Darts is another great game you can enjoy with friends and family. It also good for mental arithmetic so not only are you having fun, you’re working your brain and improving your math skills – a win – win. And in my pinion no man cave is complete without a dart board in it. But who makes the best dart boards? Well there are several top quality manufacturers and to help you search for the best dartboard for your needs we will provide your with a number of dartboard reviews below.
Our Number 1 Best Dart Board Pick
We will break it down into three broad sections – Bristle dart boards, electronic dart boards and magnetic dart boards. Personally, I prefer bristle dart boards but you can have fun with all of them.
Best Dart Boards – Staple Free Bristle Boards
When choosing a bristle dart board the price you pay will depend on the type of board you choose and in particular, the frame. The budget boards will come with a stapled wire frame and professional / tournament boards will have a staple free frame system. On the budget dart boards the metal frame is held to the board by a series of staples. If the metal frame has no staples there is less chance of the dart hitting the frame / staple which results in bounce outs – the dart bouncing out of the board by hitting the metal. Therefore, professional darts tournaments always use the staple free versions.
Below are our top pick staple free bristle dart boards
The Winmau Blade Bristle Dartboard Series
When it comes to dart board manufacturers, one of the most famous, if not the famous manufacturer is Winmau. They have been making boards since 1945 are used by BDO and many other professional tournaments.
The Winmau Blade Series of Dartboards are perfect for the serious dart player. We are currently on the 5th generation version but the blade 4 or blade 5 boards are truly excellent.
Winmau Blade 4 Bristle Dartboard
This is our number 1 pick when comparing quality and value for money. The Winmau Blade 4 is their best-selling dartboard for a reason. The revolutionary staple free, 60 degree triangle wire frame significantly reduces bounce out. Not only that, the wire frame is galvanized steel so it is ultra strong helping deflect the darts into the board rather than bouncing out. Below are just some of the benefits of owning this dart board
- Wireless galvanized frame so no requirement for staples, reducing bounce outs.
- Increased scoring area due to the thin wireless frame.
- Thin triangle-shaped frame also significantly reduces bounce out compared to round framed boards.
- Top quality Kenyan Sisal providing instant repair when the darts are withdrawn from the board providing longer durability.
- Stand out coloring and white coated anti-glare numbers.
- Removable number ring so you can rotate the number ring prolonging the board life.
Winmau Blade 4 Dual Core Bristle Dartboard
This Dual Core version of the Blade 4 takes the Blade 4 to the next level. It offers everything the Blade 4 has but with a few enhancements to increase the chances of the dart staying in the board and to provide a new wall mounting system The new wall mounting technology provides 3 wheel locator on the back of the board so you can an achieve a sturdy level playing dart board even on an un-even wall.
- All of the above Blade 4 benefits, plus;
- Triple wheel lock technology for even wall mounting. This also fixes the board firmly in place against the wall.
- Doubles, Trebles and Bullseye wire is 50% thinner providing a larger score area.
- Dual layer construction ensuring better dart penetration. This is especially good if you are a ‘soft’ dart thrower.
Winmau Blade 5 Bristle Dartboard & The Blade 5 Dual Core
The Blade 5 series is the latest version of the best-selling Blade series. It takes the great things from the Blade 4 and improves them! There is a new, thinner wiring system that provides increased scoring areas due to their new thinness. The Sector wiring has been reduced by 20% and the radial wiring by 10%, whilst also managing to increase the strength of the wiring
That’s not all, the blade wiring on the 4 was set at 90 degrees. This has been reduced to 60 degrees on the Blade 5, which again decreases dart bounce out. I do wonder how much more they can develop the wiring system – they have really pushed the boundaries with the Blade 4 and Blade 5 models.
- Thinner wiring system, increasing the amount of scoring space by 14% overall
- New bullseye and 25 ring providing increased strength and durability
- New 60 degree angled frame to reduce bounce outs – this was good with the 90 degrees on the Blade 4 so this should be fantastic
- High visibility color system
Winmau Blade Summary
If you are on a budget then you really can’t go far wrong with the Blade 4. It really is one of the best tournament dart boards you can buy if you’re on a limited budget. If you don’t mind paying a little more, then I would go for the Blade 5. I would also go for a dual core option if you are a light thrower of the darts as the dual core helps the darts stay in the board. You will be purchasing a great board, whichever you choose from the 4 above.
The Viper Razorback staple free dart board is a possible alternative to the Blade 4 and comes within a similar price bracket. Like the Blade series it’s a staple free, sisal dartboard which means you have the same advantages when compared to a staple dartboard – more scoring coverage and less bounce outs.
- Galvanized, triangle staple free frame which provides more playing surface and reduces bounce outs.
- High quality sisal material for quick repair when you remove the darts.
- Competition quality board.
- Quick and easy to set-up.
- Can use hard and soft tip darts.
