When the time comes for you to finally buy a Snooker cue, you can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices and modification that are available to you. Many newcomers wonder exactly how one Snooker cue is different from another. If you’re frustrated that no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to get better at playing Snooker, then your cue might be at fault as well. In this guide we’re going to explain exactly how you can choose the right Snooker cue for you.
How to Choose a Snooker Cue
A Snooker cue is just a piece of wood molded to a specific length and weight—but the type of wood used, the craftsmanship, the attention to detail, and your budget play a crucial role in determining whether a Snooker cue is right for you.
Choosing a Snooker cue doesn’t depend on any pre-established specification but rather on your personal preference. When people look for a cue some people want a cue that looks good whereas others want a cue that has a specific length and weight. But what matters most about what to look for in a Snooker cue is whether or not the user is comfortable with it.
It’s absolutely imperative that you choose a Snooker cue that is comfortable, both physically as well as visually. Games like Snooker are just like actual sports. If you aren’t confident in the capabilities of your cue, you’ll be at a psychological disadvantage when it comes time for you to play.
Over the Counter Cues vs. Custom-Made Cues
The biggest dilemma everyone faces is whether they should buy a cue from the market or have one made specifically for them. Due to the massive number of cues available commercially, many newcomers and even some seasoned players don’t consider getting a custom cue simply because over-the-counter or mass-produced Snooker cues are much more affordable.
You can easily buy a Snooker cue from Amazon for $30, but expect it to be made from low-quality wood which makes it no different than your everyday stick. But should you buy a mass-produced Snooker cue over a custom or branded Snooker cue? In some cases, yes! If you’re someone playing Snooker for the first time, the quality of the Snooker cue won’t affect you in any way. But for seasoned players who know their way around the table, it’s imperative that they get a custom or branded Snooker cue to help enhance their game.
Therefore it is absolutely necessary to choose a custom or branded cue that is made specifically for you rather than relying on some recommendation you got from a friend. To help you find the best Snooker cue for you, we’ve done a comprehensive analysis to help you get started.
Choosing the Right Materials for Your Snooker Cue
If playing Snooker is your passion, then you might be aware of the fact that the best quality Snooker cue (especially the shaft) is made up of hard rock maple wood (straight-grained) or from more commonly available ash wood. To this day, a huge variety of wood is being used for the production of Snooker cues. Among such woods, many of which are exotic, are Brazilian Rosewood, Pine and Olive Wood.
With the exception of a few kinds of wood such as ebony and pine, a huge number of exotic woods cannot easily be identified; even the most professional woodworkers often find it hard to identify them correctly.
Strangely, burls—the wart-like bulges that are usually found on the trunk or root of a tree—are gaining popularity. Burls are usually used for making inlays or different cue points. Numerous cue builders’ use burls by coring them out and then to strengthen the weak wood they place laminated dowels. The fact of the hour is that there is a large variety of wood to choose from when making Snooker cue; the only thing that matters the most is that the wood is well-seasoned.
What About the Alternatives?
Many cues are made completely from materials such as acrylic, titanium, or aluminum; the truth is that such cues have no respect among professional Snooker players. Most of the cues made from such materials are not long-lasting and are usually very temperature sensitive. Many such cues have been seen to bend after a certain time. Alternatively, cues made from graphite or fiberglass stand a better stance as they are not only cheaper but are also less likely to warp.
But the truth is that even cues made from graphite or fiberglass do not promise performance. Snooker cues that are made from fine wood have the least likelihood of warping and those that do warp do so because of improper management and storage, or extreme temperatures. Therefore, the fault is not really in the cue or its quality but in its keeping.
Far-fetched as it may sound, a reputable cue company (e.g. Viking) usually spends around six months to make a single cue shaft. A cue takes almost two months to lathe down before the next lathing and this time-consuming process gives the wood enough time to dry and to do most of the warping that it is destined to do naturally.
Is It Worth It?
The process of making a high-end cue stick leads to a product of remarkable beauty and the craftsmanship along with the materials and production makes it too expensive. Such cue sticks can even cost more than a few $1000, but such pieces of beauty are almost always used as collectibles; thus, the quality of performance of the cue is ignored at this level.
