Choosing Your First American Pool Cue
You have seen the Mosconi Cup on TV and think "I really want to give that 9-ball a go."
So what do you do?
First of all you find a local club that has a table. But once you have done that and you have perhaps given it a good go with a rack cue you should probably think about investing in your own American Pool Cue.
Where to start?
I will be honest, it is a bit of a minefield when it comes to buying your first American Pool Cue.
There are now so many brands and cues on the market it is really tough to know where to start.
So, I am going to break it down and try and make it a bit easier for you.
Money is not everything.
But it is always a very good place to start. Having a clear idea of what you are comfortable spending is going to help with the process a lot.
American Pool Cues are of course very different to traditional snooker and the pool cues found in the UK. They are generally heavier, have a bigger tip, are always centre jointed and all of the cues we sell come with a maple shaft rather than ash.
As with snooker cues American Pool Cues have different price points from very basic models that are around £20-£50 right up to limited edition cues that are in the thousands.
Let's be realistic though.
This is your first cue, you have only just got into the game. Spending in the thousands may not be the best idea.
Spending up to £100.00
This is probably the budget position that most people starting off are comfortable with. It offers some quite decent cues for the money as well.
These are some of my top picks at this price point:
MacMorran Maverick American Pool Cue - £57.90
The entry level cue from MacMorran is still a decent hit. This is Peradon's way of getting into the American Pool market. The cue features a linen wrap (grip) stainless steel joints and a solid maple shaft.
My first American Pool Cue was a Cuetec Chinook. They have a good reputation and sponsored Earl Strickland for years and now have Shane Van Boening as a brand ambassador. There more expensive cues are of course better and have some of the best hitting plain maple shafts around. The Chinook models feature the SST (super slim taper) shaft that is made from maple and then covered in fibreglass to make a shaft that just will not warp. Can be a little bit sticky in humid conditions though.
Spending up to £300.00
Moving on up to this next price band opens up some really great options, cues by Buffalo and Universal as well as the Commander models from Cuetec. Below are two of my top picks:
Buffalo Premium American Pool Cue No. 1 - £125.00
I chose this as it is actually one of our best sellers. Buffalo have done a great job with the premium range by offering some really great features like high impact ferrules, quality maple shafts, stainless steel joints and proper inlay work. Most of the range will play quite similar but higher up the price points you get different exotic woods and inlays.
For the money these cues perform on a par with much higher priced cues. This model has a solid Rosewood butt which personally I quite like the look of. But it is the shaft where this cue wins. It is a 8-piece laminated shaft designed to produce low deflection and a very solid hit. If you have up to £300 to spend this is where I would put my money.
Spending up to £500.00
This is where the technology available on the cues really starts to rise. When you pot that winning 9-ball and carry out the obligatory fist pump you will know in your heart it all came from the cue... your arm, it all came from your arm.
In terms of the American pool cues we sell is actually mid-range. Brands such as Katana, Poison, Balabushka and Predator all make an appearance at this level. Here are two of my top picks:
Katana American Pool Cue KAT09 - £379.00
Firstly I must say that beware as the price can fluctuate with the exchange rate, we order them in cue by cue and they can take about a week. But what you get is stunning, they look amazing and technology wise they are very similar to the Universal cues. However, the branding, styling and finish are just that much better. As well as a decent low deflection shaft you also get a layered professional cue tip as standard.
Predator are probably the leading American pool cue manufacturer in the world. No wonder so many professional players use their products. I had to include this cue because you get all the benefits of Predator technology for under £500! A choice of performance shaft between the Z-3 and 314-3, or you can pay £20 for the Vantage shaft. This will not only be your first purchase but could well be your only cue purchase ever.
Spending beyond £500.00
Cues above this point have a lot of high-end features and a lot of the time you don't necessarily need to push the budget to get the same level of performance.
The more money you pay essentially it is being spent on nicer exotic woods or more intricate inlays rather than actual performance improvements.
A lot of US style cues actually get the performance from the shaft itself which is why they are interchangeable. You can generally buy a cue and then later retrofit a performance cue shaft to it.
Below are two of my picks to show the variance at this price point:
Molinari Pool Cue P3 DTEL - £1239.00
Picked this simply because one, it looks amazing but two, it is exclusive to Billiards Boutique in the UK. It uses a re-branded Predator P3 butt made for Molinari with a choice of Predator performance shaft.
The most expensive cue that we currently sell is a special edition from the team at Predator. Every now and then Predator team up with some of the most renowned cue makers in the world to create some truly remarkable limited edition cues. The two Sotka cues are designed by J Pechaeur.
So hopefully this article gives you a better insight into what is available and the types of American pool cues and what they can do for your performance on the table.
As with any of these guides I always suggest that you try as many cues as you possibly can before buying or at least get in touch with someone to give you some advice.
You can call me personally on 01305 458071 or drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions and I will always do my best to answer honestly.