Anyone that is familiar with billiard sports will know there is a big difference between a pool cue and a snooker cue. Snooker is a game that requires more accuracy than power and this is often reflected by the type of cue used.
Snooker can definitely be an intimidating game. The large table combined with tactics needed to play means that choosing a cue you’re comfortable with is an integral part of the process. Use the wrong cue and you’ll have little enjoyment from the game!
When choosing a cue, however, there are a few factors that need to be taken into consideration, especially if you’ve started to research snooker cues and become overwhelmed with information. Maple or ash? Is a snooker cue the same as a pool cue? What are the different types of snooker cues?
In this article, we’ll cover all the basics that you’d need to know when looking at different types of snooker cues. We’ll break each one down and advise on which is best for different players and help you decide what to look for when getting a snooker cue.
What Is a Snooker Cue
Snooker cues are unique to the game of snooker. While some snooker cues can be used for other billiard games, the characteristics of a snooker cue make them specifically suited to snooker (as you’d expect).
A snooker cue is manufactured using ash or maple wood and is 57-58 inches in length. Snooker cues are made with a lighter colored wood with a darker grain to be more pleasing to the eye and feature a leather tip, brass ferrule, and ebony butts.
The above characteristics are quite common in most English snooker cues so you don’t need to focus on these when looking into a snooker cue – they are more relevant in distinguishing between a snooker cue and pool cue but more on that later.
While snooker cues often share similar characteristics and designs, they do differ when it comes to different types of snooker cues.
What Are the Different Types of Snooker Cues
When looking into different types of snooker cues, you need to ignore brands or special features that some cues might have. The reason for this is that there are specific, generic, types of snooker cues that form the base of more expensive and higher-quality models.
There are three different types of snooker cues, these are:
- One-Piece Cue
- Two-Piece Cue
- ¾ Jointed Cue
And four types of specialty cues which are:
- Jump Cue
- Break Cue
- Jump-Break Cue
- Rest Cue
Below, we’ll cover each of these types of cues in more detail to give a brief overview of each and recommend the best option for different situations.
As its name suggests, a one-piece cue is a cue produced from one long piece of wood. As a result of its design, the cue cannot be redesigned or shaped to the user’s needs or during the play of a snooker game.
A one-piece cue is favored by casual players, thanks to its simplistic design. It is an excellent cue for beginners, allowing them to get a feel for the cue while playing without the constant need for readjustment.
Most beginners won’t even know why or when they need to make adjustments to the cue based on the type of shot they need to execute so a one-piece cue eliminates any confusion and allows beginners to enjoy and learn the game first.
A one-piece cue is the most basic cue and one you’ll find in most snooker halls. If you are a beginner and playing at home, this is a good cue to get you started on the game and learn to play without the confusion of adjusting your cue based on different shots.
Two-piece cues or 1/2 jointed cues, as they are otherwise known, are the most common form of a snooker cue.
They are distinguishable by the brass joint that separates the cue into two distinct pieces halfway down the cue’s shaft. The main reason why players prefer to use a two-piece cue is for ease of transportation. In terms of length, a two-piece cue is no different from a standard one-piece cue but they can be unscrewed and halved in length for easy transportation.
If you’re a competitive league player or like to use your own cue when playing in snooker or pool halls, a two-piece cue is often the best choice for ease of transportation.
¾ Jointed Snooker Cues
What distinguishes it from the 1/2 jointed cue is the placement of the brass joint. Placed 3/4s of the way down the shaft, this cue is designed to provide better balance, with the weight of the joint being dispersed more evenly towards the butt.
Such a design allows for a more comfortable grip when aiming and also allows players more control over the cue.
¾ jointed cues usually come with a mini butt which is attachable/detachable and allows players to add an extension piece. You’ll see professional players use these extensions for more advanced shots where beginners would need to use a rest cue instead.
Many pro players prefer to use ¾ jointed cues due to their weight balance and versatility.
Specialty Snooker Cues
While all of the above cues can be used for any purpose, there are also a number of specialty cues. These are designed with a specific goal in mind, such as taking a break short, jumping the cue ball, or providing support for a player’s cue.
A cue designed explicitly to make shots when you are snookered. Jump cues are much lighter (at around 12 oz) and shorter than standard cues. The lightweight design allows the user to hold the cue in highly elevated positions and get greater rebound height off a shot, allowing for a legal jump hit.
Like a break cue, the jump cue has a harder tip and a more robust ferrule that allows the user to strike the cue ball with maximum force.
A cue specifically designed to make a break shot. They have a thicker shaft and a harder tip made from hard leather or even a phenolic resin.
The ferrule of a break cue is also much shorter. Acting as a shock absorber that evenly distributes the energy of each shot throughout the cue, ferrules are usually 1 inch in length. To accommodate for the force used, it is not uncommon to find ferrules as short as .5 inches when using a break cue.
All of these factors equate to a heavier cue that accommodates for a greater force to be used during the break.
Break cues also help cut down on the wear and tear of the tips and ferrules of a player’s standard playing cue, not exposing them to the unwanted force of making a break shot.
Also known as break-jump cues, this is a hybrid cue with the above-mentioned specialty cues’ properties. The same length and size as a standard break cue, the jump-break has a two-piece butt that allows the user to remove the lower half of the butt depending on what shot they want to make.
If a jump shot is required, the player will detach the butt, making for a lighter cue. If the player is making a break shot, they will attach the butt to allow for greater power.
Commonly found in pool and snooker halls, rest cues are a standard one-piece cue with a special attachment on the end. Found in a cross, spider, or bridge pattern, the extension allows a player to rest their cue in order to make a shot. Rest cues are used when a shot is too far away to reach which is a relatively common occurrence when playing on a full-sized snooker table.
Snooker Cue vs. Pool Cue
Despite being very similar sports, the cues used for both pool and snooker are very different. Each cue has its own specifications that make them unique to its sport.
A snooker cue is distinguishable by its shorter length (a standard cue should be between 57 to 58 inches). It is lighter in weight compared to a pool cue, weighing between 18 to 20 oz compared to the pool cue’s 21oz. Its lighter weight is in accordance with snooker rules, with less power being required due to the size of the balls.
The cue tip of a snooker cue should be 9.5 – 10.5 mm in diameter, allowing for greater precision and finesse. While the butt of the cue should flat on one side, allowing the cue to rest flat on the table bead. The balance point of a cue is typically found 16 to 18 inches from the butt.
Almost all snooker cues are made from hard rock North American Ash trees. The wood is sturdy, durable, and straight, perfect for professional use.
|Snooker Cue||Pool Cue|
|Tip||9 – 10.5mm||12 – 13mm|
|Length||57 -58 inches||57 – 58 inches|
|Weight||18 – 20 oz||19 – 21 oz|
When looking for a snooker cue, a general characteristic that most snooker cues have is a length of 57-58 inches, a weight of 18-20 ounces, and made of maple or ash wood. While these are common traits, there are three different types of snooker cues. These are one-piece cues, two-piece cues, and ¾ jointed cues.
Trying to find the ideal snooker cue for your specific preferences will depend on weight, size, material, and play style so it’s difficult to recommend an exact cue. Knowing the different types of snooker cues though is the first step to finding the best one for you.