Sports are always good for your health even including indoor sports. These sports motivate us to compete and our mind also becomes active as we have to make certain decisions while playing. Among indoor activities, we have a variety of cue sports including billiards, pool, snooker, and even carom billiards. In this article, we are going to give a complete guide for equipment related to cue sports.
One thing in common with all these is that they are all played on a table, using Cues to hit balls. So I felt it was fair to break this article down into these common factors and their accessories
First of all, before we learn about all the different types of equipment available, let’s learn a little about the different types of cue sports.
Pool comes in a variety of games, 8-ball, 9-ball and straight pool are some common games. depending on the game will depend on how it is played as they all have slightly different rules. in general, you need to hit the cue ball with the aim to pocket the object ball.
In general, the players use 22 balls in snooker of which one is a cue ball and 15 are red balls. The colors of the ball include yellow, brown, black, pink, green, and blue. You need to hit one red and one colored ball. Red ball gives you one point and the number of earned points determines if you are a winner or not.
In this game, the player has to play with three balls with colors red, yellow and white of which white and yellow are cue balls. This game needs two players or two teams on both sides. The match starts after a string. It also involves points that a player achieves through a winning hazard, losing hazard or through cannon. A key difference about the tables used is they have no pockets. Just like pool, Billiards have many different types of games.
Different type of cues
You need something to hit the ball, so a pool stick is what we need to do the job with, which is also known as a cue. Generally, it is 55-inch-long, however, the length varies and can go up to 58 inches. the top of the cue has the tip and the bottom of the cue has the butt, the bit in the middle is the shaft.
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Material for pool cue
- Wood Pool Cue
- Fiber Glass Cue
- Hybrid Cue
Cue for which level
- Beginner Level Cues
- Intermediate Level Cues
- Professional Cues
Types of cues
- American Pool Cue
- English Cue
- Snooker Cue
- Kids’ Cues
- Break Cues
- Sneaky Pete Cues
- Custom Made Cues
Pool cue varies in size, material, weight, and color. The game determines the type of pool cue you use. if you were playing 8-ball then you wouldn’t want to use a snooker cue as pool balls are too heavy and big for the snooker cue to handle.
Cue is not always in wood as there are also fiberglass and hybrid cues. Let’s explore them all.
Wood Pool Cue
Maple wood is the most common wood type being used to make pool cues. It is very strong. However, other wood types include ash wood, ivory, pine, ebony, coco bolo, Brazilian rosewood, olive wood, black wood, and bocote, and ziricote. They are good for professional players.
Fiber Glass Cue
It is cheaper than wood so that’s why the company made it an alternative. Fiberglass surrounds the wood core to make the cue. They are good for beginners or intermediate players.
It is the most advanced pool stick where the manufacturer wraps the wood core with fiberglass.
Before we go deep into the rabbit hole of the various cues available, first its best to determine your level as this plays a part in the cue you will use. You should choose a pool cue according to your playing level. So, we have three types of levels as described below
Beginner Level Cues
As the name shows, these cues are for immature players or beginners. Maple wood cue is ideal for beginners and pros alike. The stick should have a leather tip that comes in either hard, medium or soft forms, but beginners are more likely to start with a hard or medium tip. They should not be too heavy or too lights as both are difficult to handle. Generally, they are available from 30 dollars to 150 dollars.too
- Ideal for beginners
- Easy to handle
- Durable material
- Easy to clean
- Not good for professionals and intermediate players
- Lacks cue technology
Intermediate Level Cues
These cues are for intermediate level players and they have to be of high-quality. It should provide a strong grip and the stick with a leather tip is ideal. Canadian maple is good for intermediate cues. The price ranges from about 100 dollars and may go up to 200 dollars. You’ll find cues at this level will have some advanced technology inside them such as low deflection shafts
- High-quality leather tip
- Adjustable weight
- Scuffed tips
- Not ideal for professionals
These cues are strictly for professionals who play on a commercial level to win, earn, and to make a name in the sports. These cues have to be very durable and perfect in all ways. The price vary and can cost thousands of dollars.
- Hardwood like Canadian maple
- Excellent friction
- Study and accurate
- Well-coated with varnish
- Includes case and accessories
- Some brands give brass joints
- Hard for immature players to handle
- Some sticks don’t provide a heavy hit
You may think you only need one cue as they all look the same, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. in fact, cues are made differently and have a purpose. it’s not recommended to use the wrong cue for the wrong sport as it may damage the cue or balls. same goes for playing shots in the same cue sport.
American Pool Cue
In general, it is maple wood and it is lightweight. But as the balls are heavy, so the cue has to be long. This is why it has 58-inches length, so it can strongly hit the ball and its usually has tip that 13 to 14 mm. Suitable for all forms of pool
It is generally in ash wood and the size goes up to 57 inches and the tip up to 8 to 9 mm. Used for a variation of American style pool where games are played on a smaller table using smaller balls, hence the smaller tips. It’s not recommended to play the American version with these cues.
