Everyone wants to get value for their money when purchasing either at a physical or online market. This is no different when getting pool cues, and it is often not about how much money you spend.
The pricing of a cue is not necessarily how it plays. It is more about the quality of construction and materials.
Getting more bang for the buck is more important, and we will be helping you weed through numerous options that promise this.
We have compiled a list of pool cues we think that has great value for money to narrow down your search, highlighting their strengths and negligible weaknesses.
And yes, there is something for every budget.
Here are the top 5 pool cues for the money:
- Players Technology Series HXT15
- Lucasi Custom Birds-Eye Maple Sneaky Pete Cue
- Cuetec Graphite Series 2-Piece Pool Cue
- KONLLEN Carbon Fiber Pool Cue
- Viking Valhalla 100 Series
1. Players Technology Series HXT15 Two-Piece Cue
Having used high- and low-price points pool cues, the inexpensive Players HXT15 two-piece cue offers value for money with its smooth low-deflection shaft and an excellent tip often found only in expensive cues.
If you have a greater than $200 but less than $300 budget for a pool cue, you should consider the Players HXT15.
Its ferrule reduces the chances of the cue ball bouncing off course on being hit from the left or right side.
Its deflection is pretty accurate, and if you were using a normal-deflection shaft before switching to this, you will notice a marked difference for a few days and quickly get used to it.
Its 12.75mm glue-on Kamui Black soft tip provides good feedback, has a good grip and is durable.
You should be able to use it for some months before it will require replacement if you don’t chalk aggressively.
Also, the 12.75mm diameter provides a better chance of hitting the cue ball as intended.
Its Irish linen wrap is easy to clean and allows for a good grip.
It has different weight options, from 18 to 21 ounces. You should feel each to get which feels most comfortable to handle.
Whichever allows you to hit the cue ball at the right pace and speed and transmits enough power to the ball is your best shot. The 19 oz cue stick did this for me.
Having used this for a while at the start of my billiard journey, it adequately provided consistency and good play.
It has a standard pin for aftermarket shafts, so you can easily swap your shafts.
The butt does not add as much feel to the cue as the shaft and tip, and this cue delivers a smooth straight shaft and a good tip.
You might have heard that how a cue feels in your hands also plays a part in making a choice. This wooden cue felt right.
It is also very easy to move around with as a two-piece cue and can be taken on trips.
Recommended read: Top Pool Cues
2. Lucasi Custom Birds-Eye Maple Sneaky Pete Cue
Its Uni-Loc joint and upgraded low-defection shaft make this sneaky Pete cue worth buying at its current price.
While it is more expensive than the Players HXT15, it is more affordable than some popular cues like Predator for the extra but useful feature it possesses.
While it might look simple, it is super fun to play with. It features an imitation mother-of-pearl inlay, a wood-to-wood Uni-Loc quick-release joint, and an upgraded Lucasi Custom Solid Core low-deflection technology shaft.
Its straight, 29-inches long, Zero Flexpoint shaft with pro taper has minimal vibration and deflection, and it offers a very crisp hit.
Its classy wood finish and pearl inlays make it really beautiful.
However, it attracts very little attention, which is great because being in control and delivering great play is the kind of attention we need.
It comes with a hard leather tip which is not so soft but does the job.
The standard 12.75mm diameter offers enough width for a square hit.
This cue has an adjustable weight system. It is available in 18 to 21 ounces, in a 0.5-ounce increment. All, though, maintain a 58-inches length.
It is one of the best pool cues for your money for its balance, smooth stroke, and precise hit.
Since it is wrapless, you can get a pair of billiard gloves if you prefer a different feel. I used it wrapless, and even with sweaty palms, I still had a pretty good grasp on it.
What $500+ pool cues deliver in play is what you get for more than $100 less.
Recommended read: Advanced Pool Cues
3. Cuetec Graphite Series 2-Piece Pool Cue
The Cuetec Graphite two-piece pool cue is a great addition to your collection. Its durability, being straight as an arrow, and being well-balanced are its main strengths.
It comes with a 13mm Tiger Everest tip, polycarbonate ferrule, shaft with fiberglass, and a Veltex wrap. It is a 58-inches pool cue and is weight adjustable.
