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How to Choose a Billiard Cue

by Nikki Jardin

Man playing billiards about to hit the cue ball

Playing with your own billiard cue takes the guesswork out of trying to find the straightest stick in your recreation room or one with your preferred weight. Choosing a high-quality, reasonably priced billiard cue requires a few basic considerations before you buy. Remember that fancy designs won't make you a better billiards player, but having a stylish cue never made anyone worse, either.

Choosing a Billiard Cue:

  1. Pick the weight of your cue. If you've been playing billiards long enough to want your own cue, you probably have a weight preference. Most billiard cues are between 17 and 21 ounces. Players sometimes like to break with a heavier cue and use a lighter weight for finesse shots. That's why it's a good idea to have a selection of cues in your recreation room.

  2. Check the wood used for the cue. Billiard cues are made from hardwood like maple, although many exotic woods are used as well. Some cues use different woods for the butt and the taper. The more exotic the wood, the higher the cost but also the more unique your stick will be.

  3. Consider the type of grip and the butt of the cue. The grip needs to feel comfortable; the butt shouldn't feel too thick or thin. If you tend to sweat while playing, you will want to consider a grip that provides some absorption and traction against slipping. Many are wrapped with some type of cloth material for optimum feel.

  4. Select the length of the cue taper. This is the piece that gets screwed onto the base. The taper length can vary in length from 10 to 15 inches. Choose a length that feels comfortable; shorter cues tend to work better if you have short arms.

  5. Choose the width of the shaft diameter. They generally measure from 12 mm to 13 mm. The thickness of the shaft and where it meets the tip will depend on how much English you like to put on the cue ball. A smaller shaft diameter can provide better control of English, but it also can cause the cue ball to spin more than you would like, diminishing control on off-center shots. The standard thickness is 13 mm.

  6. Pick out a case. You can choose between a soft case and a hard case. The hard cases provide more protection and can be locked if you need them to be. Soft cases are easier to sling over the shoulder, making for more convenient transportation.

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