Best Pool Cues for Beginners: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide for 2020

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Once you’ve decided to purchase a pool cue, there are many things to consider. Finding the best pool cue for beginners can be a total gamechanger for those new to the game and can provide the exact style and type of cue the newbie needs in order to learn the game and improve their skills. There are some specific parts of a cue that are made differently, out of different materials that can have an impact on how the cues feel and how they play. But as a beginner, finding the perfect cue can be a big job and plenty of research.

I’ve created this guide to teach you exactly what you need to look for in your next pool cue, what factors to consider, and how to tell a good pool cue from a great one. I’ve also tested out many of the best beginner-friendly cues on the market, but only six ended up on my must-have list. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes each of these cues, how they scored, and what features they have to offer.

Pool Cues for Beginners Comparison Chart

ProductFinishDesignMaterialRating
Players HXT15
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UV CoatingTwo-PieceNorth American
Maple
Purex HXT-65 Pool Cue
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Laminated
Leather
One-PieceNorth American
Maple
GSE Games & Sports Pool Cue
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UV CoatingTwo-PieceCanadian Maple
Viper Junior Billiard/Pool Cue
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NoneTwo-PieceCanadian Maple
McDermott Classic Pool Cue
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NoneTwo-PieceMichigan Maple
Viper Desperado Pool Cue
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NoneTwo-PieceCanadian Maple

Players Technology Series HXT15 Two-Piece Pool Cue


Our Rating: (5/5)

This pool cue is made out of one hundred percent North America grade A hard rock maple and comes equipped with a high-impact ferrule. The high-gloss UV finish, pro taper, and included French cue wax will ensure a top of the line shooting performance. It’s also covered by a lifetime guarantee. This is a two-piece model that features a birds-eye maple forearm that’s walnut-stained. With tradition white and black divided diamond and pincher style point design, while the cue is beginner-friendly, it definitely has a pro look to it. Aside from looks, it features an HXT low-deflection ferrule that’s designed to increase accuracy and shooting power, in addition to a kamui black tip for improved durability, spin, and grip.

Pros

  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Two-piece design
  • High-gloss finish
  • UV coating
  • Good price to value ratio

Cons

  • The tip is very soft

Conclusion

This cue is designed with premium-grade one-hundred percent North American hard rock maple, a beautiful inlay design, and comes with a low-deflection ferrule that will increase your shooting power and accuracy, making this cue the perfect choice for a beginner who needs all the help they can get to hit balls with precision and power.

Purex HXT-65 Pool Cue


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This is a 12.75 millimeter cue with an HXT low deflection shaft that is covered in ten layers of laminated leather and topped off with a Kamui tip. For a firmer hit, this cue is equipped with an implex joint collar. The handle is wrapless and sleek, so it will work great for shooters with smaller hands. The cue is also covered by a lifetime warranty against warpage. The cue itself is made out of birds-eye maple and features beautiful inlays of white and black marbled diamonds with double dagger black points.

Pros

  • Wrapless design
  • Implex joint collar
  • Beautiful inlay designs
  • Covered in ten layers of laminated leather

Cons

  • Finish has ripples in it

Conclusion

This cue is lightweight, will feel smooth and good in the shooter’s hand, is covered with ten layers of laminated leather for ultimate protection against chipping, peeling, and cracking, and is covered by a lifetime warranty. It’s a great choice for players of all skill levels, but the beginner will appreciate the low deflection design that will help to improve shooting power and shot accuracy.

GSE Games & Sports Expert Pool Cue


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

If you’re looking for a cue that’s easier to transport, then you’ll appreciate this model’s two-piece design. The shaft of the cue is made out of Canadian hardwood maple. The butt of the cue is made from Australia hardwood and comes complete with a decal sticker. The are several layers of high-gloss epoxy paint covering the cue’s exterior, designed to prevent the cue from warping or fading. The leather tip features a multi-layer design, while the ferrule is top of the line and made out of fiber. The joint is made out of stainless steel, for improved durability.

Pros

  • Fiber ferrule
  • Made out of Canadian hardwood maple
  • UV coating to prevent fading and chipping
  • Stainless steel joint

Cons

  • Only covered by a one-year warranty

Conclusion

Despite the fact that the cue is only covered by a one-year warranty, this model is definitely worth the purchase, especially if you’re looking for a cue that’s lightweight, easy to handle and designed with an all-natural fiber ferrule. The thick epoxy finish will keep your cue well-protected from damage, while the pressed black Irish linen wrap will be perfect for players whose hands sweat excessively while they play.

