brand. Great hook potential and pin action. Value-priced.
  • Storm Hy-Road Pearl – Versatile performance for different oil patterns. Trusted quality.
  • Hammer Black Widow Legend – Hard hitting reactive resin coverstock. Reliable backend motion.
  • Motiv Venom Shock – Peak power for serious bowlers. Ultimate durability.

Quality engineering makes these top brands strike masterpieces.

Storage and Maintenance

To maximize lifespan:

Beach Balls

  • Deflate and store away from direct sunlight when not in use.
  • Check for punctures after use. Apply patching tape to any holes or leaks.
  • Use soapy water only to wipe clean. Rinse and dry thoroughly.

Bowling Balls

  • Clean with microfiber after use to absorb oil and dirt. Never use soap which damages the surface.
  • Store in ball bags away from heat sources which can melt covers.
  • Have balls resurfaced every 50 games or so to remove scuffs and restore hook potential.

With some basic care, beach balls and bowling balls stay in top shape for play.

Old Balls vs New Balls

There are not major performance differences between old and new beach/bowling balls today. However:

  • New beach balls often use thicker and more durable plastic blends less prone to punctures.
  • Bowling ball coverstock materials offer varied hook potential, durability, and hitting power today.
  • Manufacturing precision ensures consistency in new balls.

While still visually fun, those vintage Garfield beach balls puncture too easily! And old marbled bowling balls lack hitting power. New balls optimize performance and durability.