The Pool Cue Leather Wrap: 3 Things You Should Know
Looking at leather pool cue wraps for your stick? Before making a purchase, read through the three points below - they’ll educate you on wraps in general and tell you how to pick the leather wrap that’s right for you and your style of gameplay.
Table of Contents
#1: They’re right in the middle of “grip amount”
Every pool player will have a preference on the amount of grip he or she prefers on his or her cue.
When players are starting out, they generally prefer grippier sticks, as their problems usually come from aim, not necessarily amount of force. When you start to get better, you’ll find that smoother shots lend themselves to better gameplay, and you may choose to use less (or even no) grip.
It varies, though - even a few pros have been known to use rubber grips.
Here are the 5 most common wrap materials, sorted from most grippy to least grippy.
1. Plain ol’ rubber - You can buy a rubber grip or make one yourself. As you can imagine, there’s zero give on a rubber grip, meaning it’s harder to hit soft shots (for most people).
2. Specialized sticks (no wrap) - Some manufacturers make sticks with special coats on them for increased grip. So there’s no leather, no nothing. They even absorb moisture. However, some players have reported that the coat gave the stick an unnatural feeling.
3.Stacked leather - Cheaper version of pool cue leather wraps. Explained more below.
4. Standard leather - More expensive version of pool cue leather wraps. Explained more below.
5. Irish linen - A very soft, very smooth material for your wrap. It’s tougher to generate power, but easier to hit more precise shots.
6. Anything else - Some seasoned players experiment with new wraps, but the above five are by far the most common in 2016.
#2: Stacked is different from standard
Players often get confused when they go to billiards halls, pubs, or bars, use a different stick each time, and notice that the grip is performing differently, despite the sticks looking and feeling (to the touch) very similar.
It’s because stacked leather and standard leather are both used in pool cues, and each one has very distinct advantages from the other. You have to adjust your play depending on which type of wrap you’re using.
Stacked leather is a processed leather that’s grippier than normal leather. It’s the material that feels like leather, just a bit… off. Stacked leather absorbs moisture, too, so if you sweat when you play (be honest, plenty of us do), you might prefer stacked over standard.
Standard leather is a bit smoother. It’s the same leather you’d see on a sofa or messenger bag. Most pros use standard leather, if that means anything to you.
We’d recommend starting off by trying out both a standard and stacked wrap and seeing which one you like best. Start small, because you can spend a lot on a pool cue leather wrap - read on to learn just how much.
Installation of Stacked Leather Wrap:
#3: You can spend between $5 and $5,000
As with most pool accessories, you can get a leather wrap that’s just functional… or you can go all out and get one that’s both functional and made out of the best materials in the world.
Just need a new grip? You can get faux leather - no one will be able to tell unless he or she holds your stick, and even then, the difference between real and fake isn’t very noticeable.
There are different qualities of faux leather. Some will look, smell, and feel like the real thing, and others will be imitations that have very few similarities. Read customer reviews before purchasing to make sure you’re not buying a piece of junk that you won’t be able to play well with.
Make sure you're not buying a piece of junk!
It’s the real thing, just not anything special.
Almost every pool cue leather wrap is made of cheap leather that looks good, feels good, but doesn’t cost that much to produce. If you want something that’s expensive for the sake of being expensive, read on...
This is the leather that comes from the toughest layer of the cow’s hide. As you can imagine, there’s not very much of this high-quality stuff, so if you want it, you’ll have to pay up (usually a few hundred dollars).
And you’ll usually have to pay for the brand name, too - it’s rare for run-of-the-mill billiards and pool manufacturers to carry anything in this league. Look at luxury table sports brands and you’ll be able to find a few tucked away in the accessories section.
If you’re putting a leather wrap on your pool cue to improve your gameplay, don’t go with just anything - make sure you know what you’re buying and what you can expect from the particular type of grip. Scroll up to confirm standard or stacked leather is the right type of grip for you, and if it is, get shopping on the quality of wrap that suits you best as a pool player and how seriously you take the game. Good luck!