Cue Rests in Snooker and Pool: A Complete Guide

If you’ve watched pool or snooker on TV, or been to a local venue to play then you’ve probably noticed that they all have cue rests. In this article, I’ll explain exactly what a cue rest is, how to use one and the different types so you can improve your playing.

What is a Cue Rest?

Cue rests are primarily used in snooker but can also be used in pool and billiards. The function of the cue rest is to give the player extra reach to play longer shots. Cue rests are essential in snooker in particular because the table is very long which makes some shots impossible to reach without a cue rest.

Cue Rest Functions:

  • Gives the player extra reach across the table to play shots which are too far away with the cue alone.
  • Allows the player to play shots over other balls which would otherwise be in the way.

Cue rests can achieve these functions because they give the player more extension or height, depending on the type of rest being used (more on that in the next section).

The cue rest consists of two components: the rest head and the shaft, also known as the rest stick.

The rest head is usually made from metal and connects to the rest shaft. The player can then rest the cue on the head and use the shaft to adjust the position of the rest to make different shots. Some cue rests will come with the head and the shaft in a single package, but you can purchase each piece of equipment separately.

Rest Heads and Sticks (image links to Amazon)

Types of Cue Rest

There are 4 main types of cue rest:

  • Cross-headed rest
  • Spider Rest
  • Butt rest
  • Swan-headed rest

Each rest varies in terms of its height, reach and number of cue positions.

RestCue PositionsPurpose
Cross2For added reach
Spider3To cue over other balls
Butt3To cue over other with a shorter height
Swan1To cue over other balls with added reach

Cross-Headed Rest

Cross-headed cue rests are the most commonly used an have an X-shape which gives you two heights: a low-trajectory and a high-trajectory.

Used in pool and snooker.

Image links to Amazon

Spider Rest

Spider rests have three cue positions and are elevated which allow you to play over the top of another ball. You can also get an extended spider which allows you to cue over greater distances.

Used in snooker.

Image links to Amazon

Butt Rest

Butt cue rests have 3 cue positions and are sometimes called short spider rests. They allow you to cue over other balls but at a lower height.

Used in pool and snooker.

Image links to Amazon

Swan-Headed Rest

Swan rests have fork-like extension and a single cue position to allow you to get extra distance for cueing over a group of balls.

Used in snooker.

Image links to Amazon

How to Use a Cue Rest?

To use a cue rest properly you will first need to select the appropriate rest type. Then, position the rest head on the table and then the rest stick either to the side or straight-on and position the cue. Next, adopt your stance and hold the rest stick in position. Finally, grip the cue and take the shot ensuring you use a straight-motion.

Choose the Cue Rest Head:

  • For most shots, the cross-head will be the best option and feel the least awkward.
  • If you are trying to reach over other balls then use the spider or butt rest depending on how much height you need.
  • If you are trying to reach over other balls and need more length, use either the swan-head or extended spider rest.
  • When using the cross-head rest, you need to choose between the upper and lower positions. For most shots, you will want to keep the cue flatter so should choose the lower position. When using a lot of topspin, the higher position will be best.

Positioning the Rest Head:

  • Place the cue on the rest head.
  • Find the line-of-sight on the cue ball.
  • Place the rest on the table and slide it forwards to keep it in the line-of-sight.
  • Place the rest around 10-12 inches from the cue ball to allow you to generate enough power whilst maintaining control.

Positioning the Rest Stick:

  • Either push the rest stick to the side of the head or place it underneath the cue depending on personal preference.
  • Placing the rest stick under the cue helps to keep your shot in a straight line as you can use the stick as a guide.
  • Placing the rest stick to the side will ensure it is out of the way.


  • If the shot is closer to the table edge, stand sideways so your body is perpendicular to the cue rest and lean over the table so your body is angled towards the rest.
  • If the shot is further from the table edge, stand front-on to the table and lean over it to give you extra reach.

Holding the Rest Stick:

  • Place your hand over the rest stick to hold it down and keep it stable so it doesn’t move.
  • Alternatively, you can hold the rest with your hand lying on the table.

Positioning and Gripping the Cue:

  • Rest the cue in the space between the thumb and index finger.
  • Wrap the index and middle finger around the top of the cue so the index and thumb are touching.
  • Keep your ring and little finger underneath the cue.

Playing the Shot:

  • Keep you cue stick arm parallel to the table so your elbow is in the air instead of letting it drop down.
  • Position your body so your face isn’t too close to the butt of the cue.
  • Move the cue along the rest to take the shot in a smooth and straight motion ensuring that the cue does not move up and down.
  • Follow through in a straight-line.

Check out my complete guide to pool equipment to make sure you get everything you need to get the best playing experience.

Do I Need a Cue Rest?

When playing snooker, a cue rest is essential because it ensures you can reach farther across the table and over the top of other balls which is very useful because snooker tables are very long. When playing pool, a cue rest is not essential but is recommended, particularly if the player is shorter, a rest can be useful for reaching longer shots.

Most cue rests come in packs including cross, spider and butt rest heads which are useful for both pool and snooker. If you only buy one type of rest, choose the cross head as this is the best suited for most types of shots because it feels stable but still gives you plenty of reach.

Top Picks

Here are some great cue rest options available on Amazon.

Set with 3 Heads

  • Suitable for pool and snooker.
  • Great value for money.
  • All the main rests and a stick included

Check it out on Amazon.

Image links to Amazon

Cross-Headed Rest

  • Suitable for pool and snooker.
  • Brass-finish.
  • Most useful rest head type.

Check it out on Amazon.

Image links to Amazon

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Hey, I'm Heather, the owner and creator of I made this website to help you learn more about setting up a home entertainment and games room. My favourite games are ping pong, darts and pool, but I also have experience in other games which I aim to share using this website.

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