How to Choose the Best Pool Cue Tips to Improve Your Game
The pool cue tip is where all the energy from your cue is transferred to the cue ball (with some help from chalk) to create accuracy, spin and speed in every shot. When combined with a good shaft, even average players can immediately benefit from better pool stick tips.
Choosing a pool cue tip is integral to developing a consistent strike and playing style. Thankfully, selecting the best cue tips is pretty simple as long as you understand the basics. This article will take a look at the different types of pool cue tips on the market to help you make the best choice for your style, needs and skill level.
Pool Cue Tip Size (Diameter)
The first thing every player should consider for their pool stick tips is the size. This depends on the shaft size, so it's generally one of the easiest things to figure out. Standard shafts from major manufacturers typically come with a 12.75mm cue shaft diameter at the tip unless a different size is requested.
You can request to have the shaft "turned down" to a smaller diameter. Available shaft sizes vary by manufacturer, but you can typically find ones with tips between 11.5 and 13mm. Billiard cue tips are usually available in sizes from 12mm to 14mm.
In general, a smaller diameter cue tip provides players with a tighter hitting surface and allows for more spin on the ball. However, smaller pool cue tip sizes are also far more unforgiving of mishits, so if you're not too confident in your game, we suggest you stick with something a little wider.
The important thing to remember is that the tip you choose must be at least as wide as your shaft. It's OK if your pool cue tip size is larger, but it cannot be smaller.
Pool Cue Tip Hardness
The second thing you'll need to consider when selecting the best pool cue tips for your style is pool cue tip hardness. Layered pool cue tips come in various levels of hardness. Every player has their own style, stroke, and skill level, so trying each out can be highly beneficial. Just consider how much you actively try to control the ball and how hard and straight you can strike.
Soft Pool Cue Tips
Soft pool cue tips absorb much of the impact of a hit, causing it to remain on a cue ball for a split second longer than harder tips. This gives players more "English" (spin) when struck off the center of the cue ball.
However, soft pool cue tips also tend to get misshapen much faster and require more maintenance to keep a nice, rounded contour. Because of the additional maintenance needs, you'll need to replace soft pool cue tips more often.
Soft pool stick tips are great if you like working the cue ball around the table and don't mind the extra shaping and trimming requirements.
Hard Pool Cue Tips
Hard pool cue tips will not absorb or stay on the cue ball during impact as much as a softer tip. Because of this, hard billiard cue tips create less spin but will miscue more often when striking the cue ball off the center point. However, they play more consistently, last much longer and require less maintenance.
If you value consistency in your game and don't care to mess around with maintenance, hard tips are a perfect choice for you.
Medium Pool Cue Tips
Medium pool stick tips are often a perfect middle ground for most players, as they offer a great combination of cue ball control and consistency. Most medium tips will get you plenty of spin and will not get as misshapen or wear out as fast as softer tips. Most cue manufacturers offer medium hardness billiard cue tips on the cue as the standard.
If you want an all-around pool stick tip that keeps its shape and strikes consistently with less maintenance, try a medium pool stick cue tip.
Pool Cue Tip Material
Today's billiard cue tips come in a wide variety of materials, depending on their intended function. The most common material for cue tips is leather, usually applied in layers. These are called pressed leather cue stick tips.
You can find anything from cowhide, pig skin and even bore hide, depending on the manufacturer you buy from and the tip model. Layering the leather helps support the overall strength of the tip and allows it to keep its shape better. Every manufacturer has its own method for gluing the layers together, but for the most part, leather billiard cue tips are similar in construction.
Super hard phenolic tips, usually made from a composite resin, are now standard issue on most breaking cues. Break shots are struck close to the center of the cue ball, so phenolic break pool cue tips, which are just as hard as the cue ball itself, can still put a solid, smooth strike on the cue ball without miscuing.
Phenolic tips are among some of the most popular billiard cue tips for breaking as they can transfer the most power to the cue ball and require almost no maintenance.
Note: Some pool halls, leagues or tournaments do not allow phenolic tips, so be sure this won't be an issue before you show up with one.
Shop the Best Cue Tips at FCI Billiards
Now that you know how to choose a pool cue tip that's best for your style, skill level and needs, it's time to put your research into action.
At FCI Billiards, we carry all types of pool cue tips and pool stick tip replacements perfect for players of any skill level. From hard, medium, and soft billiard cue tips to pressed leather and phenolic break pool cue tips, FCI Billiards brings you the best cue tips from manufacturers you know and trust. Browse our entire selection of cue tips today.
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