It is also made of ash wood and goes up to 58 inches with a tip size from 9 to 10.5 mm as it has to hit the ball with power. it’s not recommended to play the American version with a snooker cue as the balls are simply too big.
They are smaller than the cues of the adult players. They are specially designed for kids so they are lightweight so that the kids can handle them. However, the weight varies depending on the age of the players. The manufacturer determines the cue length by the kid’s age and height. See the below sizes as per age.
7 to a 10-year-old kid: 42” cue
11 plus: 52”
These break cues are made for breaking and they have very strong tips and ferrules. The player can make a shot with full force without having a fear of breaking the cue. But remember not to shoot with a break cue as you won’t be able to get the same level of control and english due to the extra hard tips. Its also recommended not to break with a shooting cue as it will damage your tip, especially if you play with a soft tip
Sneaky Pete Cues
There is also a sneaky Pete cue that is designed to give an impression of a poor cue. However, it is a very durable cue that hits with power. The main purpose is to give an impression to your enemy that you are playing with a low-quality cue when in fact it is a very well made cue with advanced features. To add to the disguise they usually have a traditional style look to them. Sneaky Pete cues are usually used by hustlers. They have an interesting history, well worth a read into them.
Custom Made Cues
These are special cues that customers order according to their choice. You can order for your desired material, length, tip size, and cue accessories. Certain clubs order cues with special graphics or some logo and name over the cue. Since they are customized, so they differ from regular cues, which are easily available in the stores.
Cue accessories and care
Chalk is another essential piece of equipment for cue sports, a player should chalk up after every shot. The player rubs it on stick’s tip, before making any shot. Most people probably don’t even know how and why we chalk a cue but its highly recommended. Chalk helps to increase the friction that occurs between the ball and cue tip. More friction means a successful hit. It helps to avoid painful miscues too.
You have to keep the pool cue in a case to protect it from the environment or other issues. Its recommended to store your cue in a case, especially if you travel with it Different types of cue cases are available, such as
- Leather cue case
- Aluminum case
A leather cue case is more durable than aluminum as metal can get hot if you place cue in the car. So, better keep your cue in a suitable case. The case can keep one stick or two sticks depending on the type of case you get.
The quality of the cue tip is very important as you hit with the tip and your success depends on the hit. They vary according to tip type, from hard to soft. The more advanced players will be concerned with the material and not just the hardness of the tip. Leather often dries off after 6 months so its good to replace it. Tips need to be looked after, especially the soft ones and constant hits with the ball will cause them to mushroom and misshape. scuffers and tip tools will help maintain your tip for longer.
Cue tips come in 3 main forms
Hard tips – good for breaking and harder hits
Medium Tips – a good balance of hard and soft
Soft tips – good for more English shots
Cue Tip Tools
You need certain tools to maintain your cue tip. These include tip picks, sanders, cue cubes, tappers, and scuffers. These tools are great to give your tip a more dome-like appearance and will help the chalk adhere to the tip which will help against miscues.
Gloves are great to use, especially if you play regularly, they help the cue run smoothly against your hand. If you play pool regularly and don’t wear gloves, it’s possible to cause some irritation on your skin through constant friction of the cue rubbing against your skin.
Like other pool table accessories, you need to clean your pool stick regularly. The player considers it very precious and cleans the pool stick like a treasure. You can either clean it with a soft cloth or with available cleaners. Different kinds of cleaning brushes are available, including the roll brush, and a rail brush. A slightly wet cloth is good to clean the shaft or the tip. If you are using some market product, make sure it is free from alcohol as it would destroy the finish and the wood as well.
They should be near a pool table as you cannot just leave the cues here and there. They have different designs, styles, shapes, materials, and colors. Often, the wood is used to make durable racks. They can be either floor racks or some others. You can also have customized racks according to your place. Corner racks also look stylish. Metal or brass racks are also easily available. The sizes of the racks vary and you can place two or several sticks in a rack depending on the size and your requirements.
Different type of tables
The type of pool game determines the kind of table you require and each table has its own essential equipment. Some common examples of the pool include the American pool, English pool, snooker, billiards, and carrom, etc.
English pool table
You need a 6 ft x 7 ft. table for an English pool. The ball size is 2 inches or 50.8 mm so this table has small pockets. The English pool table is suitable for small rooms where you don’t have much space.
American pool table
You need a large table in the American pool as compared to the English pool. Like, it is 7, 8, or 9 ft. in length. The balls are also large with 2 ¼ inches or 57mm size, so this table has slightly big holes or pockets. You need a big room to place this table due to its size.
