Choosing your pool cue is a crucial part in the game of billiards. The make, the feel, and the look of the pool cue are all of paramount importance to let the shooter focus on what they need to be doing, which is shooting the cue ball. If the pool cue is warped, or if the weight is slightly off, or the length and feel aren’t perfect, then an easy shot can quickly turn into a crucial miss.
Here’s a guide to finding your next pool cues:
What are the basic components of a pool cue?
Pool cues are made of two main pieces such as the butt and the shaft. The base on the larger end is the butt, while the tempered end is the shaft. The butt of the cue has the round rubber called the butt cap. It provides added strength to the cue and it’s also part of the interchangeable weight bolt system.
The shaft is the longest half of a two-piece cue. The smooth wood and the taper of the shaft help you keep a consistent shot that allows the cue to glide through your fingers. Usually, shafts are made from maple wood, while some are made of fiberglass or graphite.
What kind of cue should I buy?
Cues can be one-piece or two-piece. One piece cues are best for home use. It’s also the type of cues you will typically find in bars and pool halls because they are too big to just walk out with. They don’t come apart, and they are not meant for travel. Billiard supply dealers usually sell one-piece cues with home tables, since it’s an inexpensive way to offer pool cues for guests to play with. One disadvantage of getting a one-piece cue is that it’s more prone to warping over prolonged use.
Meanwhile, two-piece cues are almost always better than a one piece-cue in terms of quality. With a two piece cue, you can bring it anywhere for a competitive play. It’s great for playing in tournaments outside of your home. It’s also wise to buy cues that can be broken down into two pieces. When its shaft begins to warp, you can just buy a new shaft and retain the butt.
Your preference depends on your budget and needs. If you’re playing only for your home, then it’s wiser to get a one-piece cue. You can still buy two-piece cues for home use, but it isn’t necessary. But if you want to train for tournaments, invest in two-piece cues.
What should you check if the pool cue is of good quality?
To look for a good quality cue, here are some of the factors to look out for and check:
You would want a pool cue made of high-quality, straight-grained, hard-rock maple wood, especially the shaft. That’s a traditional material modern cues today can be made of ebony, ivory, or pine, along with exotic woods like rosewood, blackwood, olive wood, bocote, or cocobolo.
Check the treatment on the cue’s shaft. It must be glossy to prevent against fading and chipping. The gloss indicated that it has been treated with a wood stabilizer to protect it from atmospheric changes, as well as usual wear and tear.
The tip of the cue is an important consideration since it’s the part of the cue that you use to strike the cue ball. A tip can be soft, medium or hard, and each type can offer a slight difference in play.
Soft tips help you gain more control over your hit, and it’s a great choice if you put a lot of spin on the cue ball. However, it tends to wear out faster, so if you don’t like frequent maintenance, soft tips are not for you.
On the other hand, hard tips can offer a more powerful hit. It’s tends to last longer, and it’s more prone to glance off of the cue ball when you strike it off-center. On the downside, it’s less capable of doing ball spins, and it’s not great for people who shoot more forward the outside of the ball.
Right underneath the tip, you can find the ferrule. It is used to support and reinforce the tip, and to limit the vibrations you’ll feel when you shoot. For the pool player who is just starting out, it’s not something that is given some thought. But as much as possible, you’ll want a ferrule made of fiber that won’t chip or crack.
Make sure your wrap is comfortable to the touch. It’s the part of the cue that you’ll hold with your back hand, and since it’s the part that your skin will have most contact with, it must be made of a material that is comfortable for you. If your hands are sweaty, get a wrap that can provide a good grip, like leather and Irish linen, instead of bare wood or fiberglass. You can determine your level of comfort towards a material by holding the cue, not by just looking at it.
Look down the length of the cue and judge its straightness. If you have played pool before, you know that what you need is to get the straightest one. To do this, hold the butt of the cue at eye level and stare down its length. Slowly spin the cue for you to see the whole surface around it. Most pool cues are manufactured to a high standard, but still, it’s good to check. You can also try if the cue rolls smoothly along a flat surface.
Ease of use
To determine if a pool cue is easy to use, try it out for yourself and play a game with it. If you’re buying from a shop with a table set up, you can test the cue there before you buy it. Try to take four or five shots with you on a proper shooting position to have a feel of the cue. It you’re buying online or if you don’t have the option to test it, then ask about the return policy, so you can return the product if you’re not satisfied.
Try to hold the cue and feel its weight. Usually, pool cues weigh around 17 ounces to 21 ounces. However, these are not intended for league play, as such are weighing around 25 to 27 ounces. The weight of the cue affects your shot, so it’s crucial to choose a weight you can easily use. Most of the weight is in the butt because it’s thicker than the shaft, so test the cue. If it feels too heavy on your back as you’re on position, go for a lighter cue. Some players prefer a lighter cue for skill shots, while others prefer a heavier cue for breaking.
