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Best Pool Cues for Under $200 [2022 Review]

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Pool cues are highly instrumental in helping you achieve consistent and accurate shots. But when you’re looking for new cues that won’t blow your budget, it can be tough to know where to start. However, we’ve been there too. Here are our reviews of the best pool cues for under $200 that are right for you.

Our Top Pool Cues Under $200

While they may sound cheap, pool cues under $200 are actually very realistic if you are looking to enjoy a good game of billiards on a budget. Below are some notable options you should check out. 

Brand
Players Exotic Design Series E-5100
Cuetec Starlight
Viper Desperado
Product
Players Exotic Design Series E-5100 Sneaky Pete...
Cuetec Starlight Series 58" 2-Piece Canadian Maple...
Viper by GLD Products Desperado 58" 2-Piece...
Size
18 oz
18 oz
21 oz
Special Features
A pro taper and French Cue Wax on the shaft allow for an extra smooth stroke
Adjustable weight bolt system
Featuring lightweight stainless steel joints
Brand
Players Exotic Design Series E-5100
Product
Players Exotic Design Series E-5100 Sneaky Pete...
Size
18 oz
Special Features
A pro taper and French Cue Wax on the shaft allow for an extra smooth stroke
Brand
Cuetec Starlight
Product
Cuetec Starlight Series 58" 2-Piece Canadian Maple...
Size
18 oz
Special Features
Adjustable weight bolt system
Brand
Viper Desperado
Product
Viper by GLD Products Desperado 58" 2-Piece...
Size
21 oz
Special Features
Featuring lightweight stainless steel joints

Players Exotic Design Series E-5100

Players Exotic Design Series E-5100 Sneaky Pete...

If you have been playing pool long enough, you have probably come across some products from Players. Their Players Exotic Design Series E-5100 pool cue has invariably been lauded as being one of the best affordable cues. 

We love this cue because it packs a number of features that you can find in pricier options. This includes the low deflection shaft made from premium grade hard rock maple. To boost its durability, the shaft has been treated with Nelsonite. 

Nelsonite is a popular wood stabilizer that helps to cushion the cue’s shaft from atmospheric conditions. On top of that, the shaft has an epoxy finish to protect it from warping and water damage. 

On top of the Players Exotic Design Series E-5100, you will find the signature high-impact ferrule. Lifetime guarantee against chipping or cracking. Topped with a High-quality USA made Le Pro leather tip. 

The ferrule also has a black tip that is fashioned out of 10 layers of pig skin to provide for boosted durability, a more stable grip, and a better ball spin. 

What we Like 

  • Lightweight at only 18 ounces 
  • Comes with a high-impact ferrule
  • Lifetime warranty 
  • Stylish design 
  • Durable pig skin construction 
  • Comfortable grip 

What we Don’t Like 

  • The soft tip might wear off over time
  • Limited color options
Players Exotic Design Series E-5100 Sneaky Pete...
  • Players are the world's #1 selling brand of High-Performance Pool Cues
  • ✔️LIFETIME WARRANTY - The best guarantee in the industry including warpage. Your Amazon purchase...
  • ✔️QUALITY CONSTRUCTION - 6+ month manufacturing process from 100% North American Grade A Hard...

Cuetec Starlight 

Cuetec Starlight Series 58' 2-Piece Canadian Maple...

Whether you are taking your first shot, or you are an expert and know your way around the pool table, the Cuetec Starlight will be a great pick. The cue offers a great balance between price and functionality, making it the best value for buck. 

This pool cue under $200 packs some great features that allow for a powerful shot and accuracy. The cue also feels comfortable in the hand and will be easy to use if you are just breaking into the game. The stiff wood shaft is enclosed in fiberglass protection that makes it not only strong but also really durable. 

The wooden core is very sturdy, which keeps the cue from such defects as warping and dents. This reasonably priced cue’s tough polycarbonate ferrule protects the shaft when breaking with its hard Tiger Everest multi-layered tip giving you decades of service. 

Thanks to a combination of the Cuetec Starlight cue being relatively light and the tip being nice and hard, you can achieve significant elevation when playing down on the ball. You can choose various weights or easily adjust them later on with the Cuetec Weight Bolt to suit your preference if needs be.

