Playing darts is a great past time and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy the challenge of testing their shot. It’s a challenge-filled game and is a lot of fun to play with friends and competitors (or both). Unfortunately, playing darts usually requires an inconveniencing drive to the local bar. Playing on public dart boards isn’t ideal as they’re usually in poor cosmetic condition. This can diminish the experience of the game and your ability to shoot well.
Waiting for a turn, being distracted by on lookers, or becoming sidetracked by a noisy environment are a few of the downsides when playing on publicly-used dart boards. However, if you’re serious about the game and want to play at home than you’ve come to the right place.
Today, we’ll be providing our personal reviews on the best dart boards for your home (or office/man cave) so you can be steps away from playing darts – rather than being a drive away.
Dart Board Types – What you need to know
When it comes to dart boards there are two main styles to choose from. From unique makes to designs – there’s a dart board for everyone regardless of preference. With so many options available it can be difficult to make a decision on the best dart board for you and your friends to compete on. However, this write-up is intended to make this choice an easier one as we’ll be reviewing the best dart board brands in the market so you can choose an option that will accommodate your darting needs.
Primarily, there are two popular versions of the dart board: Bristle and Electronic.
Bristle boards are considered to be the traditional bar-styled dart board and is best suited for competitive players that want an authentic dart-playing experience. Bristle boards are ideally used by those who take the game seriously as these are the boards used in tournaments and are known for their resilience and build-quality.
While electronic dart boards certainly carry their own advantage points – bristle boards tend to be more effective at holding darts in place. This is due to the materials used in these boards as they do a better job at ensuring the dart stays in position and doesn’t fall out. Contrary to popular belief; bristle dart boards are comprised of hemp and sisal. Sisal is a material that self-repairs meaning when impacted by a dart; the hole left will reclose. Hemp is a very strong material contributing to the dart board’s build quality.
Electric dart boards are in a class of their own when it comes to options as most are inclusive of features that will certainly elevate the entertainment factor. Going the electric route provides many benefits that cannot be found with a traditional bristle board one of which being the automatic scoring features.
A lot of local pubs have chosen to make the switch to electric dart boards since they streamline gameplay as they automatically tally scores and commonly supports up to 6-8 players. Such functionality alleviates the need for manually writing down scores, keeping track of player turns, and determining player outcomes.
So, what’s the better of the two dart board options? Bristle and Electric dart boards each have their own benefits and to help you choose which is best we’re going to review available models from the best dart board brands for sale.
Top Dart Boards – Reviews (Electric & Bristle)
Best Electric Dart Boards
1. Arachnid Cricket Pro 800 Electronic Dart Board
The Arachnid Cricket Pro is an impressive full-electric dart board featuring a built-in computer system that streamlines gameplay. The Cricket Pro offers a copious amount of features; one of which allowing users to adjust player handicaps. Such a feature is highly useful as both beginners and more advanced dart throwers can compete against one