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While you must strive to get the best quality when buying a pool cue, sometimes you can’t just simply blow your budget. Luckily, there are many pool cues under $200 that are of good quality and provide just as much fun while playing. We did some research and identified a few budget options so you can choose the best pool cues for under $200 that’s right for you.
- Our Top Pool Cues Under $200
- Features to Look for in the Best Pool Cues Under $200
Our Top Pool Cues Under $200
While they may sound low-end, pool cues below $200 are actually plausible if you are looking to enjoy a good game of billiards on a budget. Below are some notable options you should check out.
Best Overall Pool Cues Under $200: Players Technology Series HXT15
If you have been playing pool long enough, you have probably come across some products from Players. Their Players Technology Series HXT15 pool cue has invariably been lauded as being one of the best budget pool 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 Technology Series HXT15, you will find the signature HXT low deflection ferrule. This is uniquely designed to significantly reduce deflection while boosting shooting accuracy and power.
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 19 ounces
- Comes with a low deflection shaft and ferrule
- Lifetime warranty
- Stylish design
- Durable construction
- Comfortable grip
What we Don’t Like
- The soft tip might wear off over time
- Limited color options
Best Pool Cues for Under $200 for the Money: Cuetec-CT296
Whether you are taking your first shot, or you are an expert and know your way around the pool table, the Cuetec-CT296 will be a great pick. The cue offers a great balance between price and functionality, making it the best value for money.
This pool cue 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-CT296 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
- Affordably 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
Best Cheap Pool Cues for Under $200: Viper Desperado Death Mark
Viper has caught many pool enthusiasts’ eye, simply because their products offer value for money, with their cues providing excellent performance. The Desperado Death Mark 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 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 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 lightweight stainless-steel joints and 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 death Mark’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
- 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
Best Durable Pool Cues for Under $200: Cuetec Prestige Series
Cuetec is a household name in the pool world due to them being around since 1989, continuously producing quality products. Their Prestige Series 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 grip. The multi-layered 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 adjustable weight bolt system. The cue’s also available in 4 different colors of pearl white, Ebony, Candy Apple Red, and Sea blue.
What we Like
- Tough/ durable- will last a long time
- Adjustable weights
- Breaks fast with minimal effort
- Reasonably priced
- Available in four stellar colors
What we Don’t Like
- Graphite takes a bit of getting used to
- Adjustable weights bought separately
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.
The most important thing to consider when looking for a cue is its weight. The one 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 are made to have easily adjustable weights in the butt, varying the balance when required.
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 a cue that’s more forward weighted.
Style is probably the last thing you should look for in a pool cue, after the performance. Still, it’s great to have a 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 a cue is usually an investment for a lifetime.
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 cue can make or break your game.
A critical feature pro pool players look for is the level of deflection on the shaft. 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, better than the competition in the same price range.
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.
Most pool cues measure between 57 and 58 inches long. Still, you might want a shorter 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.
Cue sticks are made of different materials ranging from maple, ash, fiberglass, graphite, and many wood types. Each 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 cue and durability.
To avoid falling short of expectations, only buy a 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 the cue is smooth and there are no visible scratches, nicks, or blemishes when first bought. If preferring a 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.
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 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 assembly in a jointed cue.
The 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 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.
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.
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. 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.