What we Like

  • Affordable price considering its quality
  • Sturdy construction with durable parts
  • Easily adjustable and modifiable weight
  • Solid and accurate break and jump shots
  • Durable tips and practical Veltex wrap

What we Don’t Like 

  • The shaft could be stiffer
  • Heavy jumping part of the cue
Cuetec Starlight Series 58" 2-Piece Canadian Maple...
  • Adjustable weight bolt system for quick and easy weight changes that allow you to adapt quickly to...
  • Veltex Grip pulls moister away from your hand to give you the best feel.
  • The patented S.S.T. is a 15 1/2" Pro Taper power bonded shaft that gives you a true feel and true...

Viper Desperado

Viper by GLD Products Desperado 58' 2-Piece...

Viper has caught many pool enthusiasts’ eye, simply because their products offer an excellent deal, with their cues providing excellent performance. The Viper Desperado is not an exception to the rule, so much so that Viper offers a lifetime warranty for this pool cue.

Despite its affordable price, the attention to detail makes this two-piece pool cue under $200 seem like a steal. The shaft is made of hard and long-lasting Canadian Maple wood, topped off with a Le Pro leather tip. 

This tip retains chalk splendidly and offers splendid ball control. The overall design makes you feel comfortable throughout the entire stroke.  You can choose a suitable pool stick straight off the shelf, ranging from 18 to 21 oz. weights.

The butt of the cue features elaborate laser engravings, varnished with nine coats to protect the alluring design from scratches, as well as reduce the chances of warping. The stainless-steel joints and stainless steel rings along the forearm and sleeve only add to the cues appeal. 

That’s not all; the leather wrap not only looks great, but it also provides an excellent grip and absorbs sweat. The Viper Desperado’s base includes a neat, rarely found, removable scuffer for a quick fix on your tip.

What we Like 

  • Looks fantastic with intricate laser-engraved artwork
  • Premium Le Pro leather tip
  • Stainless steel joint collar
  • Removable scuffer
  • Leather wrap
  • Lifetime manufacturer warranty

What we Don’t Like

  • The tip is quite hard and fades faster than other high-end alternatives
  • Lackluster packaging
Viper by GLD Products Desperado 58" 2-Piece...
  • Constructed from quality hard Canadian Maple wood; Includes a lifetime manufacture limited warranty
  • Designed with a 2-piece billiard cue, allowing for easy transportation and storage
  • Featuring lightweight stainless steel joints which help provide a more consistent surface during;...

Cuetec White Platinum Model 99191

Cuetec White Platinum Model 99191 Billiard Pool...

Cuetec is a household name in the pool world due to them being around since 1989, continuously producing quality products. Their Cuetec White Platinum Model 99191 has excellent features that every pool shark yearns for. This cue will never disappoint you when you consider its quality and price.

The shaft is made of grade A+ North American maple that’s also layered with fiberglass or graphite. The latter option is Cuetec’s patented technology that makes the cue highly resistant to wrapping, wear, and tear. Even if you have sweaty hands or playing in areas with high humidity, Cuetec has you covered with their Tru-Glide finish that prevents the cue from sticking to the bridge of your hand.

Additionally, the Veltex grip pulls moisture from your hand to provide an enhanced slip free grip. The multi-layered soft tip fades uniformly and has low deflection for accurate English when striking the ball. The polycarbonate ferrule eases tension on the shaft, increasing the cue’s overall durability.

Quickly and effortlessly change the weight of the cue from 18 to 21 oz with its weight bolt system that’s easily adjustable.

What we Like 

  • Tough/ durable- will last a long time
  • Adjustable weights
  • Slip free grip
  • Breaks fast with minimal effort
  • Reasonably priced
  • Available in three colors

What we Don’t Like

  • Graphite takes a bit of getting used to
  • Adjustable weights bought separately

Viking Valhalla 500 Series 2 Piece Pool Cue Stick

Viking Valhalla 500,600 & 700 Series 2 Piece 58'...

Viking is not a new name in the pool cue industry. They have been making cues since the 1960’s and you wouldn’t be that long in the industry without making good cues. The Viking Valhalla 500 series are a great collection of pool cues under $200.

