5 Best Pool Cue Tips [Reviews & Buyer's Guide]

Best Pool Cue Tips (Review)

Best High End

Kamui Clear Black Leather Tip Review

Kamui Clear Black Cue Tip

Best Mid Range

Elk Master 13mm Pool Billiard Cue Tips

Best Inexpensive

HONBAY 10pcs 13mm Pool Billiard Cue Stick Tips

HONBAY 10pcs 13mm Pool Cue Tips

Last Updated: 15th Oct, 2019

Has your old cue tip mushroomed up and isn't repairable anymore? Or maybe you're looking to replace the existing tip that came with your cue stick. Or perhaps you're looking to up your game and try out the very best pool cue tips which pro players use. Whatever be the case, I can help!

Pool is a game of grit, accuracy, and mind. While nothing beats grueling practice sessions and training, but the Pool is also a game where your choice of equipment can make all the difference. The most crucial of it is the Pool cue tip - it's the part which actually transfers the energy to the cue ball, imparting desired spin, speed, and accuracy on the ball. No matter how good or expensive your cue stick is, as long as you're not able to make the right contact, it won't matter - Right?

The size, hardness, and material of the cue tip is what makes a difference between a good hit and miscue. So, choosing the right pool cue tip which goes with your skillset is very crucial.

"I've been playing Pool for as far as I can remember - Pretty sure its 20 yrs+. Over the years, I've tried numerous of cue tips from elk master, milk duds to Kamui, and everything in between. So I know a thing or two about cue tips, and I'm sure you can benefit from my experience."

To save you the hassle, I have narrowed the list to five of my favorite pool cue tips, which I've personally tried and tested.

Best Pool Cue Racks Reviewed

The 5 Best Pool Cue Tips

  1. Kamui Clear Black Cue Tip- Pro Pick
  2. Elk Master 13mm Pool Billiard Cue Tips - Editor's Pick [Best for Most]
  3. Predator Victory Cue Tip (H/M/S) - Runner Up (Pro Pick Category)
  4. Collapsar 6pcs 14mm Pool Cue Tips (H/M/S) Value Pick
  5. HONBAY 10pcs 13mmBargain Pick
  6. Samsara Jump Break Tip - Best Jump Break Cue Tip

1. Kamui Clear Black Cue Tip

Pro Pick


  • Diameter: 14mm
  • Hardness: Super Soft, Soft, Medium, and Hard
  • Material: 8-layer pig skin
  • Price: ~25$/piece
Kamui Clear Black Leather Tip Review

The Kamui Clear Black is definitely, the creme de la creme of pro-quality cue tips. Used and preferred by some of the top pool players, hands down this is the best cue tip currently available. The clear black is the new and upgraded version of the once best-selling black tip. The bottom layer of this tip is transparent and is specially designed to limit glue absorption by the tip. This results in consistent and uniform performance every time. Usually, in other cue tips, you'll find that over time, the glue seeps inside the cue tip, thus making it a bit hard and impacting the performance.

The tip is manufactured in Japan and made out 100% Japanese Pig leather stacked in a layer of eight. Each layer is further laminated to reduce the chances of mushrooming. As it's made out of high-quality porous leather, it holds the chalk better than most of the other tips. Pasting the cue on the tip is also as easy as it gets. The bottom layer is pre-sanded and requires a minimal amount of glue, thus creating a less mess.

Kamui tips are known for their durability. Under moderate usage, a single tip may easily last you a year or more.

It's available in four hardness - Super soft, soft, medium, and hard.

  • The super-soft variant is recommended for advanced players who like to apply more English on the ball or for playing draw shots.
  • The soft/medium is ideal for most players who're looking for a fine balance between control, spin, and speed. 
  • The hard tip is mostly recommended for jump and break cues.

Priced under $25, it's nowhere cheap. But if you consider the performance improvement and durability of the tip offers, the pricing seems to be well justified. 

What We Liked
+ Durable, a single tip would easily last you for a year or more
+ Excellent performance
+ Easy installation
+ Maintains shape and form
+ Holds chalk well

Watch Out for
- Expensive

2. Elk Master 13mm Pool Billiard Cue Tips

Best Overall


  • Diameter: 13mm
  • Hardness: Soft
  • Material: Leather with blue chalk
  • Price: ~6$ for 10 pieces
Elk Master 13mm Pool Billiard Cue Tips
If you're looking for a super soft cue tip, no tip comes close to the Elk mater. No wonder, it's one of the most popular and best-selling cue tips. The tip holds the chalk very well, giving you more control and the ability to add more English on the ball. Most importantly, it's quite hard to miscue with these tips.

As it's made out of a single leather piece, it requires regular grooming. The tips generally mushroom up after 30 to 40 hrs of play and would require constant shaping. But for the price of $0.60/tip, you can't really ask for more.

The Elk master may be cheap in price but definitely not on the quality. This is an excellent choice for anyone who likes to play with a super soft tip.

