For your main playing cue, use whatever weight feels most comfortable. 19oz is a common weight and a good starting point. The most important advice concerning choices for both playing cue weight and tip hardness is to pick something a stick with it. For more information, see selecting a cue.
A heavier cue will tend to create more CB speed for a given stroke effort. A heavier cue might also be easier for some to keep on line during the stroke, but this is a very individual thing. More weight can also help prevent stroke deceleration. Also, a heavier cue might tend to have a shaft with more endmass (although, this isn’t necessarily so). If that is the case, the heavier cue will create more squirt (AKA “cue ball deflection”), which can have both advantages and disadvantages for different people. Another potential pitfall with a heavy cue is that it could result in double hits, pushes, or miscues at large tip offsets per the info on the maximum sidespin resource page. A heavier cue might also make it more difficult to avoid a double hit when shooting into the CB a small gap away from an OB.
Now, for a break cue, the optimal weight for maximum cue ball (CB) speed will depend on your arm anatomy (the size and weights of the different parts of your arm), muscle physiology (e.g., fast-twitch vs. slow-twitch muscle fiber dominance), technique, and timing. The only way to find out the optimal weight for sure is to experiment. Cue weight is not just a question of physics. Physiology also comes into play. Some people have more fast-twitch muscle fibers than others. Because of this, cue weight selection can be a very personal thing. Also, some people might have better accuracy stroking a heavier cue at a slower speed than a lighter cue at a faster speed. Also, some people might prefer a lighter or heavier cue just because of the way it feels, regardless of how better or worse the performance might be. Also, if your break cue is a combination jump-break cue, you might want a lighter weight since jumping can be easier with a lighter jump cue. Again, the choice of break cue weight is not a simple matter of physics.
Concerning the physics, what determines the CB speed is the cue’s mass and the cue’s speed at impact with the ball, and CB speed is what we are striving for (in addition to accuracy). For a given cue speed, if the cue has more mass, the CB will go faster; and for a given cue mass, if the cue has more speed, the CB will go faster. Both factors (cue speed and cue mass) are important. Some people can generate more breaking power with a lighter cue, and some can generate more with a heavier cue. A detailed analysis of the physics of how CB speed varies with both cue mass and speed (and tip offset from center, and tip efficiency) can be found in TP A.30. Breaking power is related to the square of CB speed, and CB speed is directly related to cue stick speed, so if you can increase the speed of your break stroke while maintaining accuracy, it can result in a big improvement in break effectiveness. And if you can also use a heavier cue, and maintain the same or similar cue speed, you can also increase breaking power; although, increases in cue weight don’t have as large of a benefit as increases in cue speed (see details below).
Cue and tip efficiency can also affect breaking performance; although, some people might not like the feel of the hit with a really hard and efficient tip (e.g., phenolic). Based on the numbers in TP A.30, changing from a medium-hardness leather tip on a typical playing cue (typical COR = 0.73) to a phenolic tip on a break cue (with a COR as high as 0.87), can increase breaking power by 17%! For comparison purposes (see the end of TP A.30 for details), if you could increase your cue speed by 10%, the cue ball speed would also increase by 10%, and the effective increase in breaking power would be 21%. And for a given cue speed, if you could increase the cue weight from 17 to 22 oz (while maintaining the same speed), the cue ball speed would increase by 6.3%, which would correspond to an effective increase in breaking power of 13%. So with a dramatic increase in cue weight (17 oz to 22 oz), the benefit is not as large as one might expect, even if the heavier cue could be stroked at the same speed as the lighter cue (which is usually not the case).
As mentioned above, the optimal cue weight for each individual, providing the best combination of cue speed and weight to produce the best breaking power, is a very personal thing. The only way to determine the optimal weight is to experiment. And even if you are using the optimal-weight cue and are generating the most cue speed possible, none of that will matter if you are not using good technique to get a square hit on the lead ball or if you are getting too much unintentional sidespin or CB hop. You should only use as much speed as you can control.
