Bowling Pins: 3 Types Explained
Bowling Pins: 3 Types Explained

Bowling pins seem like a pretty straightforward thing.

Well, they can get a little more complicated than that.

Three main types make up all of the bowling pin world’s specificities, and we will review them.

You have to know two things about bowling pins to understand why there are even different types in the first place: weight matters, and size matters.

The taller a pin is, the more weighted to make them evenly challenging to knock down.

Let’s get started by looking at the history of bowling pins, so we can see why we even need different types in the first place.

Review contents

History of Bowling Pins

5 Pin Bowling Pins

Do you want to hear something crazy?

Bowling has been around for over 7,000 years.

In 5,000 B.C., the Egyptians would roll smooth stones at different items (whatever they had around, but usually wooden or stone pins in a sense) and try to knock them over.

Yeah, bowling is older than most other sports we play in modern times.

It traveled through a lot of time with sparse pop-ups before the sport of bowling ched Germany in about 300 A.D. (where we’ve come to know a more common form).

These were called “pin games,” and no two were alike.

They were similar but had differences in scoring. This led to what was known as “ninepins” in America a few hundred years ago.

Bowling pins haven’t undergone many variations since the late 1800s.

There were some different-sized pins, but in 1895, a man named Joe Thum founded the American Bowling Congress.

A few years later, in 1917, we had the Women’s National Bowling Association, which utilized some of the same rules set by the ABC: pin size regulations in height, width, and weight.

Different Types of Bowling Pins


Bowling Candlepin

Candlepin is its type of bowling. It’s associated with relaxing, going out for a Friday night, and not being too serious.

Candlepins are usually about 4 ½” in total diameter and stick straight up—they’re not bulbous like duckpins or ten-pins are. It makes them harder to hit but easier to knock down.

Candlepins are set about the same space apart as ten-pin and duckpin bowling pins, so there’s no significant difference in how you play except that you’re dealing with a smaller target from the same distance.

They can be harder to knock over because, with candlepin bowling, you’re using more petite bowling balls.

You have to be able to spin it down the lane properly to knock them all down.

Candlepins generally have a stripe and a slight narrowing near the top, weighing around 2.4 lbs each.


Bowling Duckpin

These short, stubby-looking pins resemble the little brother to ten-pin bowling pins.

They weigh the same as their taller counterparts, being 3.4 lbs each.

This makes them extremely difficult to knock down, but they don’t take up more space since they have a similar diameter to ten pins.

There’s just a lot less room for them to tip over.

What I mean by that is this: if you tap into a ten-pin, you’ll see the top move a little, and it may tip over.

With a duckpin, it’s an all-or-nothing kind of thing. Because of their size, they either get knocked over or stay strong.

There’s very little room for an in-between.

Duckpin bowling balls are more petite than ten-pin bowling balls but slightly larger than candlepin bowling balls.

Duckpin bowling is harder than ten-pin bowling because you need more force to knock the pins over, and you have a much smaller ball to do it with.

A duckpin bowling ball will be the same as a duckpin, 3.6 lbs, so you don’t get that extra leverage.

Compare that to a 16 lb ten-pin bowling ball up against pins of the same weight, which is slightly easier to knock over.


Bowling Tenpin

Ten-pin is the most-revered type of bowling. It’s not for random Friday nights. It’s not a junior league. It’s a considerable time.

Ten-pin bowling pins weigh 3.6 lbs and stand about 15 inches tall. 40% taller than duckpins at the same weight.

These generally feature two stripes and come with a diameter between duckpins and standard candlepins.

Because they’re used with standard bowling balls, which are 16 lbs and much more significant than duckpin or candlepin balls, they’re technically the easiest to knock down in terms of statistics.

However, these bowling balls are the hardest to send down the lanes, especially with accuracy. Everything balances out.

What Are Bowling Pins Made of?

Most bowling pins are made of maple wood, which undergoes a heavy process.

