Cue Tips

19 December 2016

It is widely known that most of the performance of a pool cue lies in the shaft and the first six inches are especially important. At the very end of this most important area is the pool cue tip. This is where “the rubber hits the road” so to speak. The pool cue tip is where the energy from your pool cue is transferred to the cue ball (with a little friction help from chalk) to create the desired results of accuracy, speed, and spin. Because of how much effect a tip can have on your game, it is important to choose the right one.

The main characteristics to look at when choosing a pool cue tip is density and hardness. Tips vary in hardness from “super soft” to being as hard as the cue ball itself (phenolic). The hardness of the pool cue tip that you choose will depend on your style of play and whether it is for a playing cue or a breaking pool cue.

Soft tips will absorb more impact causing the tip to stay on the cue ball for a split second longer than harder tips. This will result in more cue ball spin, commonly referred to as “English”, when struck off the center of the cue ball. Softer tips tend to get misshaped faster and will require more maintenance to keep a nice rounded shape and to fix any mushrooming when the tip bulges out over the side of the ferrule. Because of the additional maintenance, softer tips end up needing to be replaced more frequently.

Pool Cue TipsHard tips do not absorb or stay on the cue ball as much at impact as a softer tip would. Because of this, hard tips create less spin and are more liable to miscue when striking the cue ball farther off the center point. They will play more consistently, last longer and require less maintenance.

Medium tips are usually the way to go for most pool players because they offer a combination of cue ball control and consistency. Most medium tips will get you plenty of spin but do not get as misshaped or wear out as fast as the softer tips. The vast majority of pool cue manufacturers will install some form of a medium hardness tip on the cue as the standard tip.

Phenolic Tips (or Carbon Fiber) are now standard issue on most breaking cues and are extremely hard tips. Break shots are usually struck close to the center of the cue ball so Phenolic tips, which are just as hard as the balls themselves, can still put a smooth, solid hit on the cue ball without miss-cueing. Phenolic tips are very popular because they transfer the most power and require almost no maintenance.

Experiment to see which works best for you.