If you’ve spent any time playing pool in bars or billiards halls, or even in friends’ houses, you’ve likely seen your fair share of different pool cues. Community cue racks are often loaded with cues in a variety of weights, materials, and sizes. But you may have noticed that the vast majority of the cues are about the same length, with only a few being significantly shorter and even fewer being much longer. Naturally, you wouldn’t be alone in asking the question, “What lengths do pool cues come in?”
The standard length for a pool cue is 58 inches, but cues come in a wide range of lengths. Typical cues range in length from 24” to 62” with many sizes in between. However, pool cues can be custom-made or modified to meet virtually any desired specifications.
A Quick Word On Billiards Variations
In this article, we’ll focus mainly on pool cues. Other forms of billiards use somewhat different cues, as they have different rules and different sized tables and balls.
For example, in carom billiards (a game played on a table with no pockets), the typical cue length is shorter – around 54-56 inches. Snooker more closely resembles pool in this regard, with 58 inches being the standard cue length, but snooker cues don’t typically come in as wide a variety of lengths as pool cues.
Different Pool Cue Lengths
Pool cues are made in a variety of lengths for multiple reasons. Some cues are made shorter or longer to serve specific purposes like jumping and performing certain trick shots. But the most important reason is to accommodate players of different heights and skeletal structures.
For a more detailed look at how player height, stance, and arm length determine cue length selection, check out my article Standard Pool Cue Length Explained.
Now let’s take a look at the different lengths of pool cues on the market.
As mentioned above, a 58-inch cue is the accepted standard in pool. But this generally represents the average of what’s considered the standard length range:
Most players are comfortable right in the middle, but some like the feel or performance they get when they move up or down by an inch. In such a tight range, it’s really all about personal preference.
Of course, this is only considered the standard range because these lengths best suit players of average height and frame (who make up the majority), as well as factors like standard table size, ball size, and ball weight.
Most standard cues are made of two separate pieces of equal length – the butt and the shaft – that connect in the middle, but some are one solid piece – particularly the cheaper, 57-inch “house cues” found in bars and pool halls.
The range of long cues is even smaller than that of standard cues. In fact, only two lengths are manufactured in bulk these days:
Not many companies make cues in this length range, mainly because there aren’t many players tall enough to need them. In general, if you’re under 6’ 4” you probably won’t need anything longer than 59” to play comfortably. Regardless of your height, an extra-long cue may also come in handy if you regularly play on a 10’ table – but this is another rare case.
Shorter cues, often referred to as “shorty cues,” come in either 1-piece or 2-piece form, and are available in a wider range of lengths:
As a general rule, people under 5’ 8” tall will do well with a 52-inch cue. Those under 5’ would be better served using a 48-inch cue, while the 36”-42” range is ideal for players under 4 feet tall. The 24” and 30” cues are primarily for young children and in small rooms with very little lateral clearance.
It’s easy to see why the “shorty” category covers a broader range – there are just more people with more widely varied body sizes on the shorter end of the spectrum. Many female players find this broad selection particularly helpful (the average height of adult women in the U.S. is 5’ 4”), as do younger players who continue to play as they grow into adults. Some brands even sell shorty sets that feature multiple length cues, like this Aska 4-cue set.
Certain cues designed for special use, such as jump cues and jump-break cues, come in a few different lengths as well. Jump cues are typically of 2-piece design and run anywhere from 40”-48” in length – 40 inches being the most common, as well as the minimum required cue length for tournament play.
Jump-break cues like this Players JB528 have a 3-piece construction which allows you to easily switch between jumping and breaking. The butt and the shaft connect to form a short jump cue, then the butt extension can be added to form a full-length break cue, typically the standard 58 inches.
Custom Cues & Modifications
Of course, it is possible to commission a custom cue of virtually any length from a manufacturer – pro player Earl Strickland swears by his 70-inch custom cue – but this can be exorbitantly expensive. And many cue makers simply won’t do it – especially if you’re not a big-name pro.
If you feel that even a 62” cue is too short for you but don’t want to shell out for a custom build, fear not – there are options for you.
You may wonder, “couldn’t I just put a longer shaft on a regular cue butt?”
Well, technically, yes. But I wouldn’t advise it. Even if you found a long enough shaft with the correct taper that matched your butt joint perfectly, you’d still be throwing off the balance point of your cue stick.
Cue extensions are an easy and affordable way to add inches to a cue. Some extensions attach to the butt end of the cue, while others can be screwed into the middle of the cue between the butt and shaft joints. These are designed not to throw off cue balance or add too much weight, and either type can be quickly and easily attached or removed.
Here’s a good example of a push-on cue extension.
Do Different Cue Lengths Have Different Weights?
Cue length can have an impact on cue weight, but not in every case. In general, very short cues are going to be lighter while standard and extra-long cues will be in the normal to heavy weight range. Most cues are available in several weights, typically ranging from 17 to 21 ounces (19oz. being the most common).
But below the 48”-52” range, cues tend to get lighter, from 16oz down to 10oz. More weight would most likely be counterproductive for most people who use very short cues. Jump cues, for example, are made very light (12oz or less) to make jumping easier and more effective.
Related Article: Does Pool Cue Weight Really Matter? Light Vs. Heavy
As you can see, there is a wide variety of available pool cue lengths and types. Not every one will be useful for every player or in every circumstance, but it’s nice to know you have options, am I right? Whether your home billiards room is just a little too tight for certain shots or you feel you can improve your game by giving or taking a few inches, it’s a good idea to experiment with different cue lengths. And take a look at my article Which Length Cue Is Right For Your Height? for more advice and general guidelines on cue selection.