The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Dartboard for Your Game Room

You may not be a regular darts player, but you’ve probably played at least a game or two in a bar when you’re out with some friends. You may like playing it, but sometimes the only dartboard you know you can play is at the bar. You then go back to the bar, where the board can be in poor lighting condition or surrounded by drunken customers waiting for their turn (or perhaps checking you out). To skip these scenarios, you can buy your own dartboard.

Darts is a casual and competitive game great for all ages. It’s a classic social game available in different makes, styles and designs. You don’t need a whole lot of equipment to start playing darts, plus it’s relatively inexpensive and can be enjoyed by beginners and pros alike. Adding a dart board to your game room, man cave or living room can add a fun factor to the whole space.

In this article, we’ll help you find out everything you need to know about dart boards, with reviews of the best ones out there.

Compare the Best Dartboards 2018

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Winmau Blade 5 Dual Core Bristle Dart Board
GSE Games & Sports Expert Dartboard Cabinet Set
Arachnid Cricket Pro 900
Viper Neptune Electronic Dartboard with Cabinet
Accudart 2-in-1 Starlite Quality-Bound Paper Dartboard
American Style Wood Dartboard
Doinkit Darts Magnetic Dart Board

Types of Dart Boards

There are many different types of dart boards out there, and you can choose what suits your preferences best. Here are the types of dart boards:

1. Bristle Dart Boards

The bristle dart board is the most widely used type of board, so you’ve probably encountered this type of dart board before. It was first developed by Nodor during the 1930s, and it grew into popularity after the 1970s when televised darts became common. Bristle dart boards are used as a standard for most minor and major dart tournaments, so it enjoyed unrivaled popularity among professional and casual players.

Most bristle dart boards are made of sisal, a durable African grass which most rope are made of. It’s prepared by compressing tiny sisal fibers and gluing them together. This type of dart board usually comes with a metal edge to make the board more durable.

Darts used with bristle dart boards have a steel tip and a body made of tungsten or brass. It’s not as safe as other darts, but it provides a more genuine gaming experience. Sisal has been used for dart boards, because after you remove the darts, the hole fills automatically. It is because the steel tips of darts merely wedge themselves between the fibers of sisal. Therefore, bristle dart boards are long-lasting, and makes a perfect choice if you want to use the dart board regularly.

Almost all bristle dart boards are 18 inches in diameter, with a 13.5-inch target area.

2. Electronic Dart Boards

A relatively new addition to the world of darts, the electronic dart board has quickly become popular. You can find it in amusement parks, bars, clubs or sport centers. In these places, most have replaced the traditional bristle board with electronic boards because of their convenience.

The Arachnid Company invented the electronic dart boards, and many other manufacturers have also produced them, until they became one of the most popular dart board types. Since it’s an electronic board, they require an electric outlet where you can plug them in or simply put in some batteries.

The surface of the electronic dart board is filled with many tiny holes which are activated once a dart strikes and automatically records the amount of points. Special soft tip darts that come with plastic tips are typically used with this type of board, while some models come with steel tips to make playing feel more genuine. You can’t use just any regular dart in here – make sure you use darts appropriate for electronic board use.

The main benefit of having an electronic dart board is the automatic scoring that it can offer. There are boards that also offer permanent statistical tracking that memorizes the details of your performance. Because of this, electronic dart boards are perfect for people trying to improve their skills in the game.

However, because of the technology embedded in the board, electronic boards can be expensive, especially the more advanced and better models out there. Also, maintenance becomes an issue as these dart boards can break and need repairs.

The target area size of electronic dart boards ranges from 13.25 inches to 15.5 inches. If your plan is to train in the game to play in a league, a 15.5” dart board is more suitable.

3. Wooden Dart Boards

When people first started playing darts, they used wooden dart boards. It was the standard in the days of yore before the bristle and electronic dart boards existed. Today, it’s not as popular as it once were, as bristle and electronic boards began to take over.

Wooden dart boards are often made of elm or poplar wood – other types exist, but they are far rarer. This type of board is durable, and looks exquisite and classy. However, this has fallen out of use simply due to being less convenient than bristle boards, and are more difficult to maintain. A wooden dart board can dry out quickly, causing them to crack, so you need to regularly moisturize the wood to keep it usable.

Wooden dart boards are only famous today in traditional American-style dart competitions. Some known dart manufacturers still produce wooden dart boards, but the modern manufacturers create this type of board from the end grain basswood.

