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If you are just getting into the world of pool, sometimes known as billiards, you are probably starting by purchasing all of the essentials. Of course, one of the main components of this sport or game, whatever you prefer to call it, is the pool cue. After all, you can’t play pool without a cue.
With that being said, picking the right one is not as easy just picking up the first stick that you see. There are actually quite a few factors that go into choosing the right pool cue. This is what we are here to help you with today.
What are the Main Factors When Choosing a Pool Cue?
The fact of the matter is that while a pool cue might just look like a really fancy stick that has been sanded and polished down, there is just a little bit more to it than that.
There are actually quite a few factors to look for when choosing a pool cue. Below, we want to talk about the four main ones that you need to be aware of before you choose any one pool cue for your next game.
#1: The Length of the Cue
Perhaps the most important factor of all to look out for when choosing the right pool cue for you is how long it is. The reason why the length is so important is of course because not all people are built the same. Some of us are really tall with a very long reach, while some of us are shorter in height, and have limited reach.
Therefore, you need to choose a cue of the right length to bring the best out of you.
Simply put, if the pool cue you are using is too long for you, you will have trouble holding it, you will have trouble maneuvering, and you might even hit the wall behind you. On the other hand, if the pool cue you get is too short, you won’t be able to achieve the long reach that you might need to hit balls that are a good distance away from you.
Below are a few tips that may help you choose the right length of pool cue:
- Most people that are between 5 foot 8 and 6 foot 5, the average height for most humans, will do fine with a pool cue that is 58 inches long, the standard.
- If you are taller than 6 foot 5, you may need a specialty pool cue, and these can be up to 61 inches long.
- If you are shorter than 5 foot 8, maybe a child, then a 48-inch or a 52-inch pool cue should be ideal.
#2: The Weight of the Cue
The next thing to consider when choosing the right pool cue for you is how heavy it is. For your information, most pool cues range in weight from 17 ounces to 21 ounces, with the majority of players opting for 19-ounce or 21-ounce pool cues.
For one, this is important because not everyone has the same level of muscle. Simply put, a really strong and muscular person may not even feel a 21-ounce cue in their hands, while a smaller and weaker person may have trouble lifting such a heavy cue for a prolonged period of time.
Of course, the weaker you are, the more important this is, as a very strong person can still easily use a lightweight pool cue, but a weaker person can only use the lightweight options.
Moreover, what you also need to think about here is the type of player you are or aim to be, and the types of shots you plan on making.
For instance, heavier pool cues allow for more force, and therefore for harder shots and more breaking power, whereas lighter pool cues tend to be far more maneuverable and best for skill or trick shots.
As a beginner of average strength, we would recommend going for a 19-ounce pool cue.
#3: The Tip of the Cue
The tip of the cue is the part of the pool cue located right at the front of it, the part that you use to strike the ball with. Of course, finding the right cue with the right type of tip is very important, as it will determine how well you can shoot.
No, the tip is not the same on all pool cues. Some cues feature very hard tips, almost solid and unmoving, some pool cues have very soft tips that can bend quite a bit, and many rest somewhere in between.
What you need to know here is that hard pool cue tips are best for getting lots of power and they work well for straight shots, particularly where you don’t want to put any spin on a ball. A hard tip doesn’t grip the ball very well and has minimal friction.
On the other hand, if you have a pool cue with a very soft tip, it will limit the amount of power you can get from shots, but the benefit is increased traction or grip. That soft tip creates a good deal of friction with the ball, and this, therefore, allows for players to put lots of spin on a ball and make impressive trick shots.
#4: The Wrap of the Cue
The wrap is the part of the pool cue where you hold it, or in other words, the handle. There are a few different styles out there. Some pool cues feature leather wraps, some feature linen wraps, and some have none at all. There are rubber grips as well.
Something you do want to avoid is not having a pool cue wrap, or having wooden or fiberglass wraps, as they don’t provide for the best grip. Rubber grips are cheap, but they get slippery with use. The best options are linen and leather wraps, particularly if your hands tend to get sweaty.
How to Choose the Right Pool Cue for You: A Step by Step Guide
Now that you know the basics, let’s go over a quick step by step guide on choosing the right pool cue for you. Follow these steps, and you should have no problems finding the right one:
- Set a Budget: Pool cues can be pretty expensive, with the most expensive ones costing about $500. However, you can get a decent cue for as little as $100.
- Choose for Home or Away: If you are playing at home, a one-piece cue is ideal, whereas if you are playing on the road, a more portable two-piece cue is better.
- Choose the Length: As we discussed above, different lengths of cues are ideal for different sizes of people. If you are of average height, go for a 57- or 48-inch cue.
- Pick the Weight: Just like with the length, choose the weight that feels right to you. You will want to pick up the pool cue in question to see how it feels. Does it feel like something you can hold for a long time without getting tired or does it feel too heavy for you?
- Test Out the Wraps: When browsing a store, once you have chosen the best length and weight of pool cue for you, it’s time to test the wraps. Pick up all of the options you can see, and feel each one. Does it feel comfortable or does it feel like it might chafe your skin or cause blisters? Does it feel like the grip will be good even if your hands are sweaty?
- Choosing the Tip Type: Next, once you have chosen a length, weight, and wrap type, take a look at the tips. As a beginner, it is generally best if you go for something in the middle, so not too hard or too soft.
- Test Its Straightness: Pool cues need to be straight. Bent cues will lead to crooked and inaccurate shots. So, before you make a purchase, pick up the cue, put it up to your eyes, and look down the length of it to see how straight it is.
- Test it Out: Any reputable retailer you go to should have a few tables lying around so you can test out your pool cue. So, just take a few shots and see how it feels. If it feels right, you have landed on a winner. If something feels off, keep looking until you find one that feels better.
Mistakes to Avoid, Tips, & Tricks
Finally, let’s just go over some crucial tips on finding the right pool cue for you.
- As a beginner, it is probably best to go with something in the middle. This means getting mid-level quality at a mid-level price. You don’t want to go too cheap, or else you won’t get anything good, but if you go too expensive, you might end up with a really pricey stick that you’ll never use.
- In terms of the wrap, if you plan on using the cue a lot, go for high-quality leather or linen. The wrap is always the first part to break down, so this does need to be of a high-quality level.
- Never buy a pool cue without testing it out first. Moreover, make sure that when you test it, you feel minimal vibrations. Too much vibration is a bad thing.
- We would recommend choosing a pool cue from a reputable brand name, one that offers decent warranties, just in case.
- If you are unsure, for the most part, a lighter cue might be better for prolonged gameplay, but keep in mind that heavy cues are where all the power lies.
The bottom line is that there are many pool cue brands out there, and lots of variety within each brand. The main thing to remember here is to not rush into anything.
Take your time and pay attention to all of the factors discussed here today.