Difference Between Solid and Pearl Bowling Ball

At first glance, bowling seems all about hand and body movement in order to throw the ball to hit all the pins. However, there is more to that. Professional bowlers spend considerable time understanding different bowling balls and lanes. If a bowler does not understand the oil condition and how the ball reacts to it, he cannot predict the motion of the ball or use it to his advantage. He will not achieve precision and, as a result, will fail to score. That being said, we are here to discuss the difference between solid and pearl bowling ball that is essential for any bowlers, especially for medium to heavy oil lanes.

Difference Between Solid and Pearl Bowling Ball

Reactive Resin Bowling Balls

The development of bowling ball cover stock is a never-ending process. Manufacturers always try to improve existing cover stocks and develop new ones. After the invention of urethane cover stock, bowling ball manufacturers didn’t rest. They wanted to create a bowling ball with better oil absorption quality than urethane. With that, reactive resin bowling balls were invented. Reactive resin bowling balls offer more friction and oil sensitivity compared to urethane. Now, reactive resin bowling balls can be of two types, solid reactive, and pearl reactive.

Difference between Solid and Pearl Bowling Ball

Although solid and pearl reactive are both reactive resin bowling balls, there are some differences too. Here we will discuss in-depth the differences between these two types of bowling balls.


Both the solid and pearl bowling balls are made of reactive resin. However, there are only some slight differences between these two. From the perspective of looks, solid is more textured, whereas pearl reactive are smoother. Reactive resin bowling balls are invented from urethane balls with additional additives. These additives make reactive resin balls tackier compared to urethane bowling balls. Solid reactive bowling balls have fewer additives to their cover stock compared to pearl reactive bowling balls. These additives could be rubber, ceramic, glass, etc.

Oil Absorbing Quality

The additives in the solid and pearl create pores on the surface. Pearl have more pores compared to solid bowling balls. The difference in pores or oil absorption makes a difference between solid and pearl reactive balls. These pores help in absorbing oils, making them tacky. This quality impacts the performance of the bowling ball.


The coefficient of friction for solid bowling balls is greater than pearl reactive bowling balls. Having more surface friction, solid balls tend to differ in energy and hook. However, there are three types of finishes available for solid bowling balls. They are polished, sanded, and buffed finish. These finishes determine the level of friction for solid balls.

Energy Through the Lane

As we mentioned earlier, solid bowling balls have more coefficient of friction. This results in losing more power while rolling compared to pearl balls. Solid reactive bowling balls start losing energy as they proceed on the lane and end up hooking earlier on the lane. On the contrary, with a lower coefficient of friction, pearl reactive bowling balls hold power till the backend of the end. Therefore, they get more power to hook or hit pins strongly. In short, pearl bowling balls skid through the lane while solid bowling balls lose power as they go.

Reaction to the Break Point

A major difference between a solid vs. pearl bowling ball is the reaction at the breaking point. Pearl reactive balls skid through two-thirds of the lane and make a sharp turn. Pearl bowling balls are known for their incredible hooking potential. Additionally, as pearl balls do not lose much power during skidding, they hit the pins with immense power. On the other hand, solid bowling balls have less hooking potential compared to pearl bowling balls. They keep losing power through their track and end up with less power to hook. Therefore, the curve or hook of solid bowling balls is not as sharp as pearl bowling balls.


Both solid cover stock and pearl cover stock are suitable for intermediate to advanced bowlers. However, solid reactive bowling balls are comparatively easier to control among these two. As solid balls have less hooking potential, have more friction, and are more abrasive, they are ideal for those who are learning to hook. On the other hand, pearl reactive balls can be a little tricky to control and predict. Therefore, they are used by more advanced bowlers. Professionals or tournament bowlers should have both solid and pearl reactive as they both are equally needed. Solid reactive are suitable for heavy oil lanes, whereas pearl balls are for medium-dry lanes. So, when the lanes are fresh with oils, professionals use solid balls, and when the lane gets dry, they use pearl reactive bowling balls.


Dues to the build quality and material of the cover stock, solid reactive are more durable than pearl reactive bowling balls.

To Conclude

The differences between a solid reactive and a pearl reactive will be more evident when you throw them during the bowling game. You will notice the difference between performance, hook, and speed. Based on that, you can understand more about these two types of balls and how you can manipulate or control them to score.