Dart boards are a huge crowd-pleaser. Just about anyone can quickly pick the game up and have a good time. Although simple, it takes years to master, making the game a challenge for casual players and pros alike.
A staple at bars, dart boards are also a great addition to just about any home. However, finding the right board can be tricky. There are quite a few brands out there, many of which are cheap knock offs of more established companies.
To make your search easier, we’ll guide you through some of the best brands out there, as well as show you what features to look for when choosing a board. Whether you’re a casual player looking for late-night entertainment or a pro who needs a board for tournaments, we’ve got you covered.
Best Dart Boards
1. Winmau Blade 5 Dual Core Bristle Dartboard
If you’re looking for a bristle board, then the Winmau Blade 5 is one of the best options you’ll find. It’s an all-around dart board that can be used by just about anyone, from casual players to pros.
The board features a dual-core system that keeps darts in place when you throw and reduces wear over time. It also has some of the thinnest wiring around scoring zones of any board, which helps prevent darts from deflecting off the board.
One of the downsides of using bristle boards is that the dart will occasionally bounce off the surface. Not so with the Winmau. It has one of the highest bristle densities of any board, meaning that it hugs the darts and keeps them in place when you throw.
The only real knock against the board is its price. You’ll be paying a bit more than you would for other bristle boards, and it costs more than most wooden boards as well. But if you plan on using your board for years, the Winmau is more than worth the asking price.
- Sturdy, durable build that lasts years
- Classic look and feel
- Darts rarely bounce
- A bit expensive
2. DMI Sports Deluxe Dart Board
This board is one of the most popular choices for expert players, featuring a smooth, dense outer layer that holds on to just about every dart.
The DMI has a dense bristle surface, and darts rarely hit dead zones. The bullseye is staple-free, which lowers the number of bounces. The other scoring zones do have staples, but they are thin and deep-set, rarely interfering with play.
The board has a classic look, with thin wiring that doesn’t get in the way. The board holds up too, so you should get years of use without any noticeable wear on the surface.
There are chalkboards on the inside of the cabinet doors, allowing you to keep score as you play. The board comes with 6 darts, an eraser, and chalk.
It’s hard to find fault with the board itself. Where the DMI comes up short is with the cabinet. Although passable, the build quality leaves a lot to be desired, chipping and denting easily.
If you’re looking for a standout board with a decent cabinet, the DMI will more than serve your needs. Although the extra features don’t stand out, it’s more than worth the modest asking price for the board alone.
- Standout bristle board
- Durable surface
- Thin wiring reduces bounces
- Cabinet not very well built
3. TG Champion Tournament Bristle Dart Board
The TG Champion is a go-to dart board used by everyone from late-night bar crawlers to pros. It’s made out of dense, flexible bristles that grip onto darts, and it features a classic old school look that stands out no matter the environment.
The board has thousands of sisal bristles with little space in between, ensuring that darts don’t rebound when you throw. You can use both steel and soft tip darts with the TG Champion, so it’s a fairly versatile board. Both types of darts stick well, although you’ll likely get fewer bounces with steel tips.
The board has the classic look and feel you’d expect from a tournament design. Although it has great style, the board’s colors tend to fade with repeated use, so try to keep it out of direct sunlight.
Is the TG Champion the best dart board out there? No, but it’s not far off, and you’ll pay a fraction of the price of high-end bristle boards.
- Clean, classic style
- Durable bristle surface
- Colors fade
4. Doinkit Darts Magnetic Dart Board
This isn’t a board that will win over pros. But if you’re a casual player who wants a board to throw up in the living room, it’s one of the best choices out there.
The Doinkit isn’t quite as stylish as more classic boards, such as the Viper Shot King or Winmau Blade 5. But it’ll still look good on your wall, with clean, bright reds and greens.
The board itself has great build quality, with a tough outer surface that rarely dents, even with hard throws. It should last you years of use without any maintenance. However, the darts aren’t quite as well built, so you may have to replace them after a few years of use.
The Doinkit is billed as a board that is perfect for children. Although certainly safer than boards requiring steel tip darts, you should still exercise some caution when throwing. The magnetic darts are heavy, so they can do plenty of damage to your walls, TVs, and eyes.
These caveats aside, the Doinkit is as good as they get when it comes to magnetic boards.
