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Which pool cue should I buy? The complete purchasing guide on what to look for when buying a cue (2020)

Anyone who plays billiards from time to time, whether it be pool, snooker or carom, the first thing they do when they visit the pool hall of their choice is to test the house cue to see if it is straight. Warped cues are put aside with a sneer. Often one is content with the least evil and chooses the cue that wobbles the least. Other annoyances are defective or poorly maintained tips or the weight, which the player finds either too light or too heavy.

If you play once a year, these defects are to be overcome. If you play more often, however, you will quickly feel the desire to own your own cue, as this would also have the advantage of not having to get used to a new cue every time. The good news: Good cues are available from about 50 Euro. In this article we explain (very modestly :) ) everything you need to know about cues and what to look out for when buying a billiard cue.

Maybe you already own your own cue and want to improve your equipment or add a break or jump cue to your arsenal as a pool player. We have also written this article for you.

We have tried to collect as much information as possible about what you should consider when buying a pool cue and which cue suits you best. If you still have questions after this long article, which we could not answer, then please contact us. We are happy to help!

Table of contents

Types of cues

First of all, the basic distinction: Depending on the type of game (in this article we will only refer to the world's most played variants Pool Billiards, Snooker and Carom, even though there are dozens of other, mostly local variants) we use different types of cues. This may seem confusing: It's actually always just a piece of wood with a piece of leather on the top, right? In principle this is true and you can play pool quite successfully with a snooker cue or vice versa. Many peculiarities of the cues have grown historically and are not absolutely necessary. And yet we recommend to use the appropriate cue for the respective game.

So let's first look at the three mentioned game types and see which cues are available for them.

Pool

Most common nowadays in most countries is American pool billiards: 15 colored balls with the numbers 1-15 (7 "stripes", 7 "solids" and the black 8) are played in six holes. We will leave the rules of the game out of consideration here, since they only play a minor role for the material. Pool billiards has the peculiarity that experts use not only one cue, but up to three cues: a playing cue, a so-called "break cue" and a "jump cue", with which the white cue ball can be made to jump in accordance with the rules.

Before you get into trouble: For most recreational players, a normal game cue is sufficient. Let's see what makes a cue stick.

Playing cue

Cues in pool billiards are almost always made of maple wood, at least the upper part. The lower part is often made of maple, but can also be made of completely different woods. They are made in two parts with a thread in the middle. This has no advantages for the playing characteristics (rather disadvantages), but serves to transport the cue easier. Therefore house cues in pool halls and pubs are one piece, because they don't have to be transported. Pool billiard cues are usually quite elaborately decorated; cheap cues with printed, glued and overpainted designs, more expensive cues with real inlays of precious woods, mother of pearl, stones or other materials.

Detailed information about the construction of a cue can be found a bit further down in the section "Construction of a Pool Billiard Cue".

Break cue

Break cues usually have an upper part made of maple and a lower part made of different woods. They are used to protect the cue during the hard break so that it doesn't warp, and also to allow a harder and more controlled break. Recreational players who only want to protect their cues can also use a house cue for the break. For a harder and more controlled break, break cues have a slightly different cut (the so called "taper") of the upper part and usually a plastic tip, e.g. phenolic resin.

Jump cue

Jump cues are special cues with which the cue ball can be made to jump in a rule-compliant manner. In pool, it is allowed to jump over " interfering" balls, as long as you follow the rules and hit the cue ball from above instead of " lifting" it from below. Jump cues are much shorter than normal playing cues, because you have to hit the ball very steeply when jumping. The classic jump cue has a length of about 105-107 cm and is usually also split in two so that it fits into a standard case next to the other cues. Some jump cues even consist of several parts, so that different cue lengths can be assembled, depending on the type of jump. The upper parts are mostly made of wood, classically maple. To achieve maximum effect and to let the ball jump as easy and controlled as possible, the ferrule is mostly made of materials like carbon or bakelite. The very hard tip is usually also made of bakelite or phenol.