4. Coiled Paper Dart Boards

If you’re planning to buy a dart board for recreational play time only, then a coiled paper dart board might be the best choice for you. It’s a casual and cost-effective alternative to professional-grade dart boards. This is a type of dart board that you can give as a gift to kids to introduce them to playing darts without worrying about safety and expenses.

Paper dartboards are made of a thick layer of paper that allows the darts to stick but also be removed easily. These boards leaves a permanent hole, so it won’t last long if you’re planning to use it all the time. The holes can get hidden, but coiled paper dart boards are prone to damage if you just throw and pull out darts quickly. To make it last longer, always remember to twist the darts before removing them.

This type of dart board is only intended for people who don’t intend to play darts regularly. It’s also recommended for those looking for a cheap dart board to learn how to play darts, and then plan to upgrade later.

5. Magnetic Dart Boards

Like paper dart boards, magnetic boards are a fun and casual alternative to traditional and pro-grade dart boards. Unlike most boards, magnetic dart boards are used with flat-tipped darts with magnets, which doesn’t pierce the dart board at all. It’s because the darts just stick to the magnetic board when thrown at it.

This makes it safe for children and more durable than other types of boards. If your kid wants a dart board but you’re worried about sharp dart tips, this is what you should get him/her. It’s also great for playing at parties where people are bound to get drunk, so as to prevent any accidents involving sharp, pointy darts.

Magnetic dart boards are moderately priced and most are cheaper than bristle boards, and definitely less expensive than electric ones. However, coiled paper boards are still cheaper. It’s a safe alternative to regular darts, but is not suitable for anyone wanting to learn to play darts to join leagues in the future.

6. Cork Dart Boards

Cork dart boards are often mistaken for bristle boards, but they are totally different. While bristle dart boards are made of sisal, cork boards are made of cork, and are more similar to paper boards in terms of price, quality and durability.

Cork boards are a bit more durable than paper boards, and are great for playing with soft tip darts. Because of its price point and qualities, it’s an ideal choice for kids, beginners and anyone who wants to casually play darts. They are less popular, so they are harder to find, but they are still available.

When compared to bristle dart boards, cork wears out more quickly. If you’re planning to become a pro darts player, it’s still best to go for a bristle board than this one.

Darting Essentials

Of course, a game of darts isn’t enough with a board only. It’s time to look at the essentials and accessories to make your setup fun and safe.

1. Darts

You need a board because you’re going to throw darts. There are different types of darts as the best dart to use depends on the tips and the dartboard you will be using it with. Darts can either be a soft tip dart and a steel tip dart. Soft tip darts have flexible plastic tips thrown at a plastic board with molded holes on it, which hold the point of the dart. These are commonly used in electronic dartboards. Meanwhile, steel tip darts are traditional darts with sharp metal points that are inflexible. These are typically thrown to bristle boards.

2. Dart board cabinet and backboard

Do you like having holes in your wall? Of course not. Having a backboard can protect the wall around your board, as it takes all your bad shots. Cabinets serve the same function, but also adds an option wherein you can hide it whenever you don’t want it to be on show. This can also keep your dartboard safe and protected.

3. Accessories

To enhance your dart games, you need darting accessories, such as:

  • Dart throw line marks – This marks the toeline, where you are allowed to throw from. It’s usually provided as a large decal that is available in most colors. There are also gadgets that can project the line unto the floor, like laser toe lines. But for some, a wide strip of tape will do just fine.
  • Dartboard mat – A dartboard mat can protect your floors from steel dart tips falling on the floor during a miss. The floor between the throwing line and the dartboard must be protected, especially if your floor is made of hardwood. It’s also a great idea if you have a hard surface floor like concrete or tile that might damage your dart tips. The best option is to get a rubber or vinyl dart mat, and these often come printed with pre-measured throw line marks. You can also get an inexpensive rug or any soft yet durable material to add a protective layer for the floor. But if your floor is already carpeted, then you don’t need a mat.
  • Dart cases – If you want to take darts to the next level, you can enjoy the convenience of having a good case for your darts. Having a dart case can keep all your darts secured and all together in a nice package. It can also keep track of all your parts and tools at one place.
  • Scoreboards – Scoreboards are available in different size and styles. Most scoreboards are used with bristle boards and electronic dart boards, but electronic dart boards usually have a built-in scoring system.

What to Consider when Buying a Dart Board

Picking a dartboard seems like an easy decision, but if you’re planning to take darts seriously, then you should consider these things as you shop:

1. Size

One of the things you need to consider when picking a dart board is that you need to consider the size. This is important because you have to consider the space you can allot for the board and the number of people you want to be playing with it.