Such cues contain ornaments and expensive stones along with various quality woods to add texture and beauty. Such woods are so elegant and look extremely beautiful. Among the most famous decorative cue makers are John Parris, Samsara, and George Balabushka.
The top-notch craftsmanship and elegance increase the prices of these cues to mind-baffling prices but such cues are the finest woods you will ever experience.
At the end, it all comes down to how much you are willing to pay. Even if you can afford these cues you must keep them away from kids; your kids should not even know that you own such elegant and expensive cues. If you’re looking to buy a snooker cue then these are the top cue manufacturers to buy a snooker cue from:
|Active since 1984
|$250 - $1000
|1 month – 1 year
|Active since 1987
|$150 - $1000+
|3 weeks – 6 months
|Active since 2007
|$250 - $5000
|6 months – 1 year+
|Active since 1984
|$150 - $500+
|1 week – 1 month+
|Active since 1990s
|$500 - $700 +
|1 week – 1 month+
Choosing the Right Length for Your Snooker Cue
One of the biggest concerns that people have when it comes to choosing the right Snooker cue for them is what length their Snooker cue should be. Though one would think a longer cue would provide more space to grip, having a long cue has some serious downsides as well. Players that are 6'4" and taller can use longer Snooker cues given they have the physical strength.
On the off chance that you frequently find yourself grabbing the end of your stick even out of habit rather than need, then getting a new Snooker cue will definitely be of benefit. Most custom cues have been created to perform truly well at your standard length. Many cue producers will just offer a 1/2" or 1" longer shaft as an approach to make the cue longer without losing its playability. Some cue producers will likewise make a marginally longer butt, as required. But keep in mind, not all cues—even those that are bought online—are fit for being stored in a normal cue case. Whenever you buy a custom or mass-produced cue, see if there’s a cue case to accompany it.
As cues get longer, the point of balance moves to the butt and the stick gets heavier. Both of these variables are essential to the vibe a player feels. You, for the most part, need to hold behind the balance point which causes the tip of the stick to stay up when held in your bridge hand. Any change in balance, even a 1/2", changes how the stick feels. Along these lines, making longer cues that perform well is a test for cue creators.
Most Snooker cues you find online are made for the standard: 58 inches long. They can differ between 16.5 to 20 ounces. You can get an assortment of tip sizes from 9 to 10mm for the most part, with the most prevalent being around 9.5mm to 10mm and relatively few players utilizing beneath unless they have had the cue for quite a while. When you go underneath 9mm you can lose quality in the pole and furthermore, having a smaller tip will influence the cue’s execution.
Most expert players use a 3/4 cue which has a joint around the 16-inch stamp with the balance of the cue between 17-18 inches from the butt, making it marginally forward balanced as opposed to a cue with an overwhelming butt.
The 3/4 cue is more focused on comfort rather than performance, compared to a one-piece and two-piece being used by experts, it hasn't been used professionally since the 80s. I don't think it has much effect, yet some think the weight and shaft react better in the 3/4 and 1pc cues.
My recommendation is, in case you're going longer, attempt simply including a couple inches. Much else besides 60" is likely going to be too much and prove to be obtrusive in your gameplay. Up until some time in the 1960s, Snooker cues were 57". In any case, players were shorter in those days. Standard length developed to 58" and cue producers went to chip away at making them perform well. 58" is still the standard today.
Here are some essential tips on picking the right cue for your body type. The majority of professionals playing Snooker pick their cue length to be around 5" shorter than their own shoulder level. Perhaps 6 inches for a very good reason. If you want to improve your game or if you’re looking to challenge yourself to be a better player, start with a 60-inch Snooker cue and then add or remove the length based on your preference. With a marginally longer cue, making those long shots becomes somewhat less demanding. As someone who had been using a small Snooker cue for quite a bit of my life, the move to longer cues was definitely a challenge but one that was worth it.
Choosing the Right Tip & Joint Position for Your Snooker Cue
THE CUE TIP
It’s seen often that the main thing that matters in a Snooker cue is the shaft and the first six inches. At the very end of this crucial zone is the Snooker cue tip. This is the place "where the magic happens". The Snooker cue tip is the place where the force from your Snooker cue is exchanged to the cue ball (with a little assistance from chalk) to bring about the aftereffects of precision, speed, and spin. As a result of how much impact a tip can have on your game, it is essential to pick the correct one.
