Need something to protect your cue stick?
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll be reviewing 8 of the best pool cue cases that money can buy. We’ll look at both hard and soft cue stick cases, assessing their durability, value for money, and the protection they offer.
No time to waste? Check out this handy table to quickly compare our top picks:
Pool Cue Case Buyer’s Guide
In this section we’ll outline some key things to consider when buying a pool cue case.
Why use a pool cue case?
Pool cues can warp very easily. If they get knocked or are exposed to extreme temperatures or moisture in the air, the shaft can bend, resulting in poor performance when striking the cue ball.
Cue stick cases allow you to protect your cue from the elements and prevent damage that may occur when you’re not using it. For example, they can cushion against bumps and jolts that happen when transporting your stick.
In addition, cue cases make it easier to move your sticks, for example to and from the pool hall. If you have a three-stick case, you’ll be able to carry all of your cues in one easy package rather than having to move them individually.
Hard vs soft pool cue cases
Soft pool cue cases are made with a flimsy outer material like vinyl or synthetic leather – they can be folded over when there’s no stick on the inside. They’re generally quite light and also relatively cheap, and normally have a full side zipper so you can show off or inspect your collection.
On the other hand, hard cue cases have a stiff outer layer, and cannot be bent. They’re generally more expensive than soft cases, but offer better protection as they make it less likely your cue will warp. These cases are more suitable for long-term storage of your pool cue, but can be used on a day to day basis too. They normally have a single opening at the top (like a tube) and do not unzip.
Pool cue case sizes
Cue stick cases have separate slots for the butt and the shaft of your cue.
To tell how many different shaft/cue combinations you can fit in a single case, look for the number given by the seller in the format “1×1” for example.
This means (for 1×1) that you can fit one shaft and one butt in the case. 2×3 would mean two butts and three shafts. So the format is “[number of butts]x[number of shafts]”.
This is an example of a 3×6 pool cue case.
Cue case opening mechanisms
There are three different ways to access the cues in your case:
- Plain tube design. This is what’s used on less expensive hard cases. You’ve got to reach in and pull your stick out with your fingers (if there’s room) or tip the case to slide them out.
- Spring-loaded bottom. On some premium hard cases, the bottom end is spring-loaded. As a result, your cues will pop out slightly as you open the tube, allowing you to grab them easily.
- Side zip design. Generally, soft pool cue cases open with a zip that runs the length of the case. This allows you to easily open and inspect, add or remove cues once you lie the case flat.
I have a single-piece cue: what should I do?
Nearly all of the cue stick cases on the market right now are designed for two-piece cues.
However, there are a few specialist cases that work with sticks that do not come apart. Make sure to get the right size, as some are designed for snooker cues.
Most cue cases have pockets and pouches for storing accessories like chalk and hand wipes. Look out for these if you feel if you need the extra storage space.
Cheaper cases generally have one or two pockets while more expensive options have up to five or six.
How much should I spend?
There are two options here:
- If you’re a new/casual pool player with one or two relatively inexpensive sticks, it’s OK to get a cheaper cue case. This is because you don’t need a heap of storage space and your cues aren’t incredibly valuable. If you upgrade down the line, you won’t have wasted much money if you get a less expensive case to begin with.
- On the other hand, if you’re a serious player with four or five premium-quality cues, it’s definitely worth buying a more expensive case. There’s nothing worse than having a $300+ cue warp, so you should do everything you can to prevent this from happening.
Best Hard Pool Cue Cases
Now onto the reviews!
1. Billiard Depot Hard Cue Case (3×6)
Billiard Depot’s case has two main benefits over its competition.
Firstly, it offers an amazing level of protection considering the price. The internal dividers are felt lined and run the entire length of the case, preventing your cues from bashing against each other in transit. Plus, the thick padding at the bottom of the tube helps to protect your bumpers/tips/joints from impact, ensuring your cues are in tip-top shape when it’s time to play.
The second benefit of this case is how sturdy it is. Although the outer is made with imitation leather rather than the real deal, the hard shell is very durable and won’t crack easily. This toughness can be especially useful when traveling, as it can help to protect against harder knocks you’re more likely to experience when flying cross-country or taking a long-distance bus for example.
