A Discussion on Break Cues
A common question we receive is "Do I really need a break cue?".
The short answer is no, you don't.
Much in the same way you don't NEED different size pots to cook with, you don't NEED a break cue to play pool. There are some distinct advantages of having a break cue though, just are there are distinct advantages to having various pots and pans to cook with. These should not be overlooked by any player that takes their game somewhat seriously.
First, having a consistent break can be a great benefit to winning games.
If you can sink balls on the break, you stay at the table and continue to shoot, giving you an opportunity to break and run. Since many games are "winner break", this can be a great advantage.
Having a dedicated break cue can help you establish that consistency, especially considering the technology used in break cues that are produced by most of the major manufacturers.
There are now many differences between a "playing" cue and a "break" cue.
Among these are different shaft tapers, new construction methods, and new tips that are incredibly hard, won't mushroom, and don't require changing. Now, a cue isn't going to make balls drop in the pocket for you, so there is still a need to practice the mechanics of the break shot but again, having the right break cue can make this fun, economical, and potentially more consistent.
Another reason for having and using a break cue is to preserve the life of your playing cue tip. Since the break shot usually encompasses great force applied to the cue ball, there is a greater likelihood of your tip wearing down quickly.
You might also crack the ferule, or break the tip right off the cue. For these reasons, having a dedicated break cue could save you money in tip and ferrule replacements, and prevent you from having a match go south due to breakage of either the ferrule or tip on the break shot with no back-up shaft.
There are even jump/break cues.
Some have a second joint allowing the cue to be broken down into a shorter length and used specifically for jump shots. Since both the break shot and jump shot exert a lot of force and stress on the tip, combining the two negates the need for a dedicated break cue and a dedicated jump cue.
For some, a "one size fits all" works just fine, while others may elect to have one cue dedicated to each different shot.
So, you don't NEED a break cue.
Even if you want one, you don't necessarily NEED to spend lots of money on one.
The decision really boils down to what you really want as a player.
Can more expensive break cues make a difference in the break shot? Most definitely.
Will the most expensive break cue ensure I make four balls every break? Absolutely not.
You, the player, still have to execute the shots and there has yet to be a pool cue invented that will make shots for you.
We do encourage players to have a dedicated break cue.
In the long run it will pay dividends, however, what to spend and what to buy will really be about personal preference and depend on how much you play and what your ultimate goals as a player are.