Don’t be deceived by the stick-like appearance of pool cues. These pieces of pool equipment are actually a lot more involved than one might think at first glance.
With all the varying styles and materials used in their construction, pool cue shopping can be a difficult business. We understand that not everyone just ‘has’ all the knowledge required to select a great pool cue from the masses available in store and online.
That’s why we’ve written this buyer’s guide for you.
In this guide, you can expect to find absolutely everything you need to know in order to go out there and purchase the best pool cue for you.
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The Best Value For Money Pool Cue
The Best Sneaky Pete Pool Cue
The Best Beginner Pool Cue
The Best Pool Cue Over $200
The Best Pool Cue Under $200
Before we start learning about how to select the best pool cue, you might want to know why selecting the best pool cue is important. Well, there are a number of reasons.
Firstly, the technical specifications (materials, weight etc.) of the pool cue will either help or hinder your particular playing style and physical build. If you can improve your game with a simple change of cue – why wouldn’t you?
Secondly, the value of individually bought pool cues can be quite high, so when you’re going to invest a lot of money in an item you want to know that it’s high quality and can go the distance with you.
There are a whole range of different features incorporated into a single cue stick. Below we’ve quickly listed the most important ones that you should always check before purchasing a cue.
The exact details of each feature type that you should choose will of course depend on your style of play and your body build.
This is probably the main thing to check before making any cue purchase. You do not want to purchase a billiards cue when you usually only play regular pool!
Not only will having the wrong cue for your preferred tabletop game not give you an optimal competitive advantage, it may even disqualify you from certain competitions.
The main cues to be aware of are:
Fortunately for novices, most retailers will specify the type of cue they are selling. Nevertheless, it’s useful to understand the different types so you can ensure even second-hand purchases are made wisely.
You’d be surprised just how important the weight of your pool cue is in determining your game style.
A heavier cue will usually give you a lot of control over where the cue ball goes and will ensure the object ball goes into the pocket faster. Unfortunately, a heavier cue also makes the cue ball move rather slowly and can mean some players have trouble drawing a ball.
The alternative lighter cues usually mean the cue ball itself will go fast and the object ball will go slow. They create more of a ‘snap’ though and are more suited for inexperienced players.
The range of cue weights usually goes from 18 through to 21 ounces with 19 ounces being considered the sweet spot for those who are unsure of which weight suits them best.
Remember that most cues have weight bolts on them that can be changed at later stages as your game abilities change.
Pool cue tips can vary in hardness from extremely hard (almost as hard as the balls themselves) through to extremely soft.
The hardness you prefer will usually depend on the type of game you’re playing and your preferred shot style.
Softer tips absorb more impact and therefore give you better ball spin. They do however require more maintenance and replacements.
Harder tips absorb almost no impact and therefore create less spin while also leaving you with higher chances of a miscue. Their saving quality is that they require a lot less maintenance than soft tips.
Medium tips are usually a good choice as they offer a good combination of ball control and maintenance requirements.
If you’re after a ‘no-maintenance’ tip though you’re better off going with phenolic tips (made of carbon fiber). These are popularly found in pool halls and transfer a lot of power whilst requiring almost no maintenance whatsoever.
Another varying feature of pool cues is their grip. Some cues have rubber ones, some have linen, some have leather and others have none at all! How is a person to choose?
Well, our best advice is that you choose based on comfort and weather you will be playing using gloves or not.
These are the most “grippy” and the best option for people whose hands get sweaty or slippery during play.
These look like the rest of the shaft but are specially coated so that they are a lot more grippy than it.
These can get very grippy if your hands sweat, and are generally quite comfortable to the touch. They can get dirty easily over time though and therefore requiring replacing more often than other grips.
The least grippy alternative, linen grips are coated with starch and wax substances which make them fairly slippery.
All technical specifications aside, what will really make you love your pool cue is it’s look. Regardless of whether you’re playing professionally or recreationally, a pool cue that matches your personality is sure to help you get a bit of a reputation.
There are a lot of different designs to choose from, ranging from the standard block wooden shades through to intricately designed colorful patterns.
We recommend choosing a classy, timeless design if you’re buying a high quality cue as you’ll want to appreciate the aesthetic for many years to come.