Considering how many cues it holds, Billiard Depot’s 3×6 hard case is good value for money. The only issue with it is that the strap can be uncomfortable to use if you’re going to be holding your case for extended periods. However, if you’re just traveling to the tables from your car, it’s not a big deal.
2. Iszy Billiards Hard Cue Case (2×2)
Looking for something a little smaller? Even if you’re a new player and you just own one cue at the moment, it can be worth grabbing a case that can hold up to two sticks. This way, you won’t have to buy an entirely new tube if you decide to get another playing cue or a dedicated breaker/jumper.
As you’d expect from a quality hard case, you get a tough vinyl covering to protect your cues, and this outer material is available in a massive range of colors. The exterior shell is nice and thick to prevent crushing, and the internal divider goes all the way into the case. However, some thinner cues will sit a bit loose inside their slots – this isn’t a big issue though, as they’re not going to hit anything that could damage them if they move.
You also get two reasonably large storage pockets that affix to the side of the tube, which are handy for storing chalk, Kleenex or even your own cue ball if you’re doing some practice routines. What’s more, these zip pockets are removable, so you can get rid of them if they get in your way.
Another awesome feature of this case is the adjustable shoulder strap. It’s relatively comfortable but also quite durable, meaning it should last for the life of the product. Because the case is so light, weighing in at 2.2lbs, carrying your cues is a breeze even if the tube is full.
Unfortunately the case itself isn’t quite as durable as the strap. Considering what you’re paying though, it’s still great value for money.
3. Pro Series PRO-97A Hard Cue Case (3×5)
Now we’ll look at a more expensive cue case option. If you’ve got valuable cues and you want to look after them, it’s worth spending more for that little bit of extra protection.
The main difference between the PRO-97A and the cheaper cases we’ve looked at so far is the durability it offers. Although this case is made with the same stuff (synthetic leather), the craftsmanship on the Pro Series is much better than what you get with most other tubes. The seams and glued areas hold up much better, and the zippers and strap are much less likely to break. As a result, you won’t be needing to replace this case for years to come.
In the long run, you might actually save money getting a premium case like this one instead of replacing a cheaper tube every so often. It isn’t actually crazy expensive, it’s just considerably higher priced than the two hard cases we’ve looked at so far.
Another feature of this tube is the moisture-wicking fabric which lines the cue pockets. This serves to reduce the dampness of your cues (whether from sweat or moisture in the air), thereby helping to avoid warpage. Plus, the bottom of the case is spring-loaded, meaning you won’t have to tip the case upside down to get your cues out. This is a great feature to have, especially if you’ve got multiple cue sticks with you.
4. Athena Vinyl Tube Style Cue Case (2×2)
Having looked at the PRO-97A, you might be hesitant to spend that amount of money on a pool cue case if you don’t have super-expensive sticks. But at the same time, you want something more durable than the first two cases we looked at.
If you’re experiencing such a dilemma, this case could be just what you need.
Athena’s product is a mid-budget option – it’s reasonably priced but also very well made. You get a hard outer case with a vinyl protective covering, and the inner tubes are lined with felt to prevent chipping. It holds shafts/butts up to 30″ long inside the rubber molded casing, and the cues rest snug and secure (unless they’re really thin, like English pool cues).
Plus, this case comes with a really nice (but subtle) design, and you get two external pockets to store anything you need to take with you to the pool hall.
However, the best thing about this case is its durability. You’re unlikely to have problems with the handle, straps or zips breaking, and the overall craftsmanship of the case is pretty good. Plus, it’s fairly light, and feels nice to carry.
Best Soft Pool Cue Cases
In this part we’ll look at the best soft pool cue cases on the market right now. If you want something a bit cheaper and lighter than the tubes we’ve looked at so far, getting a soft case is probably your best bet.
5. Lucasi Brown Leatherette Soft Cue Case (4×8)
Lucasi’s billiard cue case is another mid-budget option. It’s on the more expensive side, but you get a lot of room – it holds up to four butts and eight shafts.
The classic brown leather look is matched by the build quality of this case. It’s extremely durable, even though the outer material is a synthetic leather rather than the genuine article. The included carry handle and strap are sure to last for years to come, but they also feel comfortable to use when carrying a case full of cues. Because the bag is so light, it’s easy to move your cue sticks – the straps don’t get uncomfortable if you hold onto them for a long time.
