No matter the sport or activity, it can be tough to get a knack for it right off the bat. Provided, of course, you aren’t one of the lucky few. The so-called ‘naturals.’ Pool, despite the way it might look to the naked eye, is actually much harder than it appears and certainly falls in this category. It’s about as frustrating as golf to be a beginner. The best way to get yourself better is to start with the right cue. A beginner is only going to be as good as his or her equipment, and today we’ll be taking a look all into it with our buying guide. We’ll also be reviewing the best and most popular pool cues for beginners. So, sit back and take it all in!
Top Pool Cues for Beginners Comparison Chart
|Name||Length||Tip Size||Price||Where to Buy?|
|Players Classic Birds Eye Maple||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Rage 25oz Heavy Hitter Jump Break Cue||14mm||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Iszy Billiards 48 Inch 2 Piece Hardwood Maple Cue||48 in||13mm||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Viking Valhalla Cue With Irish Linen Wrap||58 in||13mm||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Cuetec Canadian Maple Prestige Series||58 in||13mm||$$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Imperial Premier Cyclone Pool House Cue||52 in||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Viper Underground Raven Pool Cue||58 in||13mm||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Iszy Billiards 23 Ounce Canadian Maple Cue||58 in||13mm||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|McDermott Classic Pool Cue Kit||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|McDermott 42 Inch Training Youth Kids Pool Cue||42 in||$||Check Price on Amazon|
Pool Cues for Beginners Buying Guide
Why Buy My Own Cue?
A lot of people will ask why in the world would they want their own cue? Also, why does it matter which one I use? Maybe you are someone that goes to bars and clubs and plays in the first case, and you just don’t see why it’s essential to have your own. If that’s your feeling, then you’d be glad to know, perhaps, that the club’s cue might not be up to standard. Since you haven’t seen every single use of the cue you just picked up, you won’t know if it’s warped or straight. It also won’t fit exactly to you, either. It could be too long or too short and it might be slippery to you. This is why it’s so paramount that you know, recognize, and appreciate having your own cue. It puts you in your own little zone and allows you to control your own destiny instead of letting it be decided by what amounts to basically a random draw.
What You Need As a Newbie
Being a beginner, as we’ve stated, is not the easiest thing to do. You want to get up to speed quickly so that you will be right up their among your friends and family, but a lot of times you will overdo it by being too desperate to catch up. A lot of people make the mistake as beginners of assuming that they need the top tier equipment that is out on the market. This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, you don’t need or want to be playing with junk, but you also don’t have any reason to spend a fortune on your very first cue. In fact, sticking to a good, basic cue that feels comfortable to you is the most important thing that you could do. There is no reason to spend over triple digits, and you should never be left with a cue that doesn’t feel good specifically to you. Don’t take someone else’s word for it; do your own thing. You’ll be much happier by doing so!
We have already went over this a little bit above, but here is where we will take further time to restate it. The price you pay for a cue as a beginner should not be so substantial that you can’t afford it. There should be no second mortgage taken out (we kid, of course) or anything of the like. The most important aspect is to find a cue that is comfy and fits you well. In fact, more expensive cues will not be a good fit for you to use at all when you start because you won’t even be able to use them properly. Using one could hold you back, so make sure and stay within a reasonable price range as you start your pool playing journey.
The materials that are used for the pool stick are going to be essential to how long it lasts and how well it will play as well. Don’t forget that there are two main parts of the cue to examine: the stick and the wrap. Both parts are going to need to be looked at, so it is possible that one area could be in much, much better shape than the other one is. A good material used for the wrap is going to ensure that you have an easier time gripping the cue. This doesn’t seem like the biggest deal to you, but the least bit of slippage can negatively affect your ability and desire to play the game. The materials that are going to be suggested for beginners for their wrap will be either linen or nylon. Both are strong and durable, but they also will not cause uncomfort to form. On top of that, they are also going to give you the right grip that is required.
As far as the stick itself is concerned, maple is the king as it relates to pool. This material is preferable for beginners because it is much more durable than other materials that can be used, such as other woods or plastics. In fact, a lot of cues, even ones meant for advanced players, will incorporate this material in them. Maple of all kinds is best because it is a hard wood, which will mean it can resist warping and those dents dings that your cue will inevitably take over time. If given a choice, you want to go with North American Hard Rock Maple. This type is even better because of its incredible resilience and durability.
