When people ask how much does a bowling pin weigh, it means they are curious about why pins are so heavy or what’s the reason behind such a structure. Generally, the core construction of a bowling pin consists of mostly wood with a plastic coating on top. 

The materials are compressed to give a standard shape that withstands strikes of bowling balls. Together, the total weight of an individual pin stays within 3lbs 6 oz to 3 lbs 10 oz. 

Though the shape and weight are like this for bringing balance, it’s still a mystery why they are made like this. Encyclopedia states that around 1700 years ago, Germans invented the shape and each pin was considered as a visual representation of human sins. Back then, people used to knock the pins with balls as a symbol of rejecting sins from their life. 

However, there are a lot more reasons than these. So, let’s dig into those facts and kill your curiosity. 

Bowling Pin Anatomy – Know Your Bowling Pin

Though bowling pins may look like simple cylinders, bowling pins are actually quite complex. Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a bowling pin.


Universally, bowling accessories manufacturers use maple wood mainly for creating the main structure of pins. Over the wood, there would be a 3 inches thick layer of plastic. There’s no restriction to the quality of plastic from any professional bowling authorities. However, all pins in the market feature glossy paint or a polished finish on top for smooth bowling. 


There are different types of bowling games. Each one has different types of pins placed at the end of the lane. Among them, ten-pin bowling is considered the standard and most common type of bowling across the world. 

In tenpin bowling, The dimension of every pin should be 

  • Height: 15 inches
  • Diameter: 4.766 inches (the widest area)
  • Base Diameter: 2.03 inches [source: Wikipedia]

Weight Distribution

We can divide a bowling pin body into three different parts, head, body, and base. The head is the most compressed and heaviest part that resists toppling over. Most of a pin’s weight is centered at the head so that bowlers find it hard to knock down a pin.

The body is the widest and lighter part where a bowling ball strikes generally. It gets taper towards the base for letting the whole pin spin or try to stand again after a hit. 

Lastly, the base is the lightest area that responds quickly against a strike. But it actually stays thin and light so that the head can work as the weight center and force the whole pin to stand again after getting hit. 

How Much Does A Bowling Pin Weigh

According to USBC (United States Bowling Congress), a bowling pin weight should be at least 3 lbs 6 ounces, or 1.5 kilograms in a standard game. The weight can be 2-4 ounces more or less on many occasions. 

The weight of a bowling pin is typically less than 3 lbs 10 oz or 1.6 kg. Depending on the manufacturer, the weight can vary between 1.5 to 1.6 kilograms.

But there’s a catch. If you intend to play duckpins or candlepins, the international range mentioned above would not matter. Duckpins weigh half of the tenpins and a candlepin is usually 0.5 lbs lighter than market tenpins each. 

Why Exactly The Weight Of Bowling Pin Matters?

The weight of a set of bowling pins puts some massive effects on the game. The weight decides how competitive the game would be for the bowlers. 

According to global authorities of the game, a bowling pin needs to weigh around one-fourth of the heaviest bowling ball allowed in the game. 

It becomes easy to score when pins are lighter as players can easily knock them down. On the other hand, heavier pins are hard to knock. A mediocre weight range always ensures fair play in official matches by confirming the game’s not become one-sided.

The Types Of Bowling Pins – How Much They Weigh?

There are different types of bowling pins for various bowling games. Depending on the game’s rules and criteria the pin weight is set for balanced performance from each participant. The weight of the pins also affects the speed and direction of the ball thrown as it travels down the lane.

The USBC has long been concerned with the safety of its members and has implemented a number of safety regulations over the years. In addition to specifying the weight of bowling pins, the USBC has rules in place governing the size and shape of pins too, as well as the maximum weight of bowling balls.

The purpose of these regulations is to ensure that players of all skill levels can enjoy bowling without having to worry about being injured. By ensuring that bowling pins are heavy enough to resist being knocked over, the USBC minimizes the risk of players being struck by a flying bowling pin.