The Alien Competition board is another great staple free dart board that in the same price bracket as the Blade 4 & 5 and the Viper. It’s definitely a quality dartboard with many high standard dart players liking the feel of the board. I have read a number of comments from players who throw the darts hard that they love this board and that the holes heal very quickly when you remove the darts.
- Staple free razor frame to help with bounce outs.
- The white Sisal really stands out.
- Quality sisal that heals quickly.
- World Darts Federation approved.
- Unique ‘Alien’ logo
Best Electronic Soft Tip Dart Board Reviews
If you’re looking for an alternative to the bristle dartboard, an electronic dart board could be the answer. These are also known as soft tip dart boards and the best soft tip dart boards can provide hours of fun. To help you choose the best electronic dart board fopr your requirements, we took the liberty of making a few suggestions, each with its own review, and made sure to include a little something for everyone’s pocket. So, whether you’re in a position to splash out or have to work with a strict budget, you’re in the right place. Below are thre electronic dart board reviews for your consideration.
Arachnid Cricket Pro 800 Electronic Dartboard
Arachnid is noted for being the first company to introduce soft-tip darts, and is still one of the leading brands in electronic board manufacture. When it comes to parts and accessories for this particular type of board, this is the company many players turn to. The Cricket Pro 800 definitely lives up to these standards – it’s an electronic board with the standard 15.5-inch target.
- Scores up to 8 players.
- 39 games (179 variations).
- Extra dart tips, flights and barrels included.
- Comes with an AC adapter.
- 1-year warranty.
- Costs a pretty penny.
The electronic system features 39 games with 179 variations total, including 7 Cricket games. The board sports Micro-Thin spider segment dividers that go a long way to reducing bounce-outs. What makes it unique is the 3-level heckling system that lets you interact with the board in a new way and makes the game a little more fun. Of course, the feature reacts according to your performance, so it can praise you or bust your chops. The system can score up to eight players, though the display shows only four players at a time.
You’ll also get 6 soft-tip darts, as well as extra dart tips, flights and barrels, all fitting quite nicely into the onboard storage. On that same note, you’ll also get the AC power adapter you’ll need to juice up the board. Granted, it’s a bit loud on impact, just like any electronic board, but in a crowd, as darts should be played, you’ll barely notice it.
Viper Eclipse II Electronic Soft Tip Dart Board
- Includes a starter-set of 6 soft-tip darts, plus 24 spare tips.
- 48 games (585 variations) in 5 difficulty levels.
- Nice, convenient slide-out games list.
- All the necessary mounting hardware.
- Comes with an AC power adapter.
- 1-year warranty.
- Mounting hardware could be more solid.
The Viper brand is owned by GLD Products Inc. The company has long been established as a home entertainment and gaming equipment manufacturer, with about three decades of experience under their collective belt. This definitely shows in their Viper Eclipse II Electronic Soft Tip Dartboard, which is, as the name might suggest, an electronic board. More than that, the Eclipse II is a nice midway option between getting a budget-friendly option and splashing out unnecessarily.
It’s still not cheap, but does give a good value for money. What you get is a standard 15.5-inch target area, surrounded by a durable plastic casing that, in turn, features several LED displays, control buttons, as well as a built-in storage system for two sets of darts. Of course, we shouldn’t forget about the ultra-thin spider dividers that do a great job of reducing bounce-outs, nor the sizable missed-dart catch ring that protects the walls from any stray shots. The electronic system scores up to 8 players, though only 4 are shown at a time.
Viper Showdown Electronic Soft Tip Dartboard
- 32 games (590 variations).
- Nice color scheme.
- Comes with 6 soft-tip darts to start you off.
- You get all the mounting hardware you need.
- 1-year warranty.
- Doesn’t include the batteries.
As noted earlier, the Viper brand is a part of the GLD Products family, which also makes mean foosball tables and other assorted whatnots. Based out of Muskego, WI, the company has been one of the lead home game equipment manufacturers for well over 30 years. The aptly named Viper Showdown Electronic Soft Tip Dartboard is definitely as good an expression of their expertise as any.
It’s, obviously, an electronic board, battery-powered, with the standard 15.5-inch face, squared by a thermal resin casing that gives it plenty of durability. Of course, let’s not forget the ultra-thin spider dividers that help it reduce bounce outs, nor the two built-in storage holds that accommodate 2 sets of darts. The electronic system scores up to 8 players, while the crispy LCD display shows one player at a time. The board uses 3 AA batteries, but these are sold separately.
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Dartboard
Dart boards are a great way to enjoy some time with your friends over a few cold ones, or liven up your parties. Alternatively, you just might become hooked on the game, or want to improve your skills to earn the bragging rights next time you go to a bar. Whatever your reasons may be, it’s always a smart move to inform yourself before committing your resources, as it were. Learning about different board types and their respective strong points and shortcomings is a sure way to get your money’s worth. With this in mind, here’s a handy little buying guide, aimed at absolute novices and seasoned veterans alike, so that you don’t go in blind.
What Types of Dart Boards Are There?