Its ferrule is sturdy, although being a carbon shaft, it picks up moisture, thus causing friction.
But, having a small fiber cloth will solve this. Just clean your palms and the stick at intervals.
Another impressive thing about this pool cue is its durability. I had one for over four years, and all I needed to change was the tip.
Its Tiger Everest multi-layer tip works great at first with a bit of shaping but wears out fast, so you will need to replace it after a little while.
But with a 13mm diameter, it is a great cue stick for amateurs for landing shots on the cue ball. With a tip that wide, miscues are fairly rare.
Its 15 ½ inches pro taper power bonded shaft feels perfect and delivers a solid strike. If you need to make distant shots with maximum control, it delivers smoothly. It is made of Super Slim Taper bonded to maple.
It is highly resistant to wear and tear. Its maple bonding and graphite feature protect it from warps and dents, which means you will be using it for a long time.
This gives it an edge over a wooden shaft.
You can change the weights between 18 and 21 oz for more weight and balance. You have to unscrew the butt cap and attached bumper and add the extra weight in half or one-ounce increments.
The Veltex wrap provides a good grip and is pretty sweat-resistant, making it easy to handle. It also has an enhanced glide finish that makes delivering smooth and accurate strokes easier.
4. KONLLEN Carbon Fiber Pool Cue
If you want a carbon fiber pool cue that’s much cheaper than the Cuetec Graphite Pool Cue, the KONLLEN carbon fiber pool cue is a great choice. You get not just a carbon fiber cue but a reliable cue butt with it.
It features a very straight low-deflection shaft with a great taper and is exceptionally smooth. It delivers a solid hit although with less feedback, noticeably different from a wooden cue.
It comes with a cowhide grip which absorbs sweat and won’t slip off your hands easily. It also has a 3/8 x 8 radial joint and has high transmission strength.
The carbon fiber shaft is made of aerospace-grade pure carbon fiber composite material. While the cue feels light, it gives a powerful hit each time.
Its 12mm yellow tip is pretty hard, which I had to adjust to at first since I prefer softer tips, and I only started using this after I developed better skills because a 12mm diameter felt too slim at first.
If you are used to 12.75mm or 13mm diameter tips, this will require some getting used to.
This is a great pick if you don’t want to break the bank for a carbon cue. It feels great, and its deflection difference is negligible.
Recommended read: Pool Cues for Under $200
5. Viking Valhalla 100 Series Pool Cue
This is the cheapest pool cue on this list.
It gives fair play and allows you to stock up as many as possible with its price point.
It is a 58-inch two-piece pool cue with a standard 5/16 inches x 18 inches threaded joint, a 13mm diameter tip, a high-impact resin ferrule, a maple shaft with pro taper, and a slightly hard leather tip.
It is well-balanced and easy to maneuver around. As earlier mentioned, how straight a cue stick is and how good its tip is affected playability, and this cue stick offers more than its money’s worth with both.
Its tip is well-rounded, and it has a solid joint. It is comfortable to hold and gives a pretty good grip.
If you are a casual player and won’t be spending $200 or more on a cue stick, go for the Viking Valhalla 100.
How to Choose a Pool Cue
While choosing a pool cue has a lot to do with personal preference and budget, other important things should influence your decision.
Owning the right cue for the game ensures that you have a place at the table and plays a huge role in how the game turns out for you.
The most important things to look out for are the shaft, shaft diameter, cue tip, cue length, and joint type.
One thing that has worked for many is trying out different types of cues before purchasing. It could be your friends’ pool cues or those at bars.
Trying out as many cues as possible helps you discover what works best for you in terms of length and weight, what feels most comfortable, and improves your play.
Let’s get to what you should look out for when choosing a cue with or without prior knowledge.
Recommended read: Break Cues
The shaft is a vital part of the cue.
As earlier mentioned, when choosing the best pool cues for the money, we gave priority to the shaft and tip.
They contribute to your game more than any other part of the pool cue.
There are different types of shafts; regular deflection shafts and low deflection shafts.
The regular deflection shafts employ no specialized technology to reduce how much your cue ball veers off course when hit from the sides. But with practice, you can manage to control this.
