Expensive Pool Cues – Do They Really Make a Difference?
Pool players have so many options when it comes to the weapon they choose at the pool table. Cues come in a variety of quality, technology and visual appeal. This makes looking for cues a lot of fun, but it can be a little overwhelming.
In this article, we’re going to address a common question in the billiards world – are expensive pool cues really worth the price?
Spoiler alert – we suspect most players will be happy with our conclusion.
To start, let’s discuss pool cue prices and why they cost as much as they do.
How Much Do Pool Cues Cost?
Quality pool cues can cost anywhere from around $100 to $3000 or more. This is a massive price range, but many factors go into the pricing of pool cues.
Here are a 4 of the most important things that determine pool cue price:
- Cue materials
- Shaft and tip technology
- Appearance and custom work
- Brand recognition
Now, we’ll go into more detail about each of the above factors, and explain why some cues are more expensive than others.
Why Are Some Pool Cues So Expensive?
Pool cues can be very expensive, and this is mostly due to the materials, technology and engineering, and custom work and time that goes into creating high end cues. “Expensive” is a relative term, but it’s generally understood that any cue around $800 to $1000 or more is considered expensive.
When cues start to reach this range, some can be considered collectibles to the right people, if they are made by a skilled cue maker.
There are different things pool cues can be made out of. These can include:
- Wood (typically maple or ash)
- Carbon fiber
When it comes to cost of materials, the shaft portion of the cue is what typically makes the difference. Carbon fiber will be more expensive than any other material.
But, there are also pool cues made with exotic woods that can be intricately shaped and carved, and placed in the butt of the cue. These exotic woods can be very expensive – some of the most expensive include Bocote, Purple Heart, and Ebony, among others.
2. Cue Technology
The technology that goes into higher dollar pool cues can include the following:
- Hybrid shafts that include wood and carbon fiber
- Increased density technology for lower deflection
- Taper options
- Optimized cue joints
- Additional weights you can place into the cue
Cue technology continues to evolve, and it’s difficult to tell which advances actually make a difference, and which ones are simply inflated so cue marketing departments have more to talk about.
Either way, technology costs money, and unless you’re buying a one-piece sneaky pete bar cue, you’ll be paying for some type of enhanced technology.
3. Custom Designs & Appearance
This is arguably the most fun part about pool cue construction, but it can mean spending a lot more money. There are so many skilled cue builders that make amazing, hand-crafted cues. No matter what type of pool cue you can imagine, someone out there will be able to make it.
Custom pool cue work can take many forms, but some of the most common are:
- Exotic wood inlays (placed in the butt end and behind the grip of the cue)
- Rare stones
- Detailed woodwork and engraving
Custom cues will routinely cost $1000 or more. They won’t likely be an option for most pool players out there, simply due to the cost. But at the same time, sought after custom cues will hold their value better over time because of how rare and unique they are.
Some custom builders will come out with public cue releases, but you usually have to be quick to snag them, because there are many players who want a stunning cue that will also improve their game.
4. Brand Recognition
We’ll discuss one last factor that goes into cue cost – brand importance.
For anyone familiar with billiards, there are several brands that come to mind, such as:
There are many more, but one thing we know is this – When you create a brand that people love, and foster your own billiards community, people will pay for your cues.
These brands have some cues that are more affordable than others, but since they are so established, you often won’t find a great cue for less than $200 or $300. But that’s not to say that their cues are overpriced – they certainly aren’t.
If you find a cue you love, and become loyal to a brand, that’s awesome. It’s hard to find companies you can appreciate and trust nowadays.
Does Cue Price Determine Quality?
Players need to know this – pool cue price does not equal quality. Paying more for a cue does not exactly mean you will play better. We have all gotten stuck in this mindset before, simply because we have been conditioned to believe this our whole lives.
Some cues are identical, even though they cost different amounts. This can be because of man hours, material availability, etc.
It’s up to the player to determine what they value in a cue. This can depend on many factors. What matters most when playing pool is the player’s fundamentals and mental toughness. The cue they have in their hand is mostly just a tool.
Do You Need an Expensive Pool Cue?
We have good news! You don’t need to go broke to have success with a pool cue. There are many very skilled players out there who don’t own expensive cues.
Expense is relative, but what’s most important is that you simply have a budget you are comfortable with, and make a list of what you want in a cue.
Then, buy a cue within your budget. Maybe, if you are good enough over the long-term, you can make some extra cash and buy “better” cues as your game evolves!
Are Expensive Cues Worth It?
Expensive cues can be worth it to some, and not worth it to others. It really depends on the player and what they value most in a cue. If you’ve tried all kinds of different cues, there has likely been a time when you had more success with a cheaper cue.
Our recommendation would be to find a reasonably-priced cue you are comfortable with, and really get to know that cue. Make it your best friend. Once you know exactly what to expect out of it, your opponents won’t be happy!
Good luck at the tables, and Happy Shooting!