Quality of build
When you buy or try out a cue, inspect it thoroughly. Look for any scratches or blemishes in the surface, as brand new pool cues must be perfectly smooth to the touch. Once you run your hand all the way down to the cue, you must not feel any abnormalities. If you can see visible glue or adhesives, it’s a sign of bad craftsmanship. Small blemishes and little irregularities are often red flags to larger issues in the future that will cause you not to enjoy the game. A brand new pool stick must be almost flawless in smoothness starting from the tip, ferrule, shaft, to the butt.
How much does pool cues cost?
The old saying that “you get what you pay for” rings true for pool cues, but you don’t have to spend a big chunk of your savings to buy one. There are plenty of cues out there from distinguished manufacturers that will cost you just under $100.
The fancy, professional sticks usually display beautiful inlays, come in various colors, and glisten with shine. Most of these aren’t necessary for someone who is just starting out. Some cost a lot more because of the brand.
The most basic cues can be bought at a price ranging from $50 to $200. The intermediate level cues cost around $100 to around $600. Meanwhile, those that have exclusive or special custom features can cost more.
Here are some of the features that can factor into the cue cost:
1. Type of wood
If your cue is made of exotic hard wood such as ebony, Purple Heart, cocobolo, bocote, or rosewood then it’s going to be pricier. Pool cues are typically made of maple.
The technology incorporated with cues can make it more expensive. Performance cues can give your game a bit more oomph and tends to cost more because of it. Pool cue manufacturers pour lots of time and money for research and manufacturing to bring a great-quality cue.
Found in the middle of the bottom half of the cue, a wrap can also drive the cost of a cue up. The wrap helps a pool player get a good grip on the cue. It can be made of nylon, genuine leather, imitation leather, Irish linen, and other different kinds of materials – which all vary in price. There are even cues that come unwrapped.
Real handcrafted inlays can increase the cost of a pool cue. Cues with inlays featuring exquisite craftsmanship are beautiful, and incorporating them with the cue will cost a little more. The price for inlay also depends on what kind of material is used. Decorative plastics are cheaper, and natural inlays like shells, metals, and stones are more expensive.
What are the best pool cues to buy?
To get you started about looking for your next (or first) pool cue, here are some of the best picks we have for you. You can also check out pool cues that will give you the best deal here.
With a price below $100, the Imperial Premier Cyclone 2-Piece Pool Cue is a steal for every player. This hard maple cue is ideal for use at home, for beginners and for non-professional players. Its flat construction looks like a seamless one-piece design. It comes with dowels that are shaved down for stability and straightness.
Designed with simplicity in mind, it comes with a glue tip and a rubber butt cap that won’t break or fall off after taking a hard shot. It’s available in 42”, 48” and 52” sizes, so you can find one with a length that works for you. It comes with a lighter finish at the tip and a darker one near the bumper. It was designed to mimic the wrapping that keeps hands from slipping off the cue.
Players D-JS White with Jester on Pool Balls and Dripping Card Suits Cue is a great choice if you want to feel like a pro when playing on your home table, or if you’re actually a pro and you want a tried-and-tested cue. This stick comes with a ball joint made of stainless steel that keeps the two pieces together as you play. It’s equipped with a premium Le Professional Le Pro Tip, which is made of hard oak leather to provide a uniform and more consistent play. It’s made of high-quality, Grade A North American hard maple, and it has been tried and tested for breaking and it passed every test. The sturdy shaft is excellent for intensive gaming, and the wrap provides a rubberized grip so you can experience consistent hand torque no matter how much the game heats up.
What’s to love about this pool cue is its one-of-a-kind design featuring skulls, a series of card suits, pool balls and a jester, which is of a bold red and black color that is sure to turn heads. This pool cue is available in 18-21 ounces in half-ounce increments.
If you’ve been playing pool for a while now, or if you’re starting to take a leap into competitive billiards, the Players Technology Series HXT15 Two-Piece Pool Cue is an excellent choice for levelling up. This pool cue is designed for intermediate players. This cue is customizable, and rather than having a classic shaft, it comes with a deflection shaft that allows skilled players to have more accuracy and more power with each shot. The two-piece cue is made of a stainless steel joint, a Slimline index butt cap, and a double-pressed Irish linen wrap.
Also this cue is made of North American rock maple, and a Kamui black tip that provides superior grip, spin and durability. The whole cue is treated with stabilized Nelsonite and an anti-warping epoxy. It’s a stylish cue to bring to a competitive game, as it’s designed with a walnut-stained maple forearm and butt. It also has a traditional black and white divided diamond and pincher-style graphic points. IT’s available in 18-21 ounce weights in half-ounce increments.