The size of a dart board is an important consideration especially if you want to play professionally, since you need to practice in a regulation-size dart board. Standard bristle dart boards have 18 inches diameter, and a target area of 13.25 inches diameter. Meanwhile, an electronic dart board has a standard size of 15.5 inches diameter and a target area with 15 inch diameter.

In case you’re not looking for a regulation-size dart board and you simply want to play casually, then your deciding factor is the number of people that will be playing. Standard-sized dart boards are enough for 2 to 8 people, but you may need larger dart boards if there are more than 8 players at a time.

2. Space and Safety

Since you’re considering the size of the board, you should also think about the space you have and where you can place the board. Whether it’s in a man cave, a basement, a game room, a bedroom, living room or any room – you have to make sure that there’s enough playing space to play darts. It would be difficult to place it on a crowded wall. Make sure that you go for a board that is at least 10-15 inches smaller than the wall space of the spot you have chosen to mount it on.

You must have plenty of room for your intended participants and guests in mind. For instance, you might be buying darts so you and your group of 6 friends can have something fun to do in your house, so make sure that there’s enough room for all where they can all stay away from thrown darts. Don’t set up the dart board in an area where there’s no room to stand, except in the same wall where the dart board is.

Darts can easily bounce off the board and pose a threat, even in a few feet away. So make sure that your dart board is placed not in the same wall where an active door could be, because if someone would be unexpectedly coming in, they might be at risk for injuries due to flying darts.

Also, make sure that there are no fragile and breakable objects near the dart board. Never place it near windows, TV screens, glassware, display vases and the like.

Keep it also safe from children and pets. While you’re playing, they should always remain well behind the throwing area. Keep your darts in a safe place where the kids can’t reach it.

If you think that your space is already crowded and you have little kids around, you can go for safer options like magnetic dart sets instead of having a bristle board that uses steel-tipped darts.

3. Material

The types of dart boards mentioned earlier are categorized by the material they are made of. It’s an important consideration, even if you’re only planning to play darts casually. These can impact the way you’ll use and maintain the board.

For starters, if you want a long-lasting board that needs minimal maintenance, then go for bristle dart boards. If you’re fond of wooden pieces, then a wooden dart board may catch your eye. But you should be ready for maintenance and keeping the board in its best condition. If you want something modernistic and cool, then you might prefer electronic dart boards. If you don’t plan on playing darts for so long, then paper boards can be enough.

4. Price

Another major deciding factor is the price. The cost of dart board varies, but the higher price doesn’t necessarily mean the best quality. However, a high-quality dart board will not be very cheap. You must choose based on quality, but for those dart boards of the same type and quality, choose the cheapest one.

5. Density and Depth

When it comes to bristle and electronic dart boards, depth and density should be a consideration. In the case of bristle dart boards, the density will greatly impact the quality, so it’s best to choose a high-density board. A low-density board can make darts have trouble piercing in and tend to bounce out.

Meanwhile, when it comes to electronic dart boards, the darts don’t necessarily pierce but stick to the pre-existing holes in the board. In this case, the density of the holes count, and the more the holes are, the higher chances that a dart will stick into the surface.

You should also consider the depth of the board, especially when it comes to bristle boards, as the darts would pierce through the board. Tournament boards are usually 1.5 inches thick, so it’s best to pick a board with the same depth.

However, the issue of density and depth doesn’t apply to some boards, like magnetic dart boards.

6. Durability

Whatever type of board you’re looking to buy, check its durability. There are badly made boards for each type of boards, so you need to know how to see the difference. Sometimes, the price also makes a factor here. You won’t expect the cheapest board to be highly durable.

For instance, if you’re going for a coiled paper board, see if it is hard enough. In the case of a bristle board, press lightly on the play area and check if it recovers easily from a light poke as it should. You should also check if the frame is properly connected to the sisal portion of the board.

If you’re buying online, always check the reviews and see what previous buyers are saying about the board. Look for reviewers who have been using the board for months, as you’ll most likely find reviews about first impressions. You would benefit from those reviews that detail the long-term durability of the board.

7. Extra features

Most dart boards look a lot like each other. They may differ in color and design on the face of the board, but they have mostly the same features. As manufacturers try to do something that will differentiate their product from the others, some boards may offer useful extra features, like a cabinet, storage compartments for darts, score tables that can be rotated, or wall protectors. Choose a board that has the extra feature you need.

When looking for an electronic dart board, there comes the plethora of extra features. They can range from mundane ones, like storage compartments for darts included in a cabinet-style dart board, to unique ones like those that electronically display photos on the board (if ever you want it to look like you’re throwing darts at a specific person’s face, for instance).