 

Break/Jump cue

As the name suggests, a break/jump cue combines the properties of a break cue and a jump cue. This is, of course, very practical, since you save one cue and can store your entire playing equipment more easily, e.g. in a 2/2 split case. As a rule, break/jump cues are made up of three parts and can be used as a classic break cue in their entirety. In addition to the central division, the bottom part can also be divided again. By removing the rearmost piece or removing the middle part, you can usually create two different jump queue variants that can be used depending on the situation. A break/jump cue is the ideal solution for all those who do not carry too much material with them and still want to be well equipped for all situations of pool billiards.

One-piece house cues

In pubs, bars or clubs you can still find mainly one-piece cues, so-called house cues. Since these do not normally have to be transported, there is no division and the cues are left in one piece. As a rule, house cues in the game of pool are of very simple quality and cannot be compared with two-piece cues.

Snooker

In snooker usually a very unique type of cues is used. In contrast to pool, the cues are usually classic and traditionally constructed - both in appearance and construction. The usual length is 146 to 147 centimeters, the weight is classically about 17-18 ounces. On the solid wood top there is a brass ferrule and a leather tip of 9 to 10 millimeters diameter, which is glued directly onto the wood. Due to the relatively small tip, which is needed for the precise playing of the smaller snooker balls, the upper parts of snooker cues are thinner overall compared to the pool and carom game. Since the shafts are usually made from a single piece of wood, they are somewhat stiffer than their counterparts in the other billiard disciplines and also have a uniform, often very characteristic grain.

The wood

Most snooker cues are made of ash. The ash wood is considered to be an especially steady hardwood with an intensive grain, which gives the cues stability and a chic look. Each cue stands for itself, no model looks like the other. Some cue makers also use maple for their snooker tops. These are usually less conspicuously grained and feel a little softer in the impact. By the way, the almost black grain of the rather light ash wood, which is characteristic for snooker cues, is not natural, but is coloured during processing.

The bottom part of snooker cues is almost always made of ebony, but sometimes other woods such as rosewood or mahogany are used. One distinguishes basically between two types of lower parts. Machine made cues have a one-piece lower part, which is wedge-shaped sanded and glued together with the upper part. With the so-called "hand-spliced" cues, however, the lower part consists of several, usually four, ebony parts, which are glued individually to the upper part. This method is much more complex, but results in a more beautiful appearance, because the single splices of the handmade cues look rounder and more elegant.

The handle

In contrast to pool billiards, snooker cues do not normally use a grip tape with linen winding or made of rubber, leather, etc. The handle of a snooker cue is usually finished with a glossy finish. On the one hand, to keep a pure hit, on the other hand, because the cues in the handle area are often decorated with beautiful veneer inlays, which you do not want to cover. The mostly coloured veneers are bevelled and glued separately to the prepared grip part to give the cue an individual appearance.

The weight

The weight has a direct influence on the playing characteristics of the cue. With a heavier cue the precision is a bit higher and you don't have to use so much force. But very soft shots are a bit harder to control. With a standard weight of 17-18 ounces, snooker models are usually slightly lighter than their pool or carom counterparts. However, there are also models with a weight of 20 ounces and more for snooker players who prefer heavier cues. The weight of the snooker cues is usually not changeable, because no weight systems are built in.

The division of the cue

There are basically two types of snooker cues. One-piece models and split cues that are screwed together for playing. In contrast to pool, where one-piece models are usually simple house cues, which qualitatively can not compete with the two-piece models, the one-piece model in snooker is quite popular and respected. Still various professionals play with a one-piece cue. For practical reasons alone, the two-piece cue has become generally accepted, because the transport is of course much more comfortable.

With the split cues one distinguishes between two variants. Either snooker cues are divided in the middle in the ratio 1:1 or have a 3/4-1/4 division. The division is then in the rear area still within the lower part, which means that the cue is then somewhat less front-heavy than a cue divided in the middle. Queues split in the middle are the easiest to transport. Here a depth of 75 cm in a case is already sufficient. There are also models with more than one screw connection, but they are rather rare. The screw thread, which connects the parts of the snooker cue, is usually made of brass.