Viper Junior Billiard/Pool Cue


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

The cue by Viper is made out of high-quality Canadian maple and features bold tattoo style graphics that flow down the length of the cue. This is a two-piece cue, which allows for easier storage and transport. The ABS joints are lightweight and designed to provide consistent feedback while you play. The cue is topped with a thirteen millimeter pro leather tip, and a nylon wrap that will feel good in your hands. It also comes with a traditional rubber bumper. This model is available in sixteen ounces, which is perfect if you have a playing room that’s tight on space or you’re looking for a cue for a younger player who is in need of a lightweight cue.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Two-piece design for easier transport
  • Leather tip
  • Bold graphics

Cons

  • No warranty
  • Joints are made out of plastic

Conclusion

This is a great cue for beginners, younger players, or if you have a game room that’s tight on space so you need to use a smaller cue to make difficult shots. The drawback is the fact that the joints are made out of plastic, which may be a dealbreaker for some buyers. Additionally, many potential buyers will also be disappointed that this model doesn’t come with a warranty.

McDermott Classic Pool Cue Kit


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This beginner-friendly cue features a two-piece design and comes with its own soft carrying case for easier transport and storage. It’s also covered by a three-year product warranty against manufacturing defects. This is a great starter set for those new to the game in search of a model that’s reasonably priced and designed to last. The cue is made out of Michigan maple and is topped off with a thirteen millimeter high-quality tip.

Pros

  • Includes a soft carrying case
  • Two-piece design for easier transport and storage
  • Made out of Michigan maple
  • Three-year warranty

Cons

  • Does not come with a wrap
  • No protective finish

Conclusion

This cue is very basic in design, which is what makes it a great cue to learn on. This set includes everything you’ll need to get started, such as a tip shaper and scuffer, and a chalk holder. This package also includes a soft carrying case that will protect your cue from damage, and makes it easier to transport and store it. There are no fancy inlays or added coatings to the shaft, which makes this model look very plain in design, however, it shoots true, is straight as an arrow, and will feel good in your hands.

Viper Desperado Billiard/Pool Cue


Our Rating: (4/5)

Made out of Canadian maple, this tough cue is covered by a limited lifetime manufacturer warranty. This is another two-piece top-selling cue that will be a great buy for beginners. It features lightweight stainless steel joints that are designed to improve shot consistency and comes with a removable scuffer. The cue is topped off with a thirteen millimeter leather tip, while the shaft is covered by a one-hundred-percent genuine leather wrap. The cue is available in weights ranging from eighteen up to twenty-one ounces.

Pros

  • Removable scuffer
  • Genuine leather wrap
  • Lightweight stainless steel joints
  • Limited lifetime manufacturer warranty

Cons

  • No protective coating
  • Leather wrap can make hands sweat

Conclusion

This is a fairly basic looking cue, but it’s one that’s made tough, comes in a variety of weight options, and is covered by a genuine leather wrap. The limited lifetime warranty will show potential buyers that the manufacturer stands behind their products, so there’s no fear you’ll end up with a cue that’s warped or damaged in any way. The stainless steel joints improve the cue’s durability, while still working to keep the weight of the cue low. This model is a great buy for the beginner in search of a basic cue that’s built tough and designed to help improve shooting accuracy and shot control.

Pool Cues for Beginners Buyer’s Guide

There are many parts of the cue that you’ll need to consider when you’re shopping for a model that’s designed for a beginner. This will include:

  • Tip
  • Butt diameter
  • Length
  • Cue weight
  • Joint
  • Shaft taper
  • Shaft
  • Wrap

Butt Diameter

The most important aspect of the butt or wrap of the cue is how comfortable it feels in your hands. You’ll need to take the size of your hands into consideration. If you have large hands then you’ll need to use a large diameter butt. Those with small hands will feel more comfortable using a butt with a small diameter grip.

Wrap

Young handsome man

The purpose of the wrap is to provide the player with a place to hold their cue while shooting. The type of grip you go with should feel comfortable and should have a texture that makes the cue pleasing to hold.

