The “striker’s” guide: McDermott & other high-quality cue sticks on the market

We love McDermott, but pool and billiards players who are just looking for simple, high-quality cue sticks use some options outside of well-known brands (but we’ll still provide insight on some of the most popular options for comparisons sake)

McDermott G1402 - McDermott Cue of the Year 2019Whether you’re a fan of the McDermott brand or not, it’s important that pool players understand everything that goes into what determines that a cue stick is high quality or not. Though we personally enjoy McDermott cue sticks for a variety of reasons, we’ve also learned that there are options outside of popular name brands. And, simply put, not everyone is interested in super well-known brands.

So we want to talk about what makes the McDermott brand so popular in the first place, but we also want to take a strike at some other brands on the market that are also offering high-quality cue sticks and other pool products at affordable prices (some of which you can find browsing through our online shop).

First: How Much Does A Pool Stick Cost:

According to Billiard Factory, pool sticks range in price from under $50 to more than $1000. Pool cues are also offered with scruffers and repair kits as well, and pool table owners are also encouraged to complement their table with matching cue sticks that are wooden and traditional or sleek and modern.

Second: What makes a cue stick "good" (Why McDermott Is More Pricey):

Self-proclaimed “geek” and contributor to Pool Cue Guide Mike says that a key to a  good quality pool cue is “having low deflection.” So if you want to play well and strike the ball well, you need to choose the pool cues with low deflection. But finding the best sticks could be a challenging task.

The reason is, like many other products, there is a broad selection to choose from. How do you know which one is good or not? Billiard champions like Efren Reyes, Shane Van Boening, and Ron Dooley always use the best pool cues that must be fantastic in both durability and performance like low deflection. But this isn’t an article for billiard champions — this is an article for someone who just wants to know what good pool cues are on the market, and how they can find them. Which brings us to the next point.

The Reason McDermott Is Pricier:

Like any higher-quality product, McDermott pool cue sticks are on the pricier because of how it’s made. Without holding back, Billiard Beast reminds us that McDermott has been voted the best brand of pool cues according to

But it’s now just about being voted as a top-quality brand. Below are some of the core reasons McDermott is held at such high standards:

  • Quality construction

  • Exotic woods & materials

  • Intricate inlays

  • Limitless customization options

  • Lifetime warranty

Designing and producing a cue stick is no simple matter. In this video posted by McDermott’s official YouTube channel, we see a 16-minute behind the scenes look at what goes into making a McDermott cue stick, from making the tri-core butt section to final touches such as customer personalization, hand staining or painting, and weight bolt adjustments.

McDermott has a long history of innovation and top-notch quality. When that’s coupled with their unique styles and superior attention to detail, it’s not really hard to see why dozens of professional players use McDermott cues (not to mention the dozens more of major tournaments that have been won using McDermott cues).

Usually when the professionals are using a product, you know it likely brings a lot to the table. After all, professionals are as credible as it gets when it comes to industry-specific products worth purchasing.

McDermott’s official website even highlights their cues’ high-performance shafts are some of the most recognized products in the billiard industry.

Players C-960: A Good Cue Stick Based On Affordability, Durability, & Non-hype

Entry-level might have a certain type of connotation, but entry-level cue sticks aren’t always a bad thing. What this means is that these cue sticks should be accessible or easy to find, won’t break the bank, and should have a decent amount of durability.

So we did some research to see what the general pool-playing public was using to play pool, and we came across this article published by Poets Billiard. What we found is that the Players C-960 is an excellent option if you’re just starting out or if you have a very limited budget (or both). SPOILER ALERT: The cue stick we’re about to review isn’t the most durable, but it will get the job done while saving you money.


  • Inexpensive

  • Durable tip

  • Decent control


  • Overall subpar durability

The Players C-960 delivers decent control – according to some reviews that boast, it’s “excellent balance and overall weight” partly due to the durable tip. This cue stick also doesn’t have any spin potential that would otherwise be unwanted for less skilled players.

As for the aesthetic, one Amazon reviewer writes:

“Although I’ve seen better looking bird’s eye maple on more expensive cues, this is still very nice wood, and the eye-catching red stain is very visually pleasing. The finish on both butt and shaft is flawless, and the shaft slides through my bridge as smoothly as glass. The ferrule and tip fit perfectly.”

With this affordable cue stick, players also receive a decent Irish linen wrap for a slip-free grip in the purchase in addition to lifetime warranty coverage (if this isn’t nice for a pool cue of this price, we don’t know what is).

Of course, we can’t expect the consistency in this cue stick to be a match to what the pricier cues have to offer, but that’s why it’s ideal for people who are just starting out; you probably won’t give too much attention to the little vibrations in your pool cue.

Where To Buy Cue Sticks

Besides Amazon, there are many great places for you to purchase a cue stick. For your convenience, we’ve curated a short list of great suppliers with locations included so you can browse your options and make a decision!

How To Make A Cue Stick:

And for those who would rather DIY the whole cue stick process, this one’s for you! Because, as crazy of a challenge as that sounds to us, we know there are those of you out there who would really do it.

We came across an awesome video on YouTube where a pool cue maker by the names of James Wright shows how to make a pool cue with just hand tools. He uses:

  • Red oak (about 1.5 inches wide)

  • Wood glue

  • Squeeze clamps (or screws as a quicker alternative)

  • Scrub plane

  • Spokeshave

  • Card scraper

  • Smoothing plane

  • Optional: Sandpaper

The video is less than 15 minutes and provides a step-by-step tutorial on how to literally create your pool cue from a piece of wood.

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