You might think that all pool cues are the same, but they aren’t.
There are different weights and lengths. Manufacturers make cues from various materials and give them unique tips.
The pool cue you choose can influence your game.
Specific cues can help you hit certain shots. Learning about the different styles available will help you choose the right pool cue.
How to Choose a Pool Cue
The following information will help you narrow down the type of pool cues available.
Once you understand the different options, you’ll know what one is best for your game.
Pool cues come with a medium tip, which gives you the most variety for your shots. But you can change out tips depending on what you need.
Soft and medium tips are leather, and hard tips are phenolic resin, like pool balls.
Soft tips give excellent ball control because they hold chalk. They stay in contact with the ball longer than other tips.
Soft tips need a lot of upkeep, though, because they mushroom over time.
Medium tips are hard enough to move your ball without getting distorted when you play. The leather holds chalk well, so you have reasonable control over your moves.
You’ll find hard tips on break and jump cues because they convey so much of your strength to the cue ball.
Because the tip is resin, it won’t wear down with repeated use.
Also read: What Cue Tips Do the Pros Use?
Cue Stick Weight
The most common cue stick weight is 19 ounces, but you can choose what feels best for you.
The cue should feel comfortable in your hands without being too bulky.
Lighter cues are more responsive to your strength.
If you’re a skilled player, this can benefit you because you can control your power. But beginners might have trouble with gentler moves.
Most of the pool cue’s weight is in the butt end. This part is thicker than the shaft, so make sure your hand can deftly handle the weight.
You can buy cues with different weights, so you have a variety to choose from. Experienced players often use heavier cues to break the rack.
Then they switch to a lighter cue for more involved shots.
Pool Cue Length
Most pool cues are 58 inches long. If you’re anywhere from 5’8” to 6’4”, this length should feel comfortable for you.
Taller people can choose an extra-long cue measuring 62 inches. Shorter players can use a 52- or 48-inch cue.
It’s okay to buy a cue based solely on your height. If you have a chance to try cues out in person, then you’ll know exactly how they feel in your hands.
Also read: Pool Cue Sizes – All you Need to Know
Pool Cue Materials
Manufacturers make pool cues from a variety of materials, such as:
- carbon fiber
Wood, fiberglass, and graphite are the best choices for beginning players.
Fiberglass and graphite cues are more affordable than wood. If you have a limited budget, you can’t go wrong choosing a cue made from these materials.
Besides being affordable, fiberglass and graphite cues don’t warp. But the material might stick to your hands if you sweat while you play. This can make your shots stutter and jump.
Wood cues cost almost twice as much as fiberglass and graphite options.
If it fits into your budget, a wood cue gives you the highest quality. Wooden cues can last for years.
When you take care of your wooden cues, you might even prevent warping. The feel these cues give you is worth the investment, even if you’re a beginning player.
Aluminum and plastic aren’t great materials but are a cheap, last-ditch option. They don’t have the same heft as wood, fiberglass, or graphite cues, so they can throw off your game.
Carbon fiber cues are best for professionals. They’re lightweight, dent-resistant, and won’t warp.
They look fantastic and are low maintenance. But they’re twice as expensive as wood cues.
Also read: How to Store Pool Cues (All You Need to Know)
Wraps on pool cues make it more comfortable to hold and can also improve your grip.
Rubber wraps are suitable for sweaty hands, though they make it difficult to pull off gentle shots.
Leather wraps are the most popular choice. The material gives you a good grip on the cue without causing your hands to stick and mess up smooth moves.
Irish linen wraps don’t provide much grip. If you’re already comfortable with the weight and length of your pool cue, Irish linen is an excellent choice that won’t hinder your accuracy.
You can also opt for a cue with no wrap at all. The butt of the pool cue has a different finish than the shaft, so you’re still able to grip it.
One-Piece or Two-Piece
Most pool cues are available as one-piece or two-piece.
One-piece cues are more affordable. If you play in bars or pool halls, you’re probably familiar with them because they’re widely available.
These cues are popular choices for places that have set racks. If you play pool at home and never take your cue anywhere else, you might prefer to have one-piece cues.
Two-piece cues come apart and are easy to transport. If you take your cue when you go out to play or play in tournaments, a two-piece is much easier to manage.
If you have a one-piece cue and it warps over time, you have to replace the entire cue.
On the other hand, if your two-piece warps, you can keep the butt and replace only the shaft.
It’s easier to replace the tip on a two-piece cue. Instead of wrangling a 58-inch cue, you can unscrew the shaft and work with the shorter piece.
You can find high-quality cues in both one-piece and two-piece options. This matter just comes down to personal preference.
Also read: How to Clean a Pool Cue Shaft
Types of Cues
You can buy one pool cue to do everything, or you might want to try different styles to learn special moves.
Understanding the different types of pool cues can help you get the right one.
Jump cues help you jump the cue ball. This isn’t a typical move in every pool game, but it can be helpful if you need to jump the cue ball for the perfect hit.
A jump cue is shorter than a standard pool cue because you need to get in the proper position to pull off the move.
It’s 40 inches long, which is as short as you can use during tournament play.
The cue is also lighter than a standard pool cue. They range from 5 to 10 ounces. The type of jump cue you use depends on your position:
- lighter cues work better for close shots
- heavier cues are optimal for long-range moves
The tip on a jump cue is harder than a standard cue. These tips deliver more energy than a softer tip. It helps the ball jump as needed.
You’ll use these cues for breaking the racked balls. They’re 58 inches long, so you have a full range regardless of your position for breaking.
Some break cues are heavier than standard so that you can put a lot of power behind your shot.
You can find break cues weighing anywhere from 20 to 27 ounces.
If you don’t want a heavier break cue, you don’t have to use one. You can even use a standard cue to break the racked balls if it’s more comfortable for you.
Jump-break cues are a unique combination cue that’s good for breaking and jump moves. It comes in three pieces that screw together.
For a jump move, you screw together two pieces: the butt end and the shaft. This keeps it short enough to find a good position.
To use it as a break cue, you add the third part of the cue to the end. This makes it a full-length cue that has a little more heft to it.
If you travel a lot to play, you might choose this option of combination cue. You’ll only have to take one cue with you instead of two. And since it comes in three pieces, it’s easy to transport.
You’ll also save money by buying this one pool cue that’s capable of two moves. If you’re just starting, you might want to try a jump-break cue instead of two separate cues.
The playing cue is what you’ll use most, so you want to give it a lot of thought.
They have more range than the jump and break cues because they’re capable of a variety of moves.
Playing cues come standard with medium tips. This works well for the broadest assortment of play.
You’ll be able to choose different weights and lengths for this cue. You can even select the type of material it’s made from.
There are many great pool cues available, but it’s essential to choose one that’s best for your needs. You can find cues for specific shots or general play.
You should select a pool cue that has the best weight and length for your body.
Keep your budget in mind as well. Getting the right pool cue can have a positive impact on your game.
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