Ever knocked a nail into a wall with a fish? Or tried to cook a meal in a cat?
No, of course you haven’t, because you’re not stark staring mad.
You use hammers instead of fish and ovens instead of cats because they’re the right tool for the job at the time.
So why would you use anything but the right tool for the job in any other part of your life?
Of course, the difficulty comes when there are thooooousands of hammers and ovens to choose from. Which one’s the right one for the job you have to do? Which one’s the right one very particularly for you to use?
That’s the dilemma when it comes to finding the best pool cues. Nobody would walk into a pool hall armed with a hand blender – everybody at least brings a cue. But which, from among the thousands on the market, are the best pool cues? Which are objectively better than others, and why? And which are subjectively better for you?
Don’t just grab a stick. Choose from among the best pool cues on the market. We’ve lined them up for you.
In a hurry? Here’s our top pick.
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
We’re going to stop you right there before you make with the questions. Is the Iszy Billiards 58-inch Hardwood Canadian Maple the ultimate cue in the world?
Are there cues out there with finer this, that and the other features, resulting in guaranteed better results?
Probably, there are.
So what is the Iszy Billiards 58-inch Hardwood Canadian Maple doing at the top of our list?
Here’s the thing. There are better cues for hardcore professionals than the Iszy. Guaranteed, take it to the bank.
But the Iszy serves a very particular need in the pool playing world. It serves that moment when you’ve been playing with club house cues and getting results that lead you to think you could do this for more than fun. Maybe, just maybe, you could do this for money. For people. For a cut of the house that has come to watch you make magic with a stick in your hand.
That’s a moment of potential destiny, when you leave the casual nature of the game behind and start thinking about pool as a kind of sport. As something you can be good at, and invest in, and something for which you need particular tools to give you an extra edge.
That is the moment for which the Iszy Billiards cue is made. That moment of stepping up.
The cue is available in 18, 19, 20 or 21-ounce versions. That means at the moment when you’re thinking about stepping up, you can choose the weight that works best for you. Whichever weight you choose, you get a smooth glide and the follow-through you need for assertive, intentional shots.
It has an Irish linen wrap, to give you that sense of build quality and professionalism in your pool playing.
The two-piece cue is screwed together with a steel joint, and the tip is leather for clear, crisp contacts with the cue ball.
The upper shaft is unlacquered, to allow for smooth strokes that help you make the shots you want to make.
It may not strictly be the best pool cue in the world. But the Iszy Billiards 58-inch Hardwood Canadian Maple might well be the best cue for people stepping up from casual play to more serious, shot-making, game-winning pool.
- Range of weights to suit a range of players
- Canadian maple makes for a great cue
- Steel joint allows for easy breakdown and transportation
- Leather tip for solid, clear contacts
- While it works for a large range of players, it’s best for a particular point in a player’s career
The Players C-960 Classic Birds-Eye Maple cue has a trick or three up its sleeve to help ensure the shots you aim for come off, while giving you a cue that feels instinctively professional.
Firstly, like the Iszy, the cue is available in several weights. Unlike the Iszy, the Players Classic is available in much finer increments. From 18-21 ounces, you get no fewer than seven options, going up in half-ounce increments, That means you’ve got a wide range of choices, so you can find the weight that’s perfect for your style of play. It’s the nearest thing to bespoke cue-making you’ll find without paying bespoke prices.
That makes for both a significant playing difference and for a standout offering from Players in a market that often makes players conform to whatever weighting is available.
As with the Iszy, there’s a steel joint collar here, making this 2-piece cue work solidly in play, transferring the force and slide of your shot, but also breaking down easily for uncluttered transportation.
Irish linen wrap? Yep, that’s here too, for easy sliding and – not to get too gross about it – absorption of any sweat-stress when playing pressure shots.
The 13mm tip of the cue is made of real oak and leather, which adds crispness to your shots and ensures more frequent, solid contacts. That means that more often than not, you play the shots you intended to play, with the power you intended to give them.
