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How Much Do Bowling Pins Weigh, What is Their Height and What Are They Made Of

The image is of the process of creating a bowling pin from wood to finished product. As it relates to how much do bowling pins weigh, it helps to see the inside of the pin displayed.
User:Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There’d be no bowling without bowling pins. So, it’s time to shine the spotlight on pins and give them the attention they deserve.

We’ll begin by learning about them, starting with how much do bowling pins weigh. Then chat about what they are made of. If these are your questions, you’re in the right place. We’ve got the answers to that and much more! Let’s get right into it!

How Much Do Bowling Pins Weigh

How much does a bowling pin weigh? The standard, regulation bowling pin weight is 3 pounds and 6 ounces (1.5 kilograms) and a maximum weight of 3 pounds and 10 ounces (1.6 kilograms), per the governing body, United States Bowling Congress standards (USBC).

As the governing body, their standard is adopted by World Bowling.

As you can see, there is only a 4-ounce size difference between the smallest and largest bowling pin weight. Although 4 ounces doesn’t seem like much, it can significantly impact your game.

If the pins were slightly heavier, they might not fall over even when you hit them squarely. Similarly, bowling pins that are too light would fall over even if your ball didn’t end up anywhere near them. 

Are you wondering why is the weight of a bowling pin important? In addition to being light enough to knock down and heavy enough to stand up, 3 pounds and 6 ounces is roughly 25% of the weight of the heaviest bowling ball.

25% of the weight of a bowling ball is the perfect size to make bowling challenging but not impossible to master. 

Tenpins is the heaviest and most stable bowling pins, providing a real challenge to bowlers. The heavier the bowling pins are, the more skill you’ll need to knock them over.  

Note: Non-regulation bowling pins come in different weights; we’ll learn about those later in this article. 

How Tall Are Bowling Pins?

Now that you understand how much bowling pins weigh let’s get into another characteristic of bowling pins – their height. When most people think of bowling pins, the classic ten-pin usually comes to mind. This assumption makes sense since ten-pin bowling pins are the most widely used.

You’ll find them in most American bowling alleys. They are 15 inches (380 mm) in height, with a 4.75-inch (121 mm) diameter at their widest point and a 1.8-inch diameter at their narrowest sections. 

What Are the Other Types of Bowling Pins? 

Although ten-pin bowling pins are standard, they are not the only ones.


The tallest bowling pins, called candlepins, are 15.75 inches tall and weigh 2.8 pounds. Candlepins have a perfectly cylindrical shape, with no bottleneck or thinner end. These candlestick-shaped pins are regional. People regularly use them on the East Coast of Canada and some parts of New England.

This image is of a standard candlepin ball and 10 candlepins.
Rene Schwietzke, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Another frequently used bowling pin type is the duckpin. Duckpins are the shortest and lightest type of bowling pins. They are often used in the North-Eastern portion of the United States. They are 4.75 inches tall and weigh only 1.5 pounds.

Duckpins look similar to ten-pin bowling pins but are significantly smaller and stockier. Their small size and light weight make them beginner-friendly and easy to knock down. However, duckpin bowling is played with a much smaller ball, making it more of a challenge to get strikes consistently. 

This image is of a set of duckpin and ball.
Valerie Everett from Indianapolis, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What Are Bowling Pins Made Of?

A lot of planning goes into the design and construction of bowling pins. They must withstand a heavy ball being hurled toward them at up to 22 miles per hour. In addition, they must be light enough to fall.

Metal pins would be too heavy, and many plastics don’t weigh enough to provide a challenge. So, bowling pins are traditionally wooden pins; made of rock maple wood, both lightweight and durable. 

In addition to its ideal weight, rock maple wood is the best material to create the iconic sound bowling pins make when they fall over. Unfortunately, high-quality rock maple can be hard to find, and some are synthetic pins. These bowling pins are made from a list of approved synthetic materials.

Once the wood is cut and shaped, it’s painted with nylon and ionomer resin. In addition to being tough enough to resist dents and scratches, bowling pin paint must be flexible but rigid enough to maintain its shape. 

