The UK is one of the leading locations in the world for professional dart players, and it's no surprise as we've been playing the game for centuries in our pubs, clubs and homes. If you're looking to try your hand at one of the country's most popular games, you're going to need the right equipment. Luckily, home dart sets are widely available.
We've put together this guide with everything you need to know about traditional steel point and soft tip electronic boards, including wiring, mounting, stands, cabinets and much more. With options for beginners, pros, kids and adults, we've even ranked the top 10 dart boards available on Amazon, Argos, Decathlon and John Lewis. So all you'll need to do is concentrate on hitting the bullseye!
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Darts has been a well-loved game for centuries, and as a result, there are many variations of the dartboard available. However, the two main styles you will need to consider are steel point and electronic.
Steel point dartboards are the traditional style we all know and love. They're made from compressed sisal, which is a regenerative material. This means that when you throw a dart at the board it will stick, but once removed, the hole will close back up. The sisal is mounted onto a backing board and secured with a wire frame, giving traditional boards their distinctive look.
Electronic boards are much more modern. They are designed with multiple small holes across the entire board's surface for the darts to land in. Because of this, they're sometimes known as soft tip dartboards, with blunt darts that are much safer for games with children. This style also features automatic score counting on an LCD screen, so it will need to be powered by mains or battery to be fully operational.
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The most important element in a game of darts is accuracy. Just a few centimetres can be the difference between a win and a loss, and with the most high-value landing spots taking up just a tiny proportion of the board, it's not uncommon that you miss a vital shot. Even worse, sometimes the dart will hit the dividers between spaces and bounce out entirely!
That's why it's important to pay attention to the wiring on a board to ensure you can get the best game out of it. Most boards have triangle and round wiring, but more modern boards may come equipped with bladed wiring which is up to 50% thinner than traditional styles. Thinner wiring means a larger surface area for your darts to land, reducing the chance of bounce outs and enhancing your overall game.
If you do opt for triangle or round wiring, you can find staple-free boards. Staples secure the wiring to the board's surface and can take up a lot of space in high-scoring areas. Staple-free options are secured with other adhesives to limit this effect. Just keep in mind that boards marketed as 'staple-free bullseye' will often include staples elsewhere.
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This feature is easily overlooked by new players, but is vital if you want to get the most out of your purchase. In a game of darts, there are higher scoring spots on the board that you will commonly aim for. These spots will become more damaged as you play, and although sisal is regenerative when punctured, it needs time to return to its original state.
This is where rotating your board comes in! Rotating your board every so often prevents uneven wear and gives the surface chance to properly regenerate. This job is made easier if you choose a board with a removable number ring, as you'll be able to detach the scores from the board, rotate it, and return it to the wall with all the numbers still in the correct place.
Your overall experience will likely be improved by included mounting and playing accessories. For example, you should consider where you intend to play and how you want to store your board when not in use. Some boards have freestanding mounts which are like tall tripods that can be easily folded away. However, if you play more often or like to keep your board on display, you might prefer a wall mounting cabinet.
Some boards also come with wall protectors so you won't have to plaster the walls after every misjudged shot! Plus, it's handy to keep an eye out for other key accessories such as scoreboards, chalk, and of course, darts. If you're an absolute beginner, seek out an all in one set.
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Blade 6 Championship Dartboard and Darts Set
Get Everything You Need for a Professional Setup at Home
Masters Bristle Dartboard
Industry Leading Brand at an Affordable Price
MK 2 ELECTRIC DARTBOARD
Safe and Fun Electronic Board With 25 Games That Also Counts Scores
Striker Dartboard with Gorilla Arrow Pro Dart Board Stand
Set Up Wherever You Like With This Freestanding Mounted Board
Darts Arc Dartboard
Wall Mounted Cabinet With Specialised Lighting Bar for Improved Visibility
Blade 6 Xtreme Dartboard Set
Blade Wired Board With Wall Protector to Minimise Bounce Outs
STEEL TIP DARTBOARD T 520
Eco Friendly Dart Board Made From 95% Rice Straw and 5% Steel
Striker Home Darts Centre
Traditional Wood Finish Wall Cabinet and Board That Pays Homage to Classic Setups
Home Double Sided Dartboard Set
Excellent Budget Board and Accessories Bundle
A Travel-Friendly Alternative to Stay Entertained on the Road
This black ash veneer cabinet from Winmau is the perfect first time buy for anyone who's keen to experience everything darts has to offer. You'll get the largest possible surface area with the staple-free bladed wiring, so you won't have to worry about bounce outs and inaccurate scores.