Carom billiard table
This table differs from other tables as it doesn’t have any pockets. The cushions of this table reach round the whole table. A carom table is bigger than a pool table but smaller than a snooker one, usually measuring in at 10ft long. most billiard games are played with 3 balls which are slightly bigger than american pool balls.
The biggest table in pool cue sports is that of snooker. It has a 12 ft. long table, but if your room is small you can also order for a customized table. Like, you can make it 6 feet long. The ball size, in this case, is 52.5 inch and the pockets are smaller than the American pool table. Due to smaller balls, it is a difficult game to play than the American or English Pool.
Multi-use Pool Tables
Some companies make pool tables that you can also use as a dining table or that has the option to play another game, such as ping pong. Being able to convert a pool table in such a way requires some special features but it is a great way to save space.
Multi games tables are idea for children as they have the chance to play multiple games using one table
Kids Pool Table
Parents often complain about their kids that they spend most of their time on computers or mobile phones. Kids must be encouraged to play healthy games that are not always outdoors. With indoor games, you can keep your kids healthy and safe. Especially, it gives you a chance to play with your kids, and it can enhance your relationship with the kids. A pool table for kids is smaller than the one for adults. You have to consider certain factors before buying a mini pool table. Let’s explore these factors:
Kids Age and table type: you will have to consider the age of your child before buying a pool table. A tabletop version is good for younger children. Whereas, the folding tables are ideal for older kids because they seem real. However, you can also buy desktop pool tables.
Size: the size depends on the height of your child. But, the width and length of the table also matter as you have to select it according to the room size.
Quality of the table: the quality depends on the craftsmanship and the material. It should be of high-quality and free from any toxic material. Buying a kid-friendly pool table doesn’t need to be of low quality, if your child is showing an interest in the sport then consider rewarding that interest with a more playable table.
Price: the prices vary depending on the quality and model of the pool table. Both expensive and cheap tables are available. However, make a budget as it would help you buy a real product without wasting time. When you are clear about an item, you can simply go to the store and buy it.
Table accessories and care
You can also call it a rake, a bridge or a spider. They give support to the cue stick when you are unable to. Sometimes the ball is too far while playing, so this is where the player needs support and that is a bridge. It helps support your shot, every table needs one
The shape of the rack depends on the number of bail balls being used in the sports. Generally, it has a triangular shape that can take up to 8 balls. But, the diamond shape rack is good for 9 balls. You have to remove the racks while playing.
Pool Chalk Holder
This is an important accessory that would help you store the pool chalk when you are not using it. In fact, the players chalk the cue tip through a chalk holder and then put it in the pocket. These holders have unlimited designs, colors, and materials. Some are simple, but some come up with a chain equipped with beads.
They are made of leather, plastic, fiberglass, wood, ceramic, and other materials. These days, chalk holders have become a style icon and several jewelers design them as a specialty and on a customer basis.
Pool Table Felt
Even if you have a very expensive and high-quality pool table, wear and tear would happen. Especially, if you play daily or the table is under consistent use, its fabric will get damaged. You need a smooth surface to play, so always buy a pool table with excellent felt.
There are two types of felt, woolen felt or worsted felt. Worsted felt is more durable than a woolen. Worsten felt you will usually find on club tables or tournament tables as it is the better quality felt, but as you can imagine, it comes at a higher price tag.
Felt is available in different colors, so be sure to pick the best table felt that suits your table and playroom.
No matter how good the table you have and how often you cover it, the top would always be vulnerable to various things. You must clean the felt from dust and chalk. Some people clean it with a vacuum but it should be done with caution or best avoided. The felt should be without any wrinkles and stretched evenly around the whole playing surface and rails.
I wrote a step by step article on how to clean nearly all marks and stains from your table HERE, check it out if you need
You need special table cleaning brushes as they can well remove the dust or other debris. These brushes must have bristles that won’t harm the table felt. proper care needs to be given because if left, it will affect the run of the balls.
Use a wet cloth to clean the inner layer of the pockets, but avoid cleaning them with a vacuum cleaner. Sometimes the spill happens on the table, so in such a case, clean it with a dry cotton absorbent cloth. However, use wet and warm cloth for an old spill, but it should be slightly wet.
Don’t use any detergent or lotion. Just place the wet cloth over the stain and softly pat it. Avoid rubbing the cloth over the table because it will damage the felt. Professional cleaning services are also available, but make sure that it involves dry cleaning. Thoroughly check the products and cleaning companies before making any decision.
Pool Table Covers
If you want to keep your table in good shape and protected then you’ll need a quality pool table cover. Pets, kids, and even your own hands can damage the table with rough use. These covers come up in different materials and colors and their costs also vary. Leather covers are the most durable of all so they are also expensive. Canvas covers are also available; besides, we can have plastic covers as well. Some common colors of pool table cover include black, brown, green, maroon, and some others. These covers should be according to the table size.