A good analogy to pool break cue weight selection is baseball bat weight selection. A lighter bat can be swung faster, but a heavier bat has more mass. Some players can generate more ball speed (and distance) with a heavier bat (e.g., Babe Ruth), and some do better with a much lighter bat (e.g., Barry Bonds). An excellent webpage dealing with baseball bat weight effects can be found here: Bat Weight, Swing Speed and Ball Velocity. Notice the ball speed vs. bat weight graphs about 3/4 down on the webpage. They are very flat at the optimal weight, implying bat weight doesn’t really make that much difference in the range of typical values. This effect should be similar with break cues. If you are in your preferred weight range, an ounce more or less shouldn’t make much difference.
For more information, see: “Optimal Cue Weight” (BD, October, 2015).
For information on how cue weight affects draw shots, see draw shot cue weight effects.
For the effect of different weight distribution, see balance point.
From pooltchr (concerning a playing cue):
1. I believe the best weight for any player is the weight that feels most comfortable for all types of shots.
2. I believe that different weights can produce slightly different results, but those differences are so slight that most good players can adapt their stroke to get the desired results regardless of the chosen weight.
3. While a long draw shot does require more speed than a shorter one (adjusting speed and or spin is the only way to control draw)we still don’t need to use maximum (break) speed even for maximum draw. For that reason, I think any good player can get the required speed with any weight cue. Those same players would be able to adjust their stroke to compensate for the weight differences in various cues.
4. Since over the course of a game, a player will need to vary speed and spin from shot to shot, the most comfortable weight to the individual player makes the most sense to me. It’s easier to make slight adjustments to speed and spin with a well balanced comfortable cue. You can establish a centergistic or reference point for a stroke speed follow shot, then work from there to know what is needed when you need to do something else with the cue ball.
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What’s the Best Break Cue Weight?
That being said, the most common weight for a pool cue of any kind is 19oz. The vast majority of cues that we sell are 19oz cues. There are anecdotal theories abound dealing with cue weight, but to date I have not seen any research that supports these theories. Some people hold the belief that a heavier cue will equate to more power. Much like swinging a heavier baseball bat, this is dependent on how quick you can snap.
By looking at Newton's Second Law, we know that acceleration is dependent on both the net force acting on an object and the mass of the object itself. Knowing that force equals mass multiplied by acceleration, the amount of power you create is based both on the weight of the cue and the speed that you are able to move the cue.
the bottom line is that a heavier cue will not always mean a more powerful hit or break. In some cases, it may even create less power depending on how much force you can create. So, when selecting a cue, go for the weight that feels the most comfortable to you. With the right tools, you can measure what weight will give you the most powerful break, but for most it is just a question of "what feels right" to that player. That said, if you are looking for a heavy break cue, we highly recommend the Elite Heavy Break Cue. At 27oz, it is by far the heaviest cue we carry (or have ever seen for that matter).
Pool Cue Weight
Have you ever wondered if the pool stick you are using is too heavy or too light? Most people don’t even think of the weight. It’s more of an afterthought until you realize the weights are adjustable.
What weight should my pool cue be? Pool Sticks (or Pool Cues) are usually 19 or 20 ounces. This weight range will work for most people and “House cues” at bars or pool halls are generally a 19 ounce or 20 ounce in weight too.
Pool Cues can weigh from 17 ounces all the way up to 21 ounces. The different weights can affect several factors depending on if it’s lighter or heavier. The weight can also affect the players control over Side Spin (or English) and the effectiveness of a players break.
In the past, you may have noticed small numbers written on the butt sleeves, or handles, of house cues. Those numbers indicate the weight of the cue in ounces. Most pool halls offer cues between 18 and 21 ounces, while most pros will prefer either a 19, or 19.5-ounce cue.
But, what weight should your pool cue be? Well, that’s dependent on the individual and their preferences. However, most people’s starter cues weigh between 19- and 20-ounces.
Looking to buy a new pool cue soon? Check out my post about the best pool sticks under $100!
It is good to try multiple cues over several games (or weeks) to see which fits best to your physical ability. It is a perfectly acceptable to change later on; there is also a weight bolt that can be removed from the cue when needed.
Pro tip: lighter cues will cause the object ball to pocket slowly and the cue ball to be lively. The opposite is true for a heavier cue.
Pool, like any another sport, is about preparation. Much of the preparation put into pool happens before ever touching cue to felt. At the end of the day, when in doubt, pick a 19-oz. cue stick.
There is no one size fits all, and some people will find using a heavier cue suits them better. Depending on if you get a lighter or heavier cue, it will affect different things.