They’re solid and then processed on a lathe, where they’re turned into the right shape and weight of a standard bowling pin.

This is why there’s generally a few ounces of wiggle room for official bowling pin weights (wood density).

But since maple wood is becoming expensive, synthetic ways to make bowling pins are that many manufacturers are taking advantage of.

Most of these methods are approved by pro leagues, but they want you to use natural wooden pins for the most part.

I should note that the only approved method of making synthetic pins is in ten-pin bowling.

After everything is cut down, these pins are coated in a poly material (plastics), painted, and hit again with another coating material to prevent cracking.

Read Next – Bowling Tips for Beginners

How Long Does a Bowling Pin Last?

Cracked Bowling pin

Bowling pins last for about three seasons in a pro league.

That’s a considerable amount of time, so bowling pin manufacturing is at an all-time low.

A single factory in the continental United States still manufactures bowling pins. For example, most brands you know (like Brunswick) all commission or contract this one plant to make their pins. The needs aren’t what they used to be.

Admittedly, bowling has become less popular over the years.

People are working more, finding less time to spend doing recreational activities, and considering bowling an obscure activity or sport (depending on what type you play).

This is why synthetic manufacturing has come into play. Wooden pins last for three seasons, but manufactured pins can last for about four seasons if you stretch them.

If you’re wondering, “What’s the risk of using older pins?” I have some news for you.

Microcracks. It sounds like some BS, but small splits and cracks in the pin, which will reduce how the ball impacts each pin, will significantly impact your game.

Part of the goal is to knock the front pin into the others, and if there’s less momentum, it’s not doing you any favors.

Read Next – Types of Bowling Balls: Ultimate Guide for 2023

Which One is Right for You?

Everyone has different preferences for bowling, so are you more of a PBA championship type of guy, or are you okay with lightweight candlepins to blow off steam?

Take your pick, practice with them, and hone your ability to play the game (y’ know, and smoke your friends when you all go out for “casual” Friday night bowling).

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Why is it called duckpin bowling?

It was named in legend because the pins looked like ducks flying. Duckpin bowlers are perfect to use with small hands.

Is duckpin harder than bowling?

Several perfect games were bowled in rubber band duckpin, including one of the biggest duckpin prizes in TV history, a total of C$50k in the 1994 season. Because the pins are easily knocked off with rubber bands, the rules are the same as in the ten-pin bowling game.

Is duckpin bowling easier?

Easy Accessible & Fast Gameplay Actually, it is harder to strike when ducking bowling than in the conventional lane. Most adults easily throw its smaller ball, and its length makes hitting a pin more likely for novice bowling players.

Is duckpin bowling still around?

Duckpin bowls. Though many past reports call a duckpin a Massachusetts invention (from around 1893 to 1895), Maryland has become a vital part of the game. Currently, 56 duckpin alleys have been registered.

How do you play Duck pins?

In a single round of play, the player hits their opponent’s ball Spares are given if necessary.

How does duck pin scoring work?

Duckpin bowler scores are like 10 Pin Bowling. The bowler who reaches the pin with his 1st roll is struck and the total number of pins thrown out with the second ball increases.

What is duck ball bowling?

Duckpin bowling has ten-pin variations with the most differences in size in ball sizes and pins used. In duckpin bowling, the player rolls up the alley with a ball smaller than a Soft Ball and knocks down a pin.

What are the rules for duckpin bowling?

Because Duckpins are more complex, Bowlers receive a maximum of three rolls for each frame. Duckpin bowling scores have the same level as tenpin bowling. If a ball reaches each pin on one roll, it’s struck; 10 points plus a total of pins thrown out.

How do you bowl a duckpin bowling?

It is given if a player hits a ball during an earlier game. Spare parts are provided if required.

How many turns do you get in duckpin bowling?

Duck Pin Bowling Rules. Whenever the remaining pin is removed during any tries, the player receives a point per pin they drop. Those who score an extra hit can earn 10 points each round.