The tip

Snooker cues are usually covered with a slightly softer tip than pool cues, although here the preferences of the players can be very different. Sometimes the tip overlaps the ferrule like a mushroom, sometimes the ferrule closes properly. The diameter is 9-10 millimeters and the leather is glued directly to the wooden end of the top on the open ferrule. For chalking the tip, green chalk is used as standard for snooker.

Extensions

Because of the much larger table compared to pool and carom, snooker requires much more frequently the use of extensions to be able to perform all the shots comfortably. With the 3/4 split cues, an extended end can be screwed on instead of the normal last quarter on some models to increase the range and bridge longer distances. With centrally divided and one-piece snooker cues there is usually a thread in the grip into which extensions can be screwed. There are the most different models. From very short extensions, which are only a few centimeters long, to models that measure almost one meter, everything is included. Besides screw extensions there are also practical slip-on extensions that work with almost all cues.

Cases and bags for snooker cues

For the protection and transport of the snooker cue you need a bag or even better a case. Depending on the division of the cue, there are cases for whole cues, 3/4 divided or centrally divided cues. Some snooker accessories and possibly a cue extension, chalk or a towel should also fit in the case. If you want to travel with your cue, you should pay special attention that the case is stable, because you are not allowed to take cues as hand luggage on the plane.

Known brands

There are several brands of snooker cues. In the beginner and advanced section you can often see editions with names of prominent players, especially Ronnie O'Sullivan. These cues are often offered in sets with case and accessories and are from established manufacturers. So you can hardly go wrong here, but you should be aware that you are paying for the name. It doesn't have to be on the cue to play better. And the professional player certainly does not play with a cue of his own edition. The pros rather play with custom-made cues made by cue makers. Usually they get several cues made by one cue maker and then take the one they like best. Common cue brands and cue makers are for example BCE, Peradon, John Parris or O'Min.

Carom

In carom, as in snooker, usually only one cue is used, as no break or jump shots are required. However, different cues are preferred for different types of carom games. Caroml cues are generally much shorter than pool cues (these have a length of about 147 cm) and are 140-141 cm long.

Depending on the game, the diameter and weight of the cues also vary in carom billiards. The weight of three-cushion cues is about 500-530 grams, similar to pool cues. The tip is usually about 12 mm thick. In the free game and in the cadre are also often used slightly lighter (470-490 grams) models with a thinner tip (11 mm).

Carom cues usually do not need a wrap, but there are also models with a wrap, e.g. made of linen. For carom cues players also like to use rubber wraps, which can be put on the cue afterwards.

Construction of a pool cue

Anatomy of a pool cue

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Lower part

Bumper

We'll start at the bottom. The end of a pool cue is usually the bumper. This is a piece of rubber or similar material that fits onto the end of the wood and is either permanently installed or removable. The second is usually the case if there is a thread at the end of the cue, in which e.g. cue extensions or weight screws can be inserted to regulate the weight. The bumper itself protects the cue from damage and damps the cue when you put it on the ground, e.g. against a wall, a table or in the cue holder.

Butt

The rear part of the lower part between bumper and grip tape is called butt. This part of the cue is often decorated, either with real inlays or with adhesive designs, and is mostly based on the design that is also used on the forearm of the cue. The butt is made separately from the rest of the upper part and is mostly made of wood, often also of very high quality or exotic woods to give the cue a special look. Sometimes the back end can also be made of plastic. The butt is mostly hollow, because there is a thread for screws and extensions. Cues in the middle and upper price ranges often have a butt cap, which is a separate end of the butt.

Inlays

The inlays are the heart of every cue design. This is also where the price of the cue is decided. In the more expensive serial cues as well as on custom-made cues you can often find high-quality inlays made of special materials and of high craftsmanship and artistic value. Mainly different, often exotic woods are used, but also other materials like pearls, ivory or imitation shells and metals. Colour accents are also incorporated. There are no limits to imagination and craftsmanship. With cheaper cues, instead of real inlays, often adhesive designs are used, which also make the cue look good, but of course do not have the same value. These designs are printed on adhesive foils, which are glued onto the cue and then painted over.