- Solid build quality
- Strong magnets keep darts in place
- Won’t put holes in your walls
- Darts a bit heavy
5. Arachnid Cricket Pro 800 Electronic Dart Board
Arachnid dart boards often come out on top in rankings of the best electronic dart boards. Although it does have its flaws, this Arachnid more than lives up to its reputation, combining great build quality and a low bounce surface with a wide range of built in game modes.
Electronic dart boards often have issues sticking darts, as they land on the flat surfaces between the small holes. Not so with the Arachnid. The surface is dotted with thousands of holes, and the flexible nylon material keeps darts from bouncing off the board.
One of the main reasons to choose an electronic board is the built-in game modes, and you’ll find a huge variety of them with the Arachnid. All told, you can choose from 39 modes, as well as 179 variations. It comes with an LED screen that shows you the score and lets you switch between modes.
The Arachnid isn’t quite as tough as bristle or wooden boards, so it won’t last as long. However, this is to be expected from an electronic board. When compared to other boards in the same class, the Arachnid more than holds its own when it comes to durability.
- Huge variety of game modes
- Darts stick better than just about any electronic board
- Unique style
- Darts included with board a bit flimsy
6. Hathaway Counterpoint Wood Dart Board and Cabinet
If you’re looking for a wood board that comes with a cabinet, the Hathaway is one of your best options. It’s an affordable board that will look great in just about any room, and it will also help protect your walls.
When it comes to build quality, the Hathaway gives you a reliable, sturdy wood surface that should last through years of matches. The wood heals well, so you should have few issues with large holes in the surface.
The board holds onto darts, preventing bounces or throws that fall off. The wiring surrounding the target zones is thin enough that it shouldn’t interfere with your throws.
The main benefit of the Hathaway is the cabinet, which gives the board an elegant look. A dark cherry finish means it should go well with most furniture. With two scoreboards placed on the inside doors, you can keep track of your matches as you play.
The doors can also stop a sideways throw from finding its way into your wall. It won’t give you total protection, but it’s a lot more than what you’ll get from most boards.
- Handsome wood finish
- Board has great build quality
- Classic look and feel
- A bit bulky
- Cabinet not as durable as board
7. Viper Shot King Dart Board
The Shot King is another popular bristle board that combines style, durability, and a great playing surface. Although it doesn’t stand out much from other boards in the same price range, it’s still a great option for both casual and experienced players.
The board has a classic look, with bright reds and greens that make it easy to distinguish target areas. The colors stay bright with repeated use, so the board won’t lose its character with time.
With a staple-free bullseye, you won’t have to worry about throws bouncing off the center of the board. However, the wiring around the other score zones is a bit thicker than on many other bristle boards, leading to more darts rebounding off the surface.
As to the surface itself, you’ll get a dense, smooth outer layer that does a great job of holding darts. It has a high bristle count, so there are few dead zones, with darts easily sticking to the target face. When you pull darts out, the holes heal well, keeping the surface playable with repeated use.
The Shot King is an excellent all-around board, whether for casual play or tournament settings. The main downside is that it does little to stand out in any one area. You can find many of the key features of the Shot King in other boards that cost less.
- Cool, classic style
- High bristle density
- No staple bullseye
- Thick wiring
- A bit expensive
8. Viper 797 Electronic Soft-Tip Dart Board
The Viper 797 is another great option for those who want an electric board. It doesn’t pack in quite as many features as high-end boards, and it’s not as durable. But it costs a fraction of what you’ll pay for other electronic boards.
The surface of the Viper 797 is excellent, with smooth, soft nylon that easily sticks darts. The score zone dividers are thin, preventing darts from bouncing off. It has good hole density, reducing the number of missed shots due to bounces.
The board comes preloaded with 31 game modes and 171 variations, as well as an LED screen that tracks the score and allows you to navigate between modes. Although this variety is great when you want a bit of variety, there are occasional issues with some of the modes, and scoring is not always accurate.
The Viper is one of the best electronic boards out there, giving you a nice combination of performance, flexibility, and durability. It doesn’t beat the Arachnid when it comes to quality, but at half the price, it doesn’t need to.
- Good surface quality
- Variety of game modes
- Not the most durable
- Issues with scoring
9. Nodor Supawires 2 Bristle Dart Board
Nodor is known for making some of the best bristle dart boards out there. The Supawires 2 lives up to the company’s reputation, delivering an all-around excellent board with great performance and durability.
The board has great sisal bristle density, keeping darts from rebounding. Holes close quickly after shots, keeping the board playable after thousands of matches.