In the event that you are someone who frequently plays in clubs, you may find that a 9mm or 9.5mm tip size is perfect, so you can deliver a strong hit to the cue ball on the cloth while retaining most of the impact force. In the event that you are playing on a cloth that professional Snooker players play on, which are super-fine and smooth, you don't need anything more than 10mm. There's very little resistance from the cloth, so when you play you need to add a bit of a spin to them if you want them to go anywhere but straight. This is where the cue tip comes in. Most experts use anything from 9mm to 10mm. John Higgins, one of the most famous Snooker players, uses a 9.75mm cue tip.
Each cue tip has its own specific features and use. Both small and large cue tips can prove to be exceptionally suited to your play style based on your preferences.
Larger tips provide more area that is covered when your tip comes in contact with the ball. A larger tip means the chances of you hitting the center of the cue ball are higher as well as reducing the margin of error.
Smaller tips are perfect for adding more speed to the shot and the reduction in the size doesn’t hold any considerable downsides. Having more skill is required to use a smaller tip. Additionally, a smaller tip can cause the ball to gain some spin momentum even when you don’t want to. This is because of the lack of coverage of the tip on the surface of the cue ball which results in an unsteady spin.
THE TIP WEIGHT
Another primary attribute to take a close look at while picking a Snooker cue tip is thickness and hardness. Tips fluctuate in hardness from "super soft" to being as hard as the cue ball itself. The hardness of the Snooker cue tip that you pick will rely upon your style of play and whether it is for a playing cue or a breaking Snooker cue.
Soft tips will assimilate more impact making the tip remain on the cue ball for a brief moment longer than harder tips. This will bring about more cue ball spin, usually alluded to as "English", when struck off the focal point of the cue ball. Softer tips have a tendency to get deformed quicker and will require more upkeep to keep a pleasantly adjusted shape and to settle any mushrooming when the tip swells out over the side of the ferrule. As a result of the extra support, softer tips wind up waiting to be replaced more often.
Medium tips are normally the go-to option for most Snooker players since they offer a blend of cue ball control and consistency. Most medium tips will get you a lot of spin yet don't get as distorted or become unusable as quickly as the softer tips. Almost all Snooker cue makers will add some type of a medium hardness tip on the cue as the standard tip. For instance, Predator, Poison, and Viking all come standard with medium layered cowhide tips which the player can customize further down the line.
Hard tips don't assimilate or remain on the cue ball as much at impact as a softer tip would. Along these lines, hard tips make less spin and are more at risk to miscue when striking the cue ball farther from the center of the cue ball. They will play all the more reliable, last longer, and require less support.
THE JOINT POSITION
As far as joint positions are concerned, it’s always best to go with something you are comfortable with. Be that as it may, there are surely remarkable qualities of these three types of cues, which are as follows.
Single piece or 1 pc cues: 1 pc cues have been the most supported among the Snooker player as they are thought to be produced using a solitary square of wood (the butt graft added to the single piece of wood). The player feels that being a solitary square of wood, the "hit" appears to be strong.
3/4 jointed cues are picking up prominence these days. An appropriately made 3/4 jointed cue will play on par with a 1 pc cue and will have a strong "hit" as well. The significant favorable position of the 3/4 cue is that it's anything but difficult to bear and the cue and case are not long in contrast with the 1 pc cues.
1/2 jointed cues were a wrath in the yesteryears. They have an indistinguishable preferred standpoint from that of a 3/4 jointed cue as far as transportation of the cues, yet there is a noteworthy downside. The middle joint can stall out in the jaw amid the cueing procedure and furthermore the joint being in the inside sort of takes out a small amount of the "hit" of the cue.
