A key requirement to play pool, carom billiards, and snooker is a cue, and this is why these games and their different variants are collectively referred to as cue games.
Also called a cue stick, a cue is used for striking a ball, often referred to as the cue ball.
Cues are tapered sticks, which are usually around 57in – 59in (around 1.5m) long and typically between 450 – 600 g (16 – 21 ounces), with the options used by pros weighing an average of 540g (19 ounces).
Cues for carom often gravitate toward the shorter range, although cue length mainly affects the height and arm length of the player.
The majority of cues are designed using wood. However, the wood is sometimes bonded or covered with other materials that include carbon fiber, graphite, or fiberglass.
Billiard stick is an obsolete term for a cue, which was in use from the 16th to early 19th centuries.
In a standard cue, leather tips of different curvature and degrees of hardness are attached with glue to the ferrule or screwed into it in some instances. The tip end of a cue varies in diameter.
However, it’s typically in the region of 9 – 14mm with pool cues having 12 – 13mm and snooker cue 9 –10mm (the most common).
Let’s now cut to the chase and examine the best cue tips, along with a buyer’s guide to simplify your purchasing decision.
5 Best Cue Tips – Our Top Picks
This product is your ideal choice if you’re not on a budget. Also, you can select from hard, medium, and soft options.
If you’re keen about achieving extra spin, then we recommend you go for the soft option. This is because it offers you better control over your cue ball, which makes it rank among the best pool tips for English.
Besides, the tip is completely designed using premium pig leather from Japan, hence its high price tag.
But this high cost is justified by the time you consider the benefits and perks it provides.
The unit lets you play superb positional shots without any deflections, provides you with a remarkable feel of all shots you play, along with the ability to play excellent English shots.
Apart from that, the cue tip has consistent performance, which alleviates any worries you may have as regards your expectations from the product during each match.
There’s a shield at the cue tip’s bottom for protecting the leather from contamination by the glue used for fixing it to the cue.
Also, due to this, you won’t have any need to sand the cue tip whenever you’re doing the installation.
- Consistently high performance
- Holds Its shape and form
- Holds chalk well
- Features top-quality leather
Kamui is a Japanese company that manufactures billiards and pool products, particularly premium cue tips and chalks. It’s recognized globally in the billiards and pool sports as one of the top brands in the industry.
When you buy a Kamui product, you can rest assured you’re getting the best quality that is even endorsed by professionals.
The Collapsar 14mm tips will give you maximum value, plus many other exciting features and capabilities. The model, which costs below $20, contains 6 pieces.
It’s sold in 3 levels of hardness: hard, medium, and soft.
The varied hardness will produce different results, and for this reason, the preferred cue type is different from one person to the other.
But if you want to create English and control over the cue ball, then you can choose the soft cue tips.
Even though the tips’ performance is different from that of costlier units, it still does a great job of putting an extra spin on your cue ball.
Also, it holds chalk decently, eliminating any concerns you may have about chalking. In addition to this, the tip maintains its shape well even after using it repeatedly.
Considering all these, it’s no doubt one of the best cue tips on the market.
- Outstanding control over the cue ball
- Premium quality
- Easy to shape
- Remarkable value for money
- Somewhat medium-soft in comparison with the other tips
Collapsar is an American/Japanese manufacturer that registered its presence in the billiards world in 2007 with renowned American pool cues on the Chinese market. While the company isn’t as popular in the industry as Kamui, they’re surely one of their top competitors on the market.
The Predator Victory Tips also offer various levels of hardness, which are Hard, Medium, and Soft.
If you’re aiming to achieve superb control over your cue ball and putting up a tremendous performance, consider choosing the soft cue tip.
But the soft kind of tips is still a bit harder. For this reason, they produce results that are similar to those of medium and hard tips.
Therefore, if you’re looking to realize extra spin, you should select another model.
On the bright side, the tips incorporate a yellow color, making spotting and shaping it straightforward when you’re in poor light conditions.
- Excellent performance
- Build quality is durable
- Tip is easy to install
- Color is bright and is clearly visible in a poorly lit environment
- Tip is harder in comparison with the one in similar products
This is a big name in the industry with a rich, two-and-half-decade history of crafting. Predator makes use of state-of-the-art technology, which allows them to stay at the top of the game.
The Honbay Pool Cue Tip (13mm) has a simple yet creative design to offer you a unit that’s sturdy and gives the best value.
With this model, no need to worry about it mushrooming easily due to its remarkable toughness.
The cue tips are built of regular old leather instead of synthetics like plastic or phenolic resin despite its impressive toughness.
