Break Cue Vs Playing Cue – What Makes The Difference?

The break and playing cues are built with a noticeable appearance and specific purpose, as their names imply. 

However, not all pool players know the reason for using the different types. If you’re on the same boat, keep reading the article to learn about the comparison of break cue vs playing cue, and you can decide when to use which one for better performance. 

The Main Difference Between Break Cue Vs Playing Cue

The break cue features a thicker shaft and shorter ferrule compared to the playing cue. Let’s scroll down to discover more details about the differences of components between the two. You will likely be amazed and surprised by the information you are about to discover. 

The Shaft

The main difference between the break and playing cues is their construction. The shaft of a break cue does not resemble its counterpart. Because the breaking stick requires such an extreme amount of force to release an outstanding shot, which means its shaft needs to be tough enough to accommodate it. 

That’s why the shaft structure of these are often sturdier and thicker than the playing cues’ shafts. While the standard playing cue does not have the design to tolerate this kind of use, the other can take care of the matter.

It is not uncommon to use a regular pool cue to break a shot. The frequency of use will result in damage as you apply the extreme force that the shaft can not handle.  

The Tips

Pool players’ preferences are not the same, leading to different types of cue tips. There are two main types of tips: soft and hard; each will feature strengths and weaknesses. 

The playing one mostly come with soft tips, which can hold pool chalk longer than the hard tips; they are also suitable for players that love spinning a lot and taking more ball control. 

The problem with soft tips is their decreasing durability over time, and they are even worn out faster when the player can’t focus on the balance of the ball center. Break cues, in contrast, with hard tips can do the trick. The hard tips also effectively boost the speed of ball movements on the board rather than spinning. 

The Weight 

Breaking cues are generally heavier than average playing cues. When a cue has more mass, it will take a lot of momentum and generate a crushing blow to the rack. Also, a break one with a heavyweight can give you a more substantial holding than the playing stick.

By leveraging the weight of a heavy stick, you can create a regular and firm stroke without putting too much force; the ball will speed up while you can concentrate on the accuracy. 

Compared to the heavier one, a lighter playing stick will slide better, spin better due to friction through your guiding hand. 

A light cue requires less force and gives you more chance to shape your shot to be sophisticated and refined. It also gives you a more authentic feeling of “touch” and “feel,” but too light will limit your spinning and side-spin skill on the ball. 

Do You Really Need A Break Cue?

Yes, a break cue is needed as it will bring more benefit to you technically and economically. Using it will give you a chance for a better break shot and keep your playing pool in good shape as you will not need it for a hard stroke. 

You may have seen many serious pool players performing a shot with finesse, wrist action, and power by only using the standard cues for breaking shots. Unfortunately, it is not the case if you are hungry to improve your skills; you should highly consider having a designated break and playing types separately.

As we have mentioned above, breaking are generally heavier than average playing cues, generating a ton of velocity and enhancing the precision of your breaks.

When you use your playing cue for breaking, it is subject to a lot of force. Over time, the tips will likely be worn out faster, and so will the ferrule. So, using a separate type will be a wise investment.

Can You Play Pool With Break Cue?

A quote for you “Don’t break with your shooting cue and don’t shoot with your breaking cue.” Generally, it is not wise to use it to play cool as it was not designed to serve such a purpose.  

The hard cue tip of a breaking stick can only assist you when executing a break stroke on the table. Its construction was designed to produce more force on the ball and rapidly sweep it into a rack of balls but won’t perform effectively enough when spinning.

What Is The Best Weight For A Break Cue?

Breaking cue weight usually fluctuates from 21 to over 27 oz. Most players believe that a heavier one will give a more decisive break. For some players, including us, this belief is true.

When selecting, you should go for the weight that brings you the utmost comfort, and you treat the weight range as a consideration. In some cases, a heavy one creates less power because it depends on how much force you push. 

Based on our experience, a breaking cue at about 22 oz can be a game changer. This weight works perfectly because the pool players can maintain good acceleration and leverage added weight to produce more force, making a tremendous difference in your breaks.

What Is The Best Tip For A Break Cue?

As mentioned before, phenolic tips are maintenance-free and feature great longevity. It has been widely produced by manufacturers and is the top choice for many players.

Phenolic resin is ideal for players who have a passion for powering up their break because the phenolic design can transfer the maximum energy from your stick to the ball. 

A phenolic tip is also harder and sturdier than other materials, but it does not effectively hold the pool chalk for long. So you need to apply chalk frequently before executing each shot to avoid miscues. 


Through the article, we hope that you have gained better knowledge about the compassion of break cue vs playing cue. A designated break and playing will be a good investment, which will enhance your skill and move you closer to being a professional player.