With that said, there are other types of materials that you can use to do a good job with as well. Materials like fiberglass and graphite are also going to be exceptional when it comes to providing durability, too. Graphite is used in golf drivers, so you know that it will hold up over and over while still being light in weight. Fiberglass is also light and can take a beating. It’s really just dependent on how you want and how they make you feel. Some people absolutely love them, while others just prefer to stick with normal wood. But they are definitely an upgrade on softer woods, especially as it relates to beginners.
This is why you should look to avoid cues that come from big box stores. Those cues are very cheap sure, but just because they are cheap does not make them very good. Since they are made from plastic, they will not be very durable at all. They can bend and break, and you might not even realize that they are not straight until it is too late and you’ve already made contact with the ball. At that point, you’re kind of stuck.
Before we move on, a simple rule of thumb will help you in your search. When it comes to cues, there is a way to distinguish them from one another. If the cue is made from a softer material, then it will be better for more controlled shots. If it is harder, then the cue will work better when you are going to be going for power and stronger shots. What this means is that a better player would need a softer material to use to make them as best as they can be, while a beginner would want something stronger since they are naturally going to be making mistakes when they first get their start anyway. A lot of players will even go so far as to use one stick for breaking and one for normal play as a result of this.
Getting the feel for your cue is essential, we already know that. But weight is a big contributing factor to doing just that. This is one of those things that is just going to be very subjective. You could be a strong player that generates a lot of power and will not need a lot weight. Or you could be strong but lack the technique and want a larger cue. Same goes for smaller players. It’s really just up to you.
Most sticks will be measured in ounces, and they the vast majority will come in half ounce increments. So this makes it possible to get the same stick with several different weights to it. This might be a tiny bit confusing, but it’s really just the same idea as with baseball bats. They will look the same and be made of the same stuff. They just won’t have the same weight!
A good idea that will help you find what is best for you is to go somewhere and play with different weights. This will give you a feel of all sorts of different cues and then you can go from there. Just look and see what they say and get that weight and then go from there. Just remember that a heavier cue will produce a harder, stronger shot.
An area of the cue that might go a little bit under the radar to many is the ‘joint.’ Most cues, at least the good ones are going to come in two pieces, as you probably already know. The shaft and the butt are those two pieces, with the shaft being the part that hits the ball and the butt being the end that you hold. Pretty simple and common sense. The joint, though, is the link between the two pieces. This area needs to also be of a high quality, or it will not lead to good results. The best material for the joint is metal, so that will be most commonly used. It’s all about feel, though, so if you find something you like and are seeing results then you should stick with it.
The shaft, as we talked about above, is the piece that gets down to the business, if you will, of it all. The tip is the piece of the puzzle that will be doing the hard work, since it will be the thing that comes into contact with the ball. For obvious reasons, this is a part that can’t be overlooked. It must be made out of a good material since it will erode very quickly if it’s not. The tip is also going to determine how well you are able to hit certain types of shots. For example, a tip that is flat is going to be awesome when you are wanting to hit straight shots. However, a tip that is rounded is great for those tricky spin shots that require that little extra level of finesse to pull them off. This is, once again, going to depend on your own playing style, but a beginner would be best served to go with a flatter tip in most cases. This type is also going to be bigger as well, so there will be added forgiveness should you fail to make perfect contact with the ball.
It should be very much common sense that you cue needs to be straight, but this fact often goes unmentioned or overlooked and it can lead to a lot of frustration for a new player. In bars and clubs, as we have discussed previously, it’s not uncommon to see that a cue is not perfectly straight. This is a hard thing to catch by many since they just pick one up and get to playing, but it can have a pronounced effect on the game you play. In addition to not allowing you to make shots that you should be making, it also can damage your pool table as well. This makes getting straightness not only necessary for your level of play but also so that you don’t damage your stuff. Generally speaking, the more money you spend the better the straightness will be. But that doesn’t mean you’ve got to buy the most expensive ones out there. It just means you may want to not go with that one off the shelf two aisles over from where you bought your food.
