: Mike Feiman
When you look at the number of pool cue tips there are available today, it can be extremely overwhelming. That's why we've created the ultimate pool cue tip guide. Using a digital durometer, we're going through the process of determining the tip density for every pool cue tip we carry.
As to the advantages and disadvantages of the different densities, at its most basic level, the softer the pool cue tip, the more likely it is to mushroom or flatten out with each hit of the cue ball. What this means is that a soft tip will require more maintenance than a harder tip.
Players that prefer a soft tip believe there is a relation between tip softness and English. The theory is that softer tips allow for more English and control over the ball. In addition, softer tips are typically easier to scuff and have better chalk retention. Harder tips on the other hand, require far less maintenance than soft tips. They hold their shape and don't mushroom as quickly, so you'll be replacing your tip far less often when you go with a hard tip over a soft.
Ultimately, it boils down to personal preference. Look at your own game and you should be able to determine which tip is going to work best for you.
The methodology we use for testing tip density is as follows:
Use a standard Shore A Durometer (0-100 hardness scale)
1Kg (2.2 lbs) of pressure
Measure the density of three tips per brand
Take the average of the three measurements to determine a density rating
*Le Pro tips are extremely difficult to rate as the hardness varied quite a bit. The initial rating of 96.3 has been revised as the coating layer that comes on these tips were throwing off the hardness measurement. Once the coating was removed, the tips proved to be softer, however there was still a wide variance from tip to tip.
Please note that this chart is not meant to be authoritative. Rather, this is a reporting of our findings based on a small sample size.
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