Furthermore, the international weight restrictions on the equipment also allow players not to have an advantage because of the physical structure in tournaments. To be more specific, there are some bowling formats and the pin weight in each game to make your concepts clear


3 pounds 6 oz to 3 pounds 10 oz each (1.5 to 1.6 KG), so when all tenpins are knocked down, there is a total of 31 lbs of force or so exerted. In order to achieve the desired force, it is important to have the correct angle and speed when the ball is released. A professional bowler can achieve these factors by using their experience and intuition to correct any errors. 


Approximately 1.5 pounds is the mass of every duckpin. Because of being short and light, they are called by such a name. In duckpin bowling, there are 10 pins and they are set up in a triangular fashion. The preferable ball in this game is only about 4 inches in diameter and much lighter than a regulation bowling ball. 


Pins in five-pin games are also lighter than tenpins. The pins are 12.5 inches tall. This variant of bowling is popular in Canada and the United States. Every pin in the game should weigh around 2 lbs 2 oz on average.


Pins you find in candlepin bowling are not more than 2.43 lbs each. A candlepin is about 2.13 inches wide and 15.75 inches tall. They’re the tallest pins used in any official bowling. The ball used in candlepin bowling is about 1.1 kilograms.

Candlepin bowling is a great game for people of all ages. It is easy to learn but challenging to master. 


Ninepin is another famous among modern-day bowlers. Every pin on the lane should weigh around 1.3 kilograms, almost as heavy as tenpin ones. The rules and other regulations are also like the standard bowling set by US bowling associations. 

The Weight Of A Pin That Is Considered As Minimum

If you’re asking about the minimum weight of pins in standard tenpin matches, then the answer would be 3 lbs 2 oz, or 1500 grams. However, it’s not true that the weight would always be the same. Sometimes, players can find pins a bit heavier than the minimal range for the sake of a fair game or ensuring no pin breaks by getting several hits.

What About The Maximum Weight of a Pin – Is It Legal?

This weight limit is in place to avoid pins that are too heavy and difficult to knockdown. If you find an arena using heavier pins, it means the arena authority is making point scoring more difficult for the bowlers. The main purpose is to increase the intensity of the game. 

Still, no matter how hard they try to make the game, the weight shouldn’t be more than 3 pounds 10 oz or 1600 grams. Sometimes, the heavy pins might be unintentional for having durable pins that can be used in tons of matches. 

The Factors Influencing Bowling Pin Weigh

How heavy are bowling pins?

Basically, core materials, shapes, and sizes can determine how much a set of bowling pins should weigh. Still, you can find lighter pins heavy if you are using a lightweight bowling ball. Now, let’s find out how these things determine the actual weight of pins. 

Size Of The Bowling Pin

Size can make a pin heavy or light. However, it can’t be understood perfectly. If the size of a bowling pin is taller, basically it would be heavier, and smaller bowling pins are comparatively lighter. In some cases, if a bowling pin is smaller but has a wider bottom with the main weight center at the top, it weighs more. Thus, it is clear that shapes do matter along with size. 

According to United States Bowling Congress, a standard ten-pin bowling pin has to be 121mm of overall diameter, 51.6mm of base diameter, and 38 cm of overall height on average. 

Material Used

It is too obvious that materials and density decide how heavy a bowling pin would be. The most popular materials used to make pins are plastic, metal, stone, aluminum, wood, Latex, and acrylic. 

Among them maple wood and plastic materials are popular. The material of bowling pins is regulated by American Bowling Congress (currently known as USBC). The association states that pins with wooden cores are allowed to be a bit heavier. And plastic pins are lighter. 

Most of the time, you can see plastic pins used on trails and practice sessions. It is to allow players to gain confidence and improve techniques by knocking pins easily. But you’d always see wooden or mixed (wooden with plastic top layer) material pins in competitive drills. 

Bowling Ball Weight

If you continue bowling with a comparatively heavier bowling ball then nothing stands in front of it. On the other hand, a lightweight bowling ball does just the opposite. 

So, likewise the standard weight of a bowling pin, the weight of your bowling ball has to be perfect. A bowling ball needs to have 76% more weight than a normal pin. 


Advantages/Disadvantages Of Using Lighter Or Heavier Bowling Pins

It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing with lighter or heavier pins unless the individual weight doesn’t cross the range set by the international committees. 

