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The game of darts began as a 19th-century English pub game that eventually spread around the world. Today no pub, bar, or game room is complete without a dartboard, an easy way to pass the time between drinks and to engender friendly competition between buddies that has evolved into an international professional sport with varying rules and regulations. For the home dart player, there are multiple options, from standard dartboards that use traditional steel-tipped darts, to electronic models that use soft-tipped darts and keep score for you. There are dart cabinets that come with all the trimmings, and can be folded up out of sight when not in use, and kid-friendly versions that use magnetic darts.
Below, here are the best dartboards.
Best Overall: Viper by GLD Products Viper Hudson Dartboard
A good dartboard offers a number of handy and professional features that most budget options lack. More than anything else, the best dartboard allows you to play the game without the worry of darts bouncing off of the wires or edges. That is why the top pick on this list is where it is: great durability and customization come together in a protected cabinet to offer you an excellent playing experience.
The Viper Hudson Dartboard is an all-in-one dartboard bundle that comes with everything you need to get up and playing. This is a great choice for first-timers and experienced players alike since it is easy to set up and start playing right off the bat. Coming with a dry erase board for score-keeping and different premium versions with better darts, everything is contained within a protective cabinet that folds up for easy carrying.
Best Budget: Viper by GLD Products Viper Razorback Dartboard
When you are looking at budget options for a dartboard, you have to make some sacrifices. It is difficult to get a durable board protected in a cabinet with luxury accents. Instead, you have to prioritize the necessities over the extra perks. In short, you need a dartboard that will self-heal and allow you to use different areas of the board in rotation so you are not causing permanent damage so soon.
The Viper Razorback Dartboard is a basic dartboard that is perfect for beginners or anyone needing an inexpensive replacement board. The sisal bristle is self-healing so you can keep using the board for years before needing a new one. Choose between steel and soft tip darts depending on your playing style. For more longevity, the removable number ring can be rotated to promote self-healing.
Best Electronic Dartboard: Arachnid E-Bristle 3-Piece 1000-LED Electronic Dartboard and Cabinet Set with Darts
While playing darts is not the most complicated task in terms of keeping the score, an electronic dartboard can make life a little easier. In addition to advanced, sometimes automatic scoring features, electronic dartboards also come with extra perks their analog counterparts lack. From practicing drills to fun games and solo play, an electronic dartboard is something to consider if you do not need a pure, traditional playing experience.
Offering the benefits and convenience of most electronic dartboards, the Arachnid Electronic Dartboard also offers a little bit of extra protection normally found on high-end cabinets. The outer cabinet sports two folding doors with room for twelve individual darts. The electronic features of the dartboard include an LED scoring display, solo scoring/gameplay, and 38 individual games for some variation. The whole board is powered by a standard AC wall adapter so you can plug it in and hang it virtually anywhere.
Best for Kids: Marky Sparky Doinkit Dartboard
It is no secret that darts have an inherent risk in the gameplay. When you are flinging sharp tipped projectiles around, the possibility of injury is always there. If you do not want to expose young children to this risk, the best thing is a dartboard specifically designed for safe and fun gameplay. While you will not get the same level of gameplay as the real thing, a kid-friendly board is the perfect way to have some family time fun.
To keep play safe and fun, the Marky Sparky Doinkit Dartboard does away with the traditional soft or steel-tipped darts and uses a magnetic head/board combination instead. As a result, the darts are larger and easier to use without the worry of someone getting hurt. The board is sized accordingly so the rules and gameplay remain the same as the real thing. The darts come in different colors and are flexible so they will not break.
Best Outdoor: RaboSky Roll-up Magnetic Dartboard
Playing darts is usually done inside where the only thing that threatens the quality of the board is the game itself. Outside, however, is a different story. Weather alone can quickly destroy most dartboards if left unattended. Even boards protected with a wooden cabinet may not fair so well if they aren’t protected from moisture and other more invisible weather elements. To play outside, you need a dartboard designed to survive outside.
