A Comparison & Review of Hammer’s Urethane Bowling Balls

hammer urethane bowling balls
Hammer currently produces and sells three different urethane bowling balls as of January 2020, however they have a long list of older urethane equipment that has been retired and can only be purchased on the secondary market or in used condition.

Today Hammer offers the following options:

1. Hammer Black Urethane (Released Oct-2015)
2. Hammer Purple Pear Urethane (Released Oct-2016)
3. The Black Widow Urethane (Released Dec-2017)

Some of Hammer’s retired urethane balls include:

1. Hammer Blue Urethane (Aug-2011)
2. Pure Hammer Urethane Blend (May-2004)
3. Hammer Claw Pearl Urethane (1998)
4. Hammer PC3 Urethane (1996)
5. Red Reactive Hammer (1994)
6. Burgundy Hammer (1992)
7. Hammer Nail Urethane (1989)
8. Pink Hammer Urethane (1989)
9. Blue Pearl Hammer (1987)
10. Red Pearl Urethane (1987)
11. Red Hammer Urethane (1985)
12. Hammer Black Urethane (1982)

Now let’s briefly describe the main differences between the Hammer’s current selection of urethane balls.

The Hammer Black and Purple Pearl are each wrapped around the same symmetric LED core while the Black Widow Urethane (BWU) is wrapped around the asymmetric gas mask core which is popular in the Black Widow line of balls.

That alone should tell you that the BWU will flare more than either the Purple or Black urethane balls and it will hook more overall.

The main differences between the Black and Purple Pearl however has to do with the actual coverstock formulation.

The Hammer Black is made from the old urethane formulation used in the older equipment used in the early 90’s. The Purple Pearl however is made from the same formulation as the Black except additives are mixed in to provide extra length.

Some would call this a urethane blend.

Basically, the Hammer Black will read earlier and cover slightly more boards than the Purple Pearl but the pearl will be better at retaining energy for down lane motion.

The Black Widow Urethane is also a urethane blend that will cause a more angular motion downlane but the rough out-of-box surface will read the lanes very early. The BWU will really hook the most of the three, reading the lanes very early while also reserving energy for late angularity and continuation through the pins.

The Specs Compared (15 lbs)

Black – 2.65 RG – .015 Diff – 500 Abralon
Purple – 2.65 RG – .015 Diff – 500/1000/2000 Abralon
BWU – 2.5 RG – .058 Diff – 360/500/500 Abralon
Blue – 2.57 RG – .032 Diff – 800/1000/2000/4000 Abralon

What about the Hammer Blue Urethane that was released in 2011? How does it stack up?

The Hammer Blue was another urethane blend that was completely different from older urethane formulas. Like the Purple Pearl and the BWU the blue was able to push further down the lane while reserving some hooking power for the backend of the lane.

The Blue cover was wrapped around another symmetrical core (the VIBE core) that had a middle-high differential so it was able to flare enough to keep fresh surface on the lanes, but even still the flare potential was less than that of the BWU.

The Hammer Blue isn’t currently in production any more but if you find one NIB or on a used shelf you should expect it to react a bit like the Purple Pearl but flare a bit more like the BWU. Most bowlers hat have used it much will compare it to a weak solid reactive resin ball.

Ever wonder what all the talk about old-urethane formulations is about?

Back when urethane was released it was largely used as an unaltered material in constructing the shell of a bowling ball but eventually bowling ball manufacturers started mixing additives into the urethane mixture creating different blends.

These blends resulted in slightly different reactions from ball to ball and eventually led to the reactive resin balls that became so popular by the late 90s.

In fact, even in 2020 every reactive resin ball, the solids and the pearlized balls, starts out as a urethane ball. It is the resin additives that make the balls porous and reactive on the lane and when these proprietary mixtures are paired with complimentary core shapes and designs we get the array of reactive balls from all the various bowling ball manufactures.

80s and early 90’s era urethane used few additives if any and many of those older balls did not use fancy core designs so the reaction of those 80’s era balls are quite different that the modern balls made predominantly in the 20-teens.

In 2015 Hammer produced the “new” Hammer Black ball which used the urethane formulations common in the early 90’s rather than the blends that were used in the late 90’s and 2000s.

The 2015 Hammer Black however hooks much more than the Original Black or subsequent Blue/Burgandy versions produced and sold in the 80’s and early 90’s. This is because the new Black was wrapped around a high tech symmetrical core unlike the older version and shipped with a much duller box-finish.

For more on the construction history of urethane bowling balls check out this article published a while back over on MadeHow.com: http://www.madehow.com/Volume-4/Bowling-Ball.html