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How to Choose a Pool Cue

Choosing a Pool Cue to Play Billiards Like a Pro

For the serious billiards player, your pool cue can make or break your game. Choosing your pool cue — whether selecting one for an impromptu game while out with friends or investing in your own cue — can be a challenging decision. Knowing the ins and outs of how to choose a pool cue best suited to your needs can make all the difference.

Your pool cue needs to be an extension of your skill in the game. You can spend a lot or a little on your pool cue, but you need to know what to look for to ensure you don't waste your money. Selecting an expensive pool stick may prove a disadvantage if it fails to align with your needs.

But how do you know how to pick the perfect pool cue? Keep reading to learn the essential factors to consider when searching for your ideal pool cue.

Things to Consider When Buying a Pool Cue

While many factors could dictate your pool cue choices, these are the primary ones every player should consider:

Budget Your Bucks

We mentioned that pool cues can range in price. You can find a cue for less than $100 or spend more than $1,000 on a pool stick, depending on your preferences.

Before you spend more than you can afford, decide on your budget. Knowing how much you can spend narrows down your options to help you find your ideal cue in time for your next game.

The Long or Short of It

Did you know that pool cues come in different lengths?

People are of varying heights, and your pool cue can accommodate your specific reach if you choose the correct stick length. Here's a brief rundown of what you should look for when selecting an appropriate pool cue length based on your height:

  • Most people 5 feet and 8 inches or taller can use a standard length billiard cue stick of 57 to 59 inches long.

  • If you're shorter than 5 feet and 8 inches, you might prefer a shorter cue.

  • If you're taller than 6 feet and 5 inches, a cue longer than 59 inches might help your game.

These length suggestions aren't strict rules for choosing the best length of your pool stick. Try out different lengths and go for the one that feels comfortable and helps you play your best game.

Be sure to check for warps before buying a cue. Warps can affect the accuracy of your shot. It's also a sign of a weak cue that may have a short life span as you begin putting it into play. Hold the cue up and examine it, looking from the base through the shaft when checking for a straight, warp-free cue.

Weight Matters

Much like length, you have choices for the weight of your pool cue. Most of a pool cue's weight is in the shaft (or bottom) of the stick. Standard weights range from 17 to 21 ounces.

The weight of your cue impacts how you deliver a shot. Choose an average weight if you only have the budget for one cue. If you can purchase more than one cue, a heavier stick is more effective for breaking shots. Light cues can help with precision or combination shots.

No matter the type of shot, your personal preference should be the ultimate factor in the pool cue weight you choose.

One Piece or Two?

If you've never purchased a pool cue, you might be surprised that some sticks come in two pieces that connect to form a complete cue.

One-piece pool cues: Opting for a one-piece pool cue is ideal for play at home. If you have a billiard table in the garage or game room and you want to stock the room with cues, one-piece sticks are an excellent choice.

Two-piece pool cues: Selecting a two-piece pool cue is ideal for travel. If you play competitively and take your personal billiard cue when you play outside of your home, a two-piece cue makes it easier to store and carry it with you. Simple screw the two pieces together for gameplay.

Pool cues show wear over time. With frequent use, they begin to warp. This usually happens in the shaft—or the thinner end that strikes the ball. It's tough to use a one-piece cue that warps or cracks, and trying to repair it isn't always effective. You'll need a new pool stick.

When you see a two-piece cue begin to warp or crack in the shaft, you can replace the shaft without replacing the base.

Know Your Materials

While wood pool cues are the most common variety, composite cues, like those made of carbon fiber, are also an option. Wood offers different textures and weights, which play a part in the feel of the cue. But a wooden cue may result in blisters through friction if you don't add a grip. 

Composite cues can include non-slip surfaces, ensuring consistency and reducing the effects of friction on the hand. These cues can also be slightly lighter than wood and offer options for customization if you'd prefer something made according to your needs. 

How To Use a Pool Cue

The following pointers will help you grip and use your cue to ensure you get the most out of it.


Knowing how to hold and play with a pool cue is essential when testing different cues to find your perfect fit. The proper technique and grip give you control over your cue for optimal comfort and accuracy while playing. To execute a classic open bridge stroke when testing pool cues, follow these steps:

  • Grip the cue at its center with your dominant hand, placing your thumb below with your index and middle fingers wrapped around the cue.

  • Ensure you maintain a relaxed grip, not too tight or loose.

  • Place your other hand palm-down on the pool table behind the cue ball with your fingers spread out, your palm slightly cupped and your thumb raised, creating a V shape next to your index finger.

  • Rest the front of your cue within the V-shaped bridge on your hand, keeping your cue level to the table's surface.

  • Aim, pull back and shoot for the cue ball, being sure to follow through while maintaining the line of aim for maximum accuracy.


If you've played billiards for very long, you'll notice blisters begin to form on your palms. Even a few casual games during a night out with friends can rub your palms raw. To protect your hands, choose a grip for the base of your pool cue. grips can also help you hang on to the cue during play if you have sweaty palms. Choose from smooth or textured leather, synthetic grips or linen wraps. The best grip is the one that helps you play comfortably and control your shots.


The tip of the cue is the part that strikes the ball. The shape and texture of the tip affect how your ball moves toward its intended target. Cue tips also come in a range of sizes that affect the spin you put on the ball. Larger tips make it easier to aim and hit the ball. Smaller tips can add more spin, but they can also make it harder to hit the ball accurately. Softer tips will wear faster than a more solid tip.

However, replacing the tip of your cue is easy and inexpensive.


When you think you know the best combination of length, weight, grip and tip, try a few practice shots before finalizing your purchase. If the shop lacks a practice table or you're buying online, ensure you understand the return policy before leaving the store with your new cue. Play a few games and notice where your shots go and the vibrations in the stick. If it's not what you expect or doesn't perform the way it should, take it back and adjust the combination of features.


With so many options, it can be challenging to choose the right pool cue for your game. Avoid settling for the incorrect cue! Imperial has a wide variety of cues and options to help you find your ideal pool stick. Shop Imperial's world-class range of pool cues to view, test, and find the best fit.

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