Handle

The handle is located between butt and forearm. Here the cue is normally held by the player. In most cases this area is equipped with a wrap, but there are also models without wrap. With these "wrapless" models you grip the cue directly at the, mostly lacquered, wood of the bottom part. The most used material for wraps is linen. Mostly this comes from Ireland, often multiple pressed linen is used for billiard cues. Other common materials are leather and imitation leather, often with an artistic embossing in lizard or snake leather style, or rubber. The latter is mainly used for ergonomically manufactured sport grips, which have become increasingly popular in recent years.

Forearm

The forearm is the front part of the lower part between the grip area and the joint. This part gives the cue its individual touch and face. With real inlays or adhesive designs each model is given a unique look. The forearm is made of wood, mostly maple is used, but the design is often found in the butt or is continued there. At the front end of the forearm there is often a decorative ring, which is followed by the joint, which connects the lower and upper part.

Joint

The joint connects the upper and lower part of the cue. Normally, a pin with a thread (the "pin") mounted on the lower part is screwed into the appropriate opening at the lower end of the upper part. The connecting parts are mostly made of metal, but some are also made of plastic. Brass is standard, high-quality models also use stainless steel. Pure wood threads are also available. An overview of all common thread types can be found here:

Overview with common joint types of pool cues

Wood/metal

With wood-metal connections, the lower part holds the metal pin, which is screwed into a thread in the upper part, which is cut directly into the wood. The hit is often softer than with metal-to-metal connections, closer to the hit of a one-piece cue. Common thread names are radial or 3/8x10.

Wood/wood

Wood-wood joints are found almost exclusively in carom cues. Here the wooden pin sits on the upper part, which is screwed into a wooden thread on the lower part.

Metal/metal

For metal-to-metal connections, the lower part holds the metal pin, which is screwed into a metal thread in the upper part. The hit is a bit harder and more direct than with wood-metal connections: Common joint names are 5/16x14, 5/16x18, Uni-Loc (Predator and Lucasi), United Joint (Mezz) or Turbolock (Players Pure X). Several cue makers also have their own joints with their own names.

Weight bolts

With many manufacturers the weight of the cue can be regulated by weight bolts. By default most cues weigh about 19 ounces, weights between 18 and 21 ounces are common. To regulate the weight you usually have to remove the bumper and insert or change a bolt into the thread at the end of the bottom part. Weight screws are usually available in 0.5 ounce increments. On some professional models the weight can be adjusted even more precisely. Not all models have such a system, so if this is important to you, ask before you buy.

Upper part

Joint

We continue to work our way forward from back to front. The upper part closes at the rear end with the joint into which the lower part is screwed. The fixed joint collar ensures a clean connection between the upper and lower part and allows a good transmission of the impact effect. A decorative ring is usually placed above the joint, which gives the cue a chic look and represents the transition from the joint to the shaft.

Shaft

The shaft is the heart of every upper part. Basically, most billiard players actually only refer to the shaft when they talk about the whole upper part of a cue. Because this is where the technology of the cue sits and this is where the quality, playing characteristics and price are essentially decided. The shaft is usually completely made of wood, traditionally selected maple wood is used. The quality and therefore the playing characteristics of the shaft depend on the origin, hardness and the time the wood has matured. Solid wood shafts are made directly from a single piece of wood.

An even smaller deflection than with solid wood shafts can be achieved with low-deflection shafts. Brands such as Predator, OB or Lucasi have started to glue several wooden parts together to form a shaft, a process known as "laminating". Lamination further reduces the deflection of the cue when the ball is hit with side spin or "english", as the individual parts are installed with opposite growth direction. In addition, a constant wood quality can be guaranteed within a batch.

