When it comes to the game of pool, most players will agree that their cue is their most valuable asset. And like any asset we own, keeping it safe and protected is a top priority.
Unfortunately though, we put our cues at risk of being damaged anytime we travel with them unprotected. But by keeping our cues in a case while traveling, we can minimize the risk of potential damage tremendously. This is why having a solid, high quality case is a must.
If you’ve been neglecting the safety of your cues by traveling with them unprotected, or you’re just in need of an upgrade, keep reading to learn about all the benefits a case has to offer, as well as which case is right for you.
Cue Cases 101
Why do I Need a Case?
When I got my first cue, buying a case for it wasn’t high on my to-do list. My main objective was to get to the pool hall ASAP and try that thing out! Little did I realize how risky this was. Fortunately, I made it without incident, but not everyone is so lucky.
Any time you travel with your pool cue unprotected, there’s a 50/50 chance it won’t return home the same way it left. You could drop your cue walking across the parking lot, causing some serious cosmetic damage. Or perhaps you’re approached by an angry beaver who believes your cue would be a great fit for his dam, who then proceeds to take it by force! If you had your cue in a case, neither one of these events would be an issue.
But in all seriousness, cases provide outstanding protection against most accidents that could occur while traveling with your cue. Assuming you buy one that’s high-quality.
Now for those of you who have your own table and never have to travel with your cues, you probably don’t need a case. Chances are your cues are resting safely in a nice wall or floor rack which is perfectly fine. But for the majority of players who travel with their cues regularly, keeping them in a case during transit is the only to assure they remain unharmed. The peace of mind that comes with this added protection is priceless, especially if you’re carrying a really expensive cue or multiple cues.
Lets now take a look at some of the benefits a case has to offer. Keep in mind the benefits mentioned below will vary depending on which case you buy. For example, a soft case will not offer the same protection from falls as a hard case will. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each type of case later in this post.
4 Benefits a Case Has to Offer
- Fall Protection – Because most pool cues are made of wood, the chances of them being damaged if dropped or hit against another object is pretty high. However, by keeping them in a case while traveling, this type of damage can be avoided altogether. Assuming you buy a case that offers this type of protection.
- Waterproof – Keeping your cues dry and away from moisture is essential to preventing warpage. But if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain and you travel with your cues, this can be hard to do. Luckily a lot of cases on the market today are made with waterproof material. They’ll not only keep your cues dry, but also any other gear you have in your case. Which brings us to….
- Additional Storage – Protection from events and conditions outside of our control aren’t the only benefits a case has to offer. Most cases also come with at least one zippered compartment for storing your gear. This means you don’t have to tote your glove, chalk, tip tool, etc. in a Wal-Mart bag or stuff them in your pants along with your cell phone, keys, and wallet. Having a case means you can store all of your gear in one safe, secure location.
- Easy to Transport – Because cases have a handle, or on some models a shoulder strap, they’re much less cumbersome to carry than two individual pieces of a pool cue. And while pool cues aren’t exactly heavy, they can be difficult to contend with especially if you’re carrying multiple cues and need your hands free to do something else. Having a case eliminates this hassle by giving you the ability to get your gear to the pool hall hands free.
Now that we’ve talked about some of the benefits of owning a case, let’s talk about the different types of cases available today as well as their respective pros and cons.
Different Types of Cases
A soft case is what most players will buy when they purchase their first cue. They’re typically the cheapest option on the list but they also offer the least amount of protection or features. Most soft cases only have one small zippered compartment for holding extra gear. This can be an issue if you like to take a lot of extras with you when you play. While they will keep your gear dry and somewhat protected, they’re not the best choice for someone who travels a lot with their cues.
If you’re just starting out and haven’t bought a really expensive cue, or you just don’t travel with your cue that often, then a soft case may be the way to go. They’re also super light so if weight is a concern, you should definitely consider a soft case.
For most players who are serious about protecting their cues, hard cases are the way to go. These are by far the most popular cases on the market today. This is largely due to the fact that they offer fantastic protection and have lots of room for extra gear. They are a bit pricier than soft cases but they also have a lot more to offer.
