I have been meaning to do this article for a really long time.
But reviewing and narrowing down the best dartboards takes time. Even more, it takes experience and a good deal of understanding what makes a dartboard not just good but exceptional.
This is not about just one type of a dartboard. Below you will find both steel tip and soft tip dartboards. Or bristle and electronic dartboards if you will.
This is why the dartboards are not exactly ranked in any particular way. It is kind of tricky — I found — to compare a soft tip to a steel tip dartboard as both have their places in the darts community.
Here are the best dartboards at a glance:
|Brand and Model||Type||Size||Game Options||More Information|
|Winmau Blade 5 Dual Core Bristle Dartboard||Bristle||17.72″||N/A||Check Current Price on Amazon|
|Winmau Blade 5 Dart Board||Bristle||17.75″||N/A||Check Current Price on Amazon|
|Winmau Diamond Plus Tournament Dartboard||Bristle||17.75″||N/A||Check Current Price on Amazon|
|Arachnid Cricket Pro 800 Electronic Dartboard||Electronic||15.5″||39 Games with 179 Variations||Check Current Price on Amazon|
|ONE80 Gladiator 2 Bristle Dartboard||Bristle||17.80″||N/A||Check Current Price on Amazon|
|IgnatGames Professional Dart Board||Bristle||18″||N/A||Check Current Price on Amazon|
|Arachnid Inter-Active 6000 Dartboard||Electronic||15.5″||12 Games with 123 Variations||Check Current Price on Amazon|
Table of Contents:
The Best Dartboards
Winmau Blade 5 Dual Core Bristle Dartboard
When it comes to steel tip dartboards — read bristle dartboards — Winmau dartboards are currently second to none. And so is the case with this little fellow right here — the Blade 5 Dual Core.
If you are looking for one of the best dartboards for the money, this may very well be the one.
The quality of this dartboard is as good as they come. The penetration, self-healing, and longevity of this board — granted adequately looked after — are outstanding.
As you have noticed, this board is touted as having two cores. But is that really that good of a feature? Well, it is. Here’s why.
- The first surface layer of bristle fibers has a lower density which allows for better penetration and lowered chances of bounce-outs; and
- The second layer has a higher density, which gives the dartboard improved durability and longevity.
With all that being said, it is worth mentioning that the Blade 5 Dual Core has one of the best self-healing capabilities.
The colors of the dartboard are beautiful to look at and very vibrant.
The wiring is super thin, but that does not mean it is of lower quality. It is 14% thinner but the steel used is 20% stronger than before.
The board just plays so well. The thuds from the darts hitting the board, the improved durability, the increased scoring areas, the lowered chances of bounce-outs, all that makes it very difficult to refuse to play just one more game on this dartboard.
Winmau Blade 5
This is the little brother of the Winmau Blade 5 Dual Core — but that does not mean it is not a good board.
In fact, it is an excellent dartboard. It has some of the highest quality bristle fibers that allow for smooth games and very enjoyable throws.
It does not have two cores, but it keeps the same blade 5 wiring, which is significantly thinner and has a sharper angle compared to the wiring of the blade 4 dartboards.
This is amazing, in my opinion, as I can always appreciate the higher scoring area due to the fewer things that will get in the way of my darts.
There are extra 6 mm2 available in each triple and 9 mm2 in each double area. It does not feel like a lot — I admit — but in a place like this, every extra available surface matters. And I feel like any darts player will enjoy not having to worry about hitting a thick wire or a staple.
The dartboard is well made, and you can feel it when you hold it in your hands. It is heavy and built to last. And for the price it usually sells at — it is a steal.
Winmau Diamond Plus Tournament Dartboard
This is yet another excellent dartboard from Winmau.
This dartboard is super fun to play on. The bristle fibers are of very high quality and very tightly packed.
When you throw your darts will stick in it very nicely, and there is a low chance of bounce outs.
The dartboard is also very sturdy and heavy. When you hold the dartboard, you can just feel that the built quality is up there, and it is built to last.