Picking the Right Design for Your Snooker Cue
To a large number of our people customization is a critical feature to consider when purchasing a Snooker cue. Keep in mind, no matter how cool the shaft or butt looks or whether you add an extra accessory, it won’t affect how you play in the slightest. But having a cue that looks professional to you helps you mentally by giving you the extra confidence you need to make those risky shots. Additionally, whether you’re using a decal or a design, there will be no effect on how you play the game. These are completely for looks. The design will influence the cost; the more exotic the design or extraordinary the wood you want to be used, the more you will have to pay.
Picking the Right Weight for Your Snooker Cue
There is definitely no “ideal” weight for the Snooker cues; however, as on the length there are multiple effects of reducing and increasing the weight of your Snooker cue. You may see sooner or later that your cue appears to be too light and thus does not feel like you totally control the shots. It may begin to feel somewhat unsteady and shaky. These are additionally the principal things that you see when you begin losing your game, so you should always take advice from professionals to observe if your shots are getting bad or that it’s your Snooker cue that simply is not the ideal weight. You can help your game now by getting a heavier cue but keep in mind finding the right weight for your cue can be much like an incurable disease.
Over the course of your Snooker playing experience, you’ll sometimes feel inclined towards a light Snooker cue and sometimes prefer heavier Snooker cues. So remember that you should not try to improve your game by buying a new cue each time but rather focus on sticking to one cue whose weight feels comfortable.
There are likewise times when your cue may begin to feel too light. This happens to everyone from time to time due to playing with the same Snooker cue for an extended period of time. At the point when your cue is too light, you may see that you tend to hit the ball too hard or too lightly. This happens because you cannot feel the impact like you should. Like I said before, you ought to feel the balls on your fingertips with the right Snooker cue! With the right Snooker cue, every impact your cue tip makes with the cue ball should feel like an extension of your own fingers.
The most common cue weight that is used by many manufacturers and even professionals is around 430-500g. That is the weight that they will more often than not recommend you when you will get your own custom Snooker cue. You’re likely to be inclined to buying one within this weight margin since Snooker clubs use similarly weighted cues. That is the weight that you are accustomed to playing with and that is the reason it feels normal in your grasp. When you buy a custom or over-the-counter Snooker cue, you might not want to go with what feels good in your hand in terms of weight. Since your performance has been consistent with a similarly weighted cue, getting a heavier or lighter cue would be the best option to improve your game.
Most players use cues that range from 430-500g whereas professional use cues that are more than 600g. So what should you settle for if you’re looking for an upgrade? It’s highly recommended that you go with 570g Snooker cue to give you the challenge you want without inconveniencing you when you play! This is on the grounds that regardless of the way that I am a power player by heart I do have a truly soft touch.
If you have soft hands, you can better control the speed at which you hit the ball and feel the impact more accurately. On the off chance that your hands are hard there is relatively low chance that you can pull this off with heavier cues. Be that as it may, in the event that you are in the center you ought to probably run with a cue that is somewhat lighter since it can help you feel the balls at your fingertips! Finding the perfect cue is as hard as finding a cue tip that fits your fingertips.
If you can’t decide on a weight for your cue, talk to a professional for further help.
The Major Cue Producer
If you’re looking for the finest Snooker cue, then you need the best cue producer to make it for you. Parris Cues is a major cue producer that supplies their magnificent cues throughout the world. Parris Cues is one of the most renowned, high-quality, and reputable producer of cues that have been used throughout the world ranging from casual to professional use in major tournaments.
Will a More Expensive Cue Make Me a Better Player?
As we’ve said before, no matter how good a cue is, how good you are depends entirely on how much skill you have. There are more than a few people that buy high price cues, some even go as far as to have professionals make cues for them but that doesn’t make them better at any kind of game that involves cues.
A cue is only a tool and how you use it relies completely on how good you are at using it. Rather, an amateur is highly unlikely to be able to tell the difference between a cue used in Snooker clubs and a cue made by Parris Cues besides the latter looking better.
As stated above, the best way to determine what cue is right for you is to see what you’re comfortable playing with. Each cue’s length, tip, joint, and weight come together to make a synergy that is unique to it. Mass produced Snooker cues are made for the basic needs of playing Snooker and don’t provide any special features that hinder newcomers from getting into the sport.
If you’re a seasoned player then following this guide for finding the right Snooker cue will definitely help you on your quest to find a cue that feels perfect in your hands.