While it’s true that the proof of a cue is in how it plays, the bird’s eye maple of the Players cue makes for a striking announcement of purpose. It combines a classic, almost leather look with a performance profile that speaks to getting the business of the game done as efficiently as possible.
In performance, users on Amazon claim they can control the draw on this cue and place the balls exactly where they want them much more of the time. Some of that will be down to the look and feel of the cue, straightening their spine and making them feel professional. Some of it is down to engineering, and the construction of a really smooth cue that quickly feels instinctive.
It doesn’t come with a guarantee that you’ll find it your go-to cue – though many players do. It does however come with a lifetime warranty, so if you use it and don’t feel like it’s the one for you, you’re not losing out on a dud cue.
The style, the design that leads to smooth play and crisp contacts, the price point and the warranty all add up to a must-buy cue. The addition of the half-ounce increments makes sure you can get a must-buy cue that’s as fitted to your style of play as it can be for anything like the price.
- Half-ounce increments allow you to choose the weight that’s right for you precisely
- Gorgeous looks both inspire and, when necessary, intimidate
- The steel collar allows for effortless transfer of power
- The oak and leather tip makes for crisp contacts that are likely to last you for years
- UV coating stops the cue from chipping
- Lifetime warranty for ultimate peace of mind
- Some users find the cue warps after relatively little (25 games) play
The Valhalla is the latest innovation from Viking, combining modern style with some impressive technological design. The result is a cue that gives consistent, pleasing, results that translate your energy and intention into crisp, clear, well-weighted contact with the cue ball.
Viking is a company with a serious reputation in the cue-making business going back to the 1960s. It knows how to put winning cues in the hands of players, so when it develops a new range of cues, it’s a range of cues worth looking at.
The Valhalla is aimed squarely at the intermediate pool player. The players who know the ropes, aren’t averse to the odd lucky gamble, but can be relied on to finish games when given the opportunity. Players who need a reliable potting machine with a smoothness, a weight, and a relentless ability to translate will into precision and power.
Available in one-ounce increments from 18-21 ounces, there’s less precision in the weight gradient in the Valhalla than you’ll find in the Players C-960, but more certainty and purpose.
Made of maple, it comes in an almost unimaginable range of colors for that touch of personal style, and has all the things you’ve come to expect. Irish linen wrap, steel joint to let the cue move as a single coherent piece through the length of the shot, etc.
All in all, what the Valhalla provides is good weighting, smooth glide, consistent performance and effective potting from shot #1. If you need repeatable results, it’s definitely worth considering in one or two weight versions. And it’s priced to let you buy those couple of weight versions without breaking the bank.
Like several other cues on our list, it also comes with a lifetime warranty, so if you need to return it, there’s no hassle in the process.
- Reliable cue-maker
- Range of weights to ensure you get the cue that suits you best
- Color options to reflect your personal style
- Irish linen wrap
- Consistent performance, leading to reliable game-winning
- Some users reported the color wasn’t as vivid as reported and shown online
- Other users were concerned that the cue wasn’t US-made
The CUESOUL 58-inch 19-ounce cue is another cue where unless you’re at a very particular stage in your pool playing journey, you might struggle with its inclusion on this list.
It’s a niche instrument, and that niche in this case is players who want to move up in their skills and ranking, but who have a limited budget.
It’s made of maple, has a steel joint and an Irish linen wrap, so in some fundamentals, you’d struggle to pick it out from some of the higher-ranking cues on our list.
Where it loses out to them is largely in terms of the customization offered. Sure, there’s a reasonable selection of colors you can order, and you can choose between ordering just the cue or the cue and a case to carry it round in. You can even choose it in different width settings – it comes in a 13mm and an 11.5mm option. But compared to the usefulness of availability in a range of weights, the CUESOUL has a single weight option – the 19-ounce version, which many players will find too light.
For all its one-weight-fits-all failure though, the CUESOUL has a good transfer of energy to the cue ball through its leather tip. It delivers smoothness and fluency of potting action, so you won’t tire of using it in a hurry. And its price point makes it attractive because it combines a lot of high-tech elements from other cues in a bundle that costs less than they do.
