What to Consider When Buying a Pool Cue

Who knew that shopping for a pool cue could be so complicated? Many pool tables come with a standard pair of pool cues, but they may not necessarily meet your needs. There are a variety of different brands currently available on the market.

Pool cues are all different sizes, different materials, and can range in price. Determining which pool cue best suits your needs and overall play style can definitely be a challenge if you don’t know what to be on the lookout for.

When buying a pool cue, you should take into consideration your own skill level, the cue’s material, quality, your overall budget (if any), the cue’s performance, and your height.

What’s Your Skill Level?

At the end of the day, it really doesn’t make sense to have a top-tier, professional-grade pool cue in the hands of a casual player. If you play pool every now and then with your friends, you may not want to spend the $500+ that it could cost to buy a professional pool cue.

On the flip side, if you’re a very serious pool player who’s had many years of experience and practice, and maybe even participate in tournaments, you should purchase a pool cue that reflects and compliments your skill level.

When it comes to pool, the only two variables that often determine the outcome of a game comes down to the skill level of the players and the cues that they choose to play with.

Everything else, the pool table and the balls, all remain the same. Therefore, it’s very important to find a pool cue that not only gets the job done but makes you feel comfortable when you use it.

What Material is the Pool Cue Made Of?

The harder the material a pool cue is made of, the more power your shots will have. On the other hand, the softer the material, the more control you’ll have when playing a game. High-end pool cues are often made of a type of hardwood, while low to mid-range pool cues are often made of fiberglass or graphite.

For the casual or beginner player, it’s highly recommended that you buy a pool cue made of fiberglass to give you more control as you play. More advanced players are skilled enough to maintain control regardless of what their pool cue is made of. The trend as of late shows that professional players are starting to prefer lighter pool cues more and more due to their agility and ease of use.

Consider Pool Cue Cost

As mentioned before, higher-quality pool cues often show up on the higher end of the price range. Pool cues for beginners or junior players can often be bought for less than $100.

For intermediate to semi-professional pool players, a quality pool cue can range between $150 to $300. This jump in price is often the result of the pool cue’s overall quality and performance.

The next tier is where you’ll find many pool cues for advanced players. They can range anywhere between $300 to $500. There are significant differences in the way these pool cues feel in terms of balance, straightness, quality of handle wraps, and overall aesthetic and style.

Pool cues for the professional player or collectors are often sold for much higher. These cues are made of some of the highest-quality material, and can often be adorned with gem accents or intricate inlays, or even made from ivory, hence the higher retail prices.

Some of the most advanced players in the world of pool have even had custom pool cues made to meet their playing needs. As one can imagine, this can be quite an expensive process, with some cues fetching prices in the thousands.

If you’re a really serious and frequent player of pool who doesn’t mind spending a little extra to have a pool cue made just for you, this may be another option that you can explore.

Performance and Quality

Ideally, you want to purchase a pool cue that feels comfortable and gives you the most control of the playing surface when you’re playing a game. If you’ve ever played pool with your own cues at home, and then play a game with the ones provided to you at the local pub or bar, you may note how different they feel compared to one another.

High-performance pool cues will offer maximum accuracy and power, while the opposite can be said for pool cues on the lower end of the price range. Pool cues made of heavier materials like hardwood or ivory will change the way the cue is balanced and ultimately weighted, requiring a bit more skill and practice to truly master its use. Lighter pool cues made of fiberglass, graphite, or plastic are significantly lighter, once again changing the overall feel of the cue.

You’ll know if you have a high-quality pool cue if you can roll it on a flat surface without it wobbling. If the pool cue wobbles, this may be an indication that it’s not weighted properly or not completely round or straight. This can often result in uncomfortable handling, which can put a player at a disadvantage when they’re trying to get a feel for the game.

How Does Your Height Factor In?

A taller pool player’s needs may not be the same as a shorter pool player’s needs when it comes to choosing the right pool cue. Depending on your height, you need to take into consideration your pool cues balance and its length to truly get the most out of your experience.

If you’d describe yourself as a little bit shorter, it’s highly recommended that you purchase a pool cue that has more of a forward weight to assist in more accurate aiming.

Many standard pool cues that come with home sets are heavier near the handle, which can actually put shorter players at a disadvantage because they’re unable to stretch out far enough to provide the appropriate counterbalance.

If you’re a taller player with long arms, it’s recommended that you purchase a longer pool cue, to offer more spin and control over the ball.

Maintenance and Care

Like anything, pool cues can show signs of wear and tear over time if not properly taken care of. If you decide to get a pool cue made of wood, be sure to store them in a cool, dry area after every game.

Excessive levels of moisture can result in the eventual bending of the cue, which obviously isn’t ideal when it comes to games of pool. Be sure to store your pool cue on a rack if you have one to avoid any unnecessary scratches or dents.

The same can be said for pool cues made of fiberglass or plastic. While humidity may not be as big of an issue, these types of cues can easily be scratched or dented if not put away properly. They’re also a lot easier to bend if too much pressure is placed on them, so do your best not to lean on your pool cue!

How Much Space Do You Have?

When it comes to pool, you should ideally have enough space to actually play and move around the pool table freely. You shouldn’t have to worry about knocking things over with the butt of your cue, or not being able to get a good angle because they’re simply not enough room to extend your cue. Pool cues come in different lengths, the most common being 48” long (1.22m), 52” long (1.32m), or 58” long (1.47m).

Get Personal

Pool cues come in all sorts of colors and materials. When buying a pool cue, the degree to which you like the look of a model can often determine your choice. While aesthetic shouldn’t be the ultimate deciding factor, it can definitely help if you’re struggling to choose between pool cue A and B.

There are gorgeous cues out there with elegant engravings, glossy finishes, and ornate inlays that can really win your heart over. If you find a particular style that you really love, do you best to find a pool cue that meets all of your needs first and find something similar!

After all, the pool cue is effectively an extension of yourself on the playing surface, so finding one that reflects your personality is a definite bonus.