How to Choose the Right Cue Stick

Pool Table Wizard

Graphic by Colleen Cochran

So you’ve perfected your wizardry on the pool table, have you? Just as wizards earn the right to carry their own personal magic wands, so too, you’ve earned the right to your own pool stick. While searching for the perfect cue, keep in mind the words of Harry Potter, “The wand chooses the wizard.”

Spellbinding pool playing appears when there is a strong affinity between the pool player and his or her cue stick. The player learning from the pool cue, the cue responding to its player. While initial attraction will always be the start of the relationship between pool cue and player, here are a few particulars to consider before making a final purchase.

7 Tips to Choose the Right Cue Stick

Style:  You’ve graduated from sharing the one-piece sticks found in barrooms! It’s time for a two-piece cue stick. A one-piece cue cannot be customized to your liking, it’s prone to warp over time, and it will be a hassle to transport during travel.

Size:  Standard cues are 57-58 inches long. Children and shorter people might prefer cues between 50-56 inches. For tall people, a cue stick closer to 61 inches might be the best accommodation.

Weight:  The total weight of most billiard cues is between 18 and 21 ounces. Some players break with a heavier cue, then use a light weight one for finesse shots. Most house cues are built with the weights in the very butt of the cue. If you find yourself compensating for weight by gripping the cue too far toward the joint, it’s probably too heavy. Look for a cue that is more forward-weighted. The weights are designed to be easily added or removed. If you tend to lose control over your cue ball, the weighting may be too light.

Cue Tek Gen-Tek Cue Stick - Blue Star

The Cuetec Gen-Tek Blue Star Pool Cue features a 15.5-inch pro-tapered power bonded fiberglass S.S.T. (super slim taper) shaft.

Shaft Taper:  There are two types of tapers, conical and pro. Conical shafts taper down all the way to the tip. A pro taper, so-named because it’s the one most professional pool players prefer, means the shaft tapers from the joint, then remains one constant diameter for about 10-15 inches before the tip. The standard diameter for that uniform-diameter area is 13 mm. Some people prefer the tip end of the shaft to be even thinner, as they swear the thinner diameter facilitates putting English on a ball. Players have to weigh their enhanced ability to add spin against the possibility that the smaller shaft surface area might cause them to miss more balls.

Wrap Type for Grip:  You want the wrap that feels best in your hand. Some people prefer no wrap at all. If a loose grip suits you, that is, one that allows for your hand to easily move, try a grip with a lot of starch or wax on it, like an Irish linen. If you want your hand to stick tight to your cue, rubber is the “grippiest” wrap available. No wrap at all, that is, bare wood, will also give your hand a lot of staying power. It’s the combination of a humid hand on wood that provides the stickiness. Leather falls somewhere in between on the gripping scale, and it’s the best for absorbing perspiration.

Cuetec Natural Pool Cue

The Cuetec Natural Pool Cue is one example of a very good low-vibration cue. It has an ABS ferrule which provides the ultimate transfer of energy from shaft to the cue tip, thus aiding in vibration control.

Vibration: The more vibration you feel in your hand, the less control you will have over your cue. As you test out pool cues, the sound the stick makes on the ball reveals a lot about vibration level. A louder “crack” sound means more vibration. A softer, deeper sound means less vibration in your hand.

Cue Tip:  Your play style should dictate the type of tip that suits you. Most tips are made of leather. Soft tips will absorb more impact, and cause more ball spin. This may be just the kind of action you need to improve your game. Keep in mind, though, that softer tips will need to be replaced more frequently. Harder tips absorb less impact. The interaction between tip and cue ball is of shorter duration and, thus, they create less spin.

Also, consider the tip shape. A rounded tip is standard, but if you tend to make a lot of near-center ball hits, the flatter tip may alleviate some of that uncontrolled side spin you are getting.

Final Tips on Choose a Cue Stick

Bear in mind that any tips for choosing a pool cue are a guide to help you pick the right one. It also depends a lot on what feels natural to you and what type of player you are. While your size and strength are considerations, there are a whole host of considerations that are unique to you alone… your stance, your schema of movements, your hold on the stick, what you like, how the cue feels to you. You and your cue stick must be well-suited in order for any magic to be made. When it feels right, you’ll know it.

Let one of the professionals at Game Tables Online guide you through the process of finding the perfect pool cue. Give us a call at 1-888-565-7180 or email us at In addition to carrying a wide variety of pool cues, we also stock top-quality pool tables and accessories.

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Game Tables Online consultant, Colleen Cochran, is a writer, graphic artist, and an aficionado of all things recreational.