On the other hand, the low-deflection shafts employ specialized technology aimed at reducing ‘squirt.’
They reduce how much your cue ball deviates upon contact from the cue stick when you deliver side spin shots.
If you are an amateur, low-deflection shafts give you an advantage, putting you almost on the same level as experienced players using standard shafts for side spin shots.
While their experience keeps the ball from going off course, your low deflection pool cue makes up for inexperience.
The shaft diameter is something you should also look out for.
It is the diameter across the tip of the cube. Most pool cues come with a 12.75mm or 13mm diameter.
Note that while a 13mm shaft diameter pool cue might make it easier for amateurs to hit the cue ball, it is difficult to put a spin on it, and they are often found on pool cues that cost between $50 to $100.
Those with a 12.75mm shaft diameter are much better, and anything above $100 usually offers this.
This part comes in direct contact with the cue ball, and they either come soft or hard.
The soft cue tips are better because they put a lot of spin on the ball but wear out fast.
On the other hand, the hard cue tips don’t give enough spin on shots but last longer.
Usually, the diameter of the shaft is also the diameter of the cue tip.
Cue tips with smaller diameters often require more skills to play with, while those with larger diameters work great for beginners keen on landing shots.
Also, a soft tip often gives the most backspin because it compresses a little during the shot, allowing the cue tip to ‘grip’ the cue ball better. Hence, you can hit lower on a cue ball and not miscue.
For draw shots, hard tips will have you miscue-ing much more often when you hit lower on the cue ball.
Recommended read: How Many Pool Cues Do You Really Need?
Most professionals use cues that weigh between 18.5 to 19.8 ounces. Lighter cues give you more control over the cue ball, while heavier ones help you hit shots straighter but give you lesser control over the cue ball.
Anything between 19 to 21 ounces should be great, except if you find anything heavier and more comfortable.
Weight-adjustable cues make it easy to find what weight works for you. Also, what a cue gains in weight often makes up for in length.
For example, if a cue weighs 23 ounces, being about 66 inches long might make it feel lighter, but a 23-ounce cue with a 58-inch length will most likely feel heavier. This, though, depends on the height and weight of the handler.
Again, a good pool cue is not determined by how expensive it is.
When choosing a pool cue, set a budget.
For beginners, pool cues between $80 to $100 will work just fine until you get the hang of the game and have gathered some skills.
Pro players often choose higher-end pool cues in the $500 to $2000 range, but you don’t have to spend that much.
Many pool cues offer the best features for $250 to $400.
The length of the right cue for you largely depends on you. Height plays an important role here. It is recommended that shorter people ditch longer cues.
Any standard two-piece cue 58 inches long can be used by people who are 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet 5 inches tall.
Taller people can consider longer cues. They can get cues that are 60 inches or longer. This, though, is not compulsory. If you handle a 58 inches pool cue just fine, go for it.
However long your cue might be, make sure it is as straight as an arrow. This is a key factor to consider, especially when getting a two-piece cue.
The joint refers to the point where the shaft and the butt of the cue meet, often in two-piece cues.
The Uni-Loc joint is the highest quality joint and is found in many two-piece cues in the $200 and above range. Because it’s pretty universal, you can easily attach it to the taper when you get a new shaft.
The Stainless steel joint collar also comes second to the Uni-Loc joint in terms of durability.
Cues with this joint give a stiff hit, so you don’t feel any reverberations in the cue when it hits the ball.
The implex collar joint and 5/16 x 18 joint are other types of joints popularly found on cheaper pool cues, and while they work just fine, they are of lower quality than the first two.
Pool cues with Uni-Loc or stainless steel joints are highly recommended if your budget can accommodate them.
We hope you find this guide helpful in choosing the best pool cue for you.
This list of the best pool cues for the money has considered pool cues of different prices, stating what you stand to gain if you decide to get any. We also looked at six essential things you should look out for and that will help you choose a cue that rocks.
Mike Woodward is the Founder & CEO of Minibar Online. He has played pool and billiards for almost two decades. He also tests the latest pool cues, pool balls and other gear from Cuetec, Predator, Lucasi and other pool/billiards brands. He currently lives in San Diego, California where he plays a lot of competitive matches.