Most electronic boards have pre-programmed modes, so you don’t have to play the basic 501 all the time. There are dart boards that automatically track scores in a game and/or memorize scores for specific games or individual players. There are also electronic boards that can be voice activated and use voice prompts to tell the score and whose turn it is.

Top Dart Board Reviews

There is a dart board for everyone, depending on the type you choose. But here are our recommended, top-rated dart boards and their reviews:

1. Best Bristle Dartboard

Winmau Blade 5 Dual Core Bristle Dart Board

Winmau-Blade-5-Dual-Core-Bristle-Dart-Board

Winmau is a well-known manufacturer of the best and long-lasting dart boards in the market. Winmau Blade 5 Dual Core Bristle Dart Board is one of their latest products. It is now the world’s most advanced dart board with exclusive British Darts Organization (BDO) endorsement.

It’s an innovative dart board featuring the patented Dual Core Technology, comprising two layers of sisal fiber with an inner layer of higher compression fibers. The outer core reduces surface resistance for increased point penetration, and the inner core improves durability and provides increased resistance. In other words, the outer core provides a better penetrating area that you don’t have to worry about darts falling out of the board. It has increased scoring are with its 14% thinner wiring system than its predecessor, the Blade 4 Dual Core.

Users noted that even if it comes with an added expense as compared to their previous dart boards, the price is worth it because it’s well-crafted. Players experience no more bounce-outs and they liked that the installation was easy.

Read more reviews and see the latest prices here.

Pros:

  • Known as the most advanced bristle dart board out there with its patented Dual Core technology that improves performance and durability
  • Scoring potential increases as you play on the dart board
  • Comes with triple wheel lock-and-level system that makes installing a breeze; instructions for installation are also crystal clear
  • Perfect for use as a tournament dartboard

Cons:

  • Most reviewers noted dents and damages on the board upon receiving the product

2. Best Bristle Dartboard with Cabinet

GSE Games & Sports Expert Dartboard Cabinet Set

GSE-Games--Sports-Expert-Dartboard-Cabinet-Set

This is the best budget dart board cabinet with quality bristle board. GSE Games & Sports Expert Dartboard Cabinet Set features a smooth finished cabinet with quality bronze self-closing hinges and screws. The cabinet is available in New Zealand pine or oak wood and is of long-lasting quality. The backboard of the cabinet is padded with black felt to protect the cabinet from dart misses. It’s a beautiful piece of furniture-grade cabinet perfect for bars, game rooms and man caves.

The dart board itself is made of sisal and has the standard tournament size of 18” diameter x 1.5” thickness. Most users are pleased with the sturdiness and quality of this bristle dart board. It’s self-healing and makes minimal bounce outs.

This set comes with a white dry erase scoreboard and six pieces of 17-gram brass steel-tip darts. Most users are highly pleased with this product, but a lot of them have complained about its lack of instructions, whether for gaming, parts or mounting.

Read more reviews and see the latest prices here.

Pros:

  • Comes with 6 free darts and marker for scoring
  • Beautiful and professional-looking cabinets with less soundly doors
  • Perfect for practicing for professional dart leagues

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a manual or instructions for mounting, gaming and parts

3. Best Electronic Dartboard

Arachnid Cricket Pro 900

Arachnid-Cricket-Pro-900

Loaded with 48 game features and automatic scoring capabilities, this talking dart board includes just about anything that you would expect from a high quality electronic dart board. It’s one of the most high-tech dartboards available.

The Arachnid Cricket Pro 900 provides an unbeatable performance and playability. This board plays just like a traditional bristle board, because its NylonTough segments reduces the likelihood of bounce outs. The material is durable and will last for a long time.

Since this is an advanced electronic dart board, you can expect plenty of features. You can play skill games while playing solo, and you can even play a match against other computer players. There’s also an automated heckler that is included in this dart board.

The design of this dart board is vibrant, and it even comes with 6 soft-tip darts. It’s also complete with an AC adapter, game instructions, operating manual and mounting hardware.

Buyers have noted that although it’s pricey, it’s a quality-made piece that is fun to play. The many games and features to choose from makes it worth it.

Read more reviews and see the latest prices here.