It has bright green and red coloring that makes the target zones stand out. The colored area lines up perfectly with the wiring system, so one zone doesn’t bleed into the other. The colors stay bright with repeated use, although they will begin to fade if you keep the board in a bright area.
The main downside of the Nodor is that it has fairly thick wiring running along the target areas. There are also staples, which means that there’s more metal on the surface. Although not a significant issue, this can increase the number of shots that bounce out
If you need a board that is just as good for pros as it is for casual use, the Nodor is an excellent option. It’s a quality board-stylish yet affordable-, and it will give you years of use without wearing down.
- Excellent bristle density
- Darts rarely bounce
- Stylish build
- Thick wiring
10. Better Line Magnetic Dart Set
Magnetic dart boards aren’t always the most stylish choice. Although the Better Line isn’t going to impress anyone with its looks, don’t get too caught up with appearances. It’s a reliable, well-designed board that’s perfect for casual use.
This board is about as light as they come, making it easy to mount quickly just about anywhere. Whether throwing a BBQ out back or going on a camping trip, you can get set up in minutes.
Although light, the Better Line is still well built, with a strong magnetic surface that easily grips onto darts. The darts themselves won’t be winning any awards, but they are light in your hand and balanced, and they rarely bounce out.
The downside of its portability is that it’s a bit smaller than a regulation dart board. Although that likely won’t bother most casual players, it’s not a board that you’ll want to use for tournaments.
Who’s the Better Line for? It’s targeted at casual players who want a board that’s easy to set up and use anywhere. Since the darts are light, it’s also great for kids, as they won’t poke their- or your- eye out.
- Compact and portable
- High-quality build
- Strong magnets keep darts attached
- A bit small
Dart Board Buying Guide
Now that we’ve highlighted some of the best boards out there, it’s time to dive into the details. There’s no one board that will be best for everyone, so you’ll need to think about how you intend to use yours before deciding. Let’s get started.
Factors to Consider When Buying A Dart Board
Dart boards may simple fairly simple, and for the most part, they are. But there are a lot of poor-quality boards out there. If you’re not careful you can end up wasting a lot of money on a flimsy board. Here are some things to keep in mind as you search.
Dart boards come in a wide variety of sizes, allowing you to choose one that fits your space. Although this flexibility can be useful, make sure you check the exact dimensions before buying.
Most dart boards will have a diameter of around 17 to 18 inches. However, you can find a number of smaller electronic and magnetic boards that can be used in smaller rooms.
Dart boards come with a wide variety of surfaces, ranging from natural wood to nylon. These surfaces all have their upsides and downsides, so you’ll need to consider how you intend to use your board.
If you want to play serious matches, then you should choose a board that can handle steel tip darts. You’ll be best off using a bristle or a wooden board, although cork boards will also work.
For those who are more interested in casual use, then a board that has flat darts or soft tips may be best. They’ll minimize damage to your walls, as well as prevent injuries. Bristle boards work well for soft tips, or you can choose an electronic board.
If you’re getting a bristle or electronic board, try to find out the density of the surface. This refers to the number of bristles or holes on the board. The more bristles or holes, the easier it is for darts to stick.
There are a lot of flimsy, cheap dart boards out there, so make sure you look into build quality before buying. In general, wooden boards tend to be the most durable, although you’ll find plenty of tough bristle, electronic, and magnetic boards.
Unless you’re buying the board in the store, you won’t be able to see the build quality firsthand. The best way to learn more is to read user reviews and see if there have been any issues. You can also consult the reviews of some of our favorite boards (see above) to learn which brands are most reliable.
Boards will vary in terms of addons, so check what comes with the package. Often, you’ll get a few darts thrown in, although the quality of the darts often leaves much to be desired.
Some boards come with a full cabinet set up, which allows you to easily mount your board and keep it out of sight when you’re not using it. Just be careful when buying a cabinet dart board set, as many of them are poorly built.
Main Types of Dart Boards
When searching for a board, you’ll come across a few different types. Although many people prefer one type over another, they all have their uses. Here are the main types you should keep an eye out for.
Bristle Dart Boards
The modern standard. These boards are designed with thousands of small bristles covering the surface. Although used widely by casual players, bristle dart boards are also quite popular for tournaments.
The boards are built with thousands of tiny bristles that coat the outer surface. When you throw a dart, it sinks into the space between the bristles, holding it in place. Once the dart is removed, the hole fills back in.