As you can see there is a lot more to choosing a pool cue than just, well, choosing one. To help narrow down the options for you we’ve selected some of the best cues on the market today based on specific criteria. And without further ado, here they are.
This pool cue is a stellar performance level pool cue, suitable for intermediate to advanced players. In less general terms, we’d recommend this cue to those who have been playing pool for at least one year.
The Player’s cue’s unique and stunning black and marbles red design hint at the sophistication of this particular cue – a bargain in its $80-$100 price range.
The availability of this cue in 18 – 21 ounce sticks makes it a great option for players of all shapes, sizes and styles.
The only drawback of the design is its linen wrap which won’t be suitable for people who like a really firm grip. The linen is however very classic in appearance and most players will find it services them very well.
Everything about this cue tells of its high quality construction – from the stainless steel joint collar right through to the hard oak leather tip. We’re pleased that such a high quality level is available in the ‘affordable’ price bracket range.
In terms of its longevity, the manufacturers have given this cue a lifetime warranty. Often warranties are the best way to tell whether an item is reliable or not so a lifetime warranty is a definite point for the Players C-960.
Probably the biggest selling point the Players Classics C-960 has is its wood which is Grade A Hard Rock Maple. Not only is this a hard and reliable wood, but a beautiful one too.
The designers of this cue have fortunately treated the wood with Nelsonite and finished it with an epoxy seal. What this means is that the wood is well insulated from atmospheric changes and dirt/oils won’t be able to get into its pores – saving you hours of maintenance time!
The wood has also been coated with a high gloss UV protective coating as final stage in its creation. This helps to ensure that your pool cue will still look good 10 or 20 years down the track. And for those who know how attached you can get to your cue, this is a valuable thing.
For all of these reasons, we’ve selected the Players Classic C-960 as the best value for money cue available on the market today.
The Lucasi Custom Super Birds-Eye Sneaky Pete Pool Cue with an upgraded shaft is definitely one of the best Sneaky Pete pool cues on the market today.
Aside from its simplistic appearance appeal and genuine 2piece construction, this cue has a lot of other things going for it as well.
The Lucasi Cue’s wrap less handle provides excellent grip to help ensure its owners take smooth, uninterrupted passes at the cue ball.
Additionally, the wood-to-wood joint area has a uni-loc pin in it that helps to further make owner’s strokes create soft hits and quick breaks.
As (arguably) the most important element of a cue, the manufacturers have paid special attention to the Lucasi’s tip. This cue comes with a 12.75mm solid core shaft adjoined to a special Everest tip by the Tiger brand.
This tip is leather made and boasts about having the low maintenance of a hard tip, the agility of a medium tip and the spin control of a soft tip. Now that’s quite the package in one tip!
Attached to the tip is a 29 inch long classic looking shaft with a professional taper to it. The shaft has zero flex point as well, which explains the lifetime warranty (even against warpage) that the manufacturer is able to offer with this cue.
Although it is a tad expensive, coming in at around the $220 mark, the Lucasi Custom Pool Cue is a definite must for anyone who can afford its high quality.
Our favorite part about it is that it’s a Sneaky Pete pool cue and can therefore be broken into two pieces and carried about from tournament (or pub) to tournament (or pub) with relative ease.
And finally, if all that isn’t enough to get you interested, the wood itself is old school solid maple. That means the cue stick itself is rather heavy and well weighted. Fortunately, there are weight adjustments available for everything from 18 ounces through to 21 ounces.
A top contender for one of the best cues on the market, the Lucasi Custom Pool Cue is a good option for anyone that can afford it!
Retailing for the very reasonable price of around $50, this beginner’s pool cue from McDermott is the perfect entry-level cue for those interested in learning and improving their game.
As indicated by the above specifications, the McDermott Lucky L9 Pool Cue gives users everything they need and nothing they don’t.
Much like it’s features, the design of this pool cue is also pretty stock standard.
You may be wondering why we chose this as the best beginner’s pool cue if it’s so very, well, normal. And that’s fine, we understand how that could confuse you. But trust us, getting a ‘normal’ pool cue is the best bet for beginners.
