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Darts are a game that walk the fine line between casual and competitive. Other than the darts and the board, there’s no special equipment or prior skill needed to get started, the rules and scoring are easy to learn, and it’s one of the few sports that can be done while holding a beer in one hand.
While the majority of people will enjoy the game as a fun time with friends, the option to get really good if you choose to is always there, with a whole world of tournaments and televised competitions to immerse yourself in. You can practice privately in your own house as much or as little as you want, and perfect your hand-eye coordination until it’s as sharp as the steel tipped darts themselves.
What You Need to Know About The Best Dart Boards
When starting out, one of the most infuriating things that a beginner will encounter are darts that are a direct hit to the board…and then fall out. A few different factors can affect this: First off, what the board is made out of. Historically, in the late 1800s, older dartboards were made of elm or softwood, which used to require daily soakings to prevent splitting and splintering. Today, most modern dartboards are made of “bristle board,” a material made up of sisal fibers, commonly used in everything from thread, twines and rope, or in pulp form to make paper products. Hemp is another often used material, and both are chosen for their ability to hold a thrown dart exactly where it lands, and “fix” itself back to normal after a dart does its damage.
Bristle boards are more suitable, with steel-tipped darts, which have weighty bodies that are traditionally made from brass or tungsten. But other options are available too, depending on what you’re looking for. Electronic boards offer easy scorekeeping and a more interactive experience, and some even work with apps that let you play (and see, and chat) with anyone else around the world using the same system. The fun is still there, but the feel is different than a real board.
Same goes for magnetic darts. A huge selling point with magnets is that the risk of getting hurt is gone, making it great for kids and small, crowded spaces where one miss could cause casualties (or damage to the wall and furniture).
Whether you’re getting it for your dorm, office, or house, there are multiple dart board types to keep the game fun, safe, and injury-free.
1. Viper Shot King Regulation Dart Board Set
This official tournament-sized board features a super-thin radial spider wire, which leaves you more room to hit your target, but also gives a greater chance of going in if your dart hits the metal. The bullseye is staple-free, which helps prevent annoying bounce-outs (and premature celebrations).
Vibrant colors make your targets easily visible from a distance, and the number ring is removable too, allowing you to rotate it every so often and prolong the product’s lifespan. Along with regular steel-tipped darts, this board can also be used with soft-tip darts too, making it a great option for all ages.
The outer compression band bounds the sisal fibers together tightly, making sure your darts stick and your board lasts.
PROS: Comes with two sets of three, steel-tipped darts, mounting hardware, and three rubber “feet” for stabilizing it against the wall.
CONS: The flights on the darts can by flimsy and fall off in mid-air. Also the board doesn’t heal up as well as others, leaving noticeable cracks and marks for longer.
2. Winmau Blade 5 Bristle Dartboard
In the world of darts, Winmau is well-known for having some of the best boards around for more than 20 years running.
This one’s no different. With an endorsement from the British Darts Organization, this non-electronic, 10.5-pound bristle board is created with carbon diffusion technology for an ultra-hard surface.
The thin carbon wiring increases the sizes of the scoring areas by 14%, giving you a greater chance to hit your target – 9mm of extra scoring area in the doubles, and 6mm extra scoring area in the trebles. The increased strength of the steel and sharper angle of the wiring means your dart is more likely to stick in than bounce out. The board also heals itself up after darts are removed too, closing up the holes and expanding the lifespan of the playing area.
Setup is super easy with their Triple-Wheel Rota-Lock system. Level it, lock it, and let the darts fly.
PROS: Also works with soft-tip darts instead of steel-tipped ones, which is great for kids or beginners.
CONS: Requires some care and maintenance to keep it in top shape over time. Don’t rip your darts out, as it can leave permanent cracks in the board.
3. STREET WALK Magnetic Dart Board
This board features two sides – one for a traditional game of darts, and the other a simpler game to improve aim or practice throwing.
The set comes with 12 darts, more than most boards, and all feature neodymium magnetic ends with no sharp tips. They still retain a good weight to them though, fly straight when thrown, and don’t slide down the board after they hit.
There’s no installation required either – hang it up and it’s instantly ready for your next hangout.
PROS: Board has a nice weight to it along with cool, colorful, clear graphics. Darts can easily be thrown from 7-10 feet away without losing speed or crashing to the ground.
CONS: The magnets are strong, which is a good thing overall, but also means they can be noisy when they hit and leave little marks on the surface behind the board. People living in small apartments with thin walls should be aware before buying.
4. Doinkit Kid-Safe Indoor Magnetic Dart Board
The whole point is that it’s pointless. This magnetic dartboard is fun and safe, so you can concentrate on the game without worrying about accidentally hitting a bystander (or a wall, or pets).
The board looks just like a regular dartboard, and is about the same size as a normal one, but just a bit smaller at 16 inches in diameter. The targets and scoring areas are all clearly marked too, with traditional dartboard colors all around.
The six neodymium magnet-tipped darts are extremely durable, and have a good weight to them – light, but heavy enough to arc and hit your target. They fly straight when thrown, and easily stick to the board, without losing their magnetic strength over time (and never need replacing either).
Best of all, they’re risk-free – these are an excellent choice for children, families, dorms, or crowded house parties.
PROS: Safety is king here, and this is suitable for all ages (but not babies – as it contains small magnets and plastic parts).
CONS: While it’s still fun to play, this really isn’t a replacement or substitute for a regular dartboard at all. Experienced dart players will be disappointed.