Pros:

  • Darts stick to the board easily
  • Has 48 game features and an advanced voice prompt
  • The heckler feature adds funny side comments, but you can turn it off
  • Comes with 6 free darts

Cons:

  • High price compared to other boards
  • Darts included can be disappointing
  • Can be too overwhelming for a beginner wanting to play basic darts

4. Best Electronic Dartboard with Cabinet

Viper Neptune Electronic Dartboard with Cabinet

Viper-Neptune-Electronic-Dartboard-with-Cabinet

If you’re looking for a mid-range electronic dartboard with a pretty cabinet, this one’s worth your money. This dartboard combines modernistic software with a retro aesthetic.

The electronic dartboard is equipped with ultra-thin spiders for reduced bounce outs, and has 57 built-in games with 307 options – you will most likely not get bored with this dart set. There’s a large dart catch ring that offers protection from bad throws. You don’t have to worry about damage to the surface, but it’s not a good dartboard to start learning how to play darts, as the interior of the cabinet may end up getting scuffed.

It also comes with a 6-inch LCD so it would be easy to see the scores and keep up with how the match is progressing. It even comes with stylish color scheme of red, silver and black.

The built-in wood cabinet is durable and looks well-finished. This product also comes with a mounting hardware for the cabinet. Additional features include an external power supply adapter and 6 soft tip darts.

Read more reviews and see the latest prices here.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use controls with a fun-to-push “Play” button
  • Whole package looks impressive
  • LCD scoreboard is easy to see
  • Large range of games and activities
  • Built-in cabinet has durable design

Cons:

  • Lacks programmable handicaps
  • Darts do not stick outside play area; missed throws can damage darts included
  • Lot of bounce-outs

5. Best Coiled Paper Dartboard

Accudart 2-in-1 Starlite Quality-Bound Paper Dartboard

Accudart-2-in-1-Starlite-Quality-Bound-Paper-Dartboard

If you’re looking for a decent paper dartboard, the Accudart 2-in-1 Starlite Quality-Bound Paper Dartboard is for you. It gives the best value for your money and has better playability compared with other paper boards with a similar price.

The best feature of this dartboard is that it has two games in one – a standard dartboard on the front and a baseball dart game on the back. It’s a large and thick board, with a diameter of 19 inches and thickness of 2 inches. This makes the board surprisingly durable for a paper board.

The dart board has a wire round section to make scoring easy, and it comes with a set of 6 quality brass darts. Users liked the board considering the quality for its price.

Read more reviews and see the latest prices here.

Pros:

  • 2-in-1 dartboard
  • Comes with a wire round sections for easy scoring
  • Very durable for a paper board

Cons:

  • Bouncing out is common because of low quality wiring
  • Hard to get a dart to hold and the color chips easily

6. Best Wooden Dartboard

American Style Wood Dartboard

American-Style-Wood-Dartboard

You may find a lot of dartboards with wooden cabinet, but a dartboard made of wood is hard to find. American Style Wood Dartboard is one of the rare finds you can avail online. It’s a dartboard consistent with the American dart game of Baseball played at the ABDA tournaments.

This dartboard is made of endgrain basswood, with wires separating the target areas. The wires are embedded flush with the board to reduce bounce outs. The center of the dart board rotates, and both sides of the board are playable.

Buyers have praised the authenticity of the wood in this board, and a surprisingly reduced bounce outs even though it’s made of wood.

Read more reviews and see the latest prices here.

Pros:

  • Made of high quality endgrain basswood
  • Well-made and authentic
  • Darts stick to the board well

Cons:

  • Lacks the typical colors you usually see in common dart boards
  • Doesn’t come with mounting hardware

7. Best Magnetic Dartboard

Doinkit Darts Magnetic Dart Board

Doinkit-Darts-Magnetic-Dart-Board

For the enjoyment (and safety) of the whole family, this Doinkit Darts Magnetic Dart Board is sure to please. It’s a best-seller when it comes to dart equipment for kids, making it a solid choice.

The board is a colorful, decent board that looks like a regular dart board with markings. It’s close to the standard regulation size, with its 16 inch diameter. It’s only intended for casual and fun plays, not for practicing or playing professional darts. The board is very durable and impossible to break while playing.

The best thing about this board is it comes with a set of 6 darts tipped with high-quality neodymium magnets. The shaft is made of heavy nylon mesh that easily flied through the air with accuracy. However, the darts are quite heavy and has a lot of small parts, so it’s not suitable for children under 6 years old.

Read more reviews and see the latest prices here.

  • Very durable and not likely to break
  • Comes with colorful magnetic darts that makes it easy to see where they landed
  • Has the color and style of standard darts

Cons:

  • Hard to mount the board to the wall
  • Comes with small parts that pose a choking hazard to small children

There is a lot to consider when picking the best dartboard to fit your gaming needs.  Be sure to check out all the different options.