Many people decide to go bowling as an activity with friends or family. It is accessible, and you are doing something sporty while enjoying a snack and a drink.
But what will one hour of bowling cost you?
Many different factors influence the price, which you will read about in this blog. Either way, I can already reveal that bowling is a relatively cheap activity to do.
The price for renting a bowling lane is between $16 and $30. On average, this amounts to $24. A maximum of eight people can play on one lane at once.
You can play as many rounds as you want within the hour you rent the lane.
At some bowling centers, the rental of the bowling shoes is added to this, which on average costs $4 per person.
It differs per bowling center how much you have to pay per person because the prices for renting a lane vary. However, the average is $4.10* per person.
The price can differ per bowling center; at one, you have to pay per hour, and at the other, you pay per game per person.
It also happens that extra costs are charged for renting bowling shoes.
Do you have to pay for bowling shoes at your local bowling center?
If you go bowling often, consider buying your own bowling shoes. On average, this costs $4 each time you go bowling.
You can buy bowling shoes yourself for $35. This means it is cheaper to buy them yourself after nine times of bowling!
* The price is based on an average of 50 different bowling centers in America.
Much more is discussed in this blog, such as the advantages and disadvantages of paying per hour and per round, how the different prices are established, and whether or not bowling is expensive compared to other activities such as paintball or (go) karting.
The way you can make a reservation differs per bowling center. One will offer per game, while the other charges based on time.
In addition, some bowling centers also charge extra for renting bowling shoes.
Below, you will find the advantages and disadvantages of paying per hour or per round.
The maximum number of players per lane is eight people. If you go bowling with eight people for an hour, you will pay an average of $3 per person.
Paying per hour with a large group means that it is cheaper.
Curious how many rounds you can bowl in an hour with 8 people?
Then read our blog about how many games of bowling you can play in one hour.
A disadvantage is that you cannot complete a game round once you have run out of time.
You will know in advance what you have paid for, which means you do not have to worry about not being able to finish the round.
You will pay a bit more than paying per hour, especially when you are playing with more people.
We now know what you pay for playing one or more rounds of bowling.
Bowling is often accompanied by a snack and a drink, which can be ordered before, during, or after playing.
On average, you pay between $2 and $3.50 for soft drinks, beer, and wine. Coffee and tea are cheaper, whereas mixed drinks are more expensive.
The food you can get varies greatly by bowling center.
There are fries, burgers, pizza, nachos, sweets, ice cream, cake, and healthier options such as salads and healthy smoothies.
A good example is an evening where you order two drinks and a snack. This will cost you, on average, between $8 and $15.
When you add this to the average costs for bowling, you spend a total of between $12.10 and $19.10 per person.
Now that we know how much you pay on average for one hour of bowling, I will explain what exactly you are paying for.
A large portion of the cost is spent on the property's rent. A bowling center takes up quite a bit of space. And do not forget the parking spaces.
A bowling center will need quite a few staff members on a busy day. Think of waiters, cooks, and often also maintenance engineers and security.
A lot of electricity is needed to keep everything running smoothly.
The conveyor belt which returns the balls, the machine that replaces the pins, and the screen which keeps track of the scores are a few examples of the power consumption.
The different machines that ensure that you can bowl smoothly for an hour need to be maintained.
If this is not happening, there is a chance that they will break. The lanes, the balls, and the shoes must also be kept well maintained.
While bowling, many people want to enjoy a snack and a drink. To be able to offer this, the owner of the bowling center must budget accordingly.
At the end of the day, the owner must, of course, also have a profit to live from.
There are bowling centers where you pay more on weekends than on weekdays. Often there is a surcharge because it is busier on weekends.
As a result, more staff has to be working to provide everyone with a snack and a drink.
There will also be more lanes in use, which means an increase in power consumption.
Besides bowling, there are plenty of other activities that people opt for. But is bowling cheaper or more expensive than these activities?
I have sorted this out for you.
Laser tag costs between $10 and $15 for a 15 minute round—a full hour of laser gaming costs between $40 and $60 per person.
A round of paintball costs between $15 and $30 per person and lasts for 15 minutes. For an hour of paintball, you pay between $60 and $120.
If you want additional balls, you pay extra. In some cases, the protective clothing also has to be paid for.
Karting is an expensive sport. A heat usually consists of 10 to 15 rounds and lasts between 10 and 15 minutes.
You pay an average of $30 per person for this.
If you want to go karting for a whole hour, you will spend $120 to $180.
Most courses have between 15 and 20 holes and playing them all will take you between 60 and 90 minutes.
Per person, you pay between $5 and $12.
Renting a pool table for an hour costs between $6 and $12. You can rent a pool table at many pool centers with a maximum of 6 people.
See below for an easy overview that shows whether bowling is cheaper than other activities:
|Activity||Cost per game|
|Cost per hour|
|Price difference |
compared to bowling*
|Cheaper than bowling?|
|Laser tag:||$10 - $15||$40 - $60||$35,90 - $55,90||No|
|Paintball:||$15 - $30||$60 - $120||$55,90 - $115,90||No|
|(Go) Karting:||$30||$120 - $180||$115,90 - $175,90||No|
|Minigolf:||$5 - $12||$5 - $12||$0.90 - $7,90||No|
|Pool Billiards:||$3 - $6||$6 - $12||$-1,10 - $2,90||Yes**|
*Price difference is based on the average cost of $4.10 per person for an hour of bowling.
** Pool Billiards is cheaper when you pay between $6 and $8, and you are with two people. It is also cheaper when you pay between $8 and $12 and are with more than three people.
Yes, bowling is getting more expensive year after year. Several factors are the cause of this.
The biggest reason is inflation, which causes everything to become more expensive (including groceries, insurance, etc.) and therefore bowling too.
As you have been able to read, the average cost for an hour of bowling is $24. This equates to an average price of $4.10 per person.
You will need to pay extra for renting bowling shoes in some cases.
Many different factors influence the price. Due to the annual inflation, bowling will also become slightly more expensive each year.
However, in comparison to similar activities, bowling is still relatively cheap.