Soft vs Hard Pool Cue Case: Which is Better for you?

If you play enough pool to invest in your own cue, a quality pool cue case is the logical accessory to protect your prized cue stick. Carrying a cue around with no case is asking for trouble.

It’s critical to have a smooth, slick, defect-free shaft on your cue, and exposing a cue stick to the weather and having it bounce around your car is not a nice way to treat it. Compared to the cost of a good cue stick, a cue case is very inexpensive and in my opinion, well worth the extra money.

Cue cases are available in hard and soft models and in prices ranging from under 10 dollars to several hundred. Many models allow you to carry multiple shafts and butts – a plus for those shooters that carry a separate stick just for breaking. Many feature a pocket or two for your chalk, tip tools, wipe-down rag, and whatever else you need for your cue maintenance.

Soft Cue Case

Soft cue cases are the simplest and least expensive as a rule and they offer decent protection for your cue. Made of nylon or PU and lightweight, they often contain padding and sometimes plastic tubes to protect the shafts. The first case shown below is a simple sleeve-type case, the second sports a pocket and shoulder strap, while the third is a tube style with a very large pocket.

Lucasi Brown Leatherette Soft Pool Cue Case with Black Accents, 2B/2S (LC4)
  • Brown leatherette soft pool cue case with black accents
  • Holds two butts and two shafts
  • Includes three medium and two large accessory pockets

Soft Cue cases such as the Lucasi Brown Soft Pool Cue Case offers plenty of pockets for all of your accessories and holds 2 butts and 2 shafts.

Hard Cue Case

A hard cue case will naturally offer more protection to your cue stick than a soft one. They are often made of a vinyl-covered molded rubber shell with plastic tubes inside. 

Hard cue cases have plenty all features – pockets, shoulder strap, and handle, while some also include a built-in stand that is similar to those found on golf bags.

GSE Games & Sports Expert 2x2 Deluxe Hard Billiard Pool Cue Stick Carrying Case (Several Colors Available) (Oval - Grey)
  • CAPACITY: The hard pool stick case has a vinyl covering and holds 2 butts and 2 shafts. Fits two 2-piece cues measuring 58" or less.
  • DIMENSION: The billiard cue cases dimensions are 33" in length X 4.3" X 2.5"; Small pocket measures 5.7" X 3.3" X 1.5"; Large pocket measures 13.7" X 3.9" X 1.5".
  • DESIGN: Hard exterior protects pool cue from bumps and scratches, and it has an adjustable shoulder strap for easy carrying. It also has a soft handle, comfortable to hold.

Hard Cue cases such as the GSE Games & Sports Deluxe Hard Pool Cue Case offers plenty of pockets for all of your accessories and holds 2 butts and 2 shafts.

Hard cases are the more classic style. They are constructed of a wooden box covered in vinyl with plush, velvet lined interiors. The first case is an inexpensive basic model that holds one stick and the second is a lockable case that is still reasonably priced and holds 2 butts and 4 shafts. These cases offer what I feel is the best protection for your valuable cue stick.


You’ll find all of the main differences between soft and hard pool cue cases below.


You will save some money buying a soft case over a hard case so a soft case is an obvious choice if you’re on a budget.


Soft cue cases are typically designed to only hold 1 or 2 cues, whereas hard cases are designed to carry more than 2 cues. Professional players normally always buy hard cases.


Larger hard cases can weigh 15 pounds or more without any cues so they definitely will be heavy loaded with cues. If weight is going to be an issue then a soft case if the better option.

Accessory Storage

It may not be so obvious, but having extra places to store cue accessories can be very handy. Chalk, chalk holder, powder, cue cleaner and towels are accessories that many serious players carry. Soft cases won’t offer as many external pockets as hard cases do.

Final Thoughts

If you are a serious pool or billiards player, a hard case is definitely the way to go, remember, your cue is the most important and expensive item so you want protect it the best you can. A pool cue case will help protect your cue but you will still need to maintain the cue.