This series features a 58 inch maple shaft cue made with North American maple wood and a two-piece design for better portability.  The pool cue under $200 is made of standard stainless steel with a 5/16 inch x 18 inch threaded stainless steel joint. The leather soft tip is 13 mm in length.

The leather soft tip is nothing of excellent and you can replace it with a premium one if you want. Unfortunately, it’s not a low deflection shaft which would have made it better. Considering the budget, you won’t find that much low deflection shaft in pool cues under $200. 

Another feature that you might like is the interchangeable weight bolt system. Viking usually have this in most of their pool cues. This system allows you to stack or remove weights to make your pool cue lighter or heavier as you develop your pool skills.  

What We Like

  • The ultra violet urethane finish keeps the pool cue protected and looking brand new
  • Has a high impact ferrule for better English application on the cue ball
  • Interchangeable weight bolt system gives you flexibility on how heavy your pool cue is

What We Don’t Like

  • The 13 mm is only decent
  • Does not have a low deflection shaft for better accuracy
  • Can run out of stock easily because of how popular they are
Viking Valhalla 500,600 & 700 Series 2 Piece 58"...
  • IMPROVE YOUR GAME WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK. Features a 58” maple shaft cue, two piece design for...
  • A PREMIUM IMPORT. Designed by our Viking Cue Artisans, Valhalla cues take full advantage of our...
  • STATE-OF-THE-ART UNRIVALED QUALITY. Before a pool cue is shipped, it is assembled, rolled, and...

Features to Look For in the Best Pool Cues Under $200

Below are some of the features you should look out for when buying the best pool cues under $200.

Weight/Balance

The most important thing to consider when looking for the best pool cue is its weight. The best pool cue you choose is only appropriate to the user, so mark the weight of the cues you feel most comfortable playing with.

Most cues, when wholly assembled, have a weight ranging from 18 to 21 ounces. Most people find a cue of 19 ounces ideal for them. Production cues such as the Kamui black soft tip are made to have easily adjustable weights in the butt, varying the balance when required.

Man ready to hit the cue ball

You’ll find that most house cues have weight leaning toward the butt of the cue. This design can be a problem if you are a vertically challenged shooter. In such a case, as the player, you might have to grip the cue too far back to compensate, or the tip might pull up during the follow-through of a shot. 

Therefore, ensure you get the balance right by testing different cues. Look for the best pool cue that’s more forward weighted.

Style

Style is probably the last thing you should look for in a pool cue, after the performance. Still, it’s great to have a pool stick that fits your personality, and many pool sharks quickly have a sentimental value to their cues. Therefore, it’s only right that you have a tool that brightens you up since the best pool cue is usually an investment for a lifetime.

Performance

As you make your way up the pool rankings, you’ll be more aware of the different cue technologies and what might give you a competitive advantage. Challenging games are dealt with fine margins, and a slight variation of the best pool cue can make or break your pool game.

A critical feature pro pool players look for is the level of deflection on the shaft. Most beginner cues and more expensive cues often highlight having low deflection as their mainstay, which ensures more accurate left or right English when shooting.

Out of many tests carried out, there’s a high correlation between price and performance in pool cues, as is usually the case with most other products. Therefore, the pricier your cue is, the more likely it has a low deflection. You can trust the brands featured here since they consistently produce excellent pool cues under $200, better than the competition in the same price range.

Tip Size

Pool cue tip sizes generally range from 9 mm to 11 mm. The size of the tip you choose typically depends on the type of shot you want to take. The smaller the tip, the better it will be for spin shots or English. On the other hand, larger tips provide more accuracy.

You’ll usually find pros with two cues, of varying tip sizes. Most of the time, the cue stick with a larger tip will be used to break, and the other to play. When braking, the player also exerts a lot of force, which could end up damaging the smaller and more finessed tip. Hence, a larger tip is better for braking due to its larger body.

Cue Length

Most pool cues measure between 57 and 58 inches long. Still, you might want a shorter pool stick to improve your touch when making a shot in close quarters. Alternatively, you can hold the cue narrower to achieve the same effect. Shorter cues are also great for breaking, but not so much for spins and long potting. 

