Is It Better to Buy Bowling Balls and Gear Online or Instore? Decoding Your Best Shopping Strategy

When deciding whether to buy bowling balls and gear online or in-store, it comes down to personal preference and priorities. Online shopping offers the convenience of browsing a vast selection from the comfort of your home, often at competitive prices. On the other hand, purchasing in-store allows you to physically inspect the products and potentially receive professional advice and customization.

A colorful array of bowling balls, shoes, and accessories displayed in a well-lit store with helpful staff assisting customers

Each shopping experience has its unique advantages.

Online stores generally provide more variety and user reviews, which can guide you to make an informed decision.

In contrast, local bowling shops offer hands-on service for fitting, drilling, and immediate use of the equipment, ensuring a personalized touch.

Key Takeaways

  • Purchasing bowling gear online offers convenience and a wider selection.
  • In-store shopping provides the benefit of expert fitting and immediate product use.
  • Consider personal needs and the value of professional services when choosing where to buy.

FOUR Pros of Buying Bowling Gear Online

A computer screen displaying a variety of bowling gear options, with easy navigation and detailed product descriptions

When you opt for an online purchase of bowling gear, you benefit from a wider selection and the convenience of shopping from any location.

Often, you can find lower prices and free shipping options, coupled with the ability to conduct thorough research and read reviews before making a decision.

1. Wider Selection

You can browse an extensive range of brands and products online, vastly outdoing the inventory of physical stores.

From the latest bowling balls to a variety of bowling shoes, online stores like Amazon offer a plethora of options to fit your specific needs and preferences.

2. Convenience and Comfort

Shopping online allows you to purchase bowling gear 24/7 without leaving your home.

You avoid the hassle of traveling and benefit from the convenience of having your products delivered directly to you, often with the perk of free shipping.

3. Potential Cost Savings

Online stores may offer lower prices than physical stores due to lower overhead costs.

Online shoppers can also easily compare prices across multiple vendors to find the best deals that fit their budget.

  • Compare prices instantly
  • Take advantage of online-only discounts

4. Research and Reviews

Before making a decision, you can access a wealth of information and reviews from other bowlers.

This research aids in finding the best suited gear for your game, and ensures you’re well-informed about the product’s performance and quality.

Customer ReviewsGain insights from other bowlers’ experiences
Detailed InfoLearn about products’ specifications and features
Personal ResearchMake informed decisions based on your findings

By shopping online, you have the opportunity to fully understand each product’s offering and make a purchase that aligns with your goals and requirements in the sport of bowling.

THREE Cons of Buying Bowling Gear Online

While shopping online for bowling gear offers convenience and often competitive pricing, there are significant downsides that you should consider before making your purchase.

1. No Physical Inspection

When you buy a bowling ball or gear online, you don’t get the chance to hold or inspect the item physically.

Selecting the right bowling ball is crucial, as the material and weight affect your play.

You can’t gauge the texture or quality firsthand, which can lead to doubts about accuracy and compatibility with lane conditions.

2. Shipping Time and Costs

  • Delay: Even with expedited shipping, you won’t receive your bowling ball immediately. A delay could affect your game schedule or practice routine.
  • Cost: Shipping a heavy item like a bowling ball can be expensive, and sometimes online stores transfer this cost to you.

These factors could result in additional shipping costs and a longer wait time than buying in-store.

Shipping TypeEstimated TimeEstimated Cost
Standard5-10 days**$**20-$40
Expedited2-3 days**$**40-$60

3. Return and Exchange Hassles

If your bowling ball or gear is not the correct size or does not meet expectations, returning it can be difficult.

Online stores have varying return policies, and it can be a hassle to:

  • Re-pack the item securely
  • Pay for return shipping, which could be costly due to weight
  • Wait for the exchange or refund process, which may include a restocking fee

Moreover, you might experience a delay in getting the replacement item or your refund.

THREE Pros of Buying Bowling Gear In-Store

A well-lit bowling pro shop with rows of colorful bowling balls, shelves stocked with shoes, bags, and accessories, and a knowledgeable staff assisting customers

Opting to purchase your bowling gear in-store provides you with personalized services, immediate access to products, and the ability to test equipment suited to your style.

1. Personalized Assistance

In a local pro shop, knowledgeable staff can offer you expert advice on the best size, weight, and coverstock for your bowling ball.

This personal touch ensures you find gear tailored to your specific bowling needs and style.

2. Immediate Product Access

When you make an in-store purchase, you walk away with your selected bowling gear immediately.

This avoids the waiting period associated with online delivery—especially beneficial if you need the gear for an upcoming game.

3. Try Before You Buy

Many pro shops have lanes where you can test different weight balls and experience how they react to different lane conditions.

Trying out a bowling ball allows you to feel the grip and the weight, which is impossible to replicate with an online description or review.

  • Test Outcomes: Assess the ball’s performance in real conditions.
  • House Ball Comparison: Feel the difference between a house ball and the one you’re considering.
  • Expert Tips: Receive on-the-spot advice to refine your choice based on your performance during the trial.

