Finding the best pool cues to buy
A pool cue buying guide
As you venture into the world of billiards, you are sure to find yourself wondering which are the best pool cues to buy. The best way to learn how to buy a pool cue is to familiarize yourself with each component of a cue, so that you can determine what your preferences are. Before you go shopping for your next pool cue, consider the following points about pool cue designs to help you find the right one for you.
>> Consider the general types of pool cues
The first thing most buyers do when looking for new cues is rush to find what others consider the best pool cues. It is important to keep in mind that everyone is going to look for something different when shopping for these sticks. Some may like heavier cues, while others are fans of shorter ones. The key to finding the best pool cues for your individual circumstances is noting your experience level and expectations. For example, if you are looking for a cue stick to help you make shots from difficult angles, look into jump cues. If you prefer a cue stick that will work in any circumstance, look into break or jump-break cues. Some other types of pool cues include playing cues and snooker cues.
>> What material do you prefer?
As personal preference is a large factor in deciding which are the best pool cues for your needs, familiarize yourself with the materials with which pool cues are made: wood and composite.
The most popular choice for pool cues is wood, and you might think these are the best pool cues. These types of pool cues are the traditional choice because they slide over the guide hand easily and they have a good weight to them. It takes longer to produce these types of pool cues, but they tend to have a richer, bolder look.
Composite pool cue sticks are much easier to produce, but they handle differently than wooden cues. These cues are generally more lightweight because they are made of fiberglass and graphite. As there is no danger of warping due to moisture retention, these cues also last longer without the requirement of strict care. If you are worried about water affecting your cue, composite sticks are the best pool cues to start out with. Whether you opt for wood or composite sticks, you should store your cues in pool cue cases or on pool cue racks.
No matter whether you shop pool cues made of wood or composite, it is important to stick with top rated pool cues. There are many different types of pool cues available. Make sure you learn as much as you can about the reputations of the pool cue brands that you are considering.
>> How can you determine quality from appearance?
As with any product, the appearance of a cue can help guide you in your determination of which pool cue to buy. By carefully inspecting the various parts of a cue, you can learn more about how the cue was made and how it will handle.
The first step in the inspection process is to review the cue as a whole. Use your hands and eyes to get a feel for the overall quality of the product. When you rub your fingers over the shaft, it should be smooth with no jagged or bumpy areas. The stick should feel balanced and comfortable in your hands. Next, look over the cue to ensure that there are no scratches, cracks or excess glue. Once the pool cue passes a visual inspection, you can start looking at individual components:
- Ferrule and tip: The ferrule and tip are located on the end of the pool cue that is used for play. The tip is the part that makes contact with cue balls, and the ferrule is the piece that holds the tip to the stick. When inspecting this area, ensure that the tip is securely attached and that there is no excess glue. The ferrule should lie flat against the wood, almost as if it were an extension of it.
- Joint and pin: Pool cues are manufactured in one and two piece models. In two-piece products, the butt of the cue (the part you hold) can be separated from the shaft. The joint and pin are the pieces that hold the two pieces together. When looking at this part of a cue, verify that the joint is flush with the wood and that the pin is centered. The two pieces of the cue should fit together perfectly, with no gaps or spaces and without the need for unnecessary force.
- Wrap: The material that sheaths the butt is called the wrap. Wraps are usually made of string, rubber or leather. String wraps should be tightly knit with no bumps or visual imperfections. Leather wraps must be smooth with even seam lines and no loose threads. Wraps that are made of rubber must be carefully inspected; some rubbers are oily and sticky, which can make handling uncomfortable.
- Butt cap and bumper: The butt cap and bumper are located at the end of the pool stick. These pieces should also seem like an extension of the shaft. They should be flush against shaft and be free of dripping glue.
- Rings: Some pool cues are made with decorative rings. If you opt for these kinds of pool cue designs, carefully look over these rings to ensure that the pool cue's varnish has taken. Chipped varnish or uneven coats are things to avoid.
- Straightness: Top rated pool cues will be straight. You can test a cue's straightness by holding it up at eye level and slowly rotating it. If you notice bumps or warping, opt for another cue. Another way to test the straightness is to slowly roll the cue over a flat surface. This method is less effective because the surface you use might not be perfectly flat, which might make it seem like it is the cue that is defective.
- Shaft: The shaft is the last part of the pool cue. The most important aspect of this part of the cue is that it is straight and durable. If you are a beginner, aesthetics will probably be low on your list of priorities. However, seasoned players and collectors will look for pieces that are visually perfect, with no imperfections in grain or color.
Spotting the best pool cues takes a little effort and comparison, especially if you are a beginner. Use these tips to carefully inspect each pool cue that interests you to determine which pool cue to buy.