How To Choose a Pool Cue

There are many things to consider once you have decided to purchase a pool cue. Here at Pete’s Billiards we offer a number of factors to consider when making your selection and get the most out of your cue purchase.

There are some specific parts of the cue that are made differently and with different materials that affect how they play and how they feel. These parts of the cue to consider include the wrap, the shaft and shaft taper, the Joint, cue weight, length, and the tip.

The most important aspect of the wrap or butt of the cue is that it feels comfortable in your hands. Some things to consider are the size of your hand. If you have very large hands you may not do so well with a small diameter butt. Smaller hands will feel more comfortable around a smaller diameter grip.

If you have hands that sweat profusely you most likely should choose an Irish Linen wrapped cue. They are best for absorption. Many cues are available with leather wraps. These would be a good choice if you prefer the smooth feel it provides. More and more cues are manufactured with no wrap at all.

The shaft of a pool cue is generally made with a high grade of North American maple. Your comfort as a player can be affected by the diameter of the shaft as well as the type of shaft taper. Most cues have a shaft diameter between 12 mm and 13 mm. Keep in mind that a smaller shaft diameter does make it easier to perform English on a cue ball, but it also can impart too much spin on the cue ball and be harder to control.

If you have small hands you might select a diameter smaller than 13mm so you are comfortable with your bridge hand. 13mm is the most common size selected. Find the size that you feel best with and you will have more success.

The shaft taper refers to the shape of the shaft starting from the tip on back. If you have a 13mm tip and a 12 inch pro taper, that means measuring back down the shaft 12 inches, it stays at that 13mm diameter the full 12 inch length before it increases size towards the joint.

Typically the longer the pro taper the more flex the shaft will have. A shorter pro taper will give you a stiffer and firmer hit. These differences change the way a cue feels to a player. Most cues today have a pro taper between 10 and 15 inches. Bar cues or house cues sometimes have a shorter taper, often only 8 inches.

The cue you select will have a joint pin in the middle that connects the butt and the shaft. There are many different pins used to thread the pieces together. Yet there are really only 2 different joint types. Those that make contact wood to wood, or make contact with a metal joint collar. Cues that are primarily a wood to wood joint have more of a natural softer feel to them. Cues with steel collars feel stiffer and the feedback from the cue seems a little more direct, almost quicker. There are many different styles of collar and pin combinations today. They have all proven to be durable, and they all have slightly different characteristics.

What cue weight is right for me? Cue weights range from 17 to 21 Ounces. There is not one correct weight for every player. For pool players though it seems cues in a 19 to 20 ounce range fit best for the style of play and the size of the balls used in pool games. In snooker games the balls used are smaller and lighter so the cues are also lighter, often in the 15 to 16 ounce range.

Standard cue lengths are 57 inches for one piece house cues. Standard two piece cues are 58 inches long with the butt and shaft an equal 29 inches. There are options for players who are extra tall or those who are not. If you are 6'5" tall and you cannot extend your bridge hand and have room to stroke the cue, there are options for a better fit. Some cues can be special ordered as long as 60 inches. Junior cues are available today in 36", 48" and 52" lengths. These cues are also a good choice in areas where you have space limitations.

Recently more Cue extensions have become available for those shots that are hard to reach. They are made to attach to the butt end of the cues.

What kind of tip should I use? A well shaped and scuffed tip is crucial to your success with cue ball control and consistency. Tips vary in their composition relative to how hard and soft they are. This affects how long they will last, how often they need to be maintained and how they feel to a player. Most cues come with a basic tip that is rated medium to hard such as a Le Pro, waterbuffalo or Triangle tip. One common element of tips is that they are all made of leather. Most tips today are a laminated leather like the Wizard or Kamui Tip. The only exception to tips made of leather are used on Break and Jump cues. These tips are extremely hard and are made with phenolic resins.

One question we always get is "How much do I need to spend to get a good cue?". The answer is usually somewhere around $150 to $300 for a good quality cue that could last a lifetime. McDermott and Viking cues offer the best warranty in the industry. They offer a lifetime warranty on their cues that includes warpage. If you are looking for something that has more appeal and inlays with points etc you can find hundreds of cues for sale in our store from $300 up to $1,000. We hope this has been helpful to you and if you need additional information please call us at (210) 375-8225. All of our sales associates are experienced and knowledgeable players.