Material

Pool sticks are made of different materials ranging from hard rock maple wood, wood and onyx inlays, ash, fiberglass, graphite, and many wood types. Each great pool cue material has its own set of differences. Wood has a classic vintage feel, and the ball feels great when you strike it. Many professionals are moving towards fiberglass, claiming more consistency in the great cue and durability.

To avoid falling short of expectations, only buy a great cue from a recognizable brand, from the ones in this list. These manufacturers have an admirable reputation for getting the most out of the material they use, whether made by machine or hand.

Ensure the finish on a great cue is smooth and there are no visible scratches, nicks, or blemishes when first bought. If you prefer a hard maple wood stick, choose one with as few imperfections as possible, with straight grain arrows pointing towards the tip.

On the butt of the cue, the wrap should be smooth and flush to the cue’s body as well. Whichever preference of wrap you have (leather, silicone, or rubber), ensure no raised areas, loose threads, or knots. If leather, the seams should be clean- not tacky.

Man getting ready to hit the cue ball with pool cue

One-Piece or Jointed?

In the past, many pool sharks would fret at buying jointed cues. However, as technology develops, jointed cues hardly split nowadays. Thanks to the stainless steel joint design, you can easily transport your cue, rather than in one piece. Just ensure everything is smooth when you run your finger along with the stainless steel joint assembly in a jointed cue.

The stainless steel joint should be flush to the material, matching when screwed together. There should be no space between the shaft and the butt when you assembly the cue. The parts should go together easily and snugly, with little to no imperfections in and around the stainless steel joint.

Ferrule and Tip

The first 12 inches of the shaft, including the ferrule and tip, are undeniably important. Make sure the ferrule is flush to the end with no visible glue. The tip should be well attached and shaped to a nice even dome. Some professionals can swap tips for you, setting them correctly in place.

Straightness

Test the assembled pool cue’s straightness by rolling it on a flat surface. If you notice a wobble, then the stick isn’t uniform. Also, the bar might not be perfectly round due to the latter hand sanding efforts of making it.

To tell if that’s the case, hold the cue straight with both hands, and look down on it like a barrel as you slowly turn it. You might see it wrapped as you sight down from the butt-end to the tip.

When rolling the cue, make sure the tip has no lift, meaning it doesn’t lose contact with the flat surface. There might be a slight wobble sometimes, which is negligible. But, if you notice the bend when you stroke, that might be your cue to change up.

Finally, it all boils down to the pool cue manufacturer, as some have a reputation for making cues that warp due to low-quality materials. Again, choose a brand that’s recognizable and respected for its quality.

Types of Pool Cues

If you want to expand your arsenal of cues, it’s best to know the different types of cues. Each of them can be used in specific types of situations in the pool table and have an advantage over other types of cues. 

Specialty Cues – specialty cues are custom made and are commonly used by professional pool players. They’re quite expensive. However, they’re great at most shots except for breaking and jumping. 

Jump Cues – these cues are specifically used to jump the cue ball better and more accurately. 

Break Cues – break cues are used for breaking a rack. A great break cue can scatter the numbered balls easily allowing you to pocket the balls with ease.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a 21 Oz Pool Cue Good?

For snooker pool cues, you would want your pool cue under $200 to weigh between 18 to 20 ounces. For American pool, you should try getting a pool cue that weighs between 18.5 to 21 ounces and 17 to 19 ounces for English pool. 

What Pool Cue Weight Do Professionals Use?

Most professional players use good pool cues that weight around 19 to 19.5 ounces. The best pool cues can range from 15 to 27 ounces in weight.  Most professionals want to go in the middle and a bit lighter for a bit of balance in power and accuracy. 

Are Heavier Pool Cues Better?

It is commonly known that the heavier the pool cue, the more power it can exert which means that the cue ball can go faster. Heavier cues are only preferred for breaking and try to keep it balance when taking shots. 

Conclusion

There are thousands of cues available, suitable for beginners, intermediate level, and professional players. A cue that’s right for you should provide good consistent playability with little deflection when using sidespin as you play pool. Serious players use spin to set up the cue ball for their next shot. So, it’s only right you get a suitable cue like the ones in this guide to give you the edge.