A heavier cue will have:
- A faster object ball
- A lethargic cue ball
But, why is that the case? The answer is relatively simple: Newton’s Second Law states that force equals mass x acceleration. A heavier cue will not create as great a force because less power can be created from the follow through (or, snap). Typically, your size also plays an important role in your cue’s length. The standard one-piece is 57 inches, and the two-piece is 58 inches.
There are also 61-inch cues for people above 6”4, 48-inch for people below the average height and 52-inch for children. In other words, much like your body size and the fixed cue weights, your body will eventually morph to fit the cue’s weight.
When in doubt, pick a 19-oz. cue. Once you develop a personal pool style and your technique matures, you may find a 19.5-oz is more to your liking. However, your options for weight vary anywhere between 14-oz to 27-oz in 0.5-inch increments.
The cue’s speed and mass are directly correlated with the cue ball’s speed. In general, heavier cues will create greater cue ball speed but less control of direction after object ball contact. It has also been noted that heavier cues allow people to keep on line with their stroke.
A major pitfall to heavier cues is that there is less maximum tip offset shots from the center, as well as, less maximum spin. Also, the typical use of a heavier cue leads to double-hits, pushes, or miscues because the ball does not leave the tip fast enough.
The only shots that respond to weight are power shots; either an extreme power draw or the break shot. The added weight on an extreme power draw creates greater counter-friction upon the cues contact with the ball, which ultimately turns into backspin power that can make the length of a table.
Ultimately, as a player you are looking for comfort. An instrument of technique that should glide easily as an extension of yourself.
The cue’s speed and mass are directly correlated with the cue ball’s speed. It has also been noted that lighter cues allow people more freedom and can indirectly cause them to get off line with their stroke more frequently.
A lighter cue will have:
- A slower object ball
- An energetic cue ball
Some people are more comfortable with a lighter cue while others prefer a weightier feel. It will come down to a player’s adjustments to their stroke when searching for the optimal speed.
I have been using a lighter pool cue (17 ounces) for the past 3 years. I love it because how much action and spin I get from my shots. It’s not perfect though and certainly comes with a few disadvantages I’ve had to learn to play around.
- It is much harder to control English or Side Spin with a lighter cue.
A player must really master cue ball control and the energy they put into each shot. This is a hard skill to master and can take many, many years.
When thinking about cue weight, it is useful to compare the cue to a baseball bat. As you can tell from the above graph, there is an optimal bat weight but once at a certain level (around 35-oz) the effects of a bat’s weight matter less to a batted ball’s speed.
The same can be said for pool cues. When all is said and done, the difference in object ball speed between a 17-oz and 22-oz cue is minimal.
At the same stroke speed, there is only a 13% increase in power. By comparison, changing the leather tip on a regular to cue to the phenolic tip of a break cue increases the breaking power of a stroke by 17%.
Listen to any professional athlete out there. When practice turns to competition, comfort is the key determining factor for their equipment selection. The same holds true to cue sports.
What Weight Should My Break Cue Be?
When it comes to breaking, the heavier cue, maintained with a similar speed and accuracy, will break with greater power than the lighter. However, when it comes down to it, the speed of the cue ball, directly related to force in your arm, determines breaking power.
As a rule of thumb, pick within the standard range for a break cue weight (between 18- and 21-oz). What you are ultimately searching for in a break is power with accuracy as an important second.
Here, we begin to find that pool is not just a technical sport of physics but also one of physiology. The amount of fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscles in each person’s body vary so the cue weight will vary in accordance. In other words, athletic ability will influence cue weight. Thus, any cue weight will be personal and only found one way. I know I’m beginning to sound like a stuck record, but it’s key: practice and experimentation will morph your body to pool cues until the weight of a pool cue is only slightly important.
How Much Should I Spend on My First Cue?
Truthfully, the amount you spend on your first cue should measure to the commitment you put into pool. Ask yourself: what is the investment worth to you? Most beginners should look to buy a new cue at around $100 minimum. Think more along the lines of what it is you are looking for in a cue within your price range. Nonetheless, a good quality stick, i.e. one that will last a lifetime, will be in the $150 to $300 range. That being said, pool cues can easily reach into the thousand-dollar range.
How Should I Select My Pool Cue?
