Guide to Bowling Pin Dimensions & Weights

Bowling Pin Dimensions and Weights

There isn’t a long list of bowling equipment. To play a game of 10-pin bowling, all you really need are bowling balls, an alley, a huge mechanized system that replaces knocked-down bowling pins, and, of course, bowling pins. Speaking of which, how big are bowling pins?

A regulation bowling pin for 10-pin bowling has a base diameter of 2.03 inches, a belly diameter of 4.77 inches, a neck diameter of 1.78 inches, a head diameter of 2.55 inches, and an overall height of 15 inches. The weight of a regulation bowling pin must be between 3 pounds 6 ounces and 3 pounds 10 ounces.

There is a lot more to know about the design of a bowling pin, which I’ll cover in this guide. I’ll also discuss the variations in bowling pins based on the bowling game types.

What Is a Bowling Pin?

What is a bowling pin

A bowling pin, which used to go by the name “skittles,” is the tall target that stands at the end of a bowling lane. When playing any version of bowling, the purpose of the game is to throw a bowling ball at the pins and knock as many of them over.

Bowling pins are made out of several blocks of maple wood in a specific shape. Before automatic pin setters were a thing, bowling pins would be glued together, painted, and set up at the end of a lane. However, since the machines came around, an assembled bowling pin would be dipped in ethylcellulose seven times to fill and seal its pores.

Today, the wood-pulp powder has been replaced with nylon and DuPont’s Surlyn—a type of resin that’s typically used in the packaging process. The bowling pin is made from a single block of maple wood that is lathed to the correct size specifications, dipped in latex, and coated in nylon and Surlyn.

Bowling Pin Dimensions and Specifications

Bowling Pin Dimensions and Specifications

There are five distinct variations of bowling. Since 10-pin bowling is the most commonly played form of bowling, I will focus more heavily on its dimensions and specifications.

Parts of a Bowling Pin

One of the easiest ways to understand the design of a bowling pin is to look at its anatomy. Here, I’ll describe the various parts that make a single bowling pin.

Base—The bottommost section of a bowling pin that expands toward the belly section.

Belly—The widest section of a bowling pin that tapers toward the base and the neck. It is measured at its widest section.

Neck—The narrowest section of a bowling pin that expands toward the belly and the head. It is measured at its narrowest section.

Head—The topmost section of a bowling pin that tapers toward the neck and the top of the head. The head is measured at its widest section.

Bowling Pin Size Specifications

The bowling pins used in 9- and 10-pin bowling have very specific size and weight specifications and tolerances set in place by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC). It must measure 15 inches tall, have a base of 2.03 inches wide, a belly of 4.77 inches wide (at its widest point), a neck of 1.78 inches wide (at its narrowest point), and a head of 2.55 inches wide (at its widest point).

For a more specific overview of bowling pin size standards, please refer to the table below:

Section of Bowling Pin Height Distance from Base Diameter Minimum Diameter Maximum Diameter
Base 2.03 in. 2.00 in. 2.06 in.
Belly ¾ in. 2.83 in. 2.78 in. 2.86 in.
Belly 2-1/4 in. 3.91 in. 3.86 in. 3.94 in.
Belly 3-3/8 in. 4.51 in. 4.48 in. 4.54 in.
Belly 4-1/2 in. 4.77 in. 4.74 in. 4.78 in.
Belly 5-7/8 in. 4.56 in. 4.53 in. 4.59 in.
Belly 8-5/8 in. 2.47 in. 2.44 in. 2.50 in.
Neck 9-3/8 in. 1.97 in. 1.93 in. 1.99 in.
Neck 10 in. 1.78 in. 1.77 in. 1.83 in.
Neck 10-7/8 in. 1.87 in. 1.84 in. 1.90 in.
Head 11-3/4 2.09 in. 2.06 in. 2.13 in.
Head 13-1/2 in. 2.55 in. 2.52 in. 2.58 in.

Bowling Pin Weight Specifications

According to the US Bowling Congress, a regulation bowling pin must weigh 3 pounds and 8 ounces. However, like its size specifications, there are the minimum and maximum tolerances.

Weight Parameters Weight
Minimum Tolerance 3 pounds 6 ounces
Targeted Weight 3 pounds 8 ounces
Maximum Tolerance 3 pounds 10 ounces

Miscellaneous Bowling Pin Specifications

Parameters Minimum Tolerance Target Maximum Tolerance
Hole Depth* 1.97 in. 2 in. 2.03 in.
Hole Size 0.41 in. 0.42 in. 0.45 in.
Cup Diameter* 0.73 in. 0.75 in. 0.78 in.
Radius at Base 0.13 in. 0.16 in. 0.19 in.
Center of Gravity 5.62 in. 5.78 in. 5.94 in.
Radius of Gyration Squared 13.20 in. 13.90 in. 14.60 in.
Moisture Content 6% 9% 12%
Coefficient of Restitution 0.61 in. 0.67 in. 0.74 in.

* denotes standard values not specified by bowling regulations

Bowling Pin Variations

Bowling Pin Variations

Other than 9- and 10-pin bowling, there is 5-pin bowling, candlepin bowling, and duckpin bowling.

5-Pin Bowling Pins

Unlike 9- and 10-pin bowling, in which the pins are arranged in a 1-2-3-2-1 diamond and 4-3-2-1 triangle, respectively, 5-pin bowling pins are arranged in a 2-2-1 setup. 5-pin bowling pins are slightly different from those in 9- and 10-pin bowling in terms of size.

The bowling pin stands only 12.5 inches tall and has a 1.625-inch-wide base, a 5-inch-wide belly, and a roughly 1.625-inch-wide neck. Its overall weight should be around 2 pounds 7 ounces.

Candlepin Bowling Pins

Candlepin bowling also uses ten pins, but the pins are significantly different from the previously mentioned bowling pin types. They are almost perfect cylinders but taper slightly at the tops and bottoms.

A candlepin bowling pin stands 15.75 inches tall. The tops and bottoms of a candlepin bowling pin measure 2.125 inches wide and expand to 2.9375 inches wide at the center (belly). It does not have a neck. It should weigh around 2 pounds 7 ounces.

Duckpin Bowling Pins

The pin arrangement in duckpin bowling is identical to that of 10-pin and candlepin bowling. The pins look like slightly squashed versions of 10- and 9-pin bowling pins.

A duckpin bowling pin stands 9.4 inches tall, has a base and neck that is 1.375 inches wide, and has a belly that is 4.125 inches wide at its widest point. Its total weight is around 1 pound 8 ounces.

Comparison Chart

Parameters 9- and 10-pin Bowling 5-pin Bowling Candlepin Bowling Duckpin Bowling
Targeted Base Diameter 2.03 in. 1.625 in. 2.125 in. 1.375 in.
Targeted Belly Diameter 4.77 in. 5 in. 2.9375 in. 4.125 in.
Targeted Neck Diameter 1.78 in. 1.625 in. 1.375 in.
Targeted Head Diameter 2.55 in.
Height 15 in. 12.5 in. 15.75 in. 9.4 in.
Weight 3 lbs. 8 oz. 2 lbs. 7 oz. 2 lbs. 7 oz. 1 lb. 8 oz.
BaronCooke

Baron Cooke has been writing and editing for 7 years. He grew up with an aptitude for geometry, statistics, and dimensions. He has a BA in construction management and also has studied civil infrastructure, engineering, and measurements. He is the head writer of measuringknowhow.com

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