The main benefit of using bristle dart boards is that they’re low maintenance. You won’t have to worry about keeping the board moist, and the surface won’t crack or flake with repeated use.
Bristle boards can be used by just about anyone, from beginners all the way up to the pros. They are one of the more affordable boards as well, making them a great entry-level option.
Wooden Dart Boards
The classic dart board. Wooden boards were the most commonly used type before the invention of modern electronic and bristle boards.
The main benefit of using a wooden board is style. They have the classic look and feel that you expect from a board in a bar.
Wooden boards are also quite durable, lasting through years of repeated use. You’ve probably seen an old wooden board in a bar before, still holding up after thousands of games.
However, there are a few drawbacks to using wooden boards. They require far more maintenance than other types of boards, as you have to oil the surface to prevent it from cracking.
Many wooden boards also come with a noticeable scent. Some people love the smell, and it won’t bother you as much if the board is kept outside or used in a bar. But if you keep the board in your living room, it could take some time to adjust to the potent smell.
There are plenty of affordable wooden boards out there, although they won’t be much cheaper than bristle boards.
Electronic boards have begun to replace many of the wooden and bristle boards in sports bars. They are the most convenient type of board, as they automatically score your game and require no maintenance.
They work by using small holes that detect the dart and give you the right number of points based on where you placed your shot. Although this makes it easier to keep score, the darts don’t always stick when you shoot, making electronic boards less popular for more experienced players.
Electronic boards tend to be the most expensive type, often costing twice what you’d pay for a bristle board. They also use soft darts that have to be specially bought for each board.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more money and want a board that’s easy to use for casual games, electronic boards are a great option. However, experienced players will likely prefer a more traditional wooden or bristle board.
These boards used flat-tipped darts that stick to a magnetic surface. Although not popular with experienced players, they are one of the best boards for children, as there is no risk of injuries from sharp objects.
The designs are simple. The surface of the board is coated in a magnetic layer, which then attaches to flat tip darts.
Magnetic boards vary widely in size, so you can easily find one that fits your home. Durability will depend on the brand you choose, but the board itself should last for years and will require little maintenance.
Cork Dart Boards
These boards have an outer surface that is lined with cork, making them a good choice for those who want a board with a natural feel. You can use regular darts, and the holes will slowly close after you play, so the board should last for years.
Cork dart boards aren’t quite as common as bristle types, so you may have to look a bit harder to find a good one. Although they certainly can be used by experienced players, cork boards are not often used by pros.
Paper Dart Boards
If you need something cheap and simple, look no further than paper dart boards. They are as affordable as dart boards get, although you won’t be getting years of use out of them. Although rarely used by serious players, paper dart boards are more than good enough for casual games.
Since the surface is made out of paper, holes will not close after you play. That means that paper boards tend to wear out pretty quickly, and the surface will be unplayable after a certain number of games.
The benefit of paper boards is that they aren’t expensive, and you can buy multiple at once, switching them out when one becomes unplayable. They’re a great option for when you’re playing around outside or want to play a few rounds just for fun. However, if you’re a serious player, you should steer clear and choose a more durable board.
Which Type of Board Is Right for You?
With so many different types of boards, it may be difficult to decide which is right for you. To make things a bit easier, we’ll discuss the best boards for a variety of different uses.
Most Versatile Board
If you want a board that is great for just about any use, then you should opt for a bristle board. Used by casual players and all the way up to top professionals, they offer many of the benefits of wooden boards without the maintenance.
Bristle boards also let you use a variety of different dart types. You can use soft tips or steel tips, so you won’t have to worry about having the right type of darts when you want to play.
Furthermore, bristle boards are by far the easiest type to find, with most top brands producing one.
Best Board for Kids
If you’re looking for a board that you can throw up on the wall in a playroom, consider a magnetic one. They’re safe, affordable, and they won’t destroy your house. They won’t win over experienced players, but they’re great for casual use.
Most Affordable Board
When it comes to affordability, you can’t beat paper dart boards. They’re as cheap as it gets with dart boards, making them great for camping trips or cookouts. Once you’re done with the board, you can toss it and use another one when needed.
You can often find packs of paper boards, giving you multiple for a fraction of the price you’d have to pay for a bristle or wooden board.