Painting with a broad brush, we can divide dart boards into three types, depending on the material that goes into making the dart board. These include bristle, magnetic and electronic dart boards, which we’ll describe in a bit more detail presently.
Hands down, bristle dart boards are the most common type of dart boards out there. The reason behind this is quite simple – they’re pretty much indestructible. In a nutshell, these boards are made of a bristle-like material called sisal fiber (hence the name), which comes from the sisal plant (a type of Agave) Essentially, this material “heals” itself, meaning the holes left by the darts simply close when you take them out. Plus, they’re quite user-friendly, meaning there’s no electronics, no movable parts, nothing to go haywire or break, breaking the game and ruining everyone’s evening. Finally, if this isn’t a reason enough to get one of these, they’re cheap as dirt. You can get the higher-end ones for about the average teen’s weekly allowance, and the lower-end ones are more of an afterthought than an actual buy.
Electronic dart boards are becoming more and more popular by the day. As you can guess, these boards incorporate some sort of circuitry and require electrical power source (battery, wall outlet, it depends on the model). They feature a playing surface that’s covered in thousands of itty-bitty holes that receive the dart. When you manage to put a dart into one of these holes, the result is automatically recorded, added up and displayed on an LCD screen. Due to the fairly sensitive design, the darts for these types of boards need to be soft-tip, though recently there’s been an increase in number of electronic boards that can accommodate steel-tip darts. They’re great for when there’s a crowd wanting to play (especially with drinks involved), since you don’t have to keep score yourself.
Magnetic boards are pretty much what it says on the tin – magnetic. Well, it’s actually the darts that are magnetic, or, to be more specific, their tips. The idea is that the darts will stick to the board’s surface, which is ferrous. This works in theory, but the reality is less than ideal. Of course, it should go without saying that these boards are great toys, but they’re in no way for anyone even half-serious about playing the game competitively.
Which Size to Go For?
Before moving on, we’ll need to clarify two notions here – the overall dimensions and the size of the target area. The former is pretty much self-explanatory, and the only thing you need to take into consideration when choosing this is how much space you have available. Conversely, the target area (also variously called the face area or the target face) will measure anywhere from 13 to 18 inches, though the regulation size dart board will measure 17.75 inches in diameter sharp.
Does the Skill Level Play Any Part?
Choosing the right dartboard for your home will also (surprise, surprise) depend on your skill level. That said, there are three levels (again, painting with a broad brush) – beginner, intermediate and advance. Beginners should definitely go for a bristle board, as it’s not only sturdier, but also forces you to keep track of your score mentally. It will be difficult in the beginning, but should pay off in the long run. Immediate players should branch out and try out electronic boards – they are louder, but much safer and don’t suffer from human errors in calculation. Pros, or advanced players, should definitely keep both types in their house, for versatility.
Kids vs. Adults
The age range could correlate to the skill level, and in most cases it will, but don’t ever let your guard down. All jokes aside, there a few things to keep in mind – if you’re getting one of these for young kids, definitely go for a magnetic board (they’re the safest). For school-age kids, you can go either for electronic or bristle, but here’s the thing – non-electronic boards will force them add up their score mentally, training their memory and mental abilities. On the flip side, electronic boards play with soft-tip darts, so they are that much safer (both or kids and walls).
How to Determine the Budget?
The cheapest you can go is a cork dartboard, but that’s barely worth the money spent given how little playtime you’ll get out of it. Alternatively, you can go for a coiled paper board, but that’s barely any better. Where you want to start is bristle boards, which are the best option no matter the use. Magnetic dartboards are also cheap as dirt, but just toys. Out of the more serious choices – bristle and electronic, the higher-end bristle boards cost as much as the medium-range electronic boards, or cheaper.
How to Take Care of Your Dartboard
There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind if you want your dartboard to last as long as possible – the first thing is not to cheap out when buying it, irrespective of the type. Short of that, here are a few tips on how to take care of your bristle dartboard:
- Remember to turn the board regularly; removing the metal wiring and rotating the board a few segments should go a long way to spreading the wear equally; itwon’t save the bullseye if you insist on playing Cricket, though.
- Never soak the board; this only worked on wooden boards, which are more of collectibles these days than anything; sisal boards will only swell and just fall apart.
- Keep your darts sharp; blunt, hooked, ringed or knurled darts can cause rapid wear to your board, so it’s important to keep them sharp; the best way to do this is get a specialized sharpener, as well as change the dart points as soon as they become un-salvageable.
- The back screw will bear the board’s weight, no questions asked, but if you wish to affix any additional weight, this will shorten its life; bottom line, don’t hang anything on the board.
How to Protect Your Walls
You will always get a stray dart or two when playing darts and the last thing you want to have a wall peppered with dart holes. Therefore, it makes sense to purchase a dart board cabinet, surround or dart stopper. This will protect your walls and your floors and enhance the look of any games room.
The above dartboard reviews are on some of the best dart boards available and any one of them will provide you with hours of dart fun.