At first glance, pool and snooker might seem like very similar games, and the cues for each sport can seem interchangeable. However, these two sports are quite different.
Knowing more about each, and about the cues, can help you choose the right equipment for the game.
Differences Between Pool and Snooker
It’s much simpler to understand why and how pool and snooker cues are different if you first get a feel for how the two games vary. Both snooker and pool are considered to be billiards sports.
They’re played on a large felted table with six pockets around the edges. The object of the game is to drive the balls into the pockets.
The rules for each game, however, including which moves can be used, are slightly different.
Snooker tables are generally larger than pool tables. Home pool tables are generally about 8 feet long and just shy of 4 feet wide, while professional tables are 9 feet long and about just over 4 feet wide.
Even an oversized pool table is only about 10 feet long and about 4.5 feet wide. A snooker table, on the other hand, is at least 12 feet long and is only a little less than 6 feet wide.
The number and size of the balls used in pool and snooker also vary. Pool uses 15 or fewer marked balls plus one cue ball.
The balls must be between 61 and 61.5 millimeters or about 2.25 and 2.5 inches in diameter to be within regulation size, and they must weigh between 7.2 and 7.8 ounces.
Many non-regulation balls, however, weigh between 5 and 6 ounces.
In snooker, on the other hand, 15 unmarked balls, one cue ball, and six numbered balls are used. The balls are slightly smaller, measuring about 52.5 millimeters or 2.07 inches in diameter.
Snooker balls are also a bit lighter. There is no exact regulation weight for snooker balls, although they usually weigh around 3 or 4 ounces, and each ball in a set must weigh within 3 grams of every other ball.
Snooker tables also have slightly smaller pockets to accommodate the smaller size of the balls.
Length and Weight
Because snooker uses lighter, smaller balls, snooker cues are also generally a bit lighter.
A snooker cue usually weighs between 18 and 20 ounces, depending on how long it is, and a pool cue is usually between 19 and 21 ounces.
Again, the exact weight depends on the cue’s length. Pool cues, despite their shorter length, must be slightly heavier to effectively hit the larger, heavier pool balls.
The game of snooker uses a much longer table, so it makes sense that snooker cues are also a bit longer.
In general, snooker cues are between 57 and 59 inches long, while pool cues are between 56 and 59 inches long.
Snooker players can also use a longer butt extension when necessary, which can add up to 6 inches of length to the cue.
The ferrule size on pool and snooker cues also varies. The ferrule is the small cap piece at the end of the cue, just before the tip.
Although the size for each can vary, pool cues tend to have much longer ferrules than snooker cues.
The tip size on a snooker cue is smaller than that of a pool cue. This is because snooker uses smaller balls, so players need more precision and control from their cue, and a smaller tip helps with this.
In general, the tips of snooker cues measure between 9 and 10.5 millimeters or about 0.35 and 0.41 inches in diameter.
Pool cues, on the other hand, utilize a tip that’s between 12 and 13 millimeters or about 0.47 and 0.5 inches in diameter.
Pool and snooker cues are also made using different materials. Snooker cues are almost always made out of ash.
Not only does this give the cue a slightly different feel and weight, but it also gives the cue a different color. Snooker cues are usually brown or dark tan.
Pool cues, however, are usually a lighter tan color because they’re more often made of maple. Maple, however, is more commonly used in the United States or for standard American pool cues.
Pool cues made for play in Europe are often made of ash, much like a snooker cue.
The ferrule on a snooker cue is usually made of brass. Ferrules on pool cues are generally made of carbon fiber.
This gives the cue a different look, and checking the ferrule is one of the easiest ways to tell if a cue is made for snooker or pool.
The different ferrule materials can also change how the cue feels when it’s used in play.
Brass absorbs more impact, so players using a snooker cue might not get as much feel for the balls, particularly if they’re using the cue for the incorrect game.