Taking Care of Your Cue
Durability is a major consideration whenever you buy a pool cue, or any type of sports equipment for that matter, but a lot of that has to do with how well, or poorly, you are going to treat your stuff. A good stick with decent quality and materials is going to be able to go a long way, but even the best of sticks will take a literal beating if you don’t treat them well. Being gentle when you can do so is vital to increasing the lifespan of your stick. This means you shouldn’t be hammering with it, hitting the table when you miss shots, throwing it, or any number of similar things. It also means you need to use it properly and try not to ding it up on the table by goofing off. The cue can get lopsided over time thanks to harder hits and by fooling around, so you should take care of it. Always putting it up after use is another way to make sure it won’t be damaged and that it stays as clean as possible. Many cues will come with carrying cases, and this is where you should store them. Either that or you could go with a rack that hangs up on the wall so that you can slide the stick in there and go. Using chalk on your cue is also a big one. The tip is only going to be able to do so much without having chalk on it, so you should use it as needed. Of course, you shouldn’t use too much, either, unless you just really want your table to look like a complete mess. At the end of the day, even the worst, most junky sticks can last much longer than they were intended if you treat them well and use common sense. This is pool and there is contact to be made, so you will see scuffs here and there. But there is no reason to treat your things harshly, unless you just really want them to not last very long!
The Top Ten Pool Cues for Beginners Reviews
1. Players Classic Birds Eye Maple
This is not one of the more inexpensive items on the list, but as a consequence of that you can rest assured that you are getting close to the utmost in quality. By using an Irish linen wrap, a stainless steel joint, and maple for the upper part of the stick, it’s going to be durable enough for a beginner to take a few difficult and awful shots with and still hold up. The tip used is premium in nature, holding its shape for a longer period of time and allowing you to get a good, consistent hit each time. This is not available to you with most random sticks you find at the bar or the store, so it’s very much necessary to improve your level of play. It also comes with a warranty and is able to be bought in three colors and several weights, ranging from 18 to 21 ounces.
- Very durable
- Top of the line materials for beginners
- Lots of choices
2. Rage 25oz Heavy Hitter Jump Break Cue
If you want a really heavy stick to go with, then this is the kind you will want to turn to. Dubbed super heavy by some at 25 ounces, this stick is going to allow you to hit more powerful shots, break better, and to also jump as well. This obviously then means that it will need to be built better, and it is in order to stand up to the torture it has to go through continually. By using Maple at the top, it’s going to be strong and able to take the hits time and time again. With a matte finish on the handle it not only looks very cool but it’s also going to be easy to grip and feel great in your hands. The tip is also reinforced to be larger and stronger than most, since it is the calling card of this stick after all. All of it comes in at a decent, affordable price, too, making it a good choice for someone needing that additional power.
- Very powerful stick
- Built to last
- Looks extremely cool
- Heavy for some
3. Iszy Billiards 48 Inch 2 Piece Hardwood Maple Cue
At a much more budget price than the first two comes this piece from Iszy that is geared for a shorter, smaller player. At either 18 or 19 ounces, you will be generating your own power with this one. With that said, it’s going to be good for training you since you will have a lot more control over it than with others out there that are readily available. The materials are still not classified as soft, even if the stick is lighter than most others out there. So that means it will hold up well, despite the lack of cost. It also means that the tip is harder than most of the more advanced ones. Once again, this is a good thing for the beginner, seeing as how you need durability and to get a nice balance between control and some power. It’s really awesome for smaller tables and spaces, since it fits in so nicely and for kids and smaller adults but might not be the best for bigger places and those that are larger.
- Easy to control
- Very good price
- Great for small spaces
- Not the best for bigger people
4. Viking Valhalla Cue With Irish Linen Wrap
With a medium price range, relative to the above two, the Viking Valhalla is one of the best looking cues you will find out there, and certainly on our list. Available in a number of colors, all of which look like they were crafted by artisans, these are just beautiful. On top of that, they have four weights to go along with a length of 58 inches. The tip is made out of leather to help aid in your control as well as having Irish linen at the handles to increase your grip. Wit a lifetime warranty to them, you can feel much more confident in them holding up while you work to make your game as best as it can possibly be. This is definitely a good choice if you are ready to take it up a notch with your own stick.