THREE Cons of Buying Bowling Gear In-Store

Bowling gear displayed in-store with various options and prices. Customers browsing and comparing products

When you’re looking to purchase bowling gear from a pro shop or in-store, it’s important to be aware of the limitations you might face.

While you get the advantage of physically inspecting the products and receiving in-person advice, there are notable drawbacks that can affect your budget and convenience.

1. Limited Selection

In-store selections are often dictated by the store’s size and focus.

You might find a smaller variety of brands and models, which can be restrictive if you’re searching for something specific.

For example, if you’re eyeing a particular high-performance ball suited to your style of play, your local store might not carry it, compelling you to settle for what’s available.

2. Potentially Higher Prices

Cost is a significant factor in any purchasing decision.

Due to overhead expenses, physical stores may have higher prices compared to online retailers.

Here’s a breakdown of typical price ranges you might encounter:

ItemPro Shop PriceOnline Price
Entry-level Ball$80-$120$50-$100
High-performance Ball$150-$250$120-$200
Bowling Shoes$30-$200$20-$150
AccessoriesVariableOften less

With a tighter budget, these price differences could sway your decision towards online shopping.

3. Travel and Convenience Factor

The third consideration is the time and effort you must invest.

Traveling to and from a physical location requires not only travel time but also aligning with the store’s hours of operation.

If the nearest pro shop is a considerable distance from your place, the inconvenience factor increases. Here’s a list exemplifying the travel and convenience factors:

  • Drive time to the store
  • Item comparison limited to store hours
  • Immediate need for gear vs. waiting for availability

FOUR Factors to Consider When Purchasing Bowling Gear

When choosing bowling gear, it’s essential to consider factors that will affect your performance and enjoyment of the game.

These include the specifications of the bowling ball, the fit and comfort of your shoes and accessories, and the durability and maintenance of your equipment.

1. Understanding Bowling Ball Specifications

The core, coverstock, and weight of a bowling ball are crucial specifications that will impact your game.

A ball’s core affects its spin and movement down the lane, while the coverstock determines its traction and hook potential.

Heavier bowling balls can drive the pins more effectively, but you must ensure the weight is suitable for you to handle to avoid injury.

Consider your skill level and physical strength when selecting the size and weight of your ball.

  • Bowling Ball Core: Decide between symmetric and asymmetric cores.
  • Coverstock Choices: Options include reactive resin, urethane, and plastic balls.
  • Ball Weight: Typically 10% of your body weight, up to 16 pounds.

2. The Importance of Proper Fit and Comfort

Your bowling experience can be greatly affected by how well your shoes and accessories fit.

Properly fitted bowling shoes prevent slips and aid in consistent delivery.

If you have a child who bowls, ensuring a snug fit is even more critical to prevent falls.

When purchasing a bowling ball, consider having it drilled at a pro shop where staff can recommend the perfect fit for your fingers, reducing the risk of discomfort or injury.

  • Bowling Shoes: Seek non-slip soles and adequate support.
  • Custom Drilling: Ensures a comfortable grip and clean release.

3. Evaluating Durability and Maintenance

Your bowling gear should last, which is why durability and ease of maintenance are vital.

Choose materials known for longevity, remembering that higher-quality items can be more expensive but may save money in the long run.

Plastic balls are durable and require less maintenance, making them suitable for beginners and spare shots.

Reactive ResinHighFrequent

4. Matching Gear to Skill Level

Select your bowling equipment according to your playing experience.

Beginners might start with more affordable, basic gear, while advanced players might invest in performance-specific choices such as reactive resin balls for better hook potential.

Always align your gear with your skill level to improve the game without overspending.

  • Beginner: Opt for simpler, less expensive gear.
  • Advanced: Invest in performance-geared equipment.

When considering if it’s better to buy bowling balls and gear online or in store, these factors should guide you in making the best decision for your needs.

Depending on your experience, you might benefit from the hands-on advice and services available in a physical pro shop, or enjoy the convenience and possibly wider selection found online.


A display of bowling balls, shoes, and accessories arranged neatly in a well-lit store with a variety of options and sizes available for customers to browse and try on

When choosing between purchasing bowling balls and gear online or in-store, consider these key points:

  • Benefits: Buying online usually offers a wider selection and potentially lower costs, especially if you find a site that doesn’t charge state sales tax.
  • Consistency: In-store purchases allow for a consistent feel and fitting, especially for cover stock considerations.
  • Research: Prior research and reading customer reviews can guide your online purchases, making them more reliable.
CustomizationBased on specificationsCustom fit available
PriceOften lowerMay include added services

Decision-Making Tips:

  1. Determine the importance of personalized fitting for you.
  2. Balance saving money with the value of immediately available customer service.
  3. Investigate the return policies in both contexts.

Your best approach would be to combine in-store expertise with online prices. This ensures you get the perfect fit at the best price.

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