Essential for the reduction of the deflection is the weight reduction in the front third of the upper part. Depending on the method, either a hollow bore or a carbon core is used. Meanwhile there are also some shafts which are completely made of carbon. With these shafts, which are considerably more expensive, the deflection is reduced to a barely noticeable minimum. More information about the behaviour of the different shafts will follow in the section "playing characteristics".

There are also differences in the shape of the shaft, the so-called "taper". While the classic taper cut is conically shaped and continuously decreases in circumference from joint to tip, the "pro taper" is designed differently. Depending on the model, the shaft is tapered only up to half or over two thirds of its length, and then remains on the circumference of the ferrule for the last few centimetres.

different tapers of pool cue shafts

Ferrule

The ferrule completes the upper part. With wooden shafts, the ferrule is usually made of white plastic (formerly ivory) and sits on a wooden peg that protrudes from the shaft at the front. The ferrule has two main functions: On the one hand, it dampens the vibrations and the forces that are applied when the cue hits the cue ball, thus protecting the cue. On the other hand, it provides a suitable smooth adhesive surface for the professional mounting of the cue.

Cue tip

Last but not least we look at the cue tip, the leather piece that finishes each cue at the front. The tip transmits the impact from the cue to the ball and ensures a clean contact and that the cue does not slip off. For pool cues the tip usually has a diameter between 11.75 and 13 millimetres and is available in different degrees of hardness from super-soft to extra-hard. Cue tips are articles of daily use and wear out over time. It is advisable to keep the tip in shape (i.e. rounded) with appropriate tools such as trimmers or embossing irons and to roughen it slightly from time to time to make the chalk stick better. If the tip has worn out too much over time and is nearing the ferrule, the leather must be replaced.

Screw-on cue tips

Simple cues, especially one-piece house cues in billiard cafés, bars or youth centres are occasionally equipped with screw-on cue tips. The quality of these tips is not as good as adhesive tips, but they are much cheaper and easy to mount and replace.

Adhesive tips

On all two-piece cues, whether for beginners, advanced players or professionals, adhesive tips is usually used. The cue tip is glued directly to the front end of the ferrule with a special glue and then sanded to the desired size if necessary.

Multilayer tips

While the classic adhesive tip is a single-layer leather tip made from a single piece of leather, multi-layer tips have become more and more established on the market in recent years. Here, several layers, usually between six and twelve layers, are stacked, pressed and glued together during production. The advantage of multilayer tips is a higher stability and consistency in playing characteristics. In addition, there are more gradation possibilities regarding the degree of hardness. Multi-layer tips also have less tendency to "mushroom", the effect in which the tip gradually approaches the shape of a mushroom, which is undesirable in pool billiards.

Playing characteristics

Weight

The weight of pool cues is measured in ounces and typically ranges from 18 to 21 ounces, with 19 ounces as the standard weight. If you don't know what weight is good for you, we recommend 19 or 20 ounces.

In general, the rule is that a heavier weight is better for beginners and a lighter one for advanced players. A heavier cue is more stable and easier to control, which allows the beginner to get a better precision. Advanced players with better accuracy prefer lighter cues because they allow the speed of the shot to be controlled more accurately, especially on very soft shots.

Heavier cues, due to their mass, are able to transfer more rotation to the ball, which also benefits beginners with a less developed cue action.

Balance point

Regarding the balance of a cue, one looks especially at the balance point of the cue, i.e. the point where the cue, held on one finger, hangs in balance. The center of gravity is always at the lower part of the cue, usually in front of the handle. Depending on the weight of the cue, again influenced by the materials used and possibly weight bolts, the balance point is a bit further forward or backward. Generally front heavy cues are recommended, because these cues are doing more "themselves". Cues whose balance point is too far back may cause inaccuracies in the shots of beginners, because the weight of the cue is too little on the front hand and the cue will then get out of control faster. But before you pay too much attention to the balance: If you choose a cue with 19 or 20 ounces, the balance point is good for all levels of play. If you tend to be more front-heavy, we also recommend a metal-to-metal thread, because the weight of the thread shifts the balance point forward.