Let’s not forget that it also has some pretty neat self-healing capabilities. So long you rotate it, you will be able to enjoy this beautiful dartboard for a really long time.
The only downside, in my opinion, is the staples. The wiring is super thin and will not cause any extra bounce-outs, but there are staples holding it onto the board, which can be a little annoying.
With that being said, after considering its price, I cannot really argue. This dartboard is a real bargain.
ONE80 Gladiator 2 Bristle Dartboard
ONE80 is well known for its quality dartboards, which are actually very well priced.
The G2 is one of their top dartboards. It is made from top-grade African sisal fibers. The Kenyan sisal fibers have very good self-healing capability and durability.
The dartboard is, of course, staple-free, which means that you will never have to worry about staples getting in the way.
The colors used for the dartboard are very bright and vivid, making it a sight for sore eyes.
From ONE80 have even painted the numbers ring in grey in order to reduce any glares and reflections. The attention to detail like this is what any dart player can definitely appreciate.
The wiring is the only department where this dartboard could improve at is the thickness of the wiring.
But considering the price it sells at – it is very hard to complain – this is easily one of the best overall dartboards.
ONE80 Bristle Gladiator 3 Plus Dartboard
The Gladiator 3+ is the spiritual successor to the Gladiator 2 dartboard series.
The dartboard is made from high-quality, densely packed sisal.
Thanks to that, playing on this dartboard is very satisfying. It is quiet and produces neat thudding sounds when the dart hits the board.
The number ring can easily be rotated, allowing you to give the different sections of the dartboard enough time to heal.
The wiring is thin and staple free, which means you will not have to worry about extra bounce-outs due to the darts hitting the staples or the wiring.
The dartboard is heavy and feels solid — it is built to last, and you can feel it. Best of all, it comes at a very decent price making this one a bargain.
IgnatGames Professional Dart Board
Next, we have one outstanding dartboard from IgnatGames.
The high-quality African bristle fibers are packed nice and tightly allowing them to accept the darts very well.
The dartboard has very good self-healing capabilities, so you will not have to worry about its longevity—as long as you make sure to rotate it every now and then so that the different sections can heal, especially if you play a lot of ’01s.
The wiring is extra thin — or about 65% thinner compared to the regular round wiring — which means that you will be experiencing a lot fewer bounce-outs while playing on this dartboard.
This board comes at a very affordable price considering its quality.
But, it does not come alone.
IgnatGames have also packed 2 sets of darts (6 darts in total), a handy ebook with some neat information about how to play different dart games, and an oche measuring tape.
As soon as you unpack it, you can literally start playing on this little beauty.
Arachnid Cricket Pro 800 Electronic Dartboard
Well, who said I should stick to bristle dartboard only?
A lot of darts players enjoy playing soft tip darts too, so it is only natural in a list of the best dartboards to include the top electronic dartboards as well.
Of course, one of the negative things about these is the fact that they will be more expensive compared to a steel tip dartboard.
However, an electronic dartboard can offer a lot of neat features that you just cannot have on a steel tip dartboard.
The Arachnid Cricket Pro 800 is an excellent example of a great soft tip dartboard.
With 39 games and 179 variations, this dartboard has a lot to offer.
The NylonTough segments make this board durable, long-lasting, and — best of all — quieter.
It allows for up to 8 players to play on it.
But you can also play against the computer — so even if you are all by yourself, you can still treat yourself to some neat competitive-feeling games.
For all the ’01 dart players out there, this dartboard will automatically calculate and display your average points after each round.
The large screen is easy to see and makes keeping track of the scores super easy.
The dartboard has a heckler feature, which I admit can get a little annoying, but it can be turned off, and it doesn’t take away from the quality of the board in any way.
It comes with 6 soft tip darts that are not the most top of the line darts but will allow you to start playing as soon as you get the board out of the box. All the necessary mounting hardware, extra dart tips, an AC adapter, and instructions are also included.
The price it sells at is high but well justified.
Arachnid Inter-Active 6000 Dartboard
This is another excellent dartboard from Arachnid.