Like some other cues on our list, it also offers a lifetime warranty, so if you’re not entirely satisfied when it arrives with you, you can return it and choose again.
- An ideal cue for less experienced players
- Irish linen wrap
- Delivers a firm contact smoothly
- Lifetime warranty
- Price point makes it an attractive cue for less professional players
- Several users found the cue warped after relatively little play
Flying the flag solo for one-piece cues in our list is the Viper Commercial/House Canadian Maple.
Like many others on our list, the weight of the cue is customizable between 18-21 ounces. Notably at just 37 inches though, it’s a significantly shorter cue than the two-pieces on our list, so be aware of its intended uses and limitations. It’s designed to be down and dirty for long-time house use, rather than to become your trusted companion on the competition circuit. It’s in the list as the best of its type, rather than the best when compared to, for instance, the two-piece cues here.
As an example of its type though, the Viper Commercial/House Canadian Maple is pretty triumphant. Canadian maple wood makes for good cues – you’ll have noticed the presence of maple significantly higher up our list, so as a cue-wood, it’ll deliver. The Viper cue is encased in nine – count them, niiiiine! – layers of varnish too, so what you get is a kind of Canadian Popeye. Hard as nails and more durable than trust in a frat house.
Featuring a similar leather tip to some of the more hardcore cues on the list, the Viper doesn’t sacrifice everything to durability. It still delivers good glide and at least reasonably good contact. It just happens to be built to last forever, and to cost very little compared to individual, personal-use cues.
That’s what you need in a house cue. You need it to deliver average-to-strong reliability of contact, and you need it to do that for a very long time.
If that’s what you’re looking for, Viper has your cue right here.
- Canadian maple body
- Leather tip
- Nine layers of varnish for extreme durability
- Price – you can stock up on this cue and not break your budget
- Short cue for less professional play
- Weighted towards the middle of the pack for general use
Best Pool Cues Buying Guide
Buying a pool cue is like a wizard buying a wand: in a real, visceral way, the cue will choose you as much as you choose the cue. When setting out to find the best cue for you though, there are a handful of things to keep in mind
Weigh It Up
Weight is of great importance in finding the perfect pool cue. That’s a wholly individual decision, and if you can try out cues of various weights before you shop, you’ll have a much better idea of the weight that suits you.
Know Your Level
There are cues which suit every level of player better than anyone else. If you’re a beginner looking to improve, look for cues weighted to improve contact and forgiveness. If you’re an intermediate player, go for a reliable ball-potting machine. If you’re a competition player, go for the finer differentials like half-ounce weight differences, to tailor the cue more precisely to your play.
Understand your level and buy the cue that can help you most at this moment.
Beware Warp Speed
Ideally, you want to get your money’s worth of play out of any cue you buy. Take heed of the reviews your chosen cues have, and note whether other users mention the speed at which the cues warp.
Can you play with a warped cue? Certainly. But at that point, you’re adjusting your play to the deficiencies of your cue, rather than owning a cue that helps overcome any deficiencies in your play. That’s making life harder for yourself and paying money to do it. If you can, avoid cues with a reputation for rapid warping, in favor of cues that are going to be with you a long while.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which is better, a one-piece or two-piece pool cue?
The honest answer to that is whichever helps you more. The less prevaricating answer is probably the two-piece. While you can do great things with a one-piece, the two-piece offers you more reach, very likely more balance in the cue, and probably a smoother glide through long shots.
2. How much should I pay for a pool cue?
That depends how much of your time is dedicated to pool. If you’re a casual player, don’t overextend yourself on a cue that won’t add a huge amount to your enjoyment. If you’re playing for money, invest in a cue that doesn’t break your bank but does add to your potting average. The amount that doesn’t break your bank depends on the level of your disposable income.
3. Will a more expensive cue make me a better pool player?
Not necessarily. Cues differ according to who they’re intended to help. You can pay for a top-of-the-range cue and it might not address the particular issues you have. Choose a cue that’s aimed at players of your level, rather than paying out extra money for a top-of-the-line cue. It will repay you more improvement for your investment.