If you are reading this, then you probably are trying to choose between the Winmau Blade 5 or the One80 Gladiator 3.
Both of these dartboards have built a reputation for themselves over the past several years.
Choosing the right dartboard is certainly not an easy task sometimes—especially when you have to choose between two of, arguably, the best dartboards out there.
It is no surprise why the majority of darts players will split between the Blade 5 and the Gladiator 3. So let’s take a more in-depth look.
Table of Contents:
Winmau Blade 5
The Winmau Blade 5 is definitely one of the most popular dartboards that people play on.
If the Blade 5 dartboard is so popular, then there should be something special about it, right?
Winmau has been working on and improving their dartboards very diligently over the years.
Even the first Blade dartboards were among some of the best at their time. The Blade 4, for example, is still considered one of Winmau’s best dartboards even to this day.
The Blade wiring
These dartboards get their name from their wiring, which is a blade wiring and one of their strong selling points.
The blade wiring is super thin and angled in such a way as to direct the darts into the dartboard. (The angle of the wiring is only 60 degrees.)
The Blade 5 is the thinnest and strongest wiring you can find on a Winmau dartboard and rivals the wiring system on any other dartboard. As a result (compared to the previous models), the wiring on the Blade 5 takes 14% less surface area than the previous model. This lowers the odds of the wiring being struck by the darts and improves the scoring potential.
On top of that, the wiring has also been made stronger and more heavy-duty. Thanks to the carbon diffusion technology, the wiring is 20% more durable compared to the Blade 4. (Carbon diffusion is a way of making steel stronger by increasing the carbon content in it.)
Overall this means not only a longer-lasting wiring but also fewer bounce-outs and more fun time playing darts.
The rota-lock system
Sometimes a little change and attention to detail can make all the difference in the world. So is the case wit the rota-lock.
Dartboards are usually hanged on a metal bracket, which stands in the center of the dartboard. Along the dartboard’s sides, usually small plates, spring clips, or pads are placed that will keep the dartboard in place.
However, those stationary pads are not really good at keeping the dartboard always steady and well balanced—especially the wall is uneven.
The rota-lock system takes a whole different approach to this problem. Instead of static pads or clips, three fully and individually adjustable wheel locks are installed.
By being able to fine-tune the wheel locks, you can level your dartboard and keep it from moving. You can still easily rotate your dartboard, so the rota-lock system will not affect that.
The sisal fiber quality
All of the Winmau Blade 5 dartboards are made from very high-quality sisal fibers that have a uniform density.
While we are on the subject of sisal fibers, it is worth noting that the technology has improved so much that the Blade 5 Dual Core does not even have cracks, when many other dartboards do have cracks.
The Winmau Blade 5 and Blade 5 Dual Core are more expensive than the one80 Gladiator 3. Usually, the Winmau Blade 5 will cost between $60 and $70 and the Blade 5 Dual Core between $80 and $100.
The prices may vary depending on seasonality, and more so, it is recommended to keep an eye out for any possible discounts.
Winmau Blade 5 Dual Core
It will be a shame if we overlook the existence of the Winmau Blade 5 Dual Core. Although I have already mentioned it very briefly, there are a few things that need to be said about it as well.
Both the Winmau Blade 5 and the Blade 5 Dual Core are among the best dartboards sold by the Winmau.
And darts players have a lot of questions which one is better.
The majority of things between the Blade 5 and the Blade 5 Dual Core are similar, however, there are a few notable differences worth your attention.
The Blade 5 Dual Core has two layers or cores.
The first (or outer) layer of sisal fibers has a lower compression. As a direct result from that darts are capable of easily penetrating and sticking into the dartboard. In other words, you will enjoy a softer dartboard that produces fewer bounce-outs and is a little less noisy.
The second layer of sisal fibers is thicker. It is better at absorbing the power from the impact of the dart, increasing its durability.
See article: Winmau Blade 5 vs. Blade 5 Dual Core
One80 Gladiator 3
The one80 Gladiator dartboards are old-school dartboards that darts players all over the world still love and appreciated even today.
The Gladiator 3 dartboards are among the best steel tip dartboards one can get for the money, especially after considering their price.
They may be cheap, but they do not feel cheap—quite the opposite, really.
The Gladiator 2 was among the best dartboards as well, and now the Gladiator 3 has stepped in to replace it.
See article: What are the best dartboards?
