So you’re finally getting around to purchasing your very own pool cue. There are many brands and options out there, but Dufferin stands out as one of the best first cues for an avid pool player to buy. They are the perfect budget pool cue as they have a great balance of durability and performance while still being an affordable pool cue.
Dufferin is one brand that many first-time cue owners go for because they manufacture one of the most trusted cues with superior quality. They’re solid and perform well. But, even though these are great cues, there are other brands you may want to consider before diving into a Dufferin.
If you’re going to make an investment of a pool cue, you want to ensure it will last. This means you should be well aware of what goes into making a cue, the materials used and which one will give you the most use for the least amount of money.
How Good Are Dufferin Pool Cues?
Since 1967, Dufferin has gone to great lengths ensuring the perfect balance between durability, performance and value. They employ state-of-the-art, albeit outdated, techniques with quality materials to deliver a product that offers both performance and strength.
To check the current price and availability of the Dufferin D-951 Canadian Maple Pool Cue, click here to view it on Amazon.
Decline in Quality
Many pool players attest to their decent handling ability. And, for a first cue, it makes the grade quite well. But, since their production left Canada and went to China, the quality and care that once went into them seems to fall by the weigh side, leaving much for a pool player to desire.
In 2004, Dufferin filed for bankruptcy and Jim Lucas of Lucasi Cue came in and took over the business. But he sent its manufacturing over to China. There are an alarming number of seasoned players who report that this move has changed the quality.
Not that they’re junk by any means, but they have a “behind the time” manufacturing process. The cues have a rough finish and alignment compared to that of others. There are even some people who say their newer models fell apart after only a handful of games.
There are some players who attest to buying them at a thrift store for $5 to $10. And these are for newer models. So, that should tell you about the down slope in quality.
Other Pool Cues to Consider
If you can find a used Dufferin, you may be able to locate quite the bargain buy. They were originally some of the best and most sturdy cues available. If you can find them between the 70s and 90s in good condition, you’ll be sitting pretty.
There are many others out there that first-timers can buy for the same amount of money as a Dufferin. They’re also solid, well-made and you can get them customized. The following is a list suggested by many experienced pool players:
This Lucasi Custom Super Birds-Eye Pool Cue on Amazon is beautiful, accurate, and is of superior quality.
What Factors Should a First-Time Cue Buyer Consider?
Depending on your skill and experience, there are several things to think about when buying a pool cue. The construction of the tip and shaft should be at the top of the list along with butt design, balance, feel, appearance and weight.
It’s important to familiarize yourself with all these concepts. Read through some online forums where experienced players discuss different cues. Watch videos of players using various brands of cue sticks and observe their manner of play.
Any aspect to the cue that’s poorly designed and constructed may result short-lived use. Leave brand and price out when first considering your purchase so you can get an understanding of the full scope of cues available.
The Shaft: LD or Standard
The first and most important consideration is the shaft because this is what is going to affect the cue’s overall function. There are two types: Low Deflection (LD) versus Standard shafts. Either way, they are almost always composed of hard rock maple.
LD is a newer feature and changes the feel and performance of a cue from Standard ones. It changes the weight and feel of the stick entirely different from a Standard cue.
The tips are second to considering the shaft. Tips usually compose leather but cues made specific for breaking will have a hard phenolic resin tip, which allows for the most amount of force. Since this is the part of the cue that’s going to have the most force of impact with the pool balls, it’s important to focus on this detail.
Ferrules are next, although a seemingly insignificant piece. Ferrules are the piece that sits between the tip and the shaft to protect the wood. These often comprise carbon fiber or a strong resin.
The Rear of the Cue
Other components of the cue, like the butt and forearm, are equally as important as the shaft, ferrule and tip. These offer the aesthetics of the cue while contributing to its overall feel and function. Although most shafts comprise hard rock maple wood, the butts can incorporate a plethora of woods.
Higher-end cues use things like snakewood, African blackwood or ebony. Middle to high models incorporate woods such as black ash, bloodwood or black maple.
Price Ranges in Focus
Because of the variety of options available, knowing what you’re getting will help determine what quality cue you should get. The following is a simplified breakdown:
- $20 – $100: These are cheap, thrift store cues. They’ll do the job but you will only get a handful of uses out of them. Unfortunately, most Dufferin cues now sit in this lowered quality bracket. The accuracy is iffy at best. This is for very green beginners or if you need a cue in a pinch.
- $100 – $250: You can find these at most in-person and online retailers. Modern Dufferin cues do come in this range and there may be something of an improvement to the cheap ones. These are ideal for intermediate beginners looking to own a cue for the first time.
- $250 – $500: This price rage is for advanced and experience players ready to up their game with a higher quality cue. These will have more precision, a good tip and an LD shaft. When you get closer to the $500 end, butts and forearms begin to add prettier woods and inlay designs. Some manufacturers will even have a lifetime warranty too.
- $500 – $1000: The construction quality for the cues in this price bracket will include an LD shaft, a beautiful design with exotic woods as well as inlays and veneers. Of course, these are going to be for very seasoned pro players or those looking for an equal mix of beauty and functionality.
- $1000 or more: When you get above $1000 for a cue, you’re looking for a collectible. Handmade or custom designed cues also fall into this price category. They are often one-of-a-kind, complete with inlays, special veneers, rare woods and those that are no longer in the market.
Are Expensive Pool Cues Worth It?
A cue that costs $500 or more sits under the banner of “expensive.” And, it definitely can improve your game up to a point. So, in some cases, yes, it’s very worth it. But in other situations, it isn’t as worth it as some may believe.
Some of this is psychological, where you “think” that because you have a high-end cue you “believe” you will play better. This isn’t to mitigate the confidence and power gleaned by such a psychological perspective. But, it really comes down to the individual player.
Detailed Price Range Comparisons
This will depend on what the person’s preference, style, experience level and skill at playing pool. Taking into account all the factors mentioned above, understand that a mid-priced cue will be much better than a cheap one. Expensive cues will have high-quality materials, components and features that are beautiful and impressive.
About Inlays and Designs
Many also have inlays that add to its visual appeal. Some will have exotic materials like mother-of-pearl, cobalt, coral and turquoise. Sometimes these are only stickers, which make them less expensive while some models actually affix them into the wood.
With so many options for a cue available on the market, first-time buyers should invest a little research and study into the engineering and construction of a cue. It will very much depend on your experience and skill level, but getting a Dufferin cue is good for average players that don’t yet have their own cue.
But, if you want a cue that has just as much aesthetic appeal as functionality, then you should look to spend more than $200. However, it’s not advisable for a first cue. You want to get a true understanding of grip and performance so you can know what kind of handling works best for you and how you play.
Regardless, you should look into other cue brands and types before you dive into a Dufferin. You want to make sure you get the most effective cue that will last the longest for the least amount of money.