There are several factors, or rather components, to consider when selecting your pool cue. Besides the weight of the cue, consider its length, the wrap, the shaft, the shaft taper, the joint and the tip. Look for:
- a standard two-piece, 58-inch cue between 19-21 oz.
- wrap type (no wrap, Irish linen wrap, leather wrap)
- shaft diameter: 12 mm – 13 mm in 0.25 increments
- shaft taper: pro taper 10-inch – 15-inch (house cues are typically 8-in)
- joint pin: wood-to-wood, or metal joint collar
- tip: Moori (soft), Predator (medium), Kamui (hard)
A beginner should consider Irish linen wraps for their absorption, 13 mm tip with a medium density for spin control, 12-inch pro taper shafts for a firm feel and a wood-to-wood joint pin for maximum absorption and transfer of power. For an in-depth post, check out my article on 7 tips on choosing the perfect pool cue.
Select Your Pool Cue Weight
So how do you determine what weight cue you should play with? Some people select their pool cue weight based on what their favorite professional player uses. That’s not a good idea because the weight depends heavily on your own abilities. You should select a pool cue weight based on your personal abilities.
Typically the range for pool cues is 18, 19, 20 and 21 ounces, with 1/2 ounce intervals in-between. That’s the standard scale that every pool cue manufacturer uses. Of course, there are exceptions to this and some cues may be lighter than 18 ounces or heaver than 21 ounces. For the most part, 18 – 21 ounces is standard for pool cue weights.
If you use a lighter cue weight, like 18 or 19 ounces, then the object ball will go into the pocket slow and the cue ball will be really lively. This is because you create more snap with a lighter cue stick.
If you use a heaver cue weight like a 21 ounce cue, the object ball goes into the pocket faster and the cue ball is more lethargic. This is because you have more weight to hit with and there won’t be as much snap.
If you’re having trouble drawing the ball, then it’s possible your cue is too heavy. If you have trouble controlling the cue ball, maybe your cue is too light. It’s also worth keeping in mind that pool cue weights can always be changed later on. They’re not always set to an exact weight; they’ve got a weight bolt that can be removed and changed.
Most people start with a 19 ounce or a 20 ounce cue. Those weights are in a sweet spot for most players so, if you’re still totally unsure what cue weight to get, get a 19 ounce. As you play with it, you’ll begin to get a feel for your particular play style and your local pool cue repair shop can adjust the weight when you’re ready to change it up.
When it comes to selecting a pool cue, one of the most overlooked factors is the cue’s weight. A lot of players only think of this as an afterthought, or perhaps not at all. But the question remains, “Does pool cue weight really matter?”
The short answer is yes. Pool cue weight matters for a number of reasons. The weight of your cue can drastically vary how well you maintain control of the cue ball as well as how accurate your shots are in general.
Unfortunately, many new players don’t put a lot of thought into this critical part of mastering the game. Not to mention the fact that they’ll often choose a pool cue weight based on what their favorite professional player uses.
That’s a mistake, and you can rest assured that these champions put a lot of consideration into many aspects that help them play better and win, including their pool cue weight.
If you’d like to know more about how pool cue weight can affect your game, keep reading to learn more. In this article we’re going to share with you everything you need to know about pool cue weight so you can select the right weight for you.
Want to see some pool cues we like? Check out these articles!
The Baseball Bat Analogy
If you’ve ever swung a baseball bat, chances are you noticed that a light bat is easier to swing than a heavy one. You may have also noticed that if you increase the weight of the bat your using, you can hit a baseball much further.
And, each time that you double the weight of the bat it can potentially lead to an increase of about 12mph. That translates to having a faster ball velocity, and the ball travels farther when you hit it.
Sadly, you’ll never be able to hit this level of performance if the bat is too heavy for you. Then, you have to settle for a happy medium with a lighter bat. The baseball analogy works for billiards, as well. The wrong pool cue weight will affect your abilities and, ultimately your performance.
In a nutshell, you will continue to strike out on the billiard table until you change your mindset about pool cue weight and other factors that can make you more skillful.
Selecting Your Cue Weight
Your first introduction to pool cue weight was most likely when you glanced at the small numbers on a house cue at a pool hall or bar. House cue weights generally range from about 19 to 20 ounces. Pool cue’s standard weight ranges, based on specs from manufacturers, run from 18-21 ounces, with half-ounce intervals in-between.
