From Novice to Pro: How to Choose a Pool Cue That Elevates Your Game

How you choose a pool cue can make a big difference in your game. As an avid pool player myself, I understand the importance of selecting the right pool cue. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. In this article, I will share my knowledge and experience on how to choose a pool cue that is right for you.

There are several factors to consider when selecting a pool cue. First, you need to determine your budget. A good pool cue can range from $100 to $1000 or more, depending on the quality and materials used. It is important to be honest with yourself about how much you can afford to spend on a cue. Having a specific price limit in mind will help you be more selective about what cue you choose. Once you have set your budget, you can start looking at cues that fit within your price range.

Another important factor to consider is the type of cue that is best for your game. There are different types of cues available, such as one-piece or two-piece cues, jump cues, break cues, and playing cues. Each type of cue has its own unique features and benefits. Understanding the different options will help you narrow down the type of pool cues available and find the one that is best for your game.

Understanding Pool Cue Anatomy

When it comes to choosing a pool cue, understanding the anatomy of a cue is crucial. Here are the main components of a pool cue that you should consider:

Cue Components

  • Tip: The tip is the part of the pool cue that comes into contact with the cue ball. The size, material, and density of the tip can affect the accuracy and control of your shots.
  • Ferrule: The ferrule is a small piece of material that separates the tip from the shaft. It helps to reinforce the tip and can limit vibrations during play. Ferrules can be made from various materials, including ivory, plastic, and carbon fiber.
  • Shaft: The shaft is the long, tapered section of the cue that connects the tip to the butt end. The type of wood, taper style, and diameter of the shaft can affect the feel and performance of the cue.
  • Joint: The joint is the point where the shaft and butt end of the cue connect. There are various types of joints, including the standard 5/16 x 18 joint and the Uni-Loc joint. The material and pin size of the joint can also affect the feel and performance of the cue.
  • Butt: The butt end of the cue is the thicker, heavier end of the cue. The balance point, inlays, and wraps on the butt can affect the weight distribution and grip of the cue.

Standard Cue Specifications

  • Length: The standard length of a pool cue is 58 inches, but custom lengths are also available. The length of the cue can affect the balance and reach of the player.
  • Weight: The weight of a pool cue can range from 16 to 21 ounces. The weight can affect the playability and stroke of the cue. It’s important to choose a weight that feels comfortable and balanced in your hand.

By understanding the anatomy of a pool cue and the standard specifications, you can make an informed decision when choosing a cue that best suits your playing style and preferences.

What Will Your Pool Cue Be Used For?

When choosing a pool cue, it’s important to consider what you will be using it for. Different types of cues are designed for specific shots and general play. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Break Cues: If you’re looking for a cue to use specifically for breaking, consider investing in a break cue. These cues are designed to provide maximum power and control when breaking the racked balls. Jump cues can also be used for breaking, but they are not as effective as break cues.
  • Jump Cues: Jump cues are designed for making jump moves over other balls. These cues are shorter and lighter than standard cues, with a harder tip that allows for a more positive impact with the cue ball. Jump cues can also be used for some break shots, but they are not as effective as break cues.
  • Jump-Break Cues: For players who want the best of both worlds, jump-break cues are a great option. These cues are designed to provide maximum power and control when breaking, as well as the ability to make jump moves over other balls.
  • Playing Cues: If you’re looking for a cue to use for general play, a standard pool cue is a good option. These cues come in a variety of lengths, weights, and materials, including wooden cues and graphite cues. Low-deflection pool cues are becoming increasingly popular as they reduce the amount of cue ball deflection and make it easier to aim shots.

It’s important to note that great pool cues can be expensive. However, investing in a high-quality cue can make a big difference in your game. When shopping for a pool cue, consider your budget and what features are most important to you.

Types of Cues Based on Player Level

When choosing a pool cue, it’s important to consider your skill level and playing style. The right pool cue can improve your game and help you perform at your best. Here are some types of cues based on player level:

Beginner Cues

If you’re just starting out, a good beginner cue should be durable, forgiving, affordable, and provide good value. Look for cues made from quality materials that can withstand the wear and tear of regular use. A standard pool cue with a straight shaft and a medium tip is a good option for beginners.

Intermediate Cues

For intermediate players, upgraded features can make a big difference in your game. Look for cues made from better-quality wood and advanced shaft technology. Some cues also have customizable weight systems, allowing you to adjust the weight to your liking. These cues can help you improve your accuracy and consistency.