- Beautiful looks
- Great control
- Warranty breeds confidence
5. Cuetec Canadian Maple Prestige Series
Cuatec is well known for being one of the companies that uses materials other than Maple, but this is one of their Maple offerings. This one is the most expensive on our list so far, so you need to be a little more serious as a beginner, but it still represents a lot of value for your buck. One way it does that is by using a shaft that is designed to make you feel the same after each hit. Consistency leads to results, and it shows. With a grip that will alleviate any moisture residing on your hands, you can count on good grip. It even has the capability of having the weights adjusted, increasing your options tenfold to better suit you and your own personal game.
- Won’t slip
- Weight can be adjusted
- Very consistent
- Most expensive so far
6. Imperial Premier Cyclone Pool House Cue
With three lengths to pick from and a very, very manageable price, it’s easy to see why so many have turned to this cue as a starter set. Contrary to what the price would suggest, they are made out of hard rock maple and have gone through a thorough assembly process that allowed the wood to settle before being finished completely. With the options available, you can find a really good and fairly durable cue for young players and smaller people as well here, since they have a 42 inch option available for you to pick. There are some issues, however. While it is durable, they have shown to be a little curved in their shape. Others have had issues taking them apart as well, leading to a lot of annoyance. But for the price, you can expect some issues here and there.
- Super low price
- Great for kids
- Very durable
- Pieces are hard to dissemble
- Some curvature spotted
7. Viper Underground Raven Pool Cue
Viper’s Underground here is a good choice for those that want a mid ranged price cue that will send a message of sorts to opponents. With a tattoo design and Canadian maple, it’s going to not only look cool but also will be pretty durable as well. The joints used are made out of stainless steel, which is going to increase your comfort level and the consistency at which you hit the ball. The tip is made from leather and there is a traditional rubber stopper at the ends to prevent any accidents from causing too much damage around the house. With different weights and lengths available, you’ll be sure to have an answer that’s just for you. The tip isn’t as soft as some would like, representing a possible negative.
- Nice, hip looks
- Very durable
- Consistency provided
- Tip is a little hard
8. Iszy Billiards 23 Ounce Canadian Maple Cue
Iszy comes back into the list here with another offering, this time being slightly more expensive thanks to a heavier cue. This one isn’t the heaviest on the list, but it gets close at 23 ounces. Made from Canadian maple, it will serve you well and hold up over time. It’s not much in the way of looks, just a regular black stick, so that might be a slight downer to you. It is a leather tip, so it will give a nice mixture of power and control to you. It’s definitely a good stick to break with, since it will hold up much better than others hat aren’t as heavy.
- Excellent for breaks
- Very strong and durable
- Very good price
- Hard to get used to
9. McDermott Classic Pool Cue Kit
If you are looking for the entire package, then it’s going to be hard to overlook this kit from McDermott. Featuring a case, chalk, and a scuffer to work on your tips with, along with the cue, you get it all here. And better yet, it’s for a very reasonable price. This has made it one of the top sellers out there on the market and means it is desirable among beginners. It’s made from Michigan maple and has a tip that is of a high quality leather. It does only come in one size and it doesn’t have linen at the bottom but it still has acrylics and has made a lot of fans from the design choice and the feel it exhibits. One thing that people have had problems with is the bag, so that is a disappointment for sure.
- Package deal at a good price
- Strong and durable
- Nice feel
- Bag has issues
10. McDermott 42 Inch Training Youth Kids Pool Cue
Truly sticking to the theme of a beginner stick is this cue from McDermott that is designed to teach kids how to play without damaging everything around them. While it is not your traditional stick, and thus it makes the bottom of the list because of that very reason, it has a unique cue ball at the end of a one piece stick so that it won’t tear up the felt. This is just so you can learn proper contact with the ball. It’s very much for kids that are beginning, but it was well worth a mention here since it has such good teaching capabilities.
- Great for learners
- Awesome for kids
- Won’t tear up your stuff
- Only for kids
Conclusion And Final Pool Cues for Beginners Recommendations
The game of pool is much, much harder than it appears at first glance. It looks like you would just need to hit the white ball as hard as you can into the others and then they will fall. But there is so much more. From geometrical problems to do in your head to strategy calls to advanced trick shots, there is all sorts of stuff to learn before you are truly proficient at it. A good cue is a good place to start, but even that can be tough to grasp when you’ve just began your trek through the world of billiards. After our guide today, however, you’ll be much better prepared to hit the tables with your own stick that will have you moving up the ladder in no time flat!