Keeping that aside, you should know which type of pins are there at the end of the lane. Because both heavy and light ones have some good and bad sides. If you are able to know what type of pins are there to let you score points, you can easily make your game strategy for going up in the leaderboard. 

Heavy Pins

  • Make games more competitive
  • Resist getting broken or cracked from multiple hits
  • Receive more energy from bowling balls to knock other standing pins around
  • Can cause ball deviation because of higher friction ranges
  • Create subsequent shots more difficult
  • Make erratically bounces 

Lighter Pins

  • Can make scoring very easy
  • Good for beginners to learn bowling
  • Help in practicing at home or backyard
  • Present the game eligible and enjoying for players of any age
  • Make the game less competitive
  • Don’t feature durability

Judging the good and bad sides of both types, we think heavy pins are a good choice even if you are someone with beginner-level skills. Though lighter sets help in improving basics and fixing technical flaws, heavy pins on the bowling lane push your limit to be a pro in this game. 

Know The Dimensions Of The Bowling Pin Based On Bowling Variations

As said earlier, every type of bowling game has its own bowling pin preferences. You can’t play duckpin match using a case of candlepins. Here, the three main reasons are:

  1. The difference in lane length
  2. Number of pins being used at every round
  3. Weight variation in the bowling balls used for the specific games

To attain compatibility with a specific sort of bowling, arena masters doesn’t put the same type of pins at every game. You can find differences in weight and dimension while comparing two types of pins side by side. 

We’ve already talked enough about the weight difference between pins of tenpin, candlepin, and duckpin tournament. But we haven’t talked much about the dimension, right? So, let’s dig into the bowling pin dimensions. 


  • Height: 15 inches
  • Overall diameter: 4.76 inches
  • Base diameter: 2.03 inches

Note: Overall, the size is pretty preferable. A few might find these pins big and light. But the weight center on top of the pins with curved shapes helps to respond against the strike of average bowling balls pretty well. 


  • Height: 15.75 inches
  • Overall diameter: 2.93 inches
  • Base diameter: 2.12 inches

Note: These pins might seem a bit larger than the usual tenpins. But they have a very simple shape that doesn’t create any unique weight center. So, you can easily score in this format of the game. For this reason, it’s not seen globally played in competitive events.


  • Height: 9.4 inches
  • Overall diameter: 4.12 inches
  • Base diameter: 1.37 inches

Note: Being smaller in size along with light construction, this type of pins is easy to knock down in a single attempt. That’s why NDBC allows only smaller bowling balls to keep the difficulty balanced. 

Ultimately, every format of bowling puts some unique criteria for bowling balls and pins. These are to adjust the equipment quality with the rules or difficulty of the game. So, despite not being similar to one another, the dimensions are perfect in their own fields. 

How Much Space Is Given Between Bowling Pins

When you organize a set of bowling pins for a match, you need to maintain the right space between bowling pins. Side by side, every two pins’ centers keep a 12-inch distance between themselves in a ten-pin match. And the sleeper pins’ distance between each other is sharply 20.75 inches from centers. 

Somehow, if you keep the pins too close to each other, the pins can work as a force breaker for the ball and stop the ball instantly after hitting the first one or two pins. At this moment, most of the pins wouldn’t fall as pins standing behind can work as the support for the ones falling down in front. 

In contrast, when the gap becomes wider, the ball loses all its stored force and speed before reaching the final pin at the very end. Anyone without extreme strength in hands can only score in a lane where pins have more than usual gapings. 

Final Thoughts

The primary purpose for fixing the bowling pin weight is to make the indoor game eligible for all sorts of people without having any disadvantage from the equipment. Otherwise, there could be possibilities of unethical advantages and improper scores. 

I hope you’ve known pretty well how much do bowling pins weigh. When every pin being used across the world tournaments is between 3 pounds 6 ounces to 3 pounds 10 ounces, the sport becomes a perfect competition having an equal amount of challenges for all participants. 

But remember, don’t ever think of using heavy bowling balls for scoring more as the pin weight is always constant. Using a ball weighing more than 10% of your body weight can hurt your muscles and give you permanent pain in the shoulders or hands. We wish you happy Bowling!