Apart from that, even though it’s medium-hard texture, the Honbay lets you achieve flawless cue ball control. So, it’s one of the best cue tips and also relatively affordable.
- Designed with leather
- Superb control and with nice spin added to the cue ball
- Best value
- Has durable build quality
- Doesn’t offer much fun in comparison with costlier cue tips
Honbay appears to be the underdog on this list.
While their mention here, along with the big brands in the industry, could seem out of place, the handful of products they’ve manufactured carry out the intended job excellently well and have a low price tag for the remarkable quality.
This unit is among the most popular and best-selling cue tips on the market as a result of its soft design.
The Elk Master adds an extra spin to the cue ball using its solid grip of the chalk. For this reason, it’s typically rated as one of the top cue tips.
With this option on your pool stick, you won’t have to worry about miscuing.
It’s designed using a single strip of leather. This implies it needs regular grooming.
Also, the cue tip always requires shaping and usually mushrooms after making use of it for 30 – 40 hours.
However, this doesn’t lead to any complaints since each cue tip will cost you $0.60.
Lastly, though this tip is affordable, there’s no compromise on the quality. This makes it an ideal cue model for your pool game.
- Low price point
- Offers remarkable control
- Needs regular maintenance
About Tweeten Fibre
Tweeten Fibre has been manufacturing pool, snooker tips, and accessories at the highest level for close 90 years.
Elkmaster is one of the high-end cue tips of the American company, which was once made use of by Ronnie O’Sullivan (arguably the greatest snooker player of all time) and Efren Reyes (the greatest pool player).
This shows the product is a quality buy.
Factors to Consider When Shopping for the Best Cue Tips
This is what determines the softness or the hardness of the cue tip.
Technically, a soft pool cue tip often mushrooms and flattens on hitting the cue ball. Thus, it needs more maintenance, unlike a harder cue tip.
But most professionals prefer making use of softer tips with the notion that the softness yields more English and ball control.
Certain tips have sizes that vary between 10mm and 15mm. But 14 mm is the standard recommended size, and this is what you’ll find on most products on the market.
Softness or Hardness of a Cue Tip
It’s the difference in the levels of hardness that determines the maintenance needed for each tip.
Unlike harder tips that require little or no maintenance, softer ones need regular maintenance.
Also, with harder tips, you’ve less work to do in ensuring they retain their shapes as they seldom flatten out or mushroom after striking the cue ball.
Thus, you won’t have any need to replace your cue tip as frequently as other people will.
As for a soft tip, one of the key advantages is that you’ll find it easier to scuff it, which is why it holds chalk better. But they need regular attention and have to be replaced periodically.
Generally, the cue tip material determines its hardness and density. Such materials could be phenolic, leather, and others, as specified by the makers.
Type of Cue Tips
There are 2 types of pool cue tips: non-layered and layered varieties.
As regards layered tips, you’ll need to choose between a solid leather tip and a laminated leather tip.
The design of the solid leather tips is done by punching a single pressed layer from a specially tanned leather. These cue tips come with a lot of benefits, and several players choose them over the other type.
When you buy a solid leather tip, you can achieve a distinct solid hit on the cue ball, and it’s also cheap.
Solid leather cue tips are easy to replace and require minimal trimming.
But they also have some downsides. The cue tips need more grooming because they tend to compress more and become misshapen.
Apart from that, they also get spongier over time due to regular grooming.
There could be inconsistent tips from the same company as a result of inconsistencies in the leather.
On the other hand, layered leather tips are manufactured using many thin blades of leather sandwiched together using glue. Some players prefer these tips to the other type.
They’re more durable and offer better service as they need less grooming. Also, they’re stronger overall, tend to hold chalk better, and give you more control on your cue ball.
FAQs about Best Cue Tips
Why is it important to apply chalk on a cue tip?
Players of billiards, pool, and snooker typically apply chalk to the end of their cue sticks because chalk adds friction and puts “motion-resistance” between your cue and the spot where it strikes the cue ball.
Chalking up prevent the cue from sliding prematurely off the ball, which can ruin your shot (known as miscuing).
How frequently should you chalk up the tip?
That varies from one player to another. However, generally, players apply chalk on their cue tip after every other shot.
Furthermore, you may chalk up just before taking a shot if you feel it will require some extra spin on the ball since the smaller amount of surface area used on both the cue ball and the cue tip needs additional friction.
Does chalking up frequently have any disadvantages?
Yes. The only real disadvantage is, it adds extra chalk dust to your table and balls. You can minimize this by tapping your cue stick gently after chalking. This will shake any loose chalk off.