If you’re new to the game of pool, you’ve probably got a lot of questions. Some of which are probably related to the gear you’ll be using. Pool cues, or pool sticks as they’re often called, are the most essential piece of equipment you’ll be using. With that being said, theirs a lot to learn about the cue itself, and how to find one that’s right for you.
For this reason, I’ve put together this “Pool Cue Q&A” to help you gather all the information you need. By the end of this article you’ll have a better understanding of pool cues in general, and you’ll probably know more about them than your buddies who’ve been playing for years!
1. How Much Does a Good Pool Cue Cost?
The cost of a good pool cue is relative to the skill level of the one using it. For example, a good pool cue for a beginner should cost no more than $150, while the price of a good pool cue for an expert player can easily exceed $500.
This is because beginner players often don’t need all the “bells and whistles” that come on high end pool cues, neither would they reap the benefits of them until their skills are more advanced. Expert players, however, are able to make use of all the high end features that typically come on more expensive pool cues, and therefore it makes sense for them to own them.
2. What is the Standard Length of a Pool Cue?
Standard length pool cues are 57-59″ long. One piece pool cues are typically 58″ long while two piece cues are 59″ long. Most players are comfortable using a standard length cue, however, many different cue lengths are available.
3. What Lengths Do Pool Cues Come In?
Pool cues come in various lengths ranging from 24″ to 62″. Pool cues that are shorter than 57″ are often referred to as “shorty cues”, whereas those longer than 59″ are simply called “extra long cues”. Because of the many different pool cue lengths available, finding one to fit your body type or preference shouldn’t be an issue.
Pool cues can be found in any of the following lengths:
4. What Length Pool Cue Do I Need?
Players between the height of 5’8″ – 6’4″ can most often use a standard 58″ pool cue comfortably. Players shorter than 5’8″ or taller than 6’4″ may be better served by a pool cue of shorter or greater length to accommodate their specific body type.
See our Pool Cue Length Chart for specifics.
5. Does Pool Cue Weight Really Matter?
Pool cue weight plays a significant role in how well you’re able to control the cue ball. A lighter pool cue (18-19oz) generates more “snap” causing the cue ball to travel faster, but the object ball it contacts to travel slower. A heavier pool cue (20-21oz) has the opposite effect, causing the cue ball to travel slower but the object ball it contacts to travel faster.
If you’re having difficulty controlling the cue ball, it could be because the cue you’re using is too light. If you’re not able to draw the cue ball properly it could be because your cue is too heavy. Choosing a proper pool cue weight largely comes down to your skill level and personal preferences.
6. Are Heavier Pool Cues Better?
Heavier pool cues are not necessarily better or worse than lighter ones. Most players prefer to use heavier pool cues for breaking where the extra weight allows for a more powerful impact on the cue ball without having to increase the speed of their stroke. For standard shots, however, most players opt for lighter cues which allow for more finesse and better cue ball control.
7. What is Pool Cue Shaft Taper?
Pool cue shaft taper refers to the way in which the shaft narrows the further it extends away from the joint. There are two main types of shaft taper: Pro and Conical (also known as straight or European), each with their own list of advantages and disadvantages.
A Pro Taper describes a shaft that maintains a single diameter from the tip back to about 14″ inches down the shaft. At this point the shaft begins to “taper” back to the joint of the cue. Some advantages of a Pro taper is that they’re consistent diameter doesn’t interfere with the stroke and on some shafts, they allow for less density in the tip which results in less squirt (deflection).
A Conical Taper describes a shaft that gradually expands in diameter from the tip all the way back to the joint. This type of taper is more effective in transferring force and is often used on one piece or house cues.
8. What is a Low Deflection Pool Cue Shaft?
A low-deflection (LD) pool cue shaft is one which is designed to produce less cue ball squirt (deflection) than a standard shaft. They typically have less end mass, modified ferrules, skinnier tapers, smaller tips, and a hollow or lightweight core. Low-deflection shafts are much more accurate than standard pool cue shafts.
Because of their enhanced features, low-deflection shafts cost more than standard shafts and come standard on many high-end pool cues. You should expect to spend around $300 minimum for a LD shaft.
9. Do Pros Use Low Deflection Pool Cues?
Most professional pool players use low-deflections shafts. They’re more accurate and consistent than standard shafts which is why pro’s gravitate towards them. However, this doesn’t mean that they all do. Some pro pool players use standard shafts as well.
For those who have grown used to standard shafts, making the transition to low-deflection can be difficult as you essentially have to re-learn how to shoot. Its likely for this reason that the pros who use standard shafts choose to do so.
10. What Pool Cues Are Made in the USA?
Here is a list of pool cues that are made in the US:
11. Do Pool Cues Come With Tips?
Unless stated otherwise in the product description, all pool cues come with tips. The type and quality of the tip it comes with depends largely on the type and quality of the pool cue you’re buying.
For example, a break cue will generally come with a hard tip, such as hardened leather or phenolic. These types of tips are designed specifically for the type of shots you would use a break cue for (breaking obviously). On the other hand, playing cues come with soft or medium tips which are more conducive to the types of shots you would take throughout a game of pool.
High end pool cues can come with really expensive tips ($25 or more each!). These types of tips include those made by Predator, Tiger, or Kamui. Most of these tips are layered, provide excellent cue ball control, and are super consistent.
12. Are Screw On Tips Any Good?
Screw on tips are generally found on low-end pool cues. When compared to glue on tips, they don’t last as long, lose their shape easily, and don’t perform as well. Screw on tips aren’t made from high quality materials either. Its best to stay away from screw on tips if you plan on taking pool seriously.
