Which Cue Should I Buy?

Multiple cues and balls

At this time of year I quite often get asked Which Cue Should I Buy? By partners, friends and family members of loved ones.

There is of course no definitive answer as a cue is a very personal item. It will depend on a lot of factors like budget, style, and the kind of specification you think you might need.

What I am going to briefly look at here though is a basic pointer, we have many customers looking for cues for someone else in their life at this time of year. These customers do not play the game themselves so are quite often buying blind.

What you need to get right

The most important thing to determine when buying a new cue is what game you need the cue for. Although they look similar and are all called cues there are distinct differences. A snooker cue is very different from an American Pool Cue.

I am going to go into these differences below.

Anatomy of a Snooker Cue

What we call a snooker cue will have the following characteristics to separate it from other cues.

  • 145cm (57") or 147cm (58") length as standard
  • 9.5mm cue tip
  • Weights vary from 17-20oz
  • Majority will have an ash shaft although maple is available
  • Brass ferrule and joints
  • Ebony and Rosewood are the two most popular butt woods in use. But various woods are used for decorative splicing
  • Available in centre-jointed (two piece), 3/4 jointed and one piece configurations
  • There will be a flat section at the bottom of the butt and a name plate or disc

Anatomy of an English Pool Cue

This is where things get a bit more interesting, most customers visting on behalf of someone else talk of a snooker or pool cue, there are two very different types of pool cue. The first, English Pool, I will list the details of below.

  • Standard ranges comes in lengths of either 140cm (55") or 145cm (57"), slightly smaller due to the smaller table
  • 8.5mm tip but can be as low as 7.5mm as the cue ball is so small
  • Weights vary but tend to be slightly lighter than a snooker cue
  • Majority, like snooker cues, have an ash shaft
  • Brass ferrules and joints
  • Ebony and rosewood are the two most popular butt woods.
  • Available as centre-jointed, 3/4 jointed, 1 piece or on some models 3 section (two joints, one in the centre and one at 4/5 position)
  • Like a snooker cue there is a small flat section at the base with a name plate or disc.

Anatomy of an American Pool Cue

American Pool Cues are where the biggest differences in cues lie, especially for us Brits that are used to the traditional styling of a snooker cue. American Pool, if you haven't seen it, uses a much bigger and heavier ball so the cues have to be built to deal with this.

  • Standard length of 147cm (58")
  • Standard tip size of 13mm
  • Standard weight is usually 19oz
  • Always a 2 piece centre jointed cue
  • Fibre (plastic) ferrule
  • Stainless steel joints
  • Maple top shaft
  • No flat, the butt is completely round often with a rubber protector on the base.

That gives you a quick reference guide of what to look for when buying a cue. Find out what game they are playing first and pick a cue to suit the game and you are halfway there.

  • Various woods used in the butt
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