What We Liked
+ Reasonable pricing
+ Offers excellent control
+ Easy to install

Watch Out for
- Needs regular grooming

3. Predator Victory Cue Tip (H/M/S)

Runner Up


  • Diameter: 14mm
  • Hardness: Soft, Medium and Hard
  • Material: 8-layer leather
  • Price: ~25$/piece
Predator Victory Cue Tip Review

Next up, we have the Predator Victory cue tip. Available in three hardness - Soft, Medium, and Hard, this premium tip offers above-par performance and excellent control on the ball. The construction is quite similar to Kamui clear - 8 layers of leather sandwiched together.

However, the main difference here is that this tip is slightly harder in comparison to Kamui. The soft variant plays more like a medium, and medium one plays more like a medium-hard. If you're looking for a soft tip, you should probably avoid this and opt for something like Kamui Super soft instead. Moreover, the bright yellow color makes it easy to spot and shape the tip under low-lighting conditions.

Overall, these tips offers excellent performance and at the same time are quite durable. Choose this, if you're looking for a relatively harder tip.

What We Liked
+ Above-par performance
+ Durable
+ Attractive color

Watch Out for
- Runs harder than most brands

4. Collapsar 6pcs 14mm Pool Cue Tips (H/M/S)

Value Pick


  • Diameter: 14mm
  • Hardness: Soft, Medium, Hard
  • Material: 6 Layer pigskin
  • Price: ~20$ for 6 pieces
Collapsar 6pcs 14mm Cue Tips

For our value pick, we have the Collapsar 14mm cue tips. It comes in a set of 6 and costs less than $20, which is quite low for multi-layer leather tips. Available three hardness - Soft, medium, hard, these tips play true and give a good overall feel. The best part is that you can also order mixed hardness, which comes with two tips of each hardness type. This lets you experience different cue types and choose the one which suits you best.

While the performance isn't the same as Kamui or predator, but it's definitely close. The tip holds its shape quite well and doesn't mushroom easily. Don't worry about the chalking the either, the tip holds onto the chalk quite well.

For the price, it's an excellent all-round cue tip offering premium performance at an affordable price.

What We Liked
+ Value for money
+ Easy to shape; doesn't mushroom up ​that easily
+ Offers good control on the ball

Watch Out for
- The soft variant is more like medium-soft

5. HONBAY 10pcs 13mm Cue Tips

Bargain Pick


  • Diameter: 13mm
  • Hardness: Medium
  • Material: Solid leather
  • Price: ~8$ for 10 tips
HONBAY 10pcs 13mm Pool Billiard Cue Stick Tips

Coming to the more affordable option, we have the solid leather Honbox 13mm cue tip. It comes is a set of 10 and costs about $8. The tip comes in only one hardness. While the manufacturer does not specifically mention the hardness of the tip, but it's more like a medium-hard tip. Being cheap and sturdy, this makes up for an excellent choice for house cues at the bars or clubs.

The tip comes pre-shaped, and the installation is pretty easy as well. For the price, it's worth every single penny.

What We Liked
+ Bang for the buck pricing
+ Easy installation
+ Pre-shaped tip

Watch Out for
- Not as durable as our top picks

6. Samsara Jump Break Tip

Best Jump Break Tip


  • Diameter: 14mm
  • Hardness: Hard
  • Material: 9-layer Calf skin
  • Price: ~20$ for one tip
Samsara Jump Break Cue Tip

For special-purpose jump/break tip, we recommend this option. Most jump break cue tips are made out of phenolic, but they lack control. This is where the Samasara tip shines. It's made out of 9-layers of compressed leather, which is extremely hard (95.5 density) yet easy to control.

Whether you're breaking or jumping, this cue tip would hold well, giving you a good feel and control on the ball. The other benefit is that it's a legal tip in almost all tournaments. In contrast, in some tournaments, phenolic tips are banned.

What We Liked
+ Offers better control while breaking or jumping
+ Durable construction
+ Holds chalk well

Watch Out for
- Not as hard has the phenolic tips

Buyer's Guide to Pool Cue Tips

The pool cue tip you choose is more of a personal preference, and a lot of it depends on your playing style. Some like it hard, while some like it super soft, and then there is a majority which likes medium-hard. Without actually trying the tip personally, it can be a bit of a gamble, whether you like it or not. You may have to try out a couple of cue tips before you finally settle for one or maybe two - that's natural, and every serious player goes through this routine.

Selecting a billiard cue tip isn't that hard as long as you know the basics. This buyer's guide will introduce you to everything you need to know about cue tips and hopefully answer all your queries.

The main characteristics to look for when choosing cue tips are size, shape, hardness, and material.

Size


You must choose a cue tip that exactly or approximately matches the diameter of the ferrule. Typically, ferrules are 13mm in diameter, but some cues may come with thinner or thicker ferrules. It's a good idea to measure the diameter using vernier calipers or checking the cue specs. You can trim down a larger tip to match the ferrule size, but you can't put a smaller tip on a larger ferrule - something to keep in mind.

