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There are many different types of pool cues available, and they all are suitable for different games and play styles. That makes choosing and buying the right cue one of the most important things to do if you are looking to get serious about playing pool.
In this guide, you’ll find all you need to know about the common types of pool cues. You’ll also learn about the materials that they are usually made from.
4 Common Pool Cue Types
First, let’s start by looking at the common cue types so that you have a good starting place for further exploration.
#1: American Pool Cues
These pool cues are usually made from maple and have a much larger tip (12 to 13mm) than the snooker cues mentioned next which makes it easier to strike the ball with them.
American cues tend to vary a good bit in weight, and it’s more a matter of personal preference how heavy the player likes their cue. Eighteen ounces and 21 ounces are the most common weights players will choose from.
As their name suggests, these cues are ideal for playing eight ball or similar games.
#2: Snooker Cues
Snooker cues are a bit different from what most people think of when they think of playing pool. These cues tend to be made from ash wood and have a tip that is between 9mm and 10.5mm that is connected to the cue with a brass ferrule.
These tips are on the larger side for normal pool cues which makes them perfect for snooker tables which are larger compared to pool tables.
#3: Ramin Cues
These cues aren’t generally found in a pool owner’s home but are a staple in clubs and bars with pool tables.
They are made in just one piece (see below for what a one-piece pool cue is) and are often bought together as a bundle with the pool table itself. Because of this, they are much less expensive than other pool cues.
The tips of this cue aren’t attached to the ferrule with any glue so the player always has a chance that they will miss when hitting. These aren’t the best quality pool cues and are best for casual use rather than competitive matches.
#4: English Cues
English cues are very similar to snooker cues because they use the same materials, but the difference is in their length.
English cues are generally 57 inches long and have a butt that makes it easier for players to be able to reach farther shots on the table easily.
They also have a tip that is between 8mm and 9.5mm. This is a bit smaller, but this size tip is exactly designed to strike the 2.25-inch diameter balls used in standard pool matches.
Pool Cue Materials: From Wood to Fiberglass
Next, let’s take a look at the two most common materials that pool cues are made from.
These kinds of pool cues are the traditional kind that most experienced players prefer. They can be made with many different types of wood, but the most common type used is hard rock maple.
Depending on which wood is used in the cue, it can greatly affect the price, weight, and precision in striking the balls.
The main problem that players can run into when they own a wooden pool cue is that these cues are prone to warping over time as they aren’t as durable as other modern materials.
Fiberglass pool cues are the other most common type of material in pool cues and display a more modern design.
These pool cues are typically used for beginners because they are lighter and easier to control. Also, they are more affordable than a typical wooden cue, making them more commonly seen at people’s home tables.
The main drawback of this type of cue is that they offer much lower force than a wooden pool cue can offer. Most professionals do not use fiberglass and will stick with their wooden counterparts.
One-Piece vs. Two-Piece vs. Three-Piece Cue: Which One to Get?
Finally, let’s take a look at pool cues by how mobile they are. In other words, whether they can be taken apart for storage and transport or not.
One-Piece Pool Cues
One-piece cues are, as their name suggests, made in one whole piece so can not be taken apart. These are not as easy to transport if you have to carry them or fit them into cars, which is among the main reasons some players don’t use them.
You will see these types of pool cues at bars frequently and the consensus is that their two-piece counterparts are better.
Two-Piece Pool Cues
These cues have a mid-joint in the very middle that can screw apart into two separate pieces. They are convenient to carry around and store away and are nearly always the type used by the pros.
Many different types of joints have been used for these types of cues, including wood and plastic. However, a brass joint is considered the best quality and will keep the cue straight while lasting a lifetime.
Three-Piece Pool Cues
Also known as “butt-jointed” pool cues, these have a small joint in the butt section as well as the middle joint a two-piece has. A pool player for instance would not need the longer extension piece that a snooker player finds very useful for the long shots down the other end of the table.
Some pool leagues have tight spaces around the table and three-pieces can remove the butt to make the cue shorter for tighter shots. Because of their versatility, it is these types of pool cues that are the best to use in most circumstances.
What Is the Best Type of Pool Cue for You?
If you are a beginning player it would be best to get a fiberglass cue to practice with. These are great if you are looking to build confidence and control as these sticks are light and make it easier to hit balls where you want them to go.
If you own a bar or are looking to get a lot of use out of your pool table by many people, a one-piece wooden cue would be a good idea. These types are cheap and great for casual play, just about anyone can use these cues.
An experienced player should go for a two or three-piece wooden cue, as these will offer you the most versatility and the greatest force on your shots. They can be expensive, but well worth it if you will get good use out of it.
Hopefully, now you have all you need to choose the right pool cue for your home pool table or ventures in the competitive community.
There are many different types, and finding the right one for you is important. When in doubt, try out as many as you can and see which one you like best. Surely, you’ll find one that helps your game get better after each use.