Is it possible to get a strike in duckpin bowling?

Bowlers have three balls in each frame compared to 2 in Ten Pin Bowling. Then, every time a bowler hits the ball, they are struck and hit it on a roll of the next round. The pins can be dropped on the roll only once.

How do you score a spare in duckpin?

In deadwood, there are pins on its side. And it is clear to use the brake.

Is duckpin bowling the same as mini bowling?

Compared to mini versions, duck pin bowling uses a similar layout for bowling ten pins. Players have 3-pound balls with pins about 9 inches long. The player has three rolls to play, unlike 10-pin bowling, and Stan believes it may be partly the challenge of playing it.

How is candlepin bowling different?

It’s impossible to describe candlepin as being comparable to Tenpin bowling. Tenpin bowlers throw ten frames, two pieces each. Candlepins are typically divided between the frames and three boxes — three balls each. Since the pins and ball are lighter, play can vary significantly.

Is candlepin bowling easier?

Candlepins’ smaller pin or ball sizes (aside from having no finger holes) make this ten-pin bowling a little more complicated. Its low score is similar to standard tenpin bowling. And even if the pin is knocked, it can’t be removed until your 3-turn turn.

How long is a candlepin bowling alley?

It consists of ten frames containing three balls on a 60-foot maple bowling lane on ten pins. All pins that have been struck remain where they fell until they can be re-used and used to remove any remaining pins.

Are bowling lanes different lengths?

A bowling lane has a length of 45 feet. A bowler can’t be knowledgeable about these dimensions without some impact. They define your basic configuration.

Where did duckpin bowling start?

Several people believed the sport had emerged at some point in 1900 from the Baltimore gaming hall owned by John McGraw and Wilbert Robinson, the later members of the Baseball Hall. Research on duckpins has since been discovered dating in Boston and Lowell, Massachusetts, from the early 1890s.

What is a duckpin in bowling?

Duckpin bowling scores are like 10-pin bowling. Duckpins are placed in a triangle similar to 10-pin bowling and are shorter and lighter, so the strike is much easier. The duckpin has become more complex, and the bowler receives a maximum of 3 rolls per frame.

What states have candlepin bowling?

Candlepin bowls. Candlepin Bowling is an unusual sport found primarily in Maine, Massachusetts, and Eastern Canada. It differs from other forms of bowling in the shape of the pins and the diameter of the balls.

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Roman Urich
Hello, I'm Roman Urich, a passionate bowler and bowling enthusiast. Welcome to Land of Bowling, a website that provides valuable tips and insights on improving your bowling game. As a dedicated bowler, I have spent countless hours honing my skills and striving to perfect my technique. Through my experiences and continuous learning, I have gained a deep understanding of the sport and have achieved notable achievements on the lanes. I believe that bowling is not just a game but a way of life. It requires skill, strategy, and mental focus to succeed. My goal with Land of Bowling is to share my knowledge and expertise with fellow bowlers, helping them to improve and reach their full potential. Whether you are a beginner looking for basic bowling tips or an experienced bowler seeking new techniques and advanced strategies, you will find a wealth of resources on this website. From proper form and technique to equipment recommendations and tournament advice, I cover many topics to support you in your bowling journey. But beyond the technical aspects, I also aim to create a community of passionate bowlers who can share their experiences, challenges, and triumphs. Bowling is not just about scores and pins; it's about camaraderie, sportsmanship, and the joy of the game. I invite you to join me in exploring the wonderful world of bowling. Let's enhance our skills, exchange insights, and celebrate the sport that unites us. Stay tuned to Land of Bowling for valuable tips, exciting updates, and engaging discussions. I’ve done my 10,000 hours, and with all that experience, I thought it would be a waste to keep it all to myself. Come here to learn, kick your feet up, learn about bowling, and get an honest first-hand review of everything you need for bowling. Thank you for being a part of this incredible bowling community. Best regards, Roman Urlich