The RaboSky Roll-up Magnetic Dartboard might not look like your typical dartboard, but it will get the job done if you want to keep something outside in the yard or on the patio regardless of the weather. Using magnetic heads and a roll up magnetic board, the board can withstand the abuse of being outside without the extra bulk of a cabinet. Best of all, the magnetic heads make the gameplay safe for small children as well.
Best for Beginners: Winmau Bristle Dartboard
The game of darts can take years to truly master, but it can be more beginner-friendly with the right board. This type of board makes it easy to learn the basics of the scoring and throwing technique on a surface that does not take professional-level skill to hit. Best of all, most beginner-friendly boards, including this next one, are friendly to the wallet as well.
The Winmau Bristle Dartboard will not make you a star player overnight, but if you are new to the game, it will lower the challenge a bit. With an increased scoring area due to thinner wiring, it is easier to land your darts onto the intended target. The board is extremely durable as well so you can miss without the worry of creating any unintended holes around the edge of the board itself.
Best Sports-Themed: Imperial International NFL Themed Dartboard
Sometimes, it is nice to show a little pride in your favorite sports team any way you can. If you are a lover of both darts and football, this next dartboard is just for you. Offering the same level of quality and gameplay as other high-end options, this board also gives you a chance to display the colors and logo of your favorite sports team from the National Football League.
To proudly display your team spirit, the Imperial International NFL Themed Dartboard will display one of 28 NFL team logos right on the folded front of the cabinet doors and scoreboard. In addition to the team markings, the cabinet contains a fully regulation-size scoreboard and dartboard for standard gameplay. Six metal darts fit within the pine cabinet, remaining safe and organized until the next time you are ready for an exciting game.
What to Look for When Buying a Dartboard
The best dartboards are made from sisal bristleboard, a durable material that is made to last. Some less expensive dartboards are made from materials such as cork. Dart enthusiasts prefer a thicker sisal board, which is more compatible with steel-dipped (rather than soft-tipped) darts. Steel-tipped darts make a satisfying thud when they land in a sisal bristleboard, and they are less likely to bounce out of a board made of sisal. But if you’re playing at home, keep in mind that steel-tipped darts can also damage walls or floors more easily.
The 20 sections of a dartboard are separated by wiring. Thicker wiring or wiring that is stapled can warp and cause your darts to bounce off the board more easily, which is every dart player’s number one pet peeve. Look for staple-free blade wiring that is thinner and allows for more scoring surface area.
Removable Number Ring
One way to keep your dartboard in top condition is to regularly rotate the board. Look for a board with a removable number ring so that wear and tear is equally distributed. This will help keep your dartboard in good working order for years to come.
How big is a dartboard?
A standard size dartboard, known as a clock board for its resemblance to a wall clock, is 18 inches in diameter. It is divided into 20 equally sized numbered segments that resemble slices of a pie, and include single, double, and triple scoring rings. In addition, dartboards have a central bull’s eye with an inner (50-point) and outer (25-point) area.
How heavy is a dartboard?
Dartboards can vary in size, construction, and therefore weight, but a quality standard dartboard usually starts at about 10 pounds. (Dart players are generally more concerned with the weight of darts themselves, which have an effect on performance, and can vary in weight from 16 to 50 grams.) When hanging a dartboard, be sure to secure it firmly to the wall so that it won’t loosen from repeatedly pulling out darts. And keep in mind that dartboards should be hung so that the bullseye is 5 feet 8 inches from the floor.
How do you play darts?
The game of darts is played between two or more players. Each player takes a turn throwing three weighted, feathered darts from a 7 ft 9 ¼ inch throwing distance at the board, which is divided into sections for scoring purposes. Players keep score until a winner is declared, and then it starts all over again.
How do you score darts?
The game of darts has many variations and can be scored in a number of ways. One popular method is where players start with a score of 501 points. Each player takes their turn throwing three darts, and their points are tallied according to where they land on the board, then subtracted from the starting score, until someone gets to 0 points and is declared the winner. You can score a dart game by hand keeping track on a scoreboard, chalkboard, or a piece of paper, or opt for an electronic dartboard with automatic score, or a dart scoring app.