Your Pool Cue Buying Guide

Your Pool Cue Buying Guide

Table of Content

Table of Content

Diving into the world of billiards, shopping for the perfect pool cue can be as strategic as the game itself. In this comprehensive pool cue buying guide, I'm set to make it easier for you, transforming it from a shot in the dark to a well-calculated move toward victory.

As you stand on the brink of your next shot, remember that your pool cue is more than a tool; it's your partner in the dance of angles and precision that unfolds on the baize. Now, let's explore how to make that choice with confidence and clarity, ensuring your next game is played with a pool cue that's nothing short of a natural extension of you!


  • Types of Pool Cues: Various options, such as standard playing, break, jump, and custom cues, cater to different shots.
  • Material and Construction: Look for quality wood or composite materials and ensure the cue is straight and well-finished.
  • Weight and Balance: Find a weight and balance point that feels comfortable for your style of play.
  • Length and Tip: Standard length is around 58 inches; tip size and material affect precision and shot spin.
  • Wrap and Joint: Choose a wrap for a comfortable grip and a joint that offers the right feedback.
  • Aesthetics and Price: Select a design you love within a realistic budget based on your playing frequency.
  • Buying Tips: Test cues hands-on, check cue straightness, and listen to your instincts for the best fit.

Types of Pool Cues

types of pool cues

Within the world of billiard cues, there are many types, each designed for specific facets of the game and tailored for different player needs. Below, I’ll guide you through the common types of pool cues you'll encounter on your shopping trip.

Standard Playing Cue

The standard playing cue is the most common type you'll find in a player's arsenal. It's versatile and suitable for all-around gameplay, whether you're engaged in a friendly match or a competitive league.

These cues come in a variety of weights and lengths, and they can be used for all shots other than those requiring specialized cues.

Break Cue

Break cues are specifically crafted for the initial break. They're often heavier and sturdier, allowing you to deliver a powerful and explosive shot to scatter the billiard balls. The tips of break cues should be harder than a play tip, ensuring they can withstand the impact of repetitive breaks and transfer more power of the stroke to the cue ball.

Jump Cue

Jump cues are lighter and shorter than standard playing cues, which allows for better control when attempting to 'jump' the smooth cue ball over another ball. They feature a harder tip and a shorter butt to facilitate the vertical motion needed to lift the cue ball from the surface of the table.

Break-Jump Cue

A versatile hybrid, the break-jump cue can function as both a break and a jump cue. They usually have a removable butt or joint within the butt, so you can adjust the length and weight of the cue based on whether you're breaking or jumping.

Sneaky Pete Cue

Designed to look like standard, unassuming house cues, Sneaky Pete cues are constructed with higher-quality materials and craftsmanship. They are favored by players who want a professional-level cue without drawing attention to their equipment.

Custom Cue

For those seeking something unique, custom cues offer personalized options, from specific types of wood, inlays, and wraps to custom lengths and weights. These cues are tailored to an individual's preferences and can be made to accommodate specific playing styles.

Understanding these different types of cues is the first step in narrowing down your options. In the next section, I'll highlight the features you should consider while buying a pool cue. They'll help you choose a cue that not only looks good but also performs to the standards you need to improve and enjoy your game.

Features to Consider When Buying a Pool Cue

When buying a new pool cue, the details you'll want to focus on are the building blocks of your potential success at the table.

Material and Construction

The bedrock of any good pool cue is its material. Wood remains the favorite choice for many, with maple and ash being the most popular for their optimal mix of flexibility and strength.

These hardwoods have long been trusted to provide cue stability and a reliable stroke. In recent years, synthetic materials such as fiberglass and carbon fiber have surged in popularity, offering improved resistance to environmental changes and a consistent playing experience over time.

Another aspect that can’t be overlooked is the cue's construction quality. A high-quality cue will be perfectly straight, an attribute you can test by rolling it across a flat surface. 

The finish should be smooth to the touch without any blemishes, and the various components of the cue, like the joints, should fit together seamlessly, ensuring no wobble or unevenness that might disturb your shot.

Weight and Balance

The pool cue weight plays a major role in how it feels when you play and can range broadly from about 17 to 21 ounces.

Heavier cues tend to lend more power to the break, while lighter cues afford greater control and finesse for intricate shots. Finding the ideal weight of your own pool cue may require some experimentation, as individual preferences vary significantly.

Equally important is the cue's balance. The balance point is typically located around the center of the cue but can vary depending on design and weight distribution. A well-balanced cue will feel steady and comfortable in the hand, allowing for a smooth and controlled follow-through.

Cue Length

The length of the cue is a dimension that must match the stature and arm length of the player. Standard cues measure around 58 inches and fit most adults, but variations exist.