Hardness of the shaft

Generally speaking, a harder shaft is more likely to allow more control and slightly less rotation on the ball, whereas the opposite is true for softer shafts. In the past, soft shafts were played much more often, the cues of Meucci for example were known as really soft. Nowadays, especially in the professional field, hard shafts are preferred. In the lower and middle price segment cues are mostly medium hard, in the upper price segment equally or harder.

Low deflection

As soon as the cue stick hits the cue ball, seen horizontally, no longer in the middle, but laterally away from the middle, i.e. when we give a side spin, there is a deflection, called "throw". The weight of the cue pushes the cue ball out of the target line in the opposite direction, i.e. to the right if we give a left-hand spin. The player has to compensate for this effect by aiming further to the left than he thinks is necessary. Depending on the cue, the amount of spin, the speed of the shot and other factors, this defelection of the object ball can amount to more than one ball width. This is what makes playing with spin so difficult, as you have to aim "into nowhere".

These shafts reduce the deflection to the side when applying spin and have revolutionized the game of pool in the last two decades. Beginners do not need such cues, as they should first learn to develop a shot without spin. Advanced players, however, or beginners who know they will be playing longer, can invest directly in an LD shaft or cue. We recommend cues from Players Pure X, Lucasi or even Mezz and Predator.

Length

In general, pool cues have a length of about 147 cm (58 inches). Average sized people are very well supplied with these. For smaller grown people or children there are shorter cues available. Taller players (approx. 6'3 and up) or those who like to play with a longer distance from the front of the hand to the cue ball may need a longer cue. The cue length can be achieved either by a longer shaft (only high-quality brands), by an extension screwed in the middle between the shaft and the lower part, or by an extension screwed on the lower part.

In recent years some professionals (Earl Strickland, Shane van Boening) have started to play with extra long cues. The reasons for this are hotly discussed in internet forums. In general, the opinion is that longer cues can produce a smoother shot and therefore more precision. Mind you, we are talking about the crème de la crème here, which tries to get the last percent of advantage over the competition. So we advise against anyone who doesn't have anywhere near the playing ability of these professionals to experiment with it.

Cue accessories

Accessories for billiard cues are a dime a dozen. Some items, such as chalk or a case to transport the game equipment, every player should of course have. Depending on taste, desire and mood, however, you can have a whole arsenal of billiard accessories. In the following we want to take a look at the most well-known and most widespread accessories in the pool billiards area.

Cue extensions

With an extension the playing cue can be extended to have more range at the table and to be able to play balls that are far away from the table comfortably and if necessary without a rest. There are basically two types of extensions. One is inserted in the middle of the cue between the upper and lower part. The other type is mounted on the back of the end of the cue, either screwed or plugged on.

Middle extension

The extension for the middle of the cue is about ten centimetres long. The classic is the "Balance Rite" extension of the brand Players, which is available with different joint types and fits on all kinds of cue brands. This extension is mainly used if it is intended to extend the cue permanently. Especially tall players often find it more comfortable if the cue is a bit longer than the 147 centimeters that have been produced as standard for decades. Even in the professional sector, many players, regardless of their height, prefer a permanent extension, as this also changes the playing behaviour and offers more possibilities. But that is of course a matter of taste.

Back extension

The extensions for the rear end of the cue are usually only used when needed and are rarely used permanently, although this is of course also possible. There are basically two different ways to attach a back extension. Either the additional piece of cue is screwed or slipped on. While slip-on extensions should fit on every cue, with screw-on extensions it has to be checked if the playing cue has a joint on the butt and if so, if it is the right one for the respective extension. Back extensions are available in different lengths. From very short models with roughly 6 inches to extensions that add almost 30 inches, everything is possible.

Joint protectors

Joint protectors are used to protect the joints from dirt and damage during transport in a cue case. With some brands the joint protectors are included when buying a billiard cue, with others you can buy them separately if you wish. There are also universal joint protectors, which are available for different joint types. The two-piece protectors can be screwed on the upper and lower part and close the open pin and thread so that it is not exposed to any stress as long as the cue is not in use.

