The debate of lighter vs heavier pool cue can be quite confusing because people prefer cue weights because of their personal preference. I am trying to take this debate from the scientific perspective which would allow you to open up your mind for different cue weights.
The short answer is to go for a 19-19.5 oz pool cue if you are a beginner and for an expert stick to what you are comfortable with. For details why I recommend this cue weight continue reading this short post.
Lighter Cue Pros and Cons
The definition of the lighter cue can vary because what is light for someone might be heavier for the other. Therefore for the sake of discussion, I will stick with the usual weights cue sticks come with that is 18 oz till 21 oz.
The lighter the cue is the more forgiving it will be. By forgiving I mean that when you play a wrong shot as a beginner the ball will have lesser linear and angular momentum and therefore there is more chance that your bad shot will not be as bad as it would have been with a heavier cue.
The lighter cues also allow smooth flow of shaft on the bridge. For those who are starting out and still practicing how to hold a cue stick can definitely benefit from a lighter pool cue because it will allow to develop and lay good foundation of technically sound cue stick grip.
Though there are benefits but the drawback is pretty clear, you will not be able to hit the cue ball firmly unless you are hitting the cue ball with great force. As you grow with time, you will feel the lack of energy in your shots and then it is the time to move to a higher weight pool cue.
Heavier Cue Pros and Cons
The heavier pool cues on the other hand are on the right hand side of the weight spectrum typically around 20 to 21 oz. I have seen players with more height opting for a heavier pool cue because it feels just right for them. However, if we analyse the stick from the scientific perspective then it may not be ideal for them.
Heavier cue although heavier in size can allow the player to firmly hit the cue ball but the drawback is that on mishits you will most probably impart unrequired linear and angular momentum onto the ball. The ball will not travel and impact with the object ball as you may have planned.
At the end you will end up miscueing more. Pool is a game of fractions and slight wrong impacts between the cue tip and the object ball can create great difference in the trajectory of the cue ball.
However, for those who are seasoned players and have a firm grip on the cue sticks. They can benefit from a heavier cue stick because they will be able to firmly hit the cue ball and impart the right amount of momentum on the cueball with lesser force.
Playing with a heavier pool cue will give calmness in the game because the player will slowly hit the ball but still get the balls moving on the table with good speed. On the contrary, a lighter cue can take the calmness out because under certain situations when the shot requires higher force it can sake the positive mindset of the player and harm the calm thought process.
What I Recommend
If you are reading this then there is a higher probability that you are a beginner player. My suggestion would be to go for the middle around 19-19.5 oz because it will give you the benefit of both the lighter and the heavier cue.
You can do light adjustments in terms of force applied on the shot and achieve the results of either a lighter or heavier cue.
Another benefit would be that though you have the properties of frim shots because the cue weight is midrange but you will also have the cue forgiving as well. Miscue simply does not mean to do a foul it can also mean that you are not able to hit the cue ball where you intended.
For starters reap the benefits of both the lightweight and heavier pool cue. Build your technique and when you feel that you are potting more balls then is the time to invest in a more good pool cue and probably slightly heavier.