Some models will come with a leather wrap, which will be a great choice if you prefer the smooth surface and feel that it provides. If you have hands that sweat, then a model that’s wrapped in linen can be a great solution. Some models will not have a wrap at all.

Leatherette

This material feels a lot like leather but is not as stiff. It’s also a poor choice if you have sweaty hands.

Nylon

This material is similar to Irish linin, it’s just more affordable and feels a little rougher. But like Irish linin, a nylon wrap is a good choice if you have sweaty hands.

Suede

This is not a common material used for wraps, but some players like it because it’s very soft to the touch.

Isoprene

This material offers a better grip than linin or leather and feels just like a wetsuit.

Veltex

This material feels like a soft wetsuit, however, it has more grip than linen or leather.

Lucasi Hybrid

This type of wrap is textured, providing you with a better grip. It also has shock-absorbent foam underneath for improved comfort and grip.

Rubber

Rubber wraps provide the player with a better grip by it can feel a little tough in the hand.

Irish Linen

If you have hands that sweat profusely you most likely should choose an Irish Linen wrapped cue. They are best for absorption.

Leather

Many cues are available with leather wraps. These would be a good choice if you prefer the smooth feel it provides. More and more cues are manufactured with no wrap at all.

Shaft

backdrop of pyramid

The shaft is usually made out of maple. How comfortable a cue is to hold can be impacted by the type of shaft tape and the diameter of the shaft. Most models will have a shaft diameter that ranges from twelve to thirteen millimeters. Keep in mind that models with a smaller shaft diameter makes it significantly easier to perform English on the cue ball, however it can also cause too much spin on the ball, and can be difficult to control. Many companies offer sizes in quarter of a millimeter increments. If you have small hands then you may want to choose a diameter that’s much lower than thirteen millimeters, so your bridge hand will remain comfortable. However, thirteen millimeter is often the most common size chosen. Make sure you go with a size that feels good in your hands in order have better control over the cue.

Shaft Tapers

The taper of a shaft refers to the shaft’s shape starting from the tip on the back of the cue. If you have a thirteen millimeter tip, with a twelve-inch taper, this means that measuring back down the shaft at twelve inches, it will stay at the thirteen millimeter diameter for the full length, before increasing in size towards the joint. Usually, the longer the taper, the more flex the cue will have. Shorter tapers provide a firmer and stiffer hit. These differences will have an impact on the way the cue feels in your hand. Many modern models of cues will have a taper that’s between ten to fifteen inches. House cues or bar cues may have a shorter taper of around eight inches.

Pins and Joints

The cue you choose will have a join pin located in the middle that connects the shaft and the butt. There are many different pins that are used to thread all of the pieces together. However, there are only a couple of different types of joints; those that make contact with a metal joint collar and those that make contact wood to wood. A cue with a wood to wood joint will have a softer, more natural feel. A cue with a steel collar will feel much stiffer, while the feedback will be faster and more direct. There are many different styles of pins and collar combinations to choose from. Most are very durable and feature slightly different characteristics.

Weight

How much should a cue weigh? What’s the right weight for me? The weight of the cue usually ranges from seventeen to twenty-one ounces. There’s no correct weight for each player. For most players, cues that weigh in at nineteen to twenty ounces fit the best for the size of balls used in most games. For snooker games, the balls that are used lighter and smaller, so the cues will be much lighter, weighing, fifteen to sixteen ounces.

Length

The standard length for cues is fifty-seven inches for one-piece cues. Standard two-piece cues are fifty-eight inches long and have a butt and shaft design that equals twenty-nine inches. There are also options available for extra-tall players or shorter players. Junior-sized cues are available in a length ranging from forty-eight inches up to fifty-two inches in length. These cues are a great choice in places where you are tight on space.

Tips

Close up

A scuffed and well-shaped tip is important to your success with ball consistency and control. The tips tend to vary in composition relative to how soft and hard they are. This will have an impact on how they feel to a player, how often they need to be maintained, and how long they will last. Many cues will come with a tip that’s rated medium to hard. Most tips are also made out of leather and consist of solid pieces of tanned and pressed leather. However, there are some exceptions that you’ll come across that may be made out of Bakelite or phenolic resins.

Types of Cues

There is a big debate regarding how the one piece and two-piece cues have an impact on the feel and playability of a cue stick. Some players argue that you’ll never experience the same type of feel when you use a two-piece like you will with a one-piece. Others claim that a good brass joint can make all the difference. The main difference is that a two-piece cue is much easier to transport compared to a one-piece.