Chalk

As already mentioned, chalk is of course an absolute must for every billiard player. Without chalk, you won't enjoy the game for long, as you will constantly slip when hitting the smooth cue ball and you won't be able to transfer the desired action to the cue ball. The layer of chalk that you apply to the cue tip between the shots promotes a clean contact between the cue and the cue ball and prevents slipping. Of course you do not necessarily have to use the same piece or brand of chalk all the time. In pool halls there are usually pieces of chalk available for free use. In order to achieve a reliable and consistent result, however, it is recommended to always carry your own chalk with you, as there are some differences between the different types of chalk.

Pool chalk consists of almost 100% silica (quartz), which is enriched with aluminium oxide, dye and a binding agent. For pool billiards and carom, blue chalk is usually used, for snooker, green chalk is traditionally used. There is now chalk in all sorts of colors and the appearance plays hardly any role in the function. However, for purely practical reasons, you should make sure that the color of the chalk is more or less the same color as the cloth on which you play. Red chalk does not always look good on green or blue cloths.

Nowadays there are many different types of billiard chalk. The most widespread is still the standard variation, which is applied to the tip before each shot and whose regular use is an integral part of the pre-shot routine for many players. Of course there are still some differences between the various chalk suppliers and chalk is available in all price ranges. Brands like Master, Silver Cup, Triangle, CUEL, Blue Diamond or Gold Star are still the classics and absolutely solid. On the other hand, in recent years more and more suppliers have come onto the market with so-called premium chalk, which you only apply once and then, depending on the specifications of the various manufacturers, you can make 10-50 clean shots without slipping. These new chalks, as they are available from Kamui or Taom, for example, adhere particularly well to the tip and can be applied very smoothly.

Which chalk is finally used is a matter of taste. The only thing that is not recommended is real cheap chalk, which crumbles as soon as you apply it and is more on the billiard table than on the tip of the cue afterwards. Otherwise: Try it out!

Tip tools

The cue tip is one of the most important components of every billiard cue. If it is not properly mounted and in good condition, the rest of the cue can be of no matter how high quality, you will not hit a ball with it. That is why there are a lot of tools to get or keep the tip in shape.

A classic is the so-called Willard. This tip shaper in UFO shape is the sturdy all-purpose tool to bring the tip into the desired shape always. The abrasive surface here is not made of sandpaper, which wears out over time, but of metal. Accordingly, a Willard has a long lifetime and does not need any replacement parts. Also very popular are multifunctional tools for the tip. With these tools you always have everything you need to care for the tip. This tool has been used for decades by many professionals and leisure players. With the different parts of this tool you can do various works on the tip. It can be shaped and slightly structured to improve the contact with the cue ball and make slipping less likely. In addition, when installing a tip, the protruding part can be sanded off and the edge rubbed off. There are inexpensive spare stickers available for the sanding surfaces. Similarly flexible is the Tri-Tool, which can be used as a radial trimmer, tip embossing and sanding drawer.

In addition, there are various products that are primarily intended for quickly roughening the tip, for example when the chalk no longer sticks properly and the contact surface has become too smooth. This can be done with an embossing iron or a cue trimmer. A tip shaper with the appropriate mechanism is the ideal tool for smoothing out protruding imperfections and bringing them into perfect shape.

Care of the shaft

The shaft is the heart of every billiard cue. Therefore you should make sure that it always lies perfectly in your hand. Dirty cues don't slide over the bridge hand so well that inaccuracies can occur during the shot. Different materials can be used to care for the shaft. Micro sanding paper and special cleaning cloths are probably the most popular tools to make a shaft beautiful and smooth again without removing too much of the cue itself. With smaller hand pads or cue papers good results can also be achieved.

If a more thorough cleaning is needed, you can also use a detergent to help. There are several different variants, some of them are created for different tops. A good all-round cleaning agent is for example available from Silkleen. To seal the cleaned cue properly afterwards, a cue wax made of pure natural components is recommended.

