Before you buy a dartboard you need to think because when it comes to choosing the best dartboard online there are a lot of factors involved.
In this guide we run you through everything that you need to consider before making your decision. You might have thought it’s quite straightforward and are simply saying to yourself: “I’m just going to buy a dartboard!”. However, read this quick guide first. There are different types of dartboards you can buy online and the price of these vary a lot, so you don’t want to overspend for the sake of it. Neither do you want to buy a dartboard that won’t be suitable (especially if you have young children and you want them to play too).
What type of dartboard?
Basically, the most popular dartboards to buy are: bristle boards, electronic boards, magnetic boards and velcro boards.
The traditional and most common board is the bristle dartboard. This type of dartboard can be found everywhere in pubs and clubs and is the form of board that all the darts professionals use. In essence, if you want a “proper” dartboard then you will need to buy a bristle dartboard.
The second form of dartboard is the electronic dartboard. Instead of bristles the board is constructed from high resin plastic with lots of holes covering the board surface. When the dart hits the board it will enter the nearest hole to its path of flight as it lands and the dart “score” is registered by electronic sensors behind the board. The sensors read the number that has been hit and will output this on the score display. Of course, if a double or treble is hit the sensors will read this and calculate the actual score from the throw. Soft tip darts are used when playing with electronic dartboards.
Instead of buying a bristle dartboard or an electronic dartboard you can buy a magnetic dartboard. With this type, the darts that are used do not have sharp tips. Instead, they are flat at the end and incorporate small, circular magnets. The board face is also magnetic but with the opposite polarity. When the dart is thrown the dart will “stick” to the board magnetically at the point it hits.
Finally, a velcro dartboard is covered in a velcro surface and the soft dart “tips” have velcro pads attached. The principle is similar to the magnetic dartboard in that darts “stick” to the board, but instead of magnetism causing the darts to stick the darts fix to the board as they hit it by means of the velcro hooks.
Who will be playing?
An obvious question when you buy a dartboard, maybe, but it needs asking. Who’s playing? You, your partner – but what about the children? If you have young children and you want them to play too with you then the safest option is to buy a magnetic dartboard. The darts don’t have any sharp tips and a child cannot get badly injured by one, provided of course they are under adult supervision and throwing them correctly.
If you have very young children then a velcro dartboard would be a good option too (we had one of these for a few years and it was fun to play). The good thing about these is that you can buy a good cheap velcro dartboard and it will last you ages. Just don’t lose the darts that come with it!
If adults only will be playing, or if older children will be involved, then the best option is to go for a good bristle dartboard if you want the “real thing”. It will last ages and give you lots of fun. You could also go for an electronic dartboard but bear in mind that although this has the big advantage in that it will keep score for you, it doesn’t have the feel of a real dartboard.
How much do you want to spend?
If you have never played darts before and are just starting out then it might be a good idea to go for a budget dartboard to begin with. As you might well know, enthusiasm can dwindle with a lot of toys and games over time so if your finances are tight I would suggest you for the best dartboard you can get for the maximum amount you want to pay.
Once you start playing you will, by my reckoning, become hooked quite quickly and will want to play regularly. Over time it would then make sense to buy a better dartboard as well as some good quality darts. Using better darts will increase your accuracy and supercharge your scoring!
What about accessories?
Many dartboards come with accessories such as a set of darts (tips and flights), as well as other accessories such as a scoring book and checkout calculator. Generally, you only need one set of darts to play with and can share these between you, but if you are buying your first dartboard it’s probably a good idea to make sure the one you choose has at least one set of darts included.
Where will you play?
Playing darts indoors leads to one obvious question: what happens if the darts miss the board? If you have the board hanging up on a nice wall it is almost certain that from time to time a dart thrown at the board will miss and hit the wall. That will leave a small hole in your wall. Over time, you will have lots of holes in your wall!
If your wall is unfinished stone or brickwork then damage by darts shouldn’t really be an issue. However, the likelihood is that your wall has a nice smooth finish and you don’t want it getting hit with darts. In that case you should consider getting a good dart surround to wrap around the board. That will protect a chunk of area surrounding the perimeter of the board. If you don’t want to stretch to the expense of a dartboard surround, or prefer not to have one of these on your wall as well as the board then your best option would be to probably go for a magnetic dartboard. That does have its limitations and it is not what you would call “proper” darts, but the potential of some minor damage to your wall is something that you have to weigh up.
One more point to bear in mind is that very occasionally a dart will “bounce out” once it strikes the board. This happens when the dart tip strikes the facing wire exactly at its uppermost point, resulting in the dart rebounding back into the room. It happens at all levels and to the best of of professionals, so be aware that it will certainly happen every now and again when you play. For that reason it is best to make sure your board is at the centre of the wall and not too near a corner, otherwise it could bounce and hit the facing wall corner.
Want to do the maths? Or not?
I listed one of the benefits of darts as being good for your brain, especially your mathematics. However, if you are not good at maths that doesn’t mean to say the game of darts is not for you. Why not consider an electronic dartboard instead? It will work everything out as you play, so you don’t have to. Electronic dartboards do not have look and feel of a matchplay bristle dartboard, but you can still play some great games and have a whole load of fun.
How many players?
Do you intend to play darts by yourself or with a partner once in a while, or do you see yourself inviting all your friends and neighbours round every so often and throwing a games night?
If you want to be a sociable games night host then I would recommend you considering buying an electronic dartboard. Electronic dart boards are pre-loaded with a variety of different game modes to give you hours of exciting games – you do not have to play “501” all night! All of the good and reputable electronic boards are supplied with manuals for clear explanation of all the games stored on the board’s computer. For a sociable games night, it simply cannot be beaten and with so many different games to play “boredom” will not be an issue!
Shall I buy a dartboard?
To sum up, when you have decided you want to buy a dartboard consider first what board you would really love to play with. Then think about who will be playing with it and where in your home the board will be hung. Don’t forget, if you are short on space you can play darts outdoors in the yard. Buy the best dartboard you can for your budget and then go for it!
If you really can’t decide between a bristle dartboard and electronic dartboard then….why not get both if you have the space for them? Who says you only need one dartboard in the house? Get a magnetic one too for your kids to practice with!