How It's Made Bowling Pins

Why Are Bowling Pins Shaped That Way?

Although there are several bowling pin types and markers, the classic ten-pin bowling pins are cylindrical, with slight tapers at both ends. While the bottom of a bowling pin is flat, its top is elongated like a bottleneck. It dips inwards toward the upper middle, giving it a noticeable hourglass shape. 

Bowling pins are designed the way they are to create a specific center of gravity. As such, the pins will fall if tapped with enough force (but they won’t fall too quickly). Additionally, bowling pins are the perfect shape for automatic pinsetters to grip and rearrange.

This image is to show the shape of the standard tenpin bowling pin with plastic coating and standard diameter base. It features the red crown brunswick logo.

What Are the Different Types of Ten-Pin Bowling Pins?

Vulcan Vultex 2 Bowling Pin

A lot of bowling alleys use this style of pin. They like the structure and the fact that it’s built with a surlyn-coated molding and appears to be a robust, heavy-duty product.

Winsome Bowling Pin

It has a unique plastic coating glow in the dark effects plastic that has been dyed but hasn’t been varnished on the pin deck, a floor ring that is resistant to peeling, cracking, and slippage. 

Its height is approximately 15”, its diameter is approximately 12.06 cm, and its weight is approximately 1.6kg.

Brunswick PBA Gold Pin

It’s substantially heavier than a standard pin, weighing 3 lbs. 10 oz. Because these pins are standardized and exclusively used in PBA-sanctioned competitions, it bears a colored PBA emblem. 

They also offer bowling pins with logos on the bottom that may be used in a typical game of bowling.

Vulcan Vultex II Bowling Pin Review

Are Bowling Pins Hollow?

Ever wondered what’s inside a bowling pin? Many people are surprised to find out that bowling pins are not hollow. Bowling pins are made from solid wood, except for a small hole in the bottom. While it doesn’t look like much, the hole serves two purposes.

On the one hand, it helps the bowling pin manufacturers center the pin for the coating process. Drilling the hole also removes excess weight and helps keep the bowling pin within regulation weight. 

What's inside a Bowling Pin?

How Far Apart Are Bowling Pins?

Bowling pins are lined up in an equilateral triangle, with the highest peak pointing towards the bowler. The furthest row and each side are 36 inches across, while the space from the front pin to the center pin is only 20.57 inches.

The distance between the bowling pins, or the pocket, is measured starting from the center of each pin. Each pin is 12 inches apart from its neighboring pin on all sides. The average bowling ball is between 14 and 16 inches wide, making it the perfect width to hit multiple pins. 

Note that the measurements given above are for ten-pin bowling pins. Other bowling pins may be arranged differently. 

The image shows a bowling ball traveling down a bowling lane toward bowling pins. As it relates to how far apart the pins are, the image shows the pins a triangle and standard with of 12 inches apart.

Do Bowling Alleys Sell Used Bowling Pins?

It’s a well-kept secret, but many bowling alleys sell their used bowling pins. Bowling alleys don’t typically advertise this, so you’ll have to call, email, or speak with a worker to find out more.

Keep in mind that not all alleys sell their equipment, and the sale of old pins is informal, so there isn’t a set price you’ll pay. 

What Can You Do with Old Bowling Pins?

Now that you know that bowling alleys sell used pins, you might be wondering what you can do with them. Here are a few things you can do with repurposed bowling pins:

  • Turn them into statues or pieces of art. 
  • Make up your own game. 
  • Fix them up and resell them. 
  • Use them for Christmas or Halloween decorations. 
  • Practice your game at home. 
  • Transform your bowling pins into furniture. 
  • Donate them to schools, youth centers, or nursing homes. 
Bowling Ball and Pin Lamp

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So, there you have it! The more you understand the individual aspects of bowling, the more comfortable you’ll feel playing. Bowling pins are an essential part of the bowling experience, so naturally, a substantial amount of thought goes into their construction. We hope this article has helped explain a little more about bowling pins and provided you with all the needed information!