The inside of the case has high impact tubes that your cues slide into, which offers excellent protection against falls. In some cases, the tubes are spring loaded which helps in getting your cues out of the case. Most also come with 1 small storage area and 1 large one, giving you plenty of space to store all your extra gear in. Hard cases are the best option when it comes to protection and functionality.
The box case is another great option if you’re looking for ultimate protection for your cues. Unlike hard cases, they don’t have tubes for your cues to slide into. Their protection comes in the form of a hard outer shell along with a dense foam interior that has cut outs for your cues to lay in. The interior of these cases are often covered with a soft velvet or satin material.
Some box cases are even designed to hold a set of pool balls, with enough space for some extra gear as well. They also boast a unique briefcase like appearance with latches to keep it shut. And for even more security, some come equipped with a built-in combination lock.
The only downside to these cases is that they don’t typically have a ton of room for extra gear like the hard cases do. But what they lack in storage room, they more than make up for in style.
If you’re looking for a case that offers a ton of style along with great protection, then definitely consider a box case.
A leather case is simply a soft case or a hard case that boasts a leather exterior. They offer all the same benefits, but with a more sophisticated look. But along with this added style, comes a bump in the price. Most high-quality leather cases start around $150 and only go up from there.
If you’re looking to buy a nice soft/hard case but aren’t overly impressed with the exterior material they’re made with, then definitely take a look at leather cases.
How Many Cues Will a Case Hold?
Now before we go any further, we have to talk numbers. More specifically, the numbers you see every time you look at a case. You know, 1×1 or 4×8. What exactly do they mean? Let’s take a look at that now.
Any time you’re looking at a potential case, you have to know how many cues it will hold. The way this information is displayed is in the form of a simple equation. (1×1, 2×2, 4×8, etc.) This equation shows how many butts and how many shafts a case will hold. The first number represents the number of butts it will hold while the second number represents the number of shafts.
For example, a 1×1 case means it will hold 1 butt and 1 shaft. A 4×8 case will hold 4 butts and 8 shafts, etc.
If all you ever plan on carrying is one pool cue, then a 1×1 case is perfect. However, most players opt for a 2×2 which gives them the ability to carry a spare cue, or their break cue as well.
What to Consider When Buying a Case
Now that you know the ins and outs of a cue case, lets briefly discuss what you should consider when buying one.
If you just need a decent case to carry your cues in from time to time, there’s really no need to spend $500 on a case. Most of the time, a high-quality case can be purchased for around $100 or so depending on what you need. Obviously the more cues you need to carry, and the style of case you prefer will determine the overall price of the case.
How Many Cues are You Carrying?
As mentioned earlier, a 2×2 case is what most players opt for. But depending on how many cues you like to carry, you may need a case with more or less capacity than that. Decide if you want to carry more than just your primary shooting cue before making a purchase.
If you’re looking for something that has a certain “wow-factor” to it, a plain jane soft case from Walmart probably isn’t for you. There are tons of cases online that have some really cool, creative design features that will definitely grab people’s attention. Don’t settle for a case that doesn’t have the appearance you’re looking for.
If you like to carry a lot of extras when you play, or just like to keep your wallet and phone out of your pockets when at the table, you may want a case that has a lot of storage room. Not all cases are created equal when it comes to extra space so keep this in mind when making a decision.
Handle or Shoulder Strap
Having the ability to throw your case over your shoulder and have your hands free is not something every case has to offer. Some only come with a handle. While this may or may not be a big deal to you, it is something to consider.
All in all, having any case is better than having no case. And if you want to minimize the risk associated with taking your cues outside of your home, having a case is the only way to do so.
I hope this article has helped you decide which case is right for you. If you have any questions feel free to reach out or check out our other helpful articles for all of your billiard related questions.
Other Articles You May Be Interested In:
- Best Beginner Pool Cues Under $100
- The Ultimate Guide to Buying the Perfect Pool Cue
- What You Need to Know About Wood, Fiberglass and Graphite Pool Cues
- When Should You Buy Your First Pool Cue?
- 10 Awesome Sets of Uniquely Designed Billiard Balls