Most cue tips come in 11mm to 13mm diameter barring few exceptions. Smaller tips are suitable to put more spin or English on the ball, and some players like the feel of the thinner shaft, but that's strictly personal preference. On the downside, smaller tips are more unforgiving, unlike larger tips.

To summarize: The cue tip must be of the same size or larger than the diameter cue shaft.

​Hardness


Simply put, softer tips help you put more spin or English on the ball. They remain in contact with the ball for an extra split second, giving you better control and accuracy. On the downside, softer tips mushroom easily and require regular maintenance.

In contrast, harder tips are almost maintenance-free and are ideal for jumping or breaking. They transfer maximum energy on the ball but are difficult to control and less forgiving. 

Soft Tip:

Soft tip compresses during the impact with the cue ball, letting it stay on the ball for an extra bit of time. This helps in putting more spin on the ball. They offer better control over the ball and result in improved accuracy. As pointed out already, softer tips require a fair bit of maintenance as they mushroom more often. 

Soft tips are more suited for the experienced players as the increase in control comes with a trade-off. You would need to hit the ball with more force to compensate for the cushioning effect.

Hard Tip:

Hard tip is more suitable for specialized purposes like jumping or breaking as it transfers maximum force on to the ball. The tip remains on the ball for a lesser time, which results in lesser control, reduced accuracy, and increased chances of miscues. Many professional players play with hard tips, but that comes with years of practice. Beginners or anyone starting out with Pool should avoid hard tips.

Medium-hard Tip:

The medium-hard tip is what the majority of pool players play with and is a good compromise between soft and hard cues. Also, most factory-made cue sticks are fitted with medium-hard tips (for good reason). These tips offer a fine balance between controllability, consistency, and speed, letting you experience the best of both worlds. They provide decent control on the ball while allowing you to hit solid and clean shots. It's also relatively maintenance-free and doesn't mushroom easily. The majority of jump break cues come with medium-hard tips.

If you ask me, the medium-hard tip is what you should start with, and as your game develops, choose the one (soft or hard) as per your liking. 

Material


Leather has been the preferred material for pool cues for ages. In the last couple of years, non-organic hard plastic tips like phenolic or G10 cue tips are catching up. They are as hard as the cue ball itself and popular material for choice for anyone looking for a super hard cue tip.

There are two types of leather tips: Solid and Layered.

Solid Leather: As the name suggests, it consists of a single piece of leather piece (cow, pig, or elm). They're inexpensive and relatively harder but require more maintenance. Over time they generally misshape or mushroom and require constant shaping and grooming. 

Layered or laminated leather: They're made out of multiple players of leather sandwiched together. It's also the most common and popular cue material. It gives a more consistent gameplay experience, holds the chalk very well, and is medium-hard. Due to layering, the cue maintains its shape quite well and requires little to no maintenance. 

Hard Tips: These are specialty tips explicitly made for breaking or jumping. Material like bakelite, phenol, or carbon fiber is used to make such tips. They are super dense and transfer maximum energy onto the ball. But, some of the tournaments restrict usage of phenolic cues. Always check with the organizer, just to be sure.

Price


Price should be the last thing on your mind while choosing a cue tip. You don't replace them quite often; a typical tip can last you for a couple of months. Secondly, they are mostly inexpensive except if you opt for something super premium like Kamui. Typically, the cue tips cost less than a dollar.

So you see, the price is not much of a concern unless you run a large pool club or bar where you need to replace tips every now and then. In such a case, you can buy this ultra-cheap 50-pack of Elm cue tips for under $20.

​How to Install a Cue tip


Replacing your existing cue tip with a new one is a pretty straightforward task. With the right tools, you can wrap up the whole installation in under 10 mins or less.

Step 1: Use a sharp razor to cut the exiting tip. Try to cut as close to the ferrule as possible. Just be careful not to cut your fingers in the process.
Step 2: Using a sanding paper (like this), file the remaining bits and pieces of the tip from the ferrule. Don't scuff or scratch the ferrule in the process.
Step 3: Next, using the same sanding paper, gently sand the bottom of the new cue which you're going to put.
Step 5: This is an optional step but suggested for first-timers. Cover the ferrule with masking tape to prevent the glue from leaking out while fixing.
Step 6: Use a super glue like Loc Tite. Apply the glue on the ferrule and bottom of the cue tip.
Step 7: Place the cue tip at the center of the ferrule and press tightly for a couple of minutes for the glue to dry. You can also use a tip clamp for this.
Step 8: Remove the masking tape and wipe off excess glue.
Step 9: Using the same razor blade, hold the cue stick tip down and shave the excess tip protruding out.
Step 10: Using high grit sandpaper, finish off the sides, and give the required shape to the dome. Alternatively, you can use a tip shaper, which will make your work easier.

Conclusion

I hope this guide could help you decide which pool cue tip to go for. Just remember, there is nothing like the perfect cue tip, which can magically improve your game. Yes, it does impact your play, but in a limited manner. To truly excel in the game, practice, practice and practice - that's the only thing that helps you get better.

As you improve as a player, your choice of cue tip may change as well. Just keep experimenting until you find the right fit.

Kevin James
 

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