13. Are Pool Cues and Snooker Cues Different?
The difference between pool cues and snooker cues lies in their weight, tip size, ferrule material, and the woods used in their construction. Snooker cues have smaller tips (9mm-10.5mm), weigh less (16oz-18oz), have brass ferrules and are generally made from ash wood.
However, they do have some similarities. Both cues are 57″-58″ in length, use leather tips, and have the same weight contrast (both cues are designed to weigh 3.5 times more than their respective balls).
14. Can Snooker Cues be Used for Pool?
Snooker cues can be used for pool but its not recommended. Because snooker cues are designed to be used with snooker balls (which weigh less and are smaller than pool balls), they don’t provide as much control when used with larger and heavier pool balls.
Ultimately, you can use a snooker cue for pool but you’ll sacrifice a bit of accuracy and control when doing so.
15. Why Do Pool Cues Need Chalk?
Chalk provides the tip of the pool cue with more “grip”. This helps reduce miscues which is when the tip of the cue slides off the side of the cue ball when taking a shot. Chalk is crucial to cue ball control and without it playing pool would be much more difficult.
Chalk is especially important on shots that require English. When using English, the cue ball is struck off center which increases the chances of a miscue occurring. Without chalk, these types of shots would be nearly impossible.
16. What are Pool Cues Made of?
Traditional pool cues are typically made from hard rock maple wood, or one of its variants. Other woods such as Red Ivory, Cocobolo, Blackwood, Bocote, and Ebony are also popular. However, not all pool cues are made from wood. Alternative materials such as aluminum, carbon fiber, fiberglass, and graphite are also used in pool cue construction.
It should be noted, however, that most pool cues labeled as “fiberglass” or “graphite” still have a wooden core. Its only the shell, or outer layer of the cue that features a composite material.
17. Why Are Pool Cues Made of Maple?
Lots of pool cues are made from maple due to its density and hardness. On the Janka hardness scale hard maple rates at 1450 lbs, which means its really hard to dent. Aside from this, hard maple is easy to source and is affordable, making it the perfect choice for cue makers and players alike.
18. Why Do Pool Cues Warp?
Pool cues can warp for many reasons including excessive exposure to heat and cold, moisture absorption, improper storage, poor cue maintenance, and poor quality wood being used in the construction of the cue itself. For these reasons its important to buy a cue made from high quality materials, and to keep it stored properly when not in use.
It is possible to straighten a warped pool cue but the methods used aren’t always guaranteed to work. The best way to prevent warping from occurring is to ensure that your cue is in a case or rack when not in use and not exposed to extreme temperature changes or moisture.
19. Why Are Pool Cues so Expensive?
Not all pool cues are expensive. But those that are tend to be made of higher quality materials, last longer, provide more consistent gameplay, and offer features that inexpensive pool cues don’t such as low deflection shafts or intricate designs on the butt of the cue.
Not only this, most expensive pool cues come standard with high end tips that further enhance your game. Tips from Kamui or Tiger are common on expensive pool cues.
20. Are Expensive Pool Cues Worth the Money?
Expensive pool cues are worth the money if you don’t mind paying for a high quality cue. Most high end pool cues come standard with low deflection shafts and high performance tips, making them a great investment for serious players.
If you’re new to pool an expensive pool cue won’t benefit you much. Its unlikely that you’ve developed the skills necessary to make use of the features an expensive pool cue comes equipped with. If you’re a beginner, you should spend around $100-150 at most on your first cue. Once you’ve advanced and know for sure that pool is something you’re going to stick with, then you can invest in a more expensive pool cue.
21. What is a Sneaky Pete Pool Cue?
A Sneaky Pete pool cue is one that’s designed to look like a standard house cue but plays like an expensive, custom pool cue. Almost every cue maker today has their own version of the “Sneaky Pete”. They’re popular among pool enthusiast and “pool sharks” looking to take advantage of unsuspecting laymen.
22. Do You Need a Break Cue?
While lots of players do have a designated break cue, its not a necessity. You can break with your playing cue but you take the chance of wearing down your tip prematurely, or breaking the ferrule. Break cues are specifically designed to withstand the force typically used during break shots, which is why professional players always use a break cue for breaking.
Break cues come equipped with hard tips, shorter ferrules, and thicker shafts which makes them ideal for shots that require a lot of force. They also weigh more than playing cues (typically) which also helps deliver a more solid break without having to increase the speed of your stroke. Having a designated break cue is recommended if you plan on taking pool seriously.
23. Are One Piece Pool Cues Better?
One piece pool cues are inferior to two piece cues. Most pool halls and bars use them because they’re cheaper to purchase in bulk and they’re harder to steal. Anyone who takes pool seriously will opt for a two piece cue every time. This is because they’re higher quality, play more consistently, and can be customized to the individual.
Pool Cue Recommendations
If you’re in the market for a new pool cue we have a few articles you might want to check out:
- Best Pool Cues for the Money: A Cue for Every Budget
- 7 Best Pool Cues Under $200: These Cues Are Amazing!
- Best Beginner Pool Cues Under $100
- 9 of The Best Pool Cues for Women
- Top 10 Best Brands of Pool Cues
I hope this article has been helpful and that you now have all (most of) the information you need concerning pool cues. If you have any questions that weren’t answered in this post, please leave them in the comments below and we’ll answer them ASAP. Thanks for reading. Take care!