A material, usually leather, placed on the end of a cuestick which comes in contact with the cue ball.
Leather tips of varying curvature and degrees of hardness are glued to (or in some cases screwed into) the ferrule. The de facto standard curvatures for a pool tip are dime- and nickel-radius, determined by shaping a tip so that when one puts a nickel or dime to it, they have the same curvature. The tip end of the cue will vary in diameter but is typically in the 9 to 14 millimeter range with 12–13 mm for pool cues, and 9–10 mm for Snooker cues being most common.
Rounder (i.e., smaller radius) tips impart spin to the cue ball more easily since the point of contact between the tip and the ball requires less distance from the center hit to impart the same amount of spin, due to the increased tangential contact. Tips for break and jump cues are usually nickel radius or even flatter, and sometimes made of harder materials such as phenolic resin; the shots are forceful, and usually require less spin. Billiardchalk
A leather tip naturally compresses and hardens with subsequent shots. Without proper care, the surface of the tip can develop an undesired smoothness or glossiness which can significantly reduce the desired friction between the tip and the cue ball. Cuechalk is applied to the tip of the cue, ideally after every other shot or so, to help achieve the desired friction and minimize the chance of a miscue. This is especially important when the cue tip does not hit the cue ball in its center and thereby imparts spin to the cue ball.
There are different grades of hardness for tips, ranging from very soft to very hard. Softer tips (major brands include Elk Master) hold chalk better, but tend to degrade faster from abrasion (from chalk and scuffers), shaping (from cue tip shapers/tackers/picks), and mushrooming (the sides of the tip bulge out from long normal use or from hard hits that compact the tip in all directions). Harder tips (major brands include Blue Diamond Plus, Triangle and Le Professional or "Le Pro") maintain their shape much better, but because of their hardness, chalk tends to not hold as well as it does on softer tips. The hardness of a leather tip is determined from its compression and tanning during the manufacturing process.
Layered (laminated) tip
All cue tips once were of a one-piece construction, as are many today (including LePro and Triangle). More recently some tips are made of layers that are laminated together (major brands include Moori and Talisman). Harder tips and laminated tips hold their shape better than softer tips and one-piece tips. Laminated tips generally cost more than one-piece tips due to their more extensive manufacturing process. A potential problem with layered tips is delamination, where a layer begins to separate from another or the tip completely comes apart. This is not common and usually results from improper installation, misuse of tip tools, or high impact massé shots. One-piece tips are not subject to this problem, but they do tend to mushroom more easily.