Whether you’re buying your very first cue stick or upgrading to a new one, your decision heavily depends on personal taste and style preferences. However, here are a few other factors to keep in mind as you shop:

Budget

Cues are available in all different price ranges, so you don’t have to break the bank to get what you want. Your skill level, however, does play a large role in the cue stick price.  For example, a junior or beginner’s cue might be under $100, but professional cues can top $500.

Skill Level and Performance

So, how good of a billiards player are you? How good do you want to be?  Do you spend more time shooting trick shots than 9-ball? Ask yourself these questions and more before you go shopping; skill level and expected performance figure into the kind of cue stick you need. The more serious the player, the more sophisticated the cue technology required. For example, some cues come with a special low-deflection shaft designed to increase accuracy and performance.

Material

Cues are generally constructed out of wood or a fiberglass/graphite combination.  The harder the materials, the more power your shot will have. On the flip side, cues made from softer materials provide better control. Many players prefer the feel of wood cue sticks because they seem to slide better through the guide hand, but fiberglass and graphite cues tend to resist warping and require less maintenance.

Tip Style

The most important parts of a cue are the tip and shaft—that’s where the energy from your cue is transferred to the cue ball. Tips vary in hardness from “super soft” to as hard as the cue ball itself.

  • A soft tip provides players added feel through their shot. It will absorb more impact causing the tip to stay on the cue ball for a split second longer than harder tips. This results in more cue ball spin.
  • Medium cue tips are suggested for most players because they offer a combination of control and consistency. A majority of medium tips enable your shot to get plenty of spin but don’t wear out as fast as softer tips.
  • Hard tips do not absorb as much energy at impact as a softer tip. Because of this, hard tips create less spin and are more liable to miscue when striking the cue ball farther off the center point. Many professionals opt for a hard or very hard tip.

Size

Weight, length and balance are also important factors.

  • The weight you chose isn’t really based on your physical strength, but rather on your preference. Today, anywhere from 18 to 21 ounces is standard. Heavier cues allow for more power in your shot, which also enables you to apply more spin to the cue ball. Lighter cue sticks offer more shot control.
  • Pool cues are usually 57-58 inches. The longer, more tapered sticks facilitate more spin and ball control.