Description:As you know, there is only one part of your cue that touches the ball. If that contact isn’t what you had anticipated, then all the fancy cues, practice and strategies won’t matter. The density, type, and size of your tip can be the difference between a hit or miss. Do you want for English on the ball? Do you want less spin? Do you not want to have to maintain your tip to keep its shape and density consistent? Are you breaking? The tip is crucial (with a little help from the chalk) in all of these decisions. As with most things, there are pros and cons with each type.
How to choose the Right Pool Cue Tip?
First of all, you need to know the size of your ferrule. You need to buy a tip that is the same size or larger than the ferrule (because you can then trim it down to size.) The larger the tip, the more surface area there is that makes contact with the ball. Smaller tips can put more english on the cue ball, but you have to be more accurate. Most standard ferrules come in 13mm, but there come in also 12.5mm and 11.75mm. You should also know whether or not your tip is glue-on or screw-on.
There are basically four categories of tips to consider. Each one has its advantages as well as disadvantages. Your style of play or what you want to accomplish in the moment, depends greatly on the density (or hardness) of your cue tip. You also might know that your playing cue and your break cue would most likely have very different tips. The “best” cue tip is the one that best fits your style of play. Cue tips are categorized as soft, “super soft”, medium hard, hard and phenolic (which are made by the same stuff the ball is made, making it incredibly hard.)
The characteristics of each type of cue tip:
- Soft and "Super Soft" Tips - absorb more impact between tip and ball, forcing the tip to stay on, and grip, the ball a split second longer. This results in more spin or "English" on the cue ball if you strike the cue ball off-center. If you like a lot of “spin” then a soft tip is what you should play with. Keep in mind, softer tips tend to “mushroom," however, and need to be maintained and replaced more frequently.
- Medium Tips - are the most commonly used type of cue tip. This type of cue tip is an all-around tip that offers a more balanced combination of cue ball control and consistency. Also, medium hard tips require less maintenance than soft tips. They will give you good spin but do not get as misshapen as softer tips.
- Hard Tips - Hard tips are generally used on break and jump cues. They absorb less energy at impact, resulting in less spin and more energy transferred to the cue ball. Although hard tips last longer, and require less maintenance, because they absorb less energy at impact, a hard cue tip is more likely to result in miscues.
- Phenolic Tips - are made with synthetic materials and are as hard as the cue ball itself (pool balls are usually made of either phenolic resin or polyester resin.) This type of cue tip is most often on cues that are used for breaking. Phenolic tips transfer the maximum amount of energy on contact and require almost no maintenance. However, if you play in tournaments, leagues or in pool halls, you should know that some don’t allow non-leather tips.
- In summary:
- Soft Pool Cue Tips
- Best For Putting English on Cue Ball
- Good For Shots Requiring Finesse
- Good for Players with A ‘Soft Touch’
- Not Great for Break Shots
- Mushroom and Deform Quickly
- Require Reshaping/Replacement Often
- Not Recommended for Players With a ‘Hard Touch’
- Medium Pool Cue Tip
- Best Tip for Overall Gameplay
- Good Mix of Power and Accuracy
- Doesn’t Require Constant Reshaping
- Allows for Some English
- Lasts Longer Than Soft Tip
- Allows For Less English Than Soft Tip
- Not As Much Power As Hard Tip
- Hard Pool Cue Tip
- Great For Break and Jump Shots
- Requires Little to No Maintenance
- Lasts Longer Than Soft or Medium Tips
- Allows for Very Little English
- Makes Accuracy Difficult
- More Likely to Cause Miscues
- Not Great for Overall Gameplay