Do you have a favorite cue tip? perhaps your looking for a change and are maybe considering either the Kamui clear black or the Navigator Alpha.
Luckily for you, you’ll be taken through an in-depth comparison of the Navigator Alpha Medium cue tips and Kamui Clear Black tips. Once you’ve read this comparison guide, it will be a lot easier to know which of these two cue tips to buy for optimal shooting performance.
If you don’t have a preferred cue tip then its always difficult to decide which one to get. With so many available, sometimes it’s best to get a little advice, that’s where we come in. This will be a comprehensive comparison between Navigator tips vs Kamui tips.
Both cue tips are excellent, and both would serve you well at the table – but which one is best for you?
The problem is that both cue tips come at a high premium cost. They are much more expensive than most other cue tips. so why would you even bother paying the extra?
Are they worth their premium price tag?
What is the difference between these two tips?
For the sake of being equal, I compared the Kamui clear black medium cue tip with the Navigator medium Alpha blue cue tip
how did they get on?
Let’s find out!
- Meet the makers
- Navigator Alpha tip review
- Kamui clear black tip
- Navigator Tips vs Kamui Tips
- Are navigator Alpha cue tips good
Meet the makers
Leather cue tips have been in use for over 100 years, and Francois Mingaud designed the first modern leather cue tip in the 1700s while he was in a French prison.
Since them days, cue tips have come a long way.
This is especially true when it comes to Kamui and Navigator as they are up there with some of the best tips available today on the market.
Famous cue maker, McDermott’s from USA making their signature Navigator tips and world-renowned chalk and tip producers and experts, Kamui, from Japan.
These two brands are big players and both push the boundaries of cue tip intonations, always improving and competing with each other.
It’s great having such giants competing as they are albe to come up with two pretty special cue tips.
Navigator Alpha tip review
Firstly, i want to take a look at the Alpha cue tip from Navigator.
If you want a reliable and high-quality cue tip of medium hardness, then check these out – the Navigator Alpha Cue Tips are 14mm and are shaped easily.
This tip was designed by McDermott and made from Japanese pigskin, and it consists of ten layers that have undergone compression for three minutes.
The lamination of these layers is done in a specialized way to make sure the modified adhesive does not harm the leather hardness.
Consequently, you need not put in a lot of effort to deliver a crisp and firm hit as well as have to worry about constant mushrooming.
The Navigator Alpha cue tip assists in safeguarding the ferrule by performing as a bumper thanks to the different density layers at its base. Additionally, it plays a part in lowering the cue tip pressure. This will protect your cue and the tip.
The cue tip is dyed blue as it indicates its a medium cue tip – aside from that i think it looks great.
Some of the features integrated into the Navigator Alpha medium cue tips are;
- 14mm diameter
- Layered tip with ten layers
- Made from 100% high-density Japanese pigskin leather
- Designed from high-quality pigskin leather
- This cue tip delivers an incredible performance
- The design of this tip is remarkable
- Ideal for competition games
- Its installation on the pool stick is easy and straightforward
- Serves you for an extended duration as it does not mushroom easily
- Some have issues with it holding chalk
Kamui clear black tip
It might not be the cheapest tip out there but it is a beast on the end of your cue!
The Kamui brand is a popular choice among professional billiard players due to their outstanding quality.
Kamui Clear Black cue tip is arguably the best cue tip on the market as it helps you always produce an excellent performance.
You can get this pool cue tip in four different hardness levels, that is, medium, hard, super soft, and soft.
- Super-soft tips: They are designed for skilled players who intend to play draw shots or apply more English to the cue ball.
- Soft cue tips: Similar to the super-soft on a little harder. These tips require replacement a lot more frequently compared to hard and medium cue tips.
- Medium cue tips: They are a blend of hard plus soft densities, and they are installed in most pool cues nowadays. This cue tip is an excellent choice if you want a fine balance between speed, spin, and control.
- Hard cue tips: Higher-level players and professionals love these tips due to the control they deliver. However, achieving optimum control is a skill you can only acquire after practicing for years and playing many tournaments. Because hard tips maintain their shape longer, unlike soft and medium cue tips, they need to be changed less often.
Integrated into this tip is a transparent lower layer that comes in a special design that reduces glue absorption by the cue tip.
Because of this, you are in a position to deliver even and consistent performances at all times.
The Kamui Clear Black cue tip is made from 100% premium pigskin from Japan that has been stacked into eight layers.
This layered leather tip does a good job holding onto chalk in comparison to other cue tips and it does a good job at being as maintenance fee as possible.
Installation is relatively straight forward too.
The Kamui is made for producing extra spin due to its tip density and elasticity. The two acting together add some excellent grip to the cue ball.
I did a comparison between Kamui black vs clear you might also be interested in.
- Holds well onto the chalk
- Guarantees incredible performance
- Made out of high-quality leather
- Ideal for competition games
- It is reliable and durable
- Maintains its form and shape well
- Tends to glaze over quickly
Navigator Tips vs Kamui Tips
I want to give you my personal experience on using both cue tips, both i have to say have their merits and both are excellent cue tips. Which ever you decide upon, you’ll be getting a highly sought after, premium tip for your cue.