Advanced/Professional Cues

Serious players may want to invest in high-end cues with advanced features. Exotic woods and intricate inlays are common in these cues, making them visually stunning as well as functional. Advanced shaft technologies and low-deflection designs can improve your accuracy and help you make more difficult shots. However, keep in mind that these cues can be expensive and may not be necessary for all players.

In addition to these types of cues, there are also specialized cues, such as jump cues and break cues. Jump cues have a shorter length and a harder tip, allowing you to jump the cue ball over obstacles. Break cues have a thicker shaft and a harder tip, allowing you to hit the cue ball with more force on the break shot.

When choosing a pool cue, consider your skill level, playing style, and budget. With the right pool cue, you can improve your game and have more fun on the table.

How to Choose a Pool Cue?

When it comes to choosing a pool cue, there are several key factors that you should consider. These factors can greatly influence your gameplay and overall experience. In this section, I’ll discuss some of the most important factors to keep in mind when selecting a pool cue.

Cue Balance and Weight Distribution

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a pool cue is its balance and weight distribution. The balance of a cue refers to its weight distribution, which can greatly affect your control and comfort while playing. A well-balanced cue will have a weight distribution that feels comfortable and natural in your hands.

When it comes to weight, the ideal weight of a pool cue will depend on your personal preference and playing style. Some players prefer a heavier cue for more power and control, while others prefer a lighter cue for better speed and maneuverability. It’s important to find a weight that feels comfortable and balanced in your hands.

Shaft Flexibility and Performance

The flexibility of a pool cue’s shaft can greatly affect your gameplay, particularly when it comes to cue ball spin. A more flexible shaft can allow for more spin, while a stiffer shaft can provide more accuracy. It’s important to find a shaft flexibility that suits your playing style and preferences.

Another important consideration is the use of low-deflection shafts. These shafts are designed to reduce deflection, which can improve your accuracy and overall performance. However, they can also take some time to get used to, so it’s important to consider whether they are right for you.

Grip and Comfort

Finally, the grip of a pool cue can greatly affect your comfort and stability while playing. There are several different materials that can be used for cue wraps, including Irish linen, leather, and rubber. Each material has its own unique feel and texture, so it’s important to try out different options to find the one that feels most comfortable to you.

In addition to the material, the style of the grip can also affect your gameplay. Some players prefer a smooth, sleek grip, while others prefer a more textured grip for better hand stability and moisture management. It’s important to find a grip style that feels natural and comfortable in your hands.

Customization Options

When selecting a pool cue, it’s important to consider the customization options available. Personalizing your cue can help you feel more connected to it and improve your overall playing experience. Here are some customization options to consider:

Engravings, Colors, and Wraps

Many pool cue manufacturers offer customization options such as engravings, colors, and wraps. Engravings can be used to add a personal touch to your cue, while colors and wraps can help you stand out on the table. Wraps can also provide additional grip to improve your shot accuracy.

Working with a Cue Maker for a Custom Cue

If you’re looking for a truly unique pool cue, working with a cue maker for a custom cue may be the way to go. Cue makers can help you design a cue that fits your specific needs and preferences, from the weight and balance to the materials used. Keep in mind that custom cues can be quite expensive, but the investment may be worth it if you’re serious about your game.

Interchangeable Parts and Accessories

Interchangeable parts and accessories can also help you customize your pool cue. For example, having interchangeable shafts and tips can allow you to switch out different types of tips depending on the type of shot you’re taking. Weight bolts can also be used to customize the balance of your cue, allowing you to find the perfect weight distribution for your playing style.

Practical Considerations

When it comes to choosing a pool cue, there are a few practical considerations to keep in mind. These include budget constraints, cue maintenance, and testing before buying.

Budget Constraints

One of the most important practical considerations when choosing a pool cue is budget constraints. It’s important to maximize the value within your budget and consider the cost versus performance in different price ranges. A good pool cue doesn’t have to be expensive, but it’s also important not to skimp on quality.

Cue Maintenance

Another practical consideration is cue maintenance. Proper maintenance is essential for the longevity of your pool cue. It’s important to use recommended maintenance kits and practices to keep your cue in good condition. This includes regular cleaning, tip shaping, and oiling the cue.

Testing Before Buying

Lastly, it’s important to test a pool cue before purchasing it. This allows you to get a feel for the cue and determine if it’s the right one for you. When testing a cue, it’s important to consider factors such as feel and stroke testing, as well as testing in various playing conditions. This will help you find the right pool cue for your game.