The biggest mistake most beginner pool players make is immediately buying a fancy pool cue that resembles that of their favorite famous player. Unfortunately, they are seldom ever ready to handle the weight or maintenance that comes along with a more expensive cue.
The McDermott Lucky L9 is the perfect beginners cue because it will be a great learning ground and it’s relative ‘medium’ features will help you jump into fancier lightweight or heavyweight cues as your preference develops.
This cue is also one of the few beginner level cues made by a trustworthy brand like McDermott that have been in the industry for many years. In our experience, McDermott cues are made from high quality materials and tend to last at least as long as their warranty periods.
The warranty period on this particular cue is 3 years which is perfectly acceptable as you are likely to want to move to a more advanced (read expensive) cue if you’ve being playing pool for the past three years.
We love that beginners can pick this cue up for well under a $100 and have a lot of fun with it while they experiment in what sort of pool playing style works for them.
So, if you’re looking to try pool out or up your game marginally with your first personal cue, this is the cue for you!
Get a load of this cue! Made with all the technology and modern elements that the revered Pure X brand can muster, this Jump Break Cue is a crowd favorite among experienced players and comes with a price tag to match.
At a retail price of around $220 you can expect to get a ridiculously high quality cue, and that is exactly what Pure X have delivered here.
It’s hard to know where to begin with the Pure X Jump Break Cue as the designers have jam packed just about every feature imaginable into this stick.
For starters, there are three interchangeable quick release joints integrated into it that allows owners to choose their perfect shot every time.
If you’re looking for a cue that can do super short vertical shots, just use the forward air flight portion with the cues ergonomically flared handle for success.
If you’re looking for long range accuracy shots add the jump extender onto the cue.
And if you’re looking for across table explosive break shots, simply add in the air flight plus power drive for even more torque and leverage.
Whatever type of shot or style of play you’re after, the Pure X Jump Break Cue has you covered. Its versatility in use is the main reason we chose it for the best pool cue over $200 category winner.
In addition to these cool features it does also have an awesome design though. Coming in either black or white, this cue is very gender neutral and would suit both men and women pool players well.
The last thing to mention about the Pure X Jump Break Cue is its unique sport grip. This grip provides loads of grippy-ness to users while still being comfortable under the hands. Fortunately, it’s black on both the white and black versions of the cue so won’t get dirty easily.
So there, if you’ve got cash to spend and want the best of the best when it comes to your new pool cue, we really can’t recommend the Pure X Jump Break Cue enough.
Sold in stores and online for under $200, the McDermott 20 oz. cue is excellent value for money. It’s our top pick in the under $200 category simply because it offers a look and quality that really doesn’t belong in this price bracket!
We really like the approach McDermott have taken with this pool cue, creating a truly unique item for the market. The emerald green European organic stain is absolutely breathtaking and sure to make owners stand out from the crowd.
Underneath the beautiful green stain is true Michigan maple wood with a medium to hard strength level. It’s been shaped into a traditional style shaft measuring a reasonable 29 inches.
The 13mm shaft diameter is ideal for those with smaller hands, being slightly smaller than the industry standard of 14mm.
Clearly there have got to be a few drawbacks at this price level, and the only one we can find is the grip. Although genuine Irish linen sounds fancy, it isn’t necessary the most grippy and won’t suit those who sweat profusely during games (as it’d become slipper).
That’s our only real qualm though as everything else about this particular cue is marvelous. From the lifetime warranty assurance through to the high performance Everest tip by Tiger, this pool cue has been made to impress.
It really wasn’t a hard choice for us to select a winner in this category as soon as we came across the 20 oz. McDermott cue. So, if you’re looking for a quality cue in the $0-$200 price range then we recommend that you consider this one.
After seeing all the amazing cue options available on the market today, you’re probably itching to go out and buy one to call your own.
The category winning pool cues we have suggested you consider were selected for their premium features and reliable brand names. We’re sure there’s one of them to suit any style or level of player.
Just remember when you’re selecting your cue that it’s likely to stay with you for many years to come so sometimes it is worth shelling out a little bit more in order to get a cue that you’ll really love.
We hope this buyer’s guide has been useful for you and that you now feel prepared to go and buy the best pool cue for you. All the best with your purchase!