The Arachnid Inter-Active 6000 can provide you with 27 games and 175 variations. It provides for a lot of versatility for both beginners and expert players.
This dartboard comes with NylonTough segments, which are extra durable and also play quieter.
The board can be used for up to 8 players, but you can even play on your own competing against the computer.
There are two score displays that are bright and easy to see. In addition to that, there is an X/O display for cricket.
This board is great for new players as it will keep the score automatically, making all the games you play on it a tad easier. It even keeps track of your averages on ’01 games.
Additionally, it has a handicap option which can allow beginners and advanced players to compete at better odds.
This dartboard does not come alone. In the package, you will also find 6 soft tip darts, replacement dart tips, all the needed mounting hardware, instructions, and a manual.
Overall this is one excellent electronic dartboard that comes with everything you need to start playing immediately.
Gran Board 3 LED Bluetooth Dartboard
The dartboards from Gran Board are well known among many dart players that enjoy playing online.
GB 3 is the long-awaited successor of the very successful and widely used GB 2, which, unfortunately, is no longer in production, and can be found mostly used nowadays.
The Gran Board 3 LED dartboard is one of the most sought after dartboards by people that are looking for a board with online play. With that being said, you can also play solo against a computer player.
The idea that you can play with your buddies in person and online is very appealing—there is no denying that.
You can use your smartphone, tablet, or smart TV for keeping track of the scores—the board is compatible with both android and iOS devices.
The dartboard is relatively quieter compared to other models, but that would depend a lot on the way it has been mounted.
The design is beautiful, and the LED lights add some extra oomph to it.
This board is extremely fun to play on. It has a huge selection of games. You will also be able to keep track of a lot of your stats like dart averages, throwing patterns.
Overall this is one excellent dartboard that will allow you to play with players from all around the world while giving you all the information and stats you need in order to improve your game.
The only downside to this dartboard is that sometimes it has issues with its LED lights. Especially since they can be damaged by throwing a dart in the most far outside holes where the numbers are—so it may not be the best board for a complete beginner.
Gran Board Dash
The Gran Board Dash is the little brother of the Gran Board 3 LED.
This dartboard does not offer the LED goodness of the Gran Board 3 LED, but that does not mean it is not just as beautiful and fun to play on.
This board can be used to play online against people from all over the world as well as play against a computer player.
This board uses the same app as other Gran Board dartboards so you can play against people that have the GB 2 and 3 as well.
It has a great selection of different games.
The online app allows you to keep track of different stats and averages, so it is also a great way to practice and work on improving your game.
Overall this is a very high-quality dartboard capable of online play. It is great for players of all levels—best of all—it comes at a very reasonable price.
What to Look for in a Dartboard
Buying a dartboard does not need to be rocket science. And it is not. However, someone relatively new may find it very difficult to know what to look for in a dartboard.
If you have gone through my list of the best dartboard above, you might have already caught on to some important details you need to look for.
However, below I will get into further detail, offering you a more summarized information in a more organized fashion.
The Materials the Dartboard Is Made Of
How well the dartboard is made is a vital factor when it comes to choosing a good dartboard.
Granted, there are many cheap dartboards, but as it is with anything, the old adage that you get what you pay for holds true even for darts.
Cheaper dartboards are usually of lower quality. The sisal fibers used may be a lot less tightly packed and of lower quality.
This can result in a slightly increased chance of bounce-outs and worsened healing times. In certain cases, some of the lower-quality sisal fibers may have no self-healing capabilities whatsoever.
For a complete beginner, a cheaper dartboard may be a good idea if they do not care about darts. However, a poor quality dartboard can very quickly make anyone give up on darts.
Quality dartboards are also not necessarily expensive. In fact, darts is considered one of the cheapest sports or hobbies—depending on how you look at it—you can get into.
But a quality dartboard is a lot more fun to play on and a lot more enjoyable too. The deep thudding sounds from the darts hitting the board and oddly satisfying.