The very best method to keep the top and the whole cue in a good condition is of course to treat it carefully. Of course the play equipment should be transported in a suitable case which protects the cue from external influences. Also during the game you should always take care not to place the cue e.g. against a dirty wall and use a cue holder if necessary.

Transport (Cases, tubes, bags)

For the safe and comfortable transport of billiard equipment there are three common variants. For pool billiards, tubes and bags that can hold several cues are classically used. If you only want to transport one cue, you can also get a fancy case, as it is mainly used for snooker cues. Transport equipment for cues and accessories are basically available from almost all brands that are available in the billiard world.

Billiard cue tube cases

The tube case is the classic among the means of transportation for billiard cues. Thanks to the shoulder strap and carrying handle, billiard cues are easy and comfortable to transport in most cases. In the side pockets, which are usually attached to the tubes, accessories such as chalk, gloves, tiptools etc. or the lower part of a jump cue as well as an extension can be stored. There are different sizes of billiard cues, the most common ones are:

  • 1/1 division: case for one lower and one shaft (one whole cue)
  • 2/2 division: case for two lower parts and two shafts (two whole cues, e.g. playing cue and break or break/jump cue)
  • 2/4 division: case for two lower and four shafts (two whole cues, e.g. playing cue and break or break/jump cue plus spare shafts)
  • 3/5 division: casefor three lower and five shafts (three whole cues, e.g. playing, break and jump cue plus spare shafts)

Billiard bags

Billiard bags are also available in different sizes. These are mainly used by players who have something more to carry. Be it several cues for pool or different types of games or more accessories such as a towel or clothes. The bags are available in all possible sizes, starting with a simple 1/1 version for a single cue up to a 4/8 bag that holds four whole cues, spare parts and lots of accessories. Thanks to the shoulder strap, the bags can also be easily carried on the back or over the shoulder, so that transport on a bike or motorcycle is also possible. However, it is important to make sure that there is really a strap, some bags come without one.

Billiard box cases

The billiard box case is mainly used when only a single cue is to be transported. In snooker the case is the usual means of transport, also in carom it is widespread. Cases are usually designed for a two-piece cue and hold a shaft and a lower part as well as small accessories like a piece of chalk. When buying a case, it is important to pay attention to the proportion of the division. Especially in snooker, cues are often not separated in the middle but in the ratio 1:3. For these three-quarter cues you need of course a ¾-case. There are also cases for whole, one-piece cues.

How much does a pool cue cost?

As you've probably guessed, there's a huge spread here. We divide the range into three groups. The figures are only a rough indication and refer only to pool cues. For snooker and carom, however, the trend is basically similar.

Beginner cues: 50-100 Euro

These cues have everything a beginner needs. They have a glued leather tip, are carefully made and there is a wide range of stylish designs. The low price is achieved by only sticking and lacquering designs and the cues have no inlays. Also, the woods are not selected quite as exquisitely as with higher priced cues. Nevertheless we would not recommend beginners and casual players to invest more.

Advanced players: 100-500 Euro

If you play regularly, if you know a little bit more about what you need, or if you are a beginner and want to start with advanced material right away (then there are no more excuses), choose a cue in this price range. The cues here usually already have low deflection characteristics and often inlays. At the upper end of this range there are already great woods used. Well known brands in this price range are Players Pure X, Lucasi, Mezz, Buffalo and Predator.

Professionals: 300-5000 Euro

The boundaries to the previous area are fluid. Above a certain price, playing characteristics no longer become fundamentally better. The higher price then results from more elaborate inlays, better woods or custom-made playing instruments, the so-called custom cues, which can cost several thousand euros.

Out of competition: house cues

House cues, i.e. the mostly one-piece cues that are available in public billiard salons or youth centres, are available from around 15 euros and rarely cost more than 50 euros. They often have screw-on leather tips or inferior ramin wood. These cues are basically not intended to be used as regular cues. If you need advice for your home, billiard café or youth centre which cue is the right one for you, just write to us.

More questions?

If you still have questions after this long article, which we could not answer, then please contact us. We are happy to help!