Taller players may benefit from a slightly longer cue, providing them the reach they need without overextending.

Conversely, shorter cues can be a boon for younger players or for those who frequently play in spaces with limited room.

Tip Size and Material

The cue tip, though small, is the business end that impacts the cue ball, significantly influencing your game. Pool cue tips vary in size, typically ranging from 11.5 to 13 millimeters in diameter. A smaller tip can provide more precise contact with the cue ball, ideal for shots requiring spin and finesse, while a larger tip is more forgiving and suited to a power game.

The material of the tip contributes to how the cue stick interacts with the ball. Soft cue tips, made from materials like leather, tend to absorb more impact and provide greater spin, but they wear or lose their shape out faster.

Hard tips, on the other hand, can have less grip but offer durability and are suited to players who favor a forceful game.


A cue wrap is a section where your backhand grips the cue, and it's essential for ensuring a secure hold. Leather and Irish linen are traditional choices that offer a classic feel, while rubber and synthetic materials can provide extra grip for players whose hands may sweat.

The wrap should feel comfortable in your hand and shouldn’t distract you during shots. Personal comfort here is key, as the grip can influence your confidence and control during play.

Joint Type

The joint, the connection point between the butt and the pool cue shaft, greatly affects the feel of the cue during play for the more refined player. Various styles exist, from threaded metal joints to quick-release mechanisms like the Uni-Loc system.

Some players prefer the solid feel of a stainless steel joint, while others opt for the smoother feedback from a wood-to-wood joint. The joint material can also play a role in the cue's overall performance, with differences in feedback and vibration upon striking the ball.


While the aesthetics of your pool cue may not technically affect your ability to pot balls, they do play an essential role in the enjoyment of the game. A visually appealing cue that you're proud to wield can give you an extra boost of confidence.

Whether it's a sleek, simple design or an elaborately decorated stick with inlays and custom patterns, your cue should reflect your personal style and make you feel good every time you take it out of its case.

Price Range

Before you start your search, set a budget. Pool cues come in a wide range of prices, and it's possible to find a decent starter pool cue cost. However, as with most things, you often get what you pay for.

A pricier billiard cue typically offers better construction, materials, and long-term reliability. If you play frequently or competitively, consider viewing your cue as an investment and be prepared to spend a little more.

When considering all these features, it's wise to try out various cues if possible. Visiting a pool hall or a shop where you can try a house cue can give you a feel for what works best for you.

Tips and Tricks to Buy the Perfect Pool Cue for You

Finding the perfect pool cue is a personalized process that combines knowledge, testing, and a bit of intuition. Here are some tips and tricks to help you navigate the buying process and select a cue that feels like it was made just for you:

Know Your Game

Start by analyzing your playing style. Are you a power player who focuses on strong breaks, or are you more about finesse and spin? Understanding your strengths and weaknesses in the game will guide you toward a cue that complements your style.

Do Your Homework

Research different brands and models online, read reviews, and talk to more experienced players. The more you know about what's available, the better equipped you'll be to make an educated decision.

Test Drive Various Cues

Nothing beats the first-hand experience of playing with different cues. Visit local billiards stores, clubs, or halls where you can hold and take a few shots with various cues. Pay attention to how each cue feels in terms of weight, balance, and grip.

Consider Future Maintenance

Be mindful of the long-term maintenance of the cue. Check if replacement parts are readily available and if the cue can be serviced easily, as this will extend its lifespan and ensure it remains in top condition.

Set a Realistic Budget

Decide how much you're willing to spend before you start shopping. Investing in a higher-quality cue might cost more upfront, but it could save you money in the long run. Conversely, if you're new to the game or play infrequently, a less expensive cue may be more appropriate.

Ask for Advice

Don't hesitate to seek guidance from more experienced players or shop owners. They can offer valuable insights and might even suggest options you hadn't considered.

Trust Your Gut

After considering all the technical details, sometimes the best choice is the one that just feels right. Trust your instincts when picking up a cue. If it feels like a natural fit, it's probably a good choice for you.

By incorporating these tips into your buying process, you'll increase your chances of finding a pool cue that enhances your gameplay and brings you joy every time you step up to the table. Remember, the perfect cue for you is one that aligns with your game, feels comfortable in your hands, and meets your personal preferences.


In conclusion, purchasing the perfect pool cue for your game is a journey that combines personal preference with practical considerations.

By understanding the different types of cues available, weighing the significance of materials, construction, weight, length, and other features, and following the tips and tricks outlined in this guide, you're well on your way to finding a trusty companion for the felt.

Remember that the best pool cue is one that feels like an extension of your arm and intuitively complements your playing style. It should instill confidence in your shots and overall gameplay. Don't rush the process—take your time to try out different options, seek advice, and most importantly, trust your instincts.