The cue joint is a small part that can have a big effect on the feel of your cue. It connects the shaft and the butt and plays a role in the transfer of energy throughout the stick after each hit.
Read below to learn the different pool cue joint types, the advantages and disadvantages of each, how to pick which one is best for you, and of course, where to buy online.
Types of pool cue joints
No explanation needed – stainless steel joints are bright silver and usually very inexpensive. Because the transfer of energy in the cue is completely blocked by the steel, your shots will feel rigid, and your cue will feel like an actual stick that you’re whacking a ball with.
Some players like this. It’s a straightforward approach to pool, and if you have accurate aim, stainless steel joints can help you with hard, straight shots that have the perfect amount of give.
You can find pool cue joint types sometimes in wood, and from that, almost every variation of wood on the planet. Each specific type of wood has a different amount of hardness, but overall, wood is soft, and certainly softer than steel.
When you hit the ball, instead of feeling like a whack from a stainless steel joint, you’ll feel it throughout the entire cue from top to bottom. Wood doesn’t stop the transfer of energy as well as steel does, so there can be more vibration, too.
Composite joints (aka, plastic joints) are in between wood and steel joints in terms of feeling “hard” or “soft”. Just as different types of wood have different levels of hardness, different types of plastic do, too. Most retailers will specify how hard a composite pool cue joint is in the description of the product online.
In general, composite joints are only used in preassembled cues and other cheap offerings like that. You can try one out if you’d like, but in general, steel or wood will serve you better.
What’s the best one?
There are two extremes of shooting a pool ball and making a shot.
Power players tend to get stainless steel pool cue joints, and placement players tend to get wooden ones. The better you get, the more you’ll gravitate towards being a placement player, but for now, think about your best style of play and go with a joint that will help you improve as you are currently.
Installing a cue joint on a lathe:
Buy each type at these retailers
How does $3 sound? Mueller has brass and steel pool cue joints available for right around that price range. You can add special features like getting one that supposedly self-aligns, but you’ll still pay under $10, and most of the time, under $5.
It’s smart to buy a few different joints (even one brass and one steel) to compare how your shot feels with each. Even if you’ve been using one for however long you’ve been playing, you might find a switch makes a big difference, like getting a new tennis racquet or baseball bat would.
Billiards and games shops
The best place to buy your cue joints, period. These shops will have every type of size of metal joint and often wood ones for you to look at, too. If you’re near a city, there’s a good chance there’s a billiards shop near you – a Yelp search will get you started off on the right foot.
Amazon for protectors
Usually, you get a protector to make sure your joint doesn’t start looking worn as time goes on. Amazon has a nice selection of popular ones from independent and big-name sellers – click here to go to the search page.
So as you can see, although the pool cue joint is a small (and often overlooked) part of the cue, it’s very important to the feel of your cue and the resulting shots you take with it. Try a few different types from the retailers to see which one helps you and your game the most. Good luck!