The standard weight range works for most, and it pays to try multiple cue weights over a few weeks to see what best fits your personal abilities and preferences if you can. With that in mind, many players begin with 19-ounce or 20-ounce cues.
If you’re still unsure on which pool cue weight to get, stick with the commonly used 19-ounce cue. Later, you may find that a different weight pool cue is a better fit after you’ve had enough time to try a few out..
You can take some of the guesswork out of selecting the weight of your pool cue by purchasing one that gives you the ability to adjust the weight yourself. A lot of pool cues made by Viper have this option, giving you the ability to adjust the weight of your cue from 18-21 ounces quickly and easily.
Heavy vs. Light Pool Cues
If you use a lighter cue weight such as those weighing 18 or 19 ounces, then the object ball will go into the pocket slow and the cue ball will travel fast. This is because a lighter cue generates more snap.
If you’re having trouble controlling the cue ball, it could be because your cue is too light. There is a direct correlation between your cues mass and speed and the cue balls speed. While many players like the movement they can get out of the cue ball with a light cue, learning to control this movement takes a lot of time and practice.
By the same token when using a heavy cue, the object ball travels to the pocket faster, and the cue ball travels slower. The reason is that you have more weight to move and because a heavier cue takes more force to move than a lighter one, it wont generate as much of a snap.
If you notice that you can’t draw the ball very well, then it’s likely that your cue is too heavy. The weight of the cue is not allowing you to generate enough downward spin on the cue ball.
In summary, a light pool equals faster cue ball speed and slower object ball speed after contact has been made. Heavy pool cues equal slower cue ball speed and faster object ball speed after contact has been made. If your cue is too light for your abilities, it may result in a lack of cue ball control. While if your cue is too heavy, it could result in the same.
Finding the perfect cue weight for your abilities and style of play will take some time and a little bit of trial and error. Its not an exact science. Take your time and play around with cues of various weights to see what feels and plays best for you.
Break Cue Weight
Choosing a break cue based solely on its weight kind of goes against everything we’ve discussed up to this point. Remember, a break cue doesn’t have to be heavy to be effective. It just has to be the right weight for you; a weight that you can control and use effectively.
While it is true that a lot of players use a break cue that is a bit heavier than their playing cue, this isn’t always the case.
If you can use a heavier break cue and it works well for you, then by all means use it. Just know that you dont have to have to heavy break cue in order to produce a good break.
Heres what Dr. Dave Alciatore, billiards instructor and author of “The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards” has to say about the topic of cue weight and breaking.
Dr. Alciatore says,
“Concerning the physics, what determines the CB (cue ball) speed is the cue’s mass and the cue’s speed at impact with the ball, and CB speed is what we are striving for (in addition to accuracy). For a given cue speed, if the cue has more mass, the CB will go faster; and for a given cue mass, if the cue has more speed, the CB will go faster. Both factors (cue speed and cue mass) are important. Some people can generate more breaking power with a lighter cue, and some can generate more with a heavier cue.”
As you can see, there is no set break cue weight that is perfect for everyone. It has a lot to do with your own abilities and what works best for you.
You may find that you have more accuracy using a lighter cue at a faster speed vs. a heavier one at a slower speed. Nonetheless, this will require you to play with break cues of various weights to figure out.
Selecting Your Break Cue Weight
When choosing a break cue weight, the one size fits all approach often doesn’t work unless it’s the luck of the draw. It’s far better to contemplate on the matter if you ever want to be successful at forceful breaking.
Typically, start by choosing a pool stick that weighs between the standard ranges of 18-21 ounces that we mentioned previously. Just remember when you go to break that the heavier the cue, along with your ability to control it, the better the break.
If you already have a playing cue with a weight your comfortable with, it may be a good idea to buy a break cue with the same weight. Remember, a break cue isn’t a break cue because its heavier. Its a break cue because its designed specifically for the purpose of breaking. Its often a bit thicker than standard playing cues, and the ferrule and tip have been upgraded to withstand the shock that results from breaking.
As you can see, pool cue weight does have an effect on your game. If you’re playing with a cue thats too light or too heavy for your abilities, then chances are you’re not playing as well as you could be.
Take your time and experiment with cues of different weights. Its really the only way you’ll find the perfect pool cue weight for yourself. I hope this article has been helpful. Thanks for reading!
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