How Do I Know Which Cue Tip is Best for Me, My Playing Style and for My Pool Cue?

I am asked the question of what cue tip is the best for me nearly every day. The full answer to this question is quite long so if you’re really interested please bear with me as this answer will drag on quite a bit because there are a ton of physics involved as well as a whole bunch of different cue designs available which most assuredly complicates this answer. The short answer is whichever one works best for you. In this post we will cover cue tips for playing cues. Break, Jump and Break Jump Combo cues tips will be addressed separately. So to begin with, in the past before there were any layered type cue stick tips available there were only tips made from a single piece of leather. There are many different kinds of leather they are made of and many different levels of firmness that can be imparted to each of those via various tanning methods and chemical treatments. These single piece leather cue tips are still available today and a few players prefer them over the newer high tech layered type tip designs we have available today. These tips are sometimes still preferred but only because some players have become so used to the way they play from years of experience with them. To these pool players changing up things in midstream is just not something they feel comfortable with. They simply have the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” kind of attitude and In many cases this is not a bad thing, but in today’s world of high tech materials and high tech everything else, in my opinion these guys will might find themselves left behind and in many cases left a loser as well. Nobody likes to be the loser but someone has to do it otherwise there would be no winners. The old style tips worked just fine and still do to this day as long as the player gets used to adjusting their aim in order to allow for cue ball deflection and sometimes just stroking harder to get more ball spin when necessary. Stroking harder in almost all cases in every sports type activity throws off accuracy and it also limits the outcome as to where the cue ball or any other game ball might end up after the shot. If you can get more ball spin with less force and less deflection then you might find that you have even more cue ball placement options to choose from than the old style tips can offer. Also if a high tech tips deflects much less then you don’t have to waste time thinking about how much is the cue ball actually going to deflect (up to an inch over the length of the table) and then adjusting for that so you don’t miss the shot to begin with. Deflection amount changes proportionately to the amount of force applied to the cue ball as well as by the cue tips placement when it strikes the cue ball and by how far away the object ball is away from the cue ball, not to mention the type of fabric that’s on the table, the humidity, the temperature and the position the wood grain in your shaft is rotated to. I’m sure I even left out a few things that vary the amount of deflection a cue ball experiences when struck by the tip that’s attached to the players cue. So it just makes perfect sense that if this deflection phenomenon is reduced dramatically by a high tech layered tip then the player has much more time to consider many other things like what’s my next shot gonna be and then some. There are other things besides tip construction that can reduce deflection as well but that will also be addressed more in our High Tech Shafts post. Reduced deflection is not the only thing high tech layered tips do for the player. They also create more ball spin with less force applied. When less force is exerted the player usually has a more accurate stroke as well. I think the outcome of a more accurate stroke is pretty obvious. There will be times when a firmer stroke is necessary of coarse but if this can be reduced by even a little bit then it also makes perfect sense that you will be at least a little bit more accurate with your shot and the outcome of your cue ball placement after the shot from time to time. There are other benefits from layered tip designs as well. I’m not sure exactly why they do this but hopefully maybe one of you guys will be able to explain this particular phenomenon to me in further detail. Layered tips seem to be able to conform themselves to the shape of the cue ball better which allows for a greater cue ball surface area contact point. I personally believe that this is the reason the cue ball deflects less as well as creating more ball spin. The greater ball spin is due to the bigger the bite the conformed tip gets on the ball which also means a better grip. This grip causes more spin due to the larger amount of friction imparted on the cue ball. As far as decreasing the deflection I’m guessing that this extra friction sort of pulls / pushes the cue ball along the tangent line better due to the greater grip on the ball. They say it creates a longer contact time with the cue ball which seams to hold the ball on the tangent line or direction the shaft is pointing and traveling in better. Seems that the tip sort of sticks to the cue ball better pulling / pushing it along that line instead of veering it off coarse before it releases. High tech chalks are supposed to reduce deflection as well due to their lets call it stickiness. This further enhances the low deflection thing. High tech chalks stick to the tips much better for sure so to me this makes sense. If there are any real physicists out there then maybe one of you might explain this phenomenon even better. I only took physics in high school and college but I failed to get my engineering degree as my family needed me installing the pool tables we were selling and moving more than I needed a degree. At least my two sisters got degrees and