So, my comparison between Navigator tips vs Kamui tips
Navigator Alpha Tips (M) vs Kamui Clear Black Tip (M) | Tip Comparison Table
|Navigator Alpha (M)||Kamui Clear Black (M)|
|Material||Japanese Pig-skin||Japanese Pig-skin|
|Cue ball grip||5/5||5/5|
|Special features||Bumper layer protects tip and ferrule||Layer stops glue absorbing into tip|
Cost of the cue tips
Lets start with the cost, Both of these tips come at a premium cost – you can definitely find cheaper tips out there. For a Kamui or Navigator Alpha cue tip, you are going to spend about $25 for a single tip. Now that’s an expensive cue tip – are they really worth that much?
Its hard to say if they are worth $25, they are excellent tips and they do stand head and shoulders above some of their competitors – but some of their competitors are between 5 – 20 dollars and not $25+.
Personally, i wouldn’t mind spending the extra few dollars to know i was getting a well-designed, well-crafted cue tip.
So i guess at the end of the day, its about if you are willing to spend the little extra for a top cue tip.
Material of the cue tips
Both are layered tips made from Japanese pigskin – which is considered the Rolls-Royce of leather for a cue tip.
Japanese pigskin is thought to be a very pure type of leather that works perfectly for pool cue tips. The skin at the back of the pig is the thickest and therefore holds the most consistent layers. On top of that the fibers in the leather as well as the pores help to absorb and hold chalk really well.
All this results in a cue tip that’s very responsive and plays excellently. Its the little nuances that provide these types of cue tips with great cue ball control, brilliant chalk absorption and extra cue ball spin/english.
Hardness of the cue tips
The hardness of these tips is where things differ slightly. for a medium Kamui clear black the density of the tip is 73.4 where as a medium Navigator Alpha cue tip, the density of the tip stands at 78 using a durometer.
That makes the Kamui clear black a slightly softer cue tip. If you are looking to add extra english, then softer tips have more contact with the cue ball and therefore grip better – adding more spin to the cue ball.
The Kamui clear black also has a better elasticity than the Navigator Alphas, which means more bounce force is generated when striking the cue ball. The higher elasticity, the longer the cue tip will spend on the surface of the white ball, resulting in more spin being produced.
You certainly don’t need a softer tip with higher elasticity to generate extra spin, in fact a lot of advanced/pro players opt for a harder tip, and they can still produce insane cue ball spin. But for us mere mortals, it will help us if that’s what we are looking for in our game.
Kamui tip hardness chart
Kamui clear blacks come in 4 different hardnesses.
- Kamui Super Soft (68)
- Kamui Soft (72)
- Kamui Medium (78)
- Kamui Hard (85)
Navigator tip hardness chart
Navigator Alphas come in 4 different hardnesses.
- Navigator Alphas Black Extra Soft (69)
- Navigator Alphas Pink Soft (71)
- Navigator Alphas Blue Medium(78)
- Navigator Alphas Yellow Hard (85)
Holding chalk and cue ball grip
I’ve heard people complain that their Navigator Alpha struggles to hold chalk, personally i haven’t found that but i guess everyone is different. My Kamui also holds chalk well, both rarely miscue and produce a great hit. I’ve always found i get great cue ball response on my shots.
I would even say that Navigator were easier to adjust to, i felt the Kamui sometimes gripped a little too much to the cue ball. over time you adjust for it, but it catches you off guard at first.
Navigator tips vs Kamui tips
Both are really good tips but I was surprised at how little maintenance the navigator needed over the Kamui. The Kamui didn’t mushroom a lot but it was certainly more than the Navigator. They didn’t glaze either, even after prolonged use – that’s a credit navigator and McDermott. Kamui glazed much quicker, unfortunately.
The control on both tips were great, but if you can overcome the little extra responsiveness the Kamui creates then it’s a great tip to work within my opinion.
What’s nice about the Kamui is there is a special layer to help stop glue absorption into the playing area of the cue tip – this will help protect it and help it last longer.
The Navigator also have a protective later but the leather is made using a different density to help absorb the shots. This will help protect the cue and its ferrule as well as prolong the life of the tip itself.
Its hard to pick one tip over the other but whichever you decided, you’ll be getting one of the best tips on the market!
Take your pick…
- KAMUI CLEAR: A new standard that optimizes performance. Creating a more solid bond in order to bring out the maximum potential of the tip
- Repeatable performance: Bring out consistent cue performance over the installations
- Shield: Achieve further consistency by limiting the glue absorbed into the bottom layer of the tip
- Flatness: No sanding of the bottom layer is needed. Easy installation due to the flat surface of the glue side
- Connection: Minimal amount of glue guarantees a perfectly aligned installation to achieve the best tip and cue performance
Are navigator Alpha cue tips good
Many players find that Navigator Alpha cue tips provide good grip and control while also offering good durability. Ultimately, it is up to the individual player to decide if Navigator Alpha cue tips are the right choice for them. Some players may find that other brands of cue tips provide a better feel or grip, while others may find that Navigator Alpha tips offer the best performance.
Rob is an avid player and fan of all cue sports, particularly 8-ball, and snooker. He has competed in a few local 8-ball tournaments and although he is not a professional, he can compete with the best of them.