Snooker Equipment List
Snooker is played on a table with pockets. Snooker players use cue sticks to strike the cue ball into the other balls. These balls are arranged by using a triangle-shaped rack. Players may use a variety of equipment to assist them in making more difficult shots across longer distances or steadying their shots. These props include cue bridges, chalk, extensions, rests, rest head adaptors, hook rests, spiders, and swans. Other accessories like ball markers and towels can also help make snooker easier to play.
A standard sized snooker table is 12 feet by 6 feet. It is rectangular in shape, covered with a green cloth called a baize, and has pockets in the corners and middle of each long side for the balls to be hit into.
Each set of snooker balls includes fifteen red balls, six balls of particular colors, and one white cue ball. The colored balls must be pocketed in a particular order after the red balls are gone: yellow, green, brown, blue, pink, then black.
Cue sticks are made of wood and are usually just under 5 feet long.
Snooker, much like billiards, allows for the utilization of many different accessories during play. Most of the accessories are important pieces of equipment that help players during the game, such as cues, balls, racks, chalks, and rests. Accessories such as towels, powders, brushes, and rest head adaptors are not absolutely essential, yet provide another level of aid to the player.
With so many accessories to choose from, it’s no wonder that famous snooker players have become known for their varying playstyles. Snooker accessories can cost all sorts of amounts, given the type of accessory and how it was made.
Throughout play, cue balls can often become dirtied by chalk passed on by the head of a cue. Thus, it is an important practice that they be cleaned regularly, sometimes as often as every hit. Ball markers are used to mark the exact spot where the cue ball was located on the snooker table before they are removed for cleaning.
Additionally, ball markers can help to identify whether or not a player can receive a “free ball,” or placement elsewhere on the table. Ball markers come in a few different styles, and can be made of durable plastics. They often cost a few dollars to purchase.
Snooker balls function as the main piece of equipment for playing the sport. To score points in snooker, balls must be shot into pockets. The iconic, vibrant, and glossy sheen of snooker balls come from the material from which they are made. Balls of the past were created out of wood, but today they are made of heated and molded phenolic resin.
These balls come in different colors, each of which have a specific location they are to be placed on the snooker table, as well as differing point values. A typical set of snooker balls may cost up to $30.
A snooker bridge is one of the few pieces of snooker equipment that needn’t be purchased, as bridges are made from a player's hand. Simply put, bridges are a means to station the cue on a straight path to hit the cue ball. A bridge is constructed by positioning one’s hand in specific ways, usually ones that are comfortable, steady, and firmly grip the table’s cloth.
Hand bridges vary from player to player, as each snooker player will find a comfortable bridge for them. Top players in the sport use a variety of iconic signature bridges, so finding the right one for you is very important. While bridges cannot be purchased, seeing as how they are already in your possession, lessons can often help beginning players learn the basics of proper and effective bridge construction.
A must have for any snooker or billiards player, chalk can be useful for adding friction between the cue and cue ball. In a precision based sport such as snooker, every detail matters when striking the cue ball, such as the spot that is hit, the angle and direction, and the amounts of friction and force. This friction is necessary, as over time the tip of a snooker cue may become worn down. Chalks help combat this wear and tear, as well as to prevent a miscue. It is wise to apply chalk to the cue every so often.
Snooker chalk is often purchased in large quantities (10 or so per pack), and a player will often get many uses out of a single chalk cube. Chalk costs around $5 for a pack of many.
Snooker tables are composed of many elements, one of them being cloth. Tournament snooker tables often have the highest quality cloths, such as those by Strachen, made of 100% pure wool. Rarely will a cloth be any color than green, although personal snooker tables may use other colors, such as blues. It is recommended that snooker tables be re-clothed every few years (five to ten), although this will vary depending on use.
The right cloth is important for maintaining a consistent type of play. Balls must be able to travel fast on the cloth, and the cloth should be absent of any ridges or other imperfections. Tournament cloths are priced in the range of hundreds, and even thousands of dollars. A typical cloth for a personal table may cost a much more reasonable $30 to $100.
The colored snooker balls serve a variety of functions within the game of snooker. While they are all typically made from the same phenolic resin, the time at which each different ball is hit varies. The majority of snooker balls are red, and are to be pocketed one by one after in succession with the black ball. Once all the reds have been pocketed, the other colors balls may be sunk. However, there are many instances where a player may choose to pocket a ball that is not red or black.
Snooker ball sets cost around $30, and usually include every color necessary to play.
A vital tool, the snooker cue acts as the primary piece of equipment for any snooker player. In order to hit snooker balls around the table and into pockets, the cue must strike the white cue ball into another color ball. Most cues are made of North American ash wood.
Many compare snooker cues with pool cues, and it's easy to see why. Both cues are approximately the same length at around 5 feet long. The tip of a snooker cue, however, is smaller than a pool cue by a few millimeters, giving snooker cues the ability to hit with more precision. Cues can be pricey, costing anywhere from $30 to over $100.
Perhaps considered the primary ball of play in snooker, the cue ball is an important (and absolutely essential) piece of snooker equipment. Snookers, the name of the game, are obtained when the cue ball is positioned in a spot impossible to maneuver around. Thus, the cue ball is extremely important.
The cue ball must be struck before hitting any other ball. It’s white color allows it to stand out amongst other colored balls, making it always easily identifiable. Cue balls come in a typical snooker ball set, costing around $30, however they (like any snooker ball) may be purchased individually.
Extensions in snooker function how their names would suggest. The purpose of an extension is to lengthen the snooker cue. This is accomplished by attaching the extension to the butt, or back, of the cue. Compared to pool tables, snooker tables are much larger in size, thus players may have to use extensions.
