How to Choose a Pool Cue: 9 Things to Keep in Mind When Buying Pool Sticks

How To Choose a Pool Cue
When it comes to choosing a new pool stick, the sheer amount of options out there can be overwhelming. With so many brands, materials, variations, styles and cost differences, buying pool sticks can be enough to make your head spin. We're here to help.

The pool and billiard hall sector of the US economy was worth $861.8 million in 2019. Although the pandemic temporarily took a bite out of the industry, pool players are back at bars and pool halls across the country, so now is a great time to invest in new pool cues.

There are a lot of good pool sticks on the market, so what do you need to consider when choosing a pool cue? In this pool cue guide, we will take a look at how to choose a pool cue and the things to keep in mind when buying pool sticks. Below is a list of factors to consider when deciding what makes a good pool cue — and what pool cue is right for you.

#1: What Will Your Pool Cue Be Used For?

The first thing to consider when buying a pool cue is what you will be using the cue for. Some cues are made for general playing while others are designed for specific tasks like breaking or jumping.

Jump Cues

As the name implies, jump cues are made to help you jump the cue ball. Typically, jump cues are shorter than other pool cues - often around 40", the minimum pool cue length for tournaments – and lighter, weighing in around 10 ounces. The shorter, lighter cue allows players to get in the right position to make a jump shot.

Break Cues

A break cue is designed for use when breaking. They are often around 58" and made with a hard tip.

Jump-Break Cues

These combo sticks come in three pieces and are designed to screw together, like standard two-piece cues. To use as a jump cue, you'll attach the butt end of the stick onto the shaft. To use as a break cue, add the extension to the butt end. Some players like this as a less expensive option than buying two separate sticks.

Playing Cues

A playing cue is what you will be using most of the time, so it's essential you choose one that really works for you.

#2: Pool Cue Cost and Budget

Of course another important factor when you buy pool cues is your budget. Skill level and experience are factors when deciding how much you want or need to spend when buying pool sticks. For basic, beginner sticks, prices can be around $100 to $150. If you've been playing for a while and want to upgrade, you can spend anywhere from $350 to $1,500, depending on your personal budget.

#3: 1-Piece vs. 2-Piece Pool Cues

When you consider how to pick a pool cue, a key decision will be if you want a one-piece or a two-piece pool cue. In general, if you plan on playing a lot or intend to play anywhere other than your home, you really want to pick a 2-piece cue.

A one-piece cue can serve its purpose – as a rack filler – but there are many advantages to a two-piece cue. If a one-piece cue ever warps, there's not much you can do to fix it. But if a two-piece cue warps, you can keep the butt end and only need to replace the shaft.

Also, if you need to repair or replace the tip, it's much easier to only have to maneuver your shaft instead of the full-length 58" cue.

How To Pick a Pool Cue

#4: Pool Cue Materials

Pool cues are made from quite a few different materials, including:

  • Wood
  • Fiberglass
  • Graphite
  • Carbon fiber
  • Aluminum
  • Plastic
  • And hybrid models

If you're just starting out, you'll want to narrow your search down to the first three options.

Wood is the pool cue material of choice for most pro players, although fiberglass and graphite do have some advantages. They usually are cheaper than high-quality wood cues and you don't have to worry about fiberglass or graphite warping.

Wood cues are strong and durable, and can be repaired if they do get nicked or dented. They also are natural and provide a better feel when striking the cue ball.

#5: Pool Cue Length

Good pool cues come in a variety of lengths, depending on your personal needs. A standard two-piece cue that measures 58" should be able to be comfortably used by anyone between 5' 8" and 6' 5". If you're taller than that, you may want to consider a longer stick. Children or anyone shorter may want to use a 48" or 52" cue.

Be sure to pay attention to how straight the stick is. Some two-piece cues may bend when the two parts are screwed together.

#6: Pool Cue Weight

Most pool cues weigh between 17 ounces and 21 ounces. While there is no right answer for the best pool cue weight,, most players who are buying pool sticks choose a 19 or 21 ounce cue. Pro players are much more specific about the weight of their cues, and often have cues of different weights depending on the type of shot they are attempting.

#7: Pool Cue Ferrules

A ferrule is the small piece that sits between the tip and the end of the pool shaft. Usually white, it provides shock absorption, dispersing energy throughout the cue. Most high-quality cues come with solid ferrules, so you shouldn't need to worry about replacing your ferrule for some time. A few materials popularly used to make ferrules include:

  • Juma
  • Ivorine-4
  • Aegis-2
  • Elforyn

All ferrule materials have a different feel, so when it comes to buying pool sticks and choosing one that is right for you, it really comes down to personal preference.

#8: Pool Cue Wraps

Your options for pool cue wraps include leather, linen, rubber or sometimes no wrap at all. If you sweat a lot, linen and leather wraps both absorb a large amount of liquid. Rubber grips wear out more quickly and will end up being slippery.

#9: Pool Cue Tips

The tip, located at the front of your cue, is the part of your cue that makes contact with the ball. That's why choosing the right pool cue tip is essential for your game. Soft tips tend to wear out quicker, but they are perfect for spin shots. Hard tips last much longer but don't work as well if you love adding some spin to your shots. Medium tips are more standard for most standard pool cues.

Find a Pool Cue That's Right for You at FCI Billiards

When you're looking for ideas on how to choose a pool cue, FCI Billiards has hundreds of high-quality cues for you to choose from in a variety of materials and styles. From Bunjee break and jump cues to top-of-the-line Predator Cues, we have a cue for every occasion. FCI Billiards is the best place for buying pool sticks online — find one that matches your needs today.

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