Best Traditional Board
If you want an old school look and feel, you should go with a wooden board. Although they do require a bit of maintenance, wood boards are quite durable, giving you years of use without any major wear. They also make a satisfying sound whenever you throw, something that you won’t get with an electronic or magnetic board.
Setting Up Your Dart Board
Once you’ve chosen the right board, it’s time to get it set up. Since everyone’s home is different, you may have to get a bit creative with your setup. These are just general instructions, so feel free to tinker with them as needed.
Before you order a board, make sure to get the exact dimensions. Many people will buy a board, only to later realize that they do not have enough room. Also, take measurements of the wall where you plan to hang the board.
When it comes to mounting the board, the best option will depend on the particular board and setup. Many boards will come with wires across the back, allowing you to hang them from a screw or nail in the wall.
If you’re using steel tip darts, make sure that the wall is properly covered. Many boards will come with doors that give you some amount of protection. However, an errant dart will often find its way into the wall.
Many people ask how far back they should stand when throwing darts. Pros will throw at 93.25 inches with steel tip darts, and 96 inches with soft tip darts.
Don’t worry if you don’t have room for these exact distances. If you are new to darts, you might want to start a bit closer, slowly working your way back as you get used to throwing. You can set up your board at a longer distance if preferred, but just make sure that you give yourself plenty of clearance on the sides.
The recommended height is 5 feet 8 inches, although you can vary this as needed. Again, don’t worry too much about getting the exact number right. Anything around the regulation height will do just fine, especially for casual use.
Maintaining Dart Boards
Maintenance will vary depending on the type of board you have. Most dart boards require little work to keep them in shape, although they do benefit from an occasional cleaning. If you have a wooden board, however, you’ll need to do a bit more to take care of your board.
With bristle boards, the holes will close on their own. However, they won’t seal all the way, so you may want to rotate your board occasionally to prevent wear in the main scoring zones. To rotate your board, just take off the metal scoring ring, turn the board, and replace the ring.
Avoid getting water on your bristle, wooden, electronic, or cork boards, as moisture can ruin the surface. If you keep a dart board outside, try to cover it so that the surface is not exposed to the elements.
If you buy a wooden board, you’ll need to regularly oil the outer surface to prevent it from drying and cracking.
What’s the best type of dart board?
The best type of dart board for you will depend on how you intend to use it. Experienced players often prefer bristle and wooden boards, which allow you to use steel darts and have more of a traditional feel.
However, if you simply need a board for casual use, then you should consider an electronic or magnetic board. The benefit of these two types is that you won’t have to use steel-tipped darts, so they are safe for kids. You also won’t have to worry about putting any holes in your walls.
What’s the difference between dart types?
If you play with a bristle or wooden board, you’ll need to use steel tip darts. These are the darts that are used by pros, and many players prefer them because of their heavier feel.
With most electronic boards, you’ll need to use soft tip darts. Since these darts don’t have a sharp tip, they won’t put a hole in the board or in your walls. Individual darts will vary depending on the brand, but soft tips are often a bit lighter than the steep tips used with wooden and bristle boards.
How can you protect your walls?
There are a number of different ways to protect your walls, with the best solution depending on your particular setup. Many people fashion their own protectors, using materials such as rubber, plastic, or wood to cover the walls near the board.
If you want to save some effort, you can also easily find a range of wall protectors specifically designed for dart boards. You can often find these from the same brands that sell the boards themselves.
How big is a standard dart board?
Manufacturers make dart boards of all sizes, so you can likely find one that will fit your space. However, there are official board sizes for pros, and many producers design their boards to meet these requirements. The official dart board size is 17.75 inches in diameter, and this is the size that you’ll often see with bristle and wooden boards. Magnetic boards are often a bit smaller, as they tend to be designed for portability.
How much will a dart board cost?
You’ll find a wide variety of different boards made for different uses. That means that prices will vary widely. You can find a number of paper boards for less than $10, while many electronic boards can run well over $500.
A dart board is a perfect addition to any game room, bar, or outdoor space. The game is simple to pick up, and anyone from casual players to pros can enjoy it.
Unfortunately, finding a good board isn’t always easy. There are a lot of cheap knockoffs and poorly build boards, and you can end up wasting your money if you’re not careful. Even when you do find quality options, you’ll have to choose from a wide variety of different board types.
That’s why we’re here. Use this guide to find the perfect board for any situation. We listed some of our favorite products, but you can still find plenty of other great boards using the advice here.