There are all kinds of questions that people have when shopping for their first cue. When you start to get down into the research phase, you realize that there are an awful lot of options and features when it comes to a pool cue. And one of the questions many people ask is: Do pool cues come with tips?
Yes, pool cues do come with tips. They come with the tips already attached so you can get right to shooting some pool. Usually, this is a medium-hardness tip. However, there’s a large selection of tips available, and some cue makers allow you to customize the pool tip that comes on your cue.
What Tips Come Standard on Pool Cues?
The type and quality of the cue tip depends on the company and the type of cue tip. There are many cue makers that come standard with certain big-name tips like Tiger or Predator. These tips are usually put on mid to high-range cues.
Most cue makers opt to ship their cues with a medium tip for the best of all worlds. Most players like to use a medium cue tip at first. It’s important to experiment with cue tips of different hardness, but mediums work for most players.
But, the type of tip does depend somewhat on the type of cue.
Different Tips for Different Cues
Jump and break cues usually come standard with hard or super hard tips. This is because those cues are specially designed for jump and break shots that don’t require much English and aren’t going to be used for regular gameplay.
Pretty much every other type of cue comes with a medium tip, although it’s always good to check before you buy.
Most people buying their first cue aren’t too worried about the size of the cue tip. However, if you’ve been playing with a friend’s cue or a house cue that you’re comfortable with, you’ll probably want to find out the size of the tip so you can get one that’s the same.
Most cue tips come standard with a 13mm tip. But, you’ll also find 12.75mm and 14mm tips on occasion. For some players, it doesn’t matter all that much. For others, it’s quite the difference!
What Tip Hardness is Best for Your First Cue?
Deciding between a soft, medium, or hard tip is a personal preference. If you’re not sure which tip is best for your first cue, you should go with a medium tip. This provides the best of both worlds. It gives you good ball control when you’re shooting with English, and it doesn’t wear down and mushroom as quickly as soft tips. If you use a hard tip, you’re more likely to miscue— especially if you’re not used to shooting with a hard tip.
All that said, if you’re comfortable with a tip of a certain hardness, stick with it. Many players prefer soft tips for ball control and they don’t mind trimming, shaping, and replacing the tip more often.
Different Cue Tip Materials
The majority of cue tips today are made from leather. This material comes from different animals, from cowhide to pigskin to, apparently, water buffalo.
There are layered and non-layered tips. Layered leather tips tend to be the favorite, as they last a little longer than regular leather tips and tend to wear down consistently. However, some players claim that layered tips (also called laminated tips) don’t hold chalk as well as their single-piece counterparts.
Really, it comes down to personal preference and comfort.
Break and jump cue tips are usually made of phenolic resin, which is what most pool balls are made out of. These incredibly hard tips are one reason why you wouldn’t want to play a whole game with a jump/break cue. You get very little control and a slim margin for error.
Should You Replace Your Standard Cue Tip?
Some players suggest that you replace your cue tip if you get a generic tip on your cue. And if you know what you want from your tip, you may want to do this (if the cue seller doesn’t offer the choice to change the tip out).
But, if it’s your first cue, it’s a good idea to just play with the cue that came on the cue stick. Even if it’s a no-name tip. You’ll be able to get a feel for that type of tip and you can always replace it later.
The fact is that there’s no standard measure of density for cue tips. What’s “hard” for one company may be “medium” for another. The trick is to get used to different types of tips as you become a more experienced player.
Shaping Your New Cue Tip
Many new players purchase a nice new cue and find that the tip doesn’t hold chalk well and doesn’t seem like it’s properly shaped. This is because it’s up to you to shape and score the tip for it to hold chalk.
The best (and easiest) way to do this is with a shaping tool (shown here on Amazon). You can check out the video below for a tutorial on how to use the shaping tool to shape your first cue tip!