Key Takeaways:

  1. Understand the Types: Different dart boards cater to various playing styles and preferences.
  2. Consider Durability: Materials and construction impact the longevity of the dart board.
  3. Evaluate Features: Additional features like LED lights and electronic scoring can enhance the playing experience.


Darts is a game that brings people together, whether it's in a cozy pub or a lively game room. But before you can start hitting bullseyes, you need the right dart board. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the best one. This guide will help you understand what to look for when buying a dart board, ensuring you make an informed decision.

Types of Dart Boards

Bristle Dart Boards

Bristle boards are the gold standard for a traditional and authentic dart-playing experience. Made from sisal fibers, these boards are durable and self-healing. When you remove a dart, the tiny holes close up, extending the board’s lifespan. Bristle boards often feature blade wire, and different wire designs can reduce bounce-outs and improve scoring potential. For a top choice in bristle dartboards, consider the Winmau Blade 5, which is highly recommended in reviews. The Winmau Blade series is a popular choice among professional players.

What to look for when buying a dart board
Bristle vs. Electronic Dart Board

Electronic Dart Boards

Electronic dart boards are perfect for those who enjoy a modern twist on the classic game. These electronic boards come with LED lights and automatic scoring, making it easier to keep track of your game. Electronic dartboards feature advanced technology, personalized interfaces, and real-time performance tracking. They also offer various game options, catering to both casual players and competitive play.

Material Matters

Sisal Fibers

Sisal fibers are the main advantage of bristle dart boards. They are durable and provide a consistent playing surface. The natural sisal used in these boards ensures fewer bounce-outs and tighter groupings, which can lead to higher scores.

Cork Dartboards

Cork dartboards are another option, though they are less durable than sisal boards. They are suitable for beginners and casual players who are just getting into the game of darts. Cork boards are also more affordable, making them a good choice for those on a budget.

Dart Types

Steel Tip Darts

Steel-tip darts are commonly used with bristle dart boards. They offer a better grip and are more durable. Heavy darts require more force but tend to fly straighter, making them a preferred choice for many players. The heavier darts provide a satisfying thud sound when they hit the board, making them a favorite among advanced players.

What to look for when buying a dart board
Steel tip vs Soft tip

Soft Tip Darts

Soft-tip darts are designed for electronic dart boards. They are safer, especially for young children, as they are less likely to cause injury. These darts are lighter and made of plastic, which can affect the speed and accuracy of your throws.

Features to Consider

Staple-Free Bullseye

A staple-free bullseye reduces the chances of bounce-outs, allowing for more accurate throws. This feature is particularly important for competitive play, where every point counts.

LED Lights

LED lights on electronic dart boards enhance visibility and add a modern look to your game room. They also make it easier to see the scoreboard, especially in low-light conditions.

Size and Space

Regulation Size

Most players prefer a regulation-size dart board, which is 18 inches in diameter. This size is standard for competitive play and ensures a consistent playing experience.

Space Requirements

Before purchasing a dart board, consider the space where you will hang it. Ensure there is enough room for the official distance from the throw line, which is 7 feet 9.25 inches for steel-tipped darts and 8 feet for soft-tipped darts.

Durability and Construction

Bladed Wiring

Bladed wiring is a feature found in high-quality bristle dart boards. It reduces the surface area of the wires, leading to fewer bounce-outs and higher scores. The Puma Darts Bandit Board is known for its unique razor-bladed wire construction.

What to look for when buying a dart board
Wiring type

Composite Edging

Composite edging adds durability to the dartboard, protecting it from wear and tear. This feature is especially important for boards that will see a lot of use, such as in social settings or competitive play.

Additional Accessories

Dartboard Cabinets

A dartboard cabinet not only protects your wall but also adds a touch of style to your game room. It often comes with a dry-erase board for keeping score and storage for your darts.

Dartboard Surrounds

Dartboard surrounds offer wall protection and reduces the noise of darts hitting the board. They are particularly useful in homes where noise might be an issue.

Choosing the Right Darts

Tungsten Darts

Tungsten darts are a popular choice for serious players. They are denser than brass darts, allowing for thinner barrels and tighter groupings. This can lead to higher scores and a more enjoyable playing experience.

Brass Darts

Brass darts are more affordable and suitable for beginners. They are lighter and have thicker barrels, making them easier to grip. However, they are less durable than tungsten darts.

Grip and Barrel

Heavy Knurling

Heavy knurling on the dart barrel provides a better grip, which can improve your accuracy. This feature is particularly important for players who sweat a lot or have a loose grip.

Length of the Shaft

The length of the shaft affects the balance and flight of the dart. Longer shafts provide more stability, while shorter shafts allow for faster throws. Personal preference plays a big role in choosing the right shaft length.

Electronic Features

Game Options

Electronic dart boards come with various game options, from traditional 501 to fun variations like Cricket. These options can keep the game interesting and cater to different skill levels.

Automatic Scoring

Automatic scoring is a neat advantage of electronic dart boards. It eliminates the need for manual scorekeeping, allowing you to focus on your game. This feature is especially useful in competitive play.

Budget Considerations

Affordable Options

Cork dartboards and brass darts are good choices for those on a budget. They offer a decent playing experience without breaking the bank. However, they may not be as durable as higher-end options.

High-End Choices

If you're willing to invest more, consider a bristle dart board with bladed wiring and tungsten darts. These options provide a superior playing experience and are more durable in the long run.

Style and Aesthetics

Modern Look

Electronic dart boards with LED lights offer a modern look that can enhance the aesthetics of your game room. They also come in various designs, allowing you to choose one that best suits your style.

What to look for when buying a dart board
Modern vs. Traditional

Traditional Appeal

For a more traditional appeal, bristle dart boards with a classic design are the best choice. They offer a timeless look that fits well in any setting, from pubs to home game rooms.

Safety Considerations

Young Children

If you have young children, soft-tip darts are a safer option. They are less likely to cause injury and are compatible with electronic dart boards, which often come with additional safety features.

Wall Protection

Using a dartboard cabinet or surround can protect your walls from stray darts. This is particularly important in homes where wall damage might be an issue.

Professional vs. Casual Play

Professional Dartboards

Professional dartboards, like the Winmau Blade series, are designed to meet high specifications. They offer features like staple-free bullseyes and bladed wiring, which can improve your game.

Casual Players

For casual players looking to play darts, there are different types of dartboards available, such as electronic dartboards and steel tip dartboards, also known as bristle or cork boards. These boards are more affordable and still provide a good playing experience.

Maintenance and Care

Rotating Number Ring

A rotating number ring can extend the life of your dartboard by evenly distributing the wear. This feature is commonly found in high-quality bristle dart boards.

Cleaning Tips

Regular cleaning can keep your dartboard in good condition. Use a soft brush to remove dust, and avoid using water, which can damage the board.


Choosing the right dart board involves considering various factors, from the type of board and darts to additional features and budget. Whether you're a professional player or a casual enthusiast, understanding what to look for when buying a dart board can help you make an informed decision. With the right board and accessories, you'll be hitting bullseyes in no time.


What is the best type of dart board for beginners?

A cork dartboard or a basic bristle dartboard is a good choice for beginners. They are affordable and provide a decent playing experience.

How do I protect my walls from stray darts?

Using a dartboard cabinet or surround can protect your walls from stray darts. These accessories also add a touch of style to your game room.

What are the benefits of tungsten darts?

Tungsten darts are denser than brass darts, allowing for thinner barrels and tighter groupings. This can lead to higher scores and a more enjoyable playing experience.

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