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What To Look For In A Pool Cue

What To Look For In A Pool Cue

You've made the decision to purchase you very own billiard cue, and if you have found this article, you are likely looking for some tips on buying pool cues. You aren't alone. This articles gets hundreds of page views a week from people looking for the best advice and tips on buying pool cues and for what to look for in a pool cue. You won't find a recommendation for a specific brand or type, but rather some advice for what elements to consider based on your own preferences.

What to Look For In A Pool Cue

To begin, you'll want to establish your budget for the purchase. This will rule out much of the selection of cues right off the bat. The investment of buying pool cues will range in cost from a few dollars to a few thousand dollars. If you are a beginner player, you should consider the fact that you have not likely been exposed to enough of a range of cues and that you probably are not totally familiar with what works best for you. For this reason, the beginner should consider cues under a few hundred dollars, simply because you may change your preferences as your game progresses. Once you have settled on a firm price range, stick to it. Don't even look at cues that are outside of your budget.

Now you should select a range of cues and assemble a "short list" of possibilities. Select cues that you like for both its visual qualities and for how it feels. Some average attributes you'll want to look for include the following:

  • On average, most cues will be 55 to 59 inches in length
  • Generally, most playing cues will range in weight from 16 to 22 ounces.
  • Average tip diameter ranges from 12mm to 14mm. 13mm is the most common size

Any cues with attribute measurements that fall outside of these averages may be a a cue that have been designed specifically with the tastes and style of a very small group of players, and may not play like the "normal" cues you are used to.

Now that you have a short-list of cues lined up, you will need to visually inspect and test them for irregularities and flaws. Here is what you should look for during your inspection:

  1. Hold the cue up to your eye just as you would a shotgun or a bow and arrow and turn it slowly. Are there any irregularities in it's straightness?
  2. Check the finish that covers the cue stick. Are there any bubbles present?
  3. Do any nicks, dents, chips, or other physical flaws exist anywhere in or on the cue?
  4. Check all joints and connections including any grooves where the wood joins. Do all joints and connections meet with a smooth transition and without bumps?
  5. Check all areas on and around the wrap. Are there any frayed areas, discoloration, or loose material? Is it level and smooth in relation to the rest of the cue stick?
  6. Does the cue have any inlay areas? If so, are they set properly and lined up evenly?
  7. Inspect the entire cue again, paying special attention to joints. Is there any glue or glue lines present?
  8. Is there anything else that strikes you funny about the cue? If so, seek advice, and follow your gut. Remove that cue from your short-list.
  9. Inspect the weight bolt and/or screw in the bumper of the cue. Does one even exist? If so, is it adjustable?

The next step is to check the remainder of cues in your list for their playability. As the word suggests, this means you'll actually have to give each one a try. When doing so, try all of the various shots to see how well each cue performs in differing situations. These should include soft and hard shots, and shots in various situations. Also, don't think about whether or not you are pocketing any of these balls. You are evaluating how the cues shoot, not your own ability to make shots. When performing the tests, keep the following items in mind:

  1. What is the cue's comfort factor? Does it feel good and natural in your hand?
  2. How do you feel about the "feedback" the cue produces, especially on harder shots?
  3. Does the butt area of the cue produce any rattling, noise, or vibrations during hard shots? If so, you have an indication of flawed construction or loose hardware.

A few other things to keep in mind about buying pool cues. You will undoubtedly run in to folks who will swear by certain types of tips, joints, ferrules, brands, makes, and models, and who will be adamant that one is preferential over another. You should almost always ignore this type of advice. What you should do is make careful notes as you play and as your game progresses. Make note of what you like, dislike, and what changes might make you feel more comfortable while playing billiards. You can then utilize that criteria when buying pool cues for yourself.

You may also want to check out our article on Choosing a Pool Cue.

These are the main aspects to think about when buying pool cues. If you think about each of the issues and aspects described in this article, you'll be sure to make the right choice.

What To Look For In A Pool Cue

  • Title: What To Look For In A Pool Cue
  • Author: (Billiards Forum)
  • Published: 5/7/2008 9:20:00 PM

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