Sword Edge Wire
The Gladiator 3 comes with a staple-free wiring, which is very thin. This reduces the bounce-outs as it increases the scoring area. This makes the Gladiator 3 a really fun dartboard to play on.
It is very reminiscent of the wiring on the Gladiator 2.
Overall the wiring on the Gladiator 3 is a very durable and you are less liely to experience the wiring lifting.
One of the unique things that can be found on the one80 Gladiator 3 dartboards is the Rotafix.
The Rotafix will hold the dartboard in place and even absorb some of the vibrations created by the impact of the darts with the dartboard, which makes this dartboard significantly quieter than the Winmau dartboards.
The Rotafix will also help you in easily setting the dartboard perfectly vertically on rotation.
However, one of the downsides of the Rotafix is that in certain cases, the dartboard will wobble, which calls for additional padding along the dartboard’s edges.
The sisal fiber
The sisal fibers used for the Gladiator 3 are of excellent quality. They are durable and will last you a really long time. The dartboards, like the Blade 5, do have cracks, which is a normal outcome of the manufacturing process.
Nonetheless, the sisal fibers are spread evenly, and the dartboard is uniformly even; the sisal fibers also heal nicely.
The colors are very vibrant looking and nice to look at. Overall a lot of people may consider this one of the best-looking dartboards.
The one80 Gladiator 3 is usually a cheaper dartboard compared to the Winmau Blade 5 and Blade 5 Dual Core. The one80 Gladiator 3 can cost between $45 and $70.
Its price will depend on seasonality and if there are any active offers.
Which one is worth buying?
This is a tough one. But lets breakdown the pros and cons of the two dartboards.
The Gladiator 3 is firmer than the Blade 5 and the Blade 5 Dual Core. The Blade 5 is a little softer than the Gladiator 3, and the Blade 5 Dual Core is the softest.
The Winmau Blade 5 is a very tough dartboard, and with regular rotation, the sisal fibers will heal, and the dartboard will last a really long time.
Because the Blade 5 Dual Core is a little softer and it can get a little more beat up over time and not hold out as well as the Blade 5 will.
Generally speaking, both the Blade 5 and the Blade 5 Dual Core are of excellent quality, and players should not have any problems with bounce outs or darts falling out.
If you are throwing heavier darts, this may be a problem as the darts may sink deeper and hit the backboard. This will not only cause more noise but can also damage your darts. Heavier darts—especially if you scuff the sides of the tips—will also wear the Winmau dartboards more.
Another consequence of that is that you will have to rotate the Winmau dartboard more often, depending on how often you play, even daily, in order to give it some time to heal. The one80, on the other hand, you will have to rotate a lot less often.
The one80 Gladiator 3 just seems to hold up better and wear out slower compared to the Winmau Blade 5 and Blade 5 Dual Core. On top of that, it is also quieter than the Blade 5 dartboards.
The wiring on both dartboards is super thin, with the Winmau dartboards taking a slight lead here.
Overall, both dartboards are excellent choices, and may darts players will often have to choose between the Winmau Blade 5 and the one80 Gladiator 3. Generally speaking, if you are throwing lighter darts below 23 grams (and have a lighter throw in general), you may have a better experience with a slightly softer dartboard like the Winamu Blade 5 or the Blade 5 Dual Core.
And if you are throwing heavier darts above 23 grams, you will appreciate the hardness of the one80 Gladiator 3. The extra firmness is one of the reasons why the G3 wears better but you may also need to scuff your darts and make sure they are sharpened properly.
See article: How to sharpen darts properly
Usually, the one80 Gladiator 3 is much more favorably accepted by the darts community.
However, many people will tell you to buy one or the other for different reasons. In reality, both dartboards are of fairly similar quality and just have some slight differences, which are not enough to make one or the other marginally superior.
On top of that, we are dealing with a type of product that will always slightly vary in its quality. It is a natural product, and slight differences from batch to batch will always be present.
See article: What to look for when buying a dartboard?
In addition to that, how well a dartboard will fare will depend on humidity and climate. For example, some places can dry out certain dartboards very quickly.
On the other side, let’s not forget to factor in the cost of obtaining these dartboards. If cost is important for you, you will find that the Gladiator 3 is usually less expensive than the Blade 5 and the Blade 5 Dual Core. The lower price tag certainly makes for a more compelling case.
See article: How much does a dartboard cost?