The score ring easily detaches for rotation, meaning this board will last much longer than many alternatives. Plus, you won't have to bother with any additional purchases, as the darts, cabinet, scoreboard, chalk and duster all come included! What more could you ask for?
Another option from Winmau, this time at a bargain price. This may be the cheapest dartboard on our list, but don't be fooled by the low cost, it's just as good as the rest of their boards!
The staple-free bullseye will make it easy to hit your target, and the removable ring adds years to the board's life. If you want a traditional board that cuts back on the bells and whistles, look no further than the Winmau Masters.
This electronic board is ideal if you're hoping to play with children, as the soft tip darts will keep your family and your home safe. With 25 games and 176 variations, the fun will never run out!
The LCD display will keep track of scores for up to 8 players at a time, and you can even have a one-player game against the computer when you're home alone. Plus, you won't have to worry about board rotation or obstructive wiring with this style of board.
If you only want to break out the board for special occasions, you might want to opt for a freestanding mount. This darts board from Unicorn is a portable options that's easy to fold down and store away when not in use.
The tilt bracket will allow you to adjust the board to the perfect position for any player. Best of all, the large surrounding backboard adds an extra layer of protection in case any darts go rogue.
This cabinet set from Target improves visibility thanks to the Arc light design. This frames the top of the board and shines down to make spying your target even easier - a bullseye never felt so achievable!
The board also comes with two sets of darts and a sleek black cabinet for easy and stylish wall mounting. Don't worry about losing track either, you can keep score using the integrated scoreboard on the insides of the cabinet doors.
We've already sung the praises of the Winmau Blade 6 in our number one spot, so the inclusion of this variation is a testament to how great this board design is. You'll get all the same benefits of bladed wiring and a removable ring, but this time with a striking black and yellow wall protector rather than a cabinet.
The only reason this board didn't make it further up the list is that you can get more for your money with the cabinet set at an even cheaper price. If you prefer the style of an exposed board, however, this will look great mounted on your wall!
This eco-friendly board is constructed of agricultural byproducts, helping to minimise the potential environmental impact of your purchase. Made from 95% rice straw and 5% steel, Canaveral really have gone back to basics.
The board is advertised as durable and long-lasting, but because it lacks the regenerative properties of sisal, we're not sure how accurate that is. If eco-friendly shopping is close to your heart, however, this is a great alternative to a standard board.
This cabinet set is one of the more style-conscious on our list, with a light wood finish and interior wipe clean scoreboards. This would be ideal if you're looking for a lighter cabinet to fit into your current home decor. It has a classic feel that pays homage to the pub boards we all know and love.
The set comes with everything you need to get started for a reasonable price. That said, we were unable to bump it further up the list as we felt there were other cabinet sets on the market with much more to offer.
This is the absolute cheapest cabinet set on our list. Ideal for casual players who want an all-in-one first buy, it comes with all the necessary accessories, just like the higher-end boards!
Unfortunately, the board doesn't include removable numbers, so will be somewhat prone to heavy wear and tear in parts. Plus, it's made of paper coil rather than regenerative sisal, which is less sturdy. Still, if you just want a game every so often, you can save plenty with this low-price cabinet.
This is a slightly different dart board, but as it's so convenient and lightweight, we had to include it in our list! The board rolls up into an attached bag that you can easily travel with. When you're ready to play, simply hang it up with the attached hanging strip and let the game begin!
If you're looking for a serious professional board, this won't be the one for you. But, if you want a fun game for friends and family to play just about anywhere, it's sure to be a hit.
No. 1：Winmau｜Blade 6 Championship Dartboard and Darts Set
No. 2：Winmau｜Masters Bristle Dartboard
No. 3：Unicorn ｜MK 2 ELECTRIC DARTBOARD
No. 4：Unicorn｜Striker Dartboard with Gorilla Arrow Pro Dart Board Stand
No. 5：Target｜Darts Arc Dartboard
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