Pool cues are an essential component of any game of pool. However, there are some subtle differences between different cues.
One of the most important characteristics of the cue is the size. This article will tell you everything you need to know about selecting the perfect cue size for you.
Understanding Pool Cue Size
There are several varying traits that can cause one cue to perform better than another.
When it comes to pool cue sizes, there are three critical factors that you will need to understand:
- Pool Cue Length
- Pool Cue Weight
- Pool Cue Tip Diameter
Those factors affect a pool cue affects how it feels in your hand and how easily you can perform accurate shots.
The sections below will show you how these two characteristics can differ for a standard pool cue.
Pool Cue Length
The length of a pool cue refers to the distance between the tip of the stick and the bumper. That length can range from 36″ to more than 62″.
Within that range, you will find a few standard increments for pool cue length. Here are some of the ones you will come across most often:
- 62″ or more
Among these cues, the most common length is 57″.
This length of the cue stick will work well for most adults. But there are some reasons why you might want to use a shorter or longer one.
Pool Cue Length Based on Height
Have you ever played a game of pool and noticed that your cue felt awkward on each shot? If so, it might be because the pool stick you are using is not a good match for your body type.
When selecting a cue by length, you should match it to your height and the size of your arms. As we noted above, a 57″ is one of the most common lengths.
The 57” stick size will work well for anyone who is between 5′ 8″ and 6′ 4″ tall. That height range captures a large portion of the pool-playing population. But there are plenty of players who are shorter and taller.
If you are on the shorter side, you might want to try using a smaller cue, such as a 52″ cue. Children who play pool may need an even shorter pool stick.
At the other end of this spectrum are those who are too tall for a 57″ cue. Those individuals will need a longer stick and may need to make a custom order to get one.
Whether you are tall or short, matching your cue to your height is a must if you want to play your best.
Selecting a cue that matches your body size ensures that you are gripping the correct parts of the cue on each shot.
This will give you the most significant degree of control over the power and precision of your shots.
At the very least, you’ll know that your missed shots are not the result of improper pool cue length.
Pool Cue Weight
While length is crucial for pool cues, weight can be equally important. After all, the total weight plays a significant role in how the cue feels and interacts with the pool balls.
Pool cue manufacturers tend to follow a standardized process that calls for specific pool cue weights. That weight is measured in ounces, and the most widespread options are:
- 18 oz.
- 19 oz.
- 20 oz.
- 21 oz.
At times, you will find pool cues that come in half-ounce increments within that range. Those increments give you more flexibility in choosing the cue that is ideal for you.
Still, knowing the standard pool cue weights is not enough. You also need to understand how each of those weights will affect your play.
Comfort plays an important role here. But there are other ways that pool cue weight can alter the way you make your shots.
Let’s take a deeper diver into the benefits and drawbacks of using pool cues of different weights. We’ll begin by exploring pool cues that are on the heavier side.
Pros and Cons of a Heavier Cue
The main benefit of using a heavier pool cue is that the added weight will allow you to impart more force on the cue ball. This will increase cue ball speed for your shots and is beneficial whenever power is your goal.
However, this additional power comes at a cost. Heavy cues also decrease the control you will have over finesse shots. That lack of finesse can make it extremely difficult to make shots that require the utmost accuracy.
Power and finesse aside, there is another reason that players might choose a heavier cue. These players feel that a heftier pool stick exhibits less motion during the stroke.
That lack of motion is what some players need to maintain control over each shot. But, again, this is another matter of personal preference.
Pros and Cons of a Lighter Cue
The case for a lighter cue is the exact opposite of the argument for a heavier cue. Lightweight pool sticks may not offer as much power. But they will give you great control.
Lightweight cues are best for those who prioritize finesse and accuracy above all else. This comes into play whenever you want to hit a shot at a tough angle or keep great control over the cue ball.
Light and heavy cues have their advantages and disadvantages, and for the most part, it is up to you to decide which you like.
But as the next section will show, there is a common practice of switching between cue weights during a single game.
Playing Cues vs. Breaking Cues
This distinction may not matter to a casual player. Experts and professionals, on the other hand, will want to take some time to consider the difference between playing cues and breaking cues.
At the top levels of the game, players need to take every advantage they can get.
For that reason, pro players often have a designated breaking cue and a cue that they use for the rest of the game.
Unsurprisingly, a breaking cue is heavier to allow for maximum power on the break shot.
Playing cues are lighter to accommodate the complexity of all the other shots you will take during a game.
Pool Cue Tip Diameter
The last factor we will discuss on the matter of pool cue size is the cue tip diameter. As was the case with cue weight, cue tip diameter will alter the movement of the cue ball.
Many players prefer a smaller cue tip diameter for several reasons, which we will cover shortly. For now, here are some typical pool cue tip diameters:
- 8 mm
- 8.5 mm
- 9.5 mm
- 10 mm
- 11.75 mm
- 12.5 mm
- 13 mm
- 13.5 mm
If you are familiar with billiards, then you know that there are a few different versions of the game. At times, these different versions will use different ball sizes.
In those instances, players often choose to use a smaller cue tip, often ranging from 8mm to 10 mm.
A standard billiards game in the United States often uses a larger cue ball. This calls for a larger cue tip that falls within the range of 11.75mm to 13.5 mm.
The type of pool you are playing influences the size of the tip you will use. But there are some other advantages of using a small tip regardless of the game you play.
Why Many Players Prefer a Smaller Cue Tip
During each shot, the location at which the cue meets the cue ball is vital to the success of the shot. Slight variations in this regard can cause the cue ball to react very differently.
For that reason, many experienced players opt for a cue with a smaller tip. Their reasoning is the smaller tip allows them to pinpoint that cue ball impact location.
Some players also feel that a larger tip will cause the cue ball to stray from its intended path. This effect is called “squirt,” and it can dramatically impact the accuracy of each shot.
However, you should know that using a small cue will not automatically increase your cue ball control. Instead, you must develop the skills that will allow you to make use of such a small tip.
Another benefit of a smaller tip is that you will be better able to make contact with the cue ball in small spaces.
This is especially helpful when the cue ball is close to a rail or there are several object balls surrounding the cue ball.
Pool is a game that takes incredible skill and precision to play well. It can take many years to develop those skills to the point where you can compete at an elite level.
Finding the right cue stick size can help immensely in that process. But even if you are a recreational player, you should care about pool cue size.
Use this article as a guide to finding the cue size that is best for you. After doing so, you might be surprised to see some immediate improvements to your game.
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