Two-Piece

These cues can be a big step up from one-piece models. With the two-piece, you’ll get more selection, better quality, and the option of using a wrap.

One-Piece

These cues are mainly used in pool halls and bars since they’re too large to walk out the door with unnoticed. Many one-piece cues aren’t high quality since most businesses are more concerned about preventing theft than using quality cues. Many manufacturers will sell one-piece models for home use since they’re lower in cost.

Jump Cues

Jump cues are short with a hard tip that’s designed to make it much easier to jump a ball and still maintain control. These cues can be used any time a player is trying to maneuver the ball out of a very tight spot.

Break Cues

Break cues are very important since they can extend the life of your playing cue. Breaking using a regular cue can damage it over time, causing the tip to wear out quickly. These cues come equipped with a much stronger ferrule compared to playing cues, and also have a much harder tip. The tip and the ferrule allow the player to hit the ball with a lot of force without damaging the tip or the cue.

What’s the Best Material?

The type of material your cue is made out of will be a matter of personal preference. Graphite/fiberglass and wood are the two main types. The pro usually prefers wood, however, cues that are made out of graphite will not warp like wood can. Keep in mind, harder materials offer more power, while softer materials will give the player more control. Each type will have an impact on the feel of the stick during play.

If the cue has been made out of an exotic hardwood such as rosewood, purple heart, ebony bocote, ebony, or cocobolo, then it will cost more than a cue that’s made out of curly maple or birds eye. Exotic woods are very beautiful, but much more expensive to manufacture, which can have a major impact on the cost of the cue.

Inlays

Cues that have real handcrafted inlays can also increase the price of the cue. These cues are beautiful to look at, and the craftsmanship that goes into inlaying and cutting them can also increase the price of a cue. The price of the inlay can depend on what type it is. Inlay material such as abalone, or another type of shell, stone, or metal are more expensive compared to decorative plastics. Decorative plastics can be really beautiful, but natural materials will always cost more since they’re in shorter supply.

Treated Shaft

A shaft that’s been treated with a type of wood stabilizer is designed to protect the wood from any type of atmospheric changes. Some models will also have a treatment that protects the shaft from chipping and fading. Fortunately, many moderately priced shafts will have some type of shaft treatment applied.

Ferrule Quality

You’ll need a ferrule that’s made out of fiber, or a type of material that will not chip or crack. Low quality cues come with a plastic ferrule which has a tendency to crack or chip.

Price Ranges

Some cues can cost a pretty penny because of where they were manufactured or because of the brand name. Cues that are made in America come from companies that have been around for decades, so they tend to cost more. This doesn’t mean they’re a higher quality, just that a portion of the cue has been manufactured in America. Cues that have been custom made will cost significantly more since it’s a very labor-intensive process.

Warranty

Never purchase a cue that doesn’t come with a warranty. Look for a one-month warranty at the very least. This allows you to ensure that there’s no warping and that the cue you receive is straight. In order to test out your cue, you can screw the shaft onto the butt, then try rolling it across a flat surface. If the cue rolls smoothly and everything looks strength when you stare down the length, then the cue will work just fine. However, if it wobbles as it rolls or it looks slightly bent, then you will need to return it. Always check the cue before you chalk it. If warping occurs after a cue has been chalk then it’s not considered a manufacturing defect, and will not be covered by a warranty. Always make sure you read the warranty before you chalk the cue, regardless of the brand.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, learning how to play pool with your new cue will take some serious practice. But if you have the right tools for the job, patience, and commitment to the game, you’ll see a huge improvement in your performance in a matter of weeks.

The best pool cues for beginners will be feel good in your hands, are made out of durable materials that will not easily warp, chip, or crack, and will shoot true, right out of the box. Whether you decide to go with a one-piece or two-piece, the perfect cue for you will be the perfect length, weight, and diameter, based on your reach, height, and the size of your hands. As you can see, you can’t just use any old cue if you want to improve your performance in pool. Instead, you’ll need to do your research and find a model that will work specifically for you and your playing needs. I hope this guide has taught you everything you need to know about pool cues, what must-have features you’ll need, and what options are available. Additionally, the cues that made it onto my top six list are all great options for beginners and players in need of a cue that can provide ultimate shot control.