If you have recently bought a pool table for your man cave or game room, then you may be in need of a pool cue set. This Iszy Billiards Set of 2-Piece Hardwood Canadian Maple Pool Cues will help get your home ready for a friendly tournament with your guests. This is a set of two-piece cues at 18-, 19-, 20- and 21-ounce weights. It’s made of hardwood Canadian maple, with steel joints, fiber ferrules and leather glue tips. The shafts of the cues are of standard construction, and all cues measure 58 inches in length.
This set of four two-piece cues are foldable at the divide for easy transportation. It comes with an attractive design that’s uniform on all four pieces, but each comes with a separate color for easy distinction. All these cues have an excellent balance and swing weight that serves to make the gaming experience thrilling.
Billiard Depot Set of 4 Pool Cues New 58″ Pool Cue Sticks is another 4-piece set of two-piece cues that’s is an ideal set for your new billiard table at home. Each shaft is skillfully smoothed to offer a non-friction feel. They are 58 inches long and are ideal for amateur use. The shaft is durably made from high-quality hardwood, and the joint provides a snug closure.
These cues are decorated differently, featuring a lot more detail than most pool cues, while having the same wrap design. The butts have beautiful overlay decal that looks stylish and elegant. This set is very affordable too making it perfect for a family who wants to try out billiards in their dad’s new pool table.
Looking for the perfect travel cue stick? The TaiBA 2-Piece Hardwood Canadian Maple Professional Pool Cue Stick lets you travel easily with a quality pool cue without compromising performance. This two-piece cue comes with a handy leather-carrying quiver and a shoulder strap. It also comes with a small pocket for chalk or extra tips.
The cues are made of high-grade Canadian maple, plus moisture and wrap-resistant shafts coated with nine layers of varnish. The leather wrap gives a sleek finish and smoothness to the touch. It’s also steady to the grip but not with too much friction. The fine-grained leather tip allows you to make clean and accurate shots. This standard-length stick is excellent for learners or bar players who want to improve their skills.
Viking Valhalla 2-Piece Pool Cue Stick is made of stainless steel, which makes it strong and powerful. The hard maple wood forearm is also very study. It comes with a soft leather tip to ensure accuracy and control, and it has a stylish Irish linen wrap to make it beautiful and easy to handle. Plus, it comes with metal threading on the shaft to ensure durability, and a urethane butt plate to ensure accuracy of shots.
This pool stick is available in several colors to suit your style, such as purple, red, white, pink, green, blue, black, autumn orange, and mahogany. It even comes with a lifetime manufacturer warranty even against warping. This two-piece cue is great for beginner and intermediate players.
Made of pure maple shaft, the Players Classic Birds-Eye Maple with Triple Silver Rings Cue will make billiard balls go exactly where you want them to go. This cue is reinforced with much force, thanks to its stainless-steel joint collars, as well as its hard tip made of real oak leather. Its black linen wrap matches the faux wood grain design of the cue stick, allowing you to play games longer without your hands slipping off the stick. The ferrule has a high-impact design that ensures long-term, regular use.
This pool cue’s finish is chip- and fade-resistant, so you can ensure that it will stay beautiful for a long time. It also has a UV finish to prevent warping and moisture problems. The triple silver rings add a beautiful accent to this maple cue. You can choose from blue, red, or black colors. This cue is designed for professionals and intermediate players.
If you need a pool cue that will be useful at home and in tournaments, this CUESOUL SOOCOO Series 58″ Maple Pool Cue is a solid option. This cue is made of separate pieces – a rocket pin and a collar made from stainless steel that helps in exerting more force without the wood breaking. The shaft is made of Canadian maple, and the butt is made of the same wood with luxury pearl white finish. It comes with a stainless steel collar and a stainless rocket pin.
You will love the stylish design of this cue, as it comes with a bright blue base and a pearl finish on top. The stainless steel rings work with the rubber bumper to help you line up a shot. Even though it doesn’t have a grip, it comes with a hard top and cloth for wiping the cue down.
This classically-styled Birds-eye maple cue is a top-grade material, perfect for impressive, regular play. The Players C-950 Two-Piece Pool Cue is beautiful and durable, as it comes with a nutmeg stain and Maplewood forearm. The butt cap and joint are made from stainless steel. Plus, it has a strong, epoxy finish to ensure that there will be no damage from moisture or warping.
This cue is perfect for those who are looking to participate in pool competitions. Its soft, pro-grade tip can give you optimal control as you take any kind of shot. It’s used by both beginners and experienced professionals. And with its durable built, you can rely on this cue to last for a long time.