By considering these practical considerations, you can ensure that you choose a pool cue that will be a positive impact on your game.

Where to Buy a Pool Cue

When it comes to buying a pool cue, there are two main options: local billiards shops and online retailers. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to consider your personal preferences and needs before making a decision.

Local Billiards Shops vs. Online Retailers

If you prefer to see and touch the cue before purchasing it, then visiting a local billiards shop may be the best option for you. This way, you can get a feel for the weight and balance of the cue, as well as examine the tip and shaft for any defects. Additionally, many local shops offer customization services, allowing you to create a cue that fits your exact specifications.

On the other hand, online retailers often offer a wider selection of cues at lower prices. This is because they don’t have the overhead costs associated with running a physical store. Shopping online also allows you to easily compare prices and read reviews from other customers.

Tips for Purchasing Cues Online

If you do decide to purchase a cue online, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure to read the product description carefully to ensure that the cue meets your needs. Pay attention to details such as the weight, length, and material of the cue.

It’s also a good idea to read reviews from other customers to get an idea of the cue’s quality and performance. Look for cues with positive reviews that mention specific shots or general play.

Finally, make sure to check the retailer’s warranty and return policy before making a purchase. Understanding the manufacturer’s warranty can help you feel confident in your purchase, while a clear return policy can protect you in case the cue doesn’t meet your expectations.

The Impact of Brand and Reputation

When it comes to choosing a pool cue, the brand and reputation of the cue can have a significant impact on your game. Renowned cue brands such as Balabushka, Predator, and McDermott have established themselves as some of the best in the industry, with a range of high-quality cues that cater to players of all levels.

One of the benefits of opting for a well-known brand is that you can be confident in the quality of your cue. These brands have a reputation to uphold, and they invest in research and development to create cues that perform well and last a long time. As a result, you can expect a positive impact on your game when using a cue from a reputable brand.

However, it’s important to note that choosing a cue-based solely on a brand name can be misleading. Marketing hype and professional endorsements can make it difficult to distinguish genuine quality from subpar cues. It’s essential to do your research and read reviews from other players before making a purchase.

In addition to established brands, there are also emerging brands in the market. These brands may not have the same level of recognition as the established ones, but they can still offer great pool cues at a lower price point. It’s worth considering these brands if you’re on a budget but still want a cue that performs well.


In summary, how to choose a pool cue plays a vital role in the game of pool. However, many individuals lack comprehensive knowledge on the art of selecting the perfect cue. It is important to note that a hefty price tag does not necessarily equate to the optimal choice for your needs. Numerous factors must be considered to obtain a high-quality pool cue. Familiarize yourself with the recommended steps, commence your search for the ideal cue, diligently maintain its condition, and execute flawless shots with precision.

FAQs About Pool Cue

What weight of pool cue should I use?

The weight of a pool cue is a personal preference, but generally, a cue weighing between 18-21 ounces is recommended. A lighter cue is easier to handle and control, but it may not generate enough power for a break shot. On the other hand, a heavier cue can generate more power, but it may be harder to control. It’s important to find the right balance between weight and control that works best for you.

How much should you spend on a pool cue?

The price of a pool cue can range from $20 to $2000, depending on the quality and materials used. It’s important to remember that a higher price doesn’t always guarantee a better pool cue. However, it’s recommended to invest in a good quality cue that will last longer and improve your game. A budget of $100-$300 is a good starting point for a quality pool cue.

What is the difference between cheap and expensive pool cue?

The main difference between cheap and expensive pool cues is the quality of materials used. Cheap cues are usually made of low-quality wood or synthetic materials, while expensive cues are made of high-quality wood, such as maple or ebony. Expensive cues also have better construction, balance, and weight distribution, which can improve your game. Additionally, expensive cues often have low deflection shafts, which means that the cue ball will deflect less when hit, resulting in more accurate shots.

What size cue for my height?

The size of the cue depends on your height and arm length. A standard cue is 58 inches long, but shorter cues are available for players with shorter arms. As a general rule, a player should be able to comfortably reach the cue ball without having to stretch too far or stand too close to the table. If you’re unsure about the size of the cue that’s right for you, it’s recommended to try different sizes at a pool hall or store before making a purchase.

Additional Resources

Websites and Online Forums

  • AZBilliards Forums – An online community where enthusiasts discuss everything from pool ball selection to maintenance.
  • Billiards Forum – A platform for billiard players to discuss various topics, including pool ball comparisons and experiences.

Professional Organizations

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