You also get five external pockets in total, which is more than most other cases offer. Three are medium-sized, meaning they’re useful for carrying chalk, tips or tip scuffers. The other two are larger, so you could put towels, Kleenex or even a small drink bottle in these pockets.
Unlike other hard cases, this product does not have hard tubing to protect your cues. Instead, there are thick fabric dividers, which do an excellent job cushioning your sticks in transit. Although having a hard outer shell would be better for long-term storage, a soft case like this one offers plenty of protection for trips to and from league play and tournament matches.
6. Action ACSC11 Soft Cue Case (2×3)
If you don’t like the classic brown leather look of Lucasi’s case, or you just want something a bit smaller, take a look at the Action ACSC11.
It only holds up to two butts and three shafts, and is similarly priced to the case we just looked at. However, the ACSC11 is made with a very durable vinyl outer which is very easy to clean – simply wipe dust and debris off with a wet cloth. You also get six accessory pockets, including one for your jump cue’s butt.
Plus, this case opens with a side zipper, meaning you can easily add/remove cues and take stock of your inventory – there’s no need to tip them out for a pre-match inspection.
Because the case is relatively small and made of synthetic materials, it’s very light. If you’ve only got one or two cues and don’t want to be carrying around something designed for four or more sticks, this could be just what you need. The shoulder strap is fully adjustable and is also reasonably durable.
The combination of fabric dividers plus exterior padding offers great protection, and the case is on the whole very well made. However, it is quite expensive considering its cue capacity.
7. Excalibur Deluxe Soft Cue Case (2×2)
Now we’ll take a look at two cheaper soft cue cases.
If you’re a new player who just uses one cue at a time, the Excalibur Deluxe is a good starter option. Although it holds up to two billiard cue sticks, this is generally preferable to buying a single-cue case as a beginner.
There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, most cheap 1×1 soft cases are nothing more than cue covers. They offer little protection, and often there aren’t any dividers to separate butt and shaft. Secondly, if you begin to take your pool more seriously, you’ll want the extra room for an additional cue or a different shaft. Getting a 2×2 case to begin with avoids the hassle of upgrading, but still offers the portability you need (when compared with a massive 4×8 case for example).
So why is this case such a good 2×2 option?
- It’s reasonably priced.
- The nylon material, strap, and zippers are quite durable considering what you’re paying. They also make for a very light case.
- You get two accessory pockets – this is enough to store everything you need as a new player.
- The interior walls and dividers are well padded, offering good protection against bumps in transit.
8. Action Soft Cue Case (1×1)
Although 2×2 cases are generally a better option than 1×1 tubes, there are some situations in which a single-cue case is worth getting. For example, if you’re a casual player with just one cue, or you walk/ride a bike to the pool hall, it can be worth buying a 1×1 tube because they’re small and light.
Unless you know you won’t need more room for a few years or so, it’s better to get a cheap case if you’re buying 1×1. This way, you can upgrade without having lost much money on your first tube.
This is where Action’s soft case excels: it’s very reasonably priced. Considering what it costs, the protection is decent – you get foam padding in the outer layer for extra protection. The red felt lining on the inside of the tube looks awesome, but also helps to pull moisture away from your cues which can help to prevent warpage. This case even has a divider to stop the butt and shaft from knocking against each other, which is unusual for a cheap 1×1 case. Plus, it’s big enough to hold any butt/shaft up to 30″ long.
The downside to this case is it isn’t very durable. Its seams can come apart after six months or so of use, and the zippers aren’t incredibly reliable. This is sort of to be expected considering what it costs.
If you’d prefer to have something sturdier that won’t break the bank, have a look at the Excalibur Deluxe 2×2 case we just reviewed instead.
This is the end of our pool cue case buyer’s guide!
Ultimately, if you’re looking for the best possible protection, grabbing a hard cue case is the way to go. They’re sturdier and better at preventing chipping of your cue.
However, if you just need something for everyday use rather than periods of long-term storage, soft cue cases work well due to their lightweight design and comfort when carrying.
Still unsure what to get? Ask us anything in the comments below and we’ll respond within 24 hours.
About the author
Tom is an accomplished writer, with years of experience producing buyer’s guides and tutorials for athletes online.
And it goes without saying – he’s sports-mad.