Extensions can prove a useful tool to players that need to elongate their stance in order to hit a certain shot accurately. They can be purchased for roughly $20, with prices varying depending on the manufacturer.
A half butt in snooker is a cue that is longer than a normal cue, elongated to help aid a player in achieving out of reach shots. The half butt is a type of rest, which includes a signature crown rest head at its tip.
Half butts, while not as long as their long butt counterparts, serve as a nice addition to a snooker player’s arsenal. Half butts are usually around seven and a half feet in length, two and a half feet longer than a regular cue. Typically, half butts cost around the same price as a regular cue, $30 to $100s, and can vary depending on the material used to craft the head and cue.
As its name suggests, hook rests are rests designed to hook around a particular obstacle on the table, while still serving the central function of a cue rest. Interestingly, hook rests have only recently been accepted as a valid form of rest for tournament play. These rests are defined by their hook shape, which allows them more versatility then other rest options. Hook rests cost about as much as a typical rest, around $15.
Racks and Triangles
Snooker racks serve to position snooker balls in a particular manner. In the case of a triangle rack, red balls are placed inside of it to form the balls into a triangle shape. At the beginning of any snooker match, this arranging of balls takes place.
Triangle racks are often composed of wood, although plastic and metals may be used as well. The triangle rack is an equilateral triangle, with a base of 11 and a quarter inches, and a height of 10 inches. In snooker, only a triangle rack is used, whereas billiards may use a diamond shaped rack depending on the match type. Racks typically sell for approximately $10, varying based on material.
Various colored balls are used when playing snooker, and the red ones are the most plentiful. The goal of snooker is to pocket each red ball, in between pocketing another colored ball of your choosing. Once all reds have been sunk, a player begins shooting the other various colored balls until none are left on the table.
Red balls are worth one point each, worth a total combined value of 15 points. Players typically opt to hit the black ball between hitting the reds, as the black ball is worth seven points, the most of any other color. Red balls come in a snooker ball set, which costs around $30.
Rest Head Adaptors
When deciding to utilize a rest cue, players have a variety of options for tackling different shots. Rest heads come in many different shapes and styles. Because of this, these heads need to all fit on the tip of a rest cue. Adaptors help to screw different rest heads neatly into place.
Rest heads can cost different amounts, depending on the type and materials used. Cheap plastic heads cost around $3, wherass brass or metal heads can cost upwards of $7 or $8.
Rests consist of a cue to hold the rest in place, and a rest head attached to the tip of the cue. A rest serves to increase the length a player can reach across the large snooker table. Rest heads come in many different styles, such as the spider, cross, butt, and swan.
Different heads perform different functions. For example, the cross and butt designs allow for a player to hit a longer shot, whereas the spider and swan designs are taller to help navigate a shot over an obstacle, such as a ball. Rests without a cue typically cost around $15, depending on material.
Spiders are a common type of snooker rest, and are specially designed to sit above another ball that may be sitting in a player’s way. Unlike a cross rest, spiders are built with elongated legs to achieve a shot that would not be possible at table level. These longer legs give spider rests their iconic name, as well as help to distinguish them from their close relatives, the butt rests. A must have for any snooker player, spider rests typically cost around $15 by themselves, and can be fastened to most any cue tip.
Another common type of rest head, swans go a step further than spiders in terms of usage. A swan rest, often referred to as an extended spider rest, allows a player to maneuver a shot over a cluster of balls that are in the way. A type of tall rest, swans are a useful tool to hit tricky, blocked shots down table, and are a great tool to have during any snooker match. A typical swan rest may cost about $15, depending on the materials used. Many are crafted from brass, as are most rest heads.
Perhaps the most essential piece of snooker equipment, the table is, in essence, the playing field of any snooker match. Snooker tables are longer than billiards tables by a few feet, and can vary in size depending on the country of origin. For example, European tables measure 12 by 6 feet, whereas those played in the U.S. are only 10 feet in length.
Snooker tables are most commonly made of worsted wood, and are covered with wool cloth. They can be custom built to suit a variety of tastes, however they seldom run cheap. Many snooker tables cost in the thousands, and can sometimes exceed $10,000 in price, depending on the level of customization.
Whether it’s having excessive amounts of chalk, powder, or sweat on your cue, a snooker towel can greatly help to clean any mess. Most towels are crafted with cotton, and come in a variety of sizes and colors. Additionally, towels can be used to clean off balls, although thin cloths may prove better for this purpose.
Towels are a great choice to help keep cues clean during play, and they happen to be relatively cheap. Snooker towels cost about $10 on average, and most sport towels can be used interchangeably with a snooker specific towel.
What Makes Snooker Equipment Unique?
Almost all snooker equipment is used exclusively for snooker, or similar sports such as billiards. Snooker tables are fairly large and require lots of space around the table to move and use the cues. Snooker balls are a unique size to the sport, slightly smaller than the balls used for billiards and pool. The cues and related accessories are not specific to snooker, but are to general table-and-ball sports. The other miscellaneous accessories (markers and towels) are common household items.
What is the Most Important Snooker Equipment to Buy?
The most critical pieces of snooker equipment are the table, proper balls, and cue sticks. It is impossible to play a game without these items.
How Much Does Snooker Equipment Cost?
Snooker is an expensive sport to play if starting from scratch. It is also worth considering where you want to play. Purchasing a snooker table for personal use at home can cost thousands of dollars. Most full-size snooker tables will be in the $2500 to $5000 range.
The rest of the equipment required to play snooker is relatively modest in price; a complete set of snooker balls are usually around $30, while a nice set of cues can be found for about $100. Basic snooker rests are modestly priced, but more elaborate ones are in the $50 to $80 range. Snooker chalk is cheap, usually less than $10.