As I have mentioned above, not all dartboards are created equal. And not all bristle fiber dartboards are going to have the same self-healing capabilities.
Many of the really cheap dartboards just cannot be compared with the higher-end ones.
Self-healing is important because it extends the life of your dartboard, and it makes it look more aesthetically pleasing. A board that is able to heal properly can also reduce the number of bounce-outs and the chances of your darts falling off from the board.
No Staples, Staple-Free Bullseye, and More
Staples are used on dartboards to keep the wiring locked in place. This is necessary because, especially, with the older round wiring, the wiring is just sitting on top of the dartboard— if nothing holds it, it will fall off.
On newer dartboards, a different type of wiring is being utilized, one which is embedded directly into the dartboard. As a result of this many dartboards, today can actually be entirely staple-free.
With that being said, there are many dartboards that still do have staples. They are usually cheaper, but the staples can get in the way of the darts—usually resulting in a slightly higher chance of bounce outs.
Another point I’d like to direct your attention to is the fact that some dartboards can be touted as having staple-free bullseye.
This does not mean the whole dartboard is staple free—in many cases, just the bullseye will be staple-free, but not the rest of the dartboard.
The staples are usually placed in the double and triple areas, which to me it seems like the worst place to put them.
These areas are of high value. And many of us are constantly practicing our groupings, especially in the triples. And the last thing we need is something to take up valuable space in there.
Rotatable Number’s Ring
When it comes to steel tip dartboards, you want them to have a removable numbers ring. That way, you will be able to rotate the dartboard as frequently as needed.
Rotating your dartboard is important as this ensures each of the sections get some time off when the bristle fibers can recover and heal—a rotatable dartboard will last longer in general.
This is especially important if you are playing ’01 games or cricket.
Soft tip dartboards are not rotatable, and they do not need to be rotated.
Some dartboards come by themselves. But others may come with some additional accessories included in the package like darts and dart tips, mounting hardware and tools, oche lines, guides, manuals, and more.
Not all boards will have them, but most should.
Depending on your needs, you may need to buy additional darts or darts accessories, so make sure to consider whether or not you would need anything extra.
Warranty and Returns
Knowing that you can return your dartboard is essential. This is why it is recommended to buy only from reputable sellers that you can trust—especially if you are purchasing an expensive high-end dartboard.
Even with the best dartboard made from the highest quality materials, the occasional lemon can be found. It happens. This is life.
I’ve heard of people buying from different places and people that would later refuse any returns and tell them there is nothing they can do.
Definitely not a great way to conduct one’s business.
Bristle Dartboards vs. Electronic Dartboards
They are usually quieter and produce very satisfying deep thudding sounds.
You can play a wide number of different dart games on these.
With that being said, steel tip dartboards are considered harder to master. You can even see that by the averages of the pro players.
On the other hand, soft tip dartboards are arguably considered a little bit easier. If you take a quick glance, you will also notice that the double and triple segments on a soft tip dartboard are usually larger.
If you are planning on joining a league, make sure you double-check with them what kind of dartboards they are using. If they are using steel tip dartboards, then getting a steel tip dartboard is preferable—and vice versa.
Additionally, an electronic dartboard will automatically keep track of your score, averages, and other various stats.
Electronic dartboards usually offer different games and game variations, with some of the higher-quality being able to provide more than 170 game variations, including even handicap options for the better players.
Don’t forget that, depending on where you will place your dartboard, you may also need to protect your walls while playing darts.
Steel tip darts are usually the ones that could damage your walls the most.
Soft tip darts, on the other hand, can be a bit more forgiving but can also leave some spots on your walls.
This also applies to your floor. Make sure to use some floor protection if necessary.
What Is the Best Quality Dartboard?
Based on my experience and research, the best quality dartboard right now is the Winmau Blade 5 Dual Core, followed by the Winmau Blade 5, ONE80 G2, and ONE80 G3.
When it comes to the best quality, electronic dartboards look no further than the Arachnid Cricket Pro 800 or the Gran Board 3 LED dartboards.
