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Pool is all about shooting at the right angles with the right amount of power. Something that is going to affect your performance, or in other words, how hard you can hit the balls and how accurate your shots are, is the tip of your pool cue.
There are different kinds and they can differ in terms of hardness, size, and shape. In this article, we’ll take a look at exactly that.
5 Types of Pool Cue Tips by Hardness
Pool cues are not all the same, and one of the major differences between them has to do with the hardness of their tips, and yes, differences in tip hardness do affect gameplay and overall functionality. These can range from being super soft to super hard.
#1: Super Soft Tip
The first type of pool cue tip is the softest kind, a tip that is quite springy and has a lot of movement built into it. When a ball is hit with a super soft tip, that tip absorbs a whole lot of that impact, thus resulting in a fairly small amount of force being transferred into the ball.
This means that to put a lot of force into a shot, you need to work a bit harder, which is not great for breaks or power shots. However, on the other hand, this super soft tip is quite grippy. Because the tip is a little soft, when it hits a ball, a slightly larger amount of the tip makes contact with the ball, and it makes contact for longer.
The result is that you can end up putting a whole lot of spin on the ball, and it makes trick shots and accurate shooting fairly easy. The big downside with this kind of tip is that it can mushroom over time, which means that it will become deformed. These tips require a good deal of maintenance and need replacing often as well.
#2: Soft Tip
Soft tips on pool cues are similar to the super soft tips, just not quite as soft. They still absorb a good bit of the impact when the tip hits the ball, but not as much as the super soft variety. It means that although some force is absorbed, you don’t have to hit the ball quite as hard to generate the same forward movement.
Moreover, soft tip pool cues are also good for moving the ball around the table, for making accurate shots, and for putting a good bit of spin on the ball too, just not quite as much as with the super soft tips. Don’t be fooled though, these tips are definitely still on the softer side of things, and while they’re good for a certain kind of play, they don’t excel at power shots.
#3: Medium Hard Tip
Next, we have the medium or medium hard tip pool cue. This is the most popular and most commonly used type of pool cue, and it’s because it offers a good middle of the line path. This type of pool cue tip is hard enough so that it doesn’t absorb too much of the force from your shot, so you can still get a good deal of power into each shot.
However, these tips also have the perfect level of softness to put just a bit of a spin on the ball. They offer a good combination of power, control, and consistency. These pool cue tips don’t really have any drawbacks, but they don’t necessarily excel in any one department either. Because these tips are a bit harder than the soft and super soft tips, they won’t mushroom or deform nearly as fast.
#4: Hard Tip
If you are into making big power shots where you need a lot of energy transfer, then the hard tip pool cue is the way to go. These pool cue tips are very hard, which results in then absorbing virtually none of that impact, thus allowing for maximum power. In terms of accuracy, they aren’t bad either because they put minimal spin on the ball.
Making straight shots is very easy with these pool cues, but as soon as curves and spins are involved, things start to fall apart. Although this type of pool cue tip needs minimal maintenance, miscues are a problem that may occur. With this type of pool cue tip, you really have to hit the ball dead center.
#5: Super Hard (Phenolic) Tip
Phenolic or super hard tipped pool cues are not very common and aren’t used too often. These tips are just as hard as the ball itself, and they do not absorb any force whatsoever, thus allowing for maximum power. This makes them ideal for the initial break.
However, these pool cues are hard to use otherwise and are not recommended, except for the most expert of players.
How Does Pool Cue Tip Size Affect Performance?
Something else to consider here is how large the tip of the pool cue is, and yes, the size does affect performance. It’s simple physics really. The smaller the diameter of the pool cue tip is, the less of the material hits the ball.
For one, this means that the smaller the tip is, the more force you can generate with each hit. With a smaller tip, a greater amount of force is divided up between a smaller area, thus resulting in greater overall power. Moreover, smaller pool cue tips are great for putting a good deal of spin on the ball.
However, on the other hand, the smaller the diameter of the pool cue tip, the harder it is to make accurate shots and to hit the ball squarely. Larger tips have more surface area, and are therefore better for avoiding miscues. A larger diameter allows for straighter and easier shooting, which is generally best for beginners.
How Does Pool Cue Tip Shape Affect Performance?
The shape of the pool cue tip is closely related to the size of it. You can have pool cue tips that are extremely rounded, which means that they have a shape that comes to a bit of a point, so to speak, or at least a rounded edge.
On the other hand, you have pool cue tips that are virtually flat. Well, rounded pool cue tips don’t make as much contact with the ball as flat tips, which means that round tips are best for putting spin on the ball, but a flatter tip puts less spin on the ball, and is therefore ideal for making straight shots. It’s all about whether or not you want some spin.
What Is the Best Type of Pool Cue Tip?
There is really no such thing as the best type of pool cue tip, at least not generally speaking. Which one of these you prefer depends on your needs, preferences, and style of play.
You can go with any combination of tip hardness, size, and shape to produce differing results. For instance, if you want maximum spin, go for a soft, small, and rounded pool cue tip.
As can be seen, the size, shape, and hardness of the pool cue tip all contribute to how your cue will perform.
It’s really important to match your pool cue to your style of play, so choose wisely!