I got to help make the money that paid for those. Anyway if you break all this down it seems to me that a layered tip is the way to go for sure. The are also disadvantages to these type of cue tips. One is the higher cost but there are some that are available like the Ultraskin brand name tip that only costs 20.00 at today’s (Oct.2nd 2019) installed price. At the time I wrote this post that price is only 5.00 more than the single layered tips. Most of that cost is to cover the labor involved in installing them. Most layered tips come in many different degrees of hardness and some have differences in elasticity as well. Some players prefer harder tips than others. This seems to be sort of a personal preference due to an individuals playing style .Some players like to drive the cue ball to a rail many times instead of a softer approach. So in many cases the hardness of the perfect tip is associated with the players style. What I can tell you for sure is that close to 50% of all players around here anyway prefer the Kamui Black Soft tip. About 25% of our local pool players prefer the Kamui Brown Soft tip. The medium tips come next and then the super soft tips. Almost nobody prefers the hard ones except for those that play Carom or 3 cushion billiards where they almost always strike the cue ball extra hard every time.There are many many different brands of layered tips these days but for whatever reason (quite possibly due to massive marketing) the Kamui brand tip has a commanding 10 to 1 lead over any other brand name. That being said they must preform very well for most players or they wouldn’t be so popular. There are a few players that just can’t stand them but those are far and few in between. The same goes for this and that brand name of pool cues. So this brings me back to the Kamui brand of tips because of their popularity and their many different offerings. The black Kamui tips are more elastic than their brown colored cousins. They are much lower in deflection than one piece tips and the extra elasticity creates maximum spin. The brown Kamui tips are the most accurate (lowest in deflection) of their tip line and they still produce more (almost as much as the black tips) spin with less force than any single piece leather tip. With all this being said I can’t really answer the question which tip is best for you or your particular brand of cue. I will strongly suggest that you try one of the most popular ones on the market and see if you like it or not. If not then try and make some adjustments from there. For some the less expensive tips are a better option even if it’s the old fashioned kind just because they are less expensive. Others try them all out trying to figure out which is the the perfect tip for their game.These players do spend a lot of money while doing so I might add. When you find the one that feels and performs well for you then you will know whats best for you and your cue. I should also add that they all work but for some players certain ones work better for their particular style of play than others. Only you can tell for sure what works for you or not. I must also add that proper tip preparation is the biggest key to any tip that you use. To me this is much more important than the tip itself. There are many tip prep tools on the market but around here the Bowtie tip tool by Cuetec is by far the most popular one. This tool has both nickle and dime sized tip shapers which are important but only when you need to reshape you tip because it’s become flat on top. It should be curved for sure but you don’t want to use this for roughing your tip or you will just be sanding away dollar bills. Some like a tighter curve than others and that’s why this tool and others come with 2 different sized shapers. Most tip shapers have super rough sand paper materials formed with glue into a curved shape. The more important part of the Bowtie tool is the spikes it has in the middle when you unscrew one of the shaper ends. The spikes are utilized by pecking at the tip which stands up the leather quite substantially which allows for a much greater surface area for the chalk to stick to. It also pokes little holes in the tip which fill in with chalk as you apply it to the cue tip. This allows for an even better adhesion of the chalk. It sort of gives the chalk coating little legs to help adhere itself to the tip. When you come by to get a new tip attached we can usually do that for you within 10 minutes time unless we happen to be extra busy at the moment. If you would like a 60 day guarantee that your tip will not come off then we must keep it overnight so that we can use an epoxy type glue which is significantly stronger than the super glue we use for our sort of quicky attachment. In case your wondering which way to go, I would say that about 3 out of 4 players opt for the 10 minute attachment and only 1 in 20 ever experience any difficulties with the tip coming off. If you have the time to return the next day then it never hurts to have a guarantee especially since the high tech tips can be as high as 39.00.The most expensive of the Kamui brand tips has a clear base and we highly suggest using epoxy on those as they just seem to have a much higher failure rate if attached with the super glue.The failure rate for the Kamui Clear tips is much closer to a 50% rate unless we epoxy them on. Even epoxied on tips can come off, hence the 60 day guarantee if you leave it here overnight. There is still a 2% failure rate for any tip glued on even when we use the epoxy but that does pretty much cut the chances in half. We wish you good luck with your game and with you search for the perfect tip. If you have any further questions that I din’t answer here then I will be more than happy to answer them to the best of my ability.

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