What Is the Best Dartboard for a Beginner?
Darts is one of the very few hobbies—or sports—that is so cheap that you can outright start using the same equipment that even the pros use.
Depending on your budget, I recommend going with as high of a quality dartboard as you can afford.
A poor quality dartboard can literally make any beginner darts player give up on darts before they have even started.
A low-quality dartboard will not be able to self-heal properly, and it can cause you a lot of frustration due to bounce-outs and falling darts.
While a good quality dartboard can keep you glued to it playing the whole evening.
When it comes down to what type of a dartboard you should get, that would depend on your personal preferences.
Steel-tip dartboards are just cheaper on average, so they are more affordable and easily obtained. While electronic dartboards are more expensive.
However, they are great for practicing and learning how to play darts. They have a lot of automated features that can make the whole thing of keeping the score, keeping track of averages, and playing different games a lot easier.
Soft tip darts are usually played from a different distance and in my experience they can be considered easier to master.
But if you want to experience the real deal, you need to go with a steel-tip dartboard—there are no two opinions about that. So for a beginner I would suggest a good high-quality bristle (steel tip) dartboard.
What Are Professional Dartboards Made out Of?
The professional dartboards you see on TV are usually made from high-quality, tightly packed sisal fibers.
Sisal fibers are packed grouped in long skeins, which are cut and glued on to the base of the dartboard.
Some dartboards have cracks as a result of this. The cracks do not represent damage but rather are a natural outcome of the manufacturing process.
Sisal fibers are able to heal with time and provide a good surface in which the darts can penetrate well. Interestingly enough, the more a dartboard is played on, the better the self-healing is.
How Much Do Dartboards Cost?
The cost of a dartboard will depend on various factors like the type of the dartboard, the built quality, the quality of the materials used, features, and more.
Dartboards cost between $25 and $100. Generally speaking, a high-quality dartboard cost, on average, about $65. Electronic dartboards are more expensive, costing between $30 and $300.
Electronic dartboards are usually a lot more expensive because they pack a lot of electronics and different features and game options.
How Long Do Dartboards Last?
Dartboards usually last between 2 to 3 years if properly looked after.
Properly maintaining your dartboard by keeping it away from moisture and rotating it can make it last a really long time.
How to Care for a Dartboard?
There are a few things you need to do in order to make sure you are properly taking care of your dartboard.
Make sure it is frequently rotated so that the individual sections of the dartboard can heal.
Also, dartboards can be mounted in different places—even outside. But make sure you keep your dartboard away from moisture, water and places with high humidity.
Use only appropriately sharpened darts that will not damage the fibers of the board. After a while, the tips of the steel tip darts will start to dull, and this can cause some bounce-outs. This warrants some sharpening—however, do not overdo it.
The points of the darts should be kept a little rounded and not very sharp, as this can damage the sisal fibers.
A frequent mistake is to use steel-tip darts on a soft-tip dartboard. Or just very heavy soft tip darts which are thrown very aggressively. This can damage not just the tips of the darts but the dartboard sections as well.
Aggressive throws are also not recommended even on a standard steel-tip dartboard.
Cheap vs. Expensive Dartboards
I have alluded to that earlier in this article, but you get what you pay for.
Of course, there are some really good cheap dartboards, but I cannot expect them to perform as well as a more expensive dartboard.
Of course, you don’t have to go for the most expensive ones like the Winmau Blade 5 Dual Core, as there are a lot more affordable options like the standard Winmau Blade 5.
You can expect a good quality dartboard to cost about $60 on average, so this is a good ballpark to go by.
When it comes down to electronic dartboards, things can get a little more complicated. Electronics are an integral part here, and going for a dartboard with cheap electronics does not sound like a good idea, hence why I feel like this is where it is worth going for something more expensive.
On the other hand, beyond a certain point, a higher price tag may be indicative of additional features and game variations, maybe even some fancy LED lights and whatnot.
But paying more money does not automatically mean you will get higher quality; hence why making the necessary due diligence is always required.