If you have an outside table then I highly recommend getting a table cover that is suitable for all weather conditions
Different type of balls
The player needs balls to play pool and as we discussed, each sport has its own types of balls.
American pool balls
The size of these balls are 2 1/4 inch and are designed for larger pockets. The balls will have numbers on them which are used for different types of pool games. One side will be “spots” and the opposition will be “stripes” these names represent the balls they will try to pot. The final ball, the “8 ball” is black in color.
English pool balls
English pool or British pool differs slightly from its American cousin, these balls are much smaller at 2 inches. they usually have 7 red balls and 7 yellow balls and a single black ball
Carom billiard balls
Carom billiard balls differ from other games in that they only use 3 balls – a yellow ball with red dots, a white ball with red dots and a red ball. These balls are played on tables without pockets. The size of these balls are slightly larger than American pool balls at 2.45 inches
Snooker balls have the most amount, with 15 red balls, and 1 green, 1 yellow, 1 brown, 1 blue, 1 pink and 1 black ball. the game differs slightly from the others as each ball has a point value to it, with reds being 1 point if potted and the black being the highest point value at 7 points. They are smaller balls at 2.07 inches.
Pool cue ball
A cue ball has to be of good quality as the game depends on it along with other factors. Different factors affect the quality of a cue ball, including the
- Diameter Tolerance
Diametric Tolerance: It is the diameter that gives a round shape to the ball and it should be flawless. High-quality balls don’t have any variation and the entire shape is uniform, and they are close to perfectly round. However, this is not the case with low-quality cue balls which are not perfectly round. But, the tolerance of error is also present in perfect balls.
Consistent Density: This factor is very important as it allows the ball to roll straight. The weight of the cue ball should be equally distributed as it provides an even rolling, independent of where you hit the stick. Inconsistency of the density can stagger the ball, and the player can lose the hit. Don’t blame the table if you see the ball rolling in a zig-zag position, instead, it is due to uneven weight distribution.
Elasticity: This is the energy that a player transfers with a strike ball to the object balls. Generally, it would be ideal if there is 100% energy transfer while a stop shot that only depends on the elasticity. If the strike ball keeps on moving after the strike, it is a sign of poor elasticity. Though the wear and tear can also result in low elasticity, mostly it happens due to the low-quality cue balls.
Training Cue Balls
The training cue ball is specially designed for those who want to practice the pool game. These balls help players to control a ball while playing. These balls have marks that can help you to hit the ball in the right way and at the right position. Different companies are making training cue balls. They vary in size, color, and material depending on the nature of the pool game. Some balls are for professionals who use them in their practice and some are for beginners.
Ball accessories and care
Cue Ball Cleaning Tools
The focal point of a pool table is the cue balls and they should be clean, otherwise, they would make a bad impression. You can increase the life of the balls through regular cleaning, especially after the game. Even the table cloth will stay clean if the balls are neat and clean. Pool players use different cleaning tools for the balls, such as
- Blade impeller
- Micro-fiber cleaning cloth
- Cleaning polish
- Nozzle pad
- Injector bottle
- Cleaning solution
- Cleaning wax
- Cleaning machine
- Cleaner replacement pads
You can choose anything from the above list according to your needs. The main aim is to keep the cue balls in good condition. Dirty balls will soon become useless and you will have to buy them again. So, regular maintenance of pool equipment would help you to save money.
Cue Ball Cases
No matter how clean are cue balls, they would go under the wear and tear if you don’t store them properly. Special cases are available to contain the cue balls, and you can also call them cue bags. These cases are available in different sizes, colors, materials, and designs. The players love to buy a cue case matching with a cue ball case. Professional players also use cases, which are compatible with their clothes.
Generally, the cue ball case has an aluminum clip on the top to carry the ball. You can zip up the case after placing the ball in it. The material of the cue ball case also varies and may include leather, nylon, velvet, cotton, canvas, etc.
DIY Cue Ball Cleaning
Though several cleaning products are available in the market for cue ball cleaning however, you can also clean it at home. You need a bucket, water, and cleaning solution. Fill the bucket with water, and put some solution but check the size of the bucket. Sock the balls in it for 5 minutes. Take it out and wash with normal water and dry off with a soft cloth or towel.
Where to Buy Pool Table?
There are available on sports stores, either online or your nearby places. Kids’ pool tables are available in kids’ toy stores, gift shops, and departmental stores having special kids section.
Billiard Room Size and Lights
As we already discussed that the room should be so that you can place your desired pool table, or you have to buy a table after looking at the room size. The room should well-lit with both day and nightlights. If you often play at night, then install special downlights in your ceiling. The table must be visible from all angles without any shadows. Install the lights which are between white and yellow as they work both for morning and evening.
Rob is an avid player and fan of all cue sports, particularly 8-ball, and snooker. He has competed in a few local 8-ball tournaments and although he is not a professional, he can compete with the best of them.