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Billiards

Best Pool Cue

Choosing the best pool cue depends on the characteristics of the player. Everyone has their own style and preferential attributes in their equipment, so there's never really one cue that is perfect for all. But there are some basic guidelines you can follow to find the one that's right for you.

Heavier cues are usually better for beginners, as it stays on line longer and may be easier for a novice to get some extra spin. Lighter cues make it easier to control the speed of the ball, but requires more accuracy and skill. The tip size is usually a matter of preference, though beginners should get a cue with a larger tip. Using a soft tip allows for extra feel through the shot, but a hard tip is more durable and retains its shape longer.

Wraps are usually nylon or linen, though some come with leather or other exotic materials. If you are a beginner, it is best to test the different types since this is mostly a matter of personal preference. Pool cues can come in many different styles. Some players like cues that are more ornate and have many inlays or decorations; other players prefer a plain wood stick.

Pool cues can be made of many different materials: wood, graphite, and even materials such as acrylic, titanium, and aluminum. Though graphite cues have become popular, most players still prefer maple wood. When buying a pool cue, you should expect to pay between $150 and $300, though fancier sticks can cost up to $1,000. In selecting picks for this list, we considered our choices along the following criteria; weight, shaft size, type of tip and tip size, style, and of course, price.

Viking V123K Pool Cue

The V123K has been designed for simplicity in both form and function. Using the company's Vikore Hard Rock maple shaft, it offers low deflection performance for greater control and reduced miscues while still affording a stiff hit on your ball. Both halves are joined by a stainless steel joint and rely on wood to wood contact to keep the cue perfectly straight, so there's no warping at the center point. This results in an assembled cue that feels like it's naturally one piece. The cue uses birdseye maple and is outfitted with a laminated Everest tip, which hits hard but offers the kind of ball control you'd expect from a soft tip, with a durable resin ferrule that is crack and stain resistant for longer life. Ultra-violet Urethane 3 protective finish and Viking's trademark blue acrylic pearl inlays give the cue its classic look, with a 12-14" conical taper for smooth playability.

McDermott G411 Pool Cue

The G411 brings power and consistency to your game with a triple-layer carbon fiber core located near the front of the shaft and extending up to the ferrule. This provides stability throughout the cue while adding additional strength to the ferrule assembly which cuts down on vibration while increasing the accuracy and impact of your shot. McDermott's carbon fiber enhanced core also keeps the cue predictable; ensuring that the product performs precisely in the same manner every time you play. The laminated Everest tip is the same as the one that Viking uses on their cue, which offers uniform hardness but maintains the control of a soft tip and consists of ten multiple layers with a red warning ring to let you know you need to replace it. The G411 is also a good-looking cue that uses light color rosewood with pewter and turquoise inlays for a handsome yet understated aesthetic.

Outlaw OL29 Blow Torch Branded Pool Cue

The name Outlaw conjures up visions of a bygone era, and this cue has been created with that profile in mind. Branded etchings along the brown maple forearm and sleeve are the first indicators this is not your typical cue. But it's not all style and no substance with the Outlaw, as this is a hard-hitting cue that might take a little getting used to for some players. It incorporates an Ivorene-3 fiber linen ferrule and a 13mm medium-hard Triangle tip with a stainless steel pin, collar, and plate which has been etched with the distinctive Outlaw logo. You can get this cue in four different weights: 19-22 oz. No matter which you choose, you'll find that, for the price, you're getting one heck of a cue for the money.

OB-130 8 of Diamonds Pool Cue

OB-130 8 of Diamonds Pool Cue

OB has ensured the unfaltering stability and straightness of their cue with its Straight Line Core, building the two portions of their stick to make contact at the joint in a wood to wood configuration so it matches up with total equality and there's no irregularity in the profile of their product. That means your cue is perfectly aligned and collinear for peak performance and it will remain that way for years to come. The OB-130 also has a centralized balance system which uses strategically placed weights throughout the length of the cue to keep it well balanced, with succinct impulse reaction and sharp feedback without much vibration on your shot. The forearm and sleeve of the cue are both made of birdseye maple and contain black ebony diamond inlays to make it a true eight of diamonds. This cue also uses an Everest tip and comes in a number of weight options for every skill level of player.

Blaze Model SW-01 Pool Cue

This one's really best for the newbies. The feel of using this cue is pretty stiff, and while it makes you feel like you're crushing the ball, it's not the most finessed stick out there. The shaft is white hard rock maple with a 13mm linen fiber ferrule; the wrap is black pressed Irish linen, and it comes with a Le Professional tip. These are all pretty standard, stock materials incorporated in low-cost cue options. Good quality, but yes, there are better, more expensive products out there. The color scheme offers a low-profile stick with black forearm, sleeve, and plate. White accents with blue diamond highlights complete the picture.

Marc Gottlieb
I'm a rabid sports-aholic who's been to Super Bowl XXI, the Indy 500 and witnessed Doug Flutie's hail mary pass to Gerard Phelan live in Miami. Sundays are sacred in my household and I'm a two-time back to back champion of my fantasy football league. I played a lot of sports in high school; football, soccer, tennis, lacrosse and I was on the school ski team. I even tried my hand at racquetball in college. I've jumped out of two perfectly good airplanes and bungee jumped off a construction crane. Since then I've worked for one of the top product placement companies in Hollywood, coordinating with most of the major sports apparel labels to get their products featured in films and TV. But it's a life-long obsession with music and film that has given me years of experience with the latest technologies and innovations in electronics. If they've built it, I've tried it and likely bought it. Laserdisc, DVD, Bluray players; I own multiple units that cater to all of these formats and more. A misspent youth immersing myself in pop culture meant I craved the hottest devices through which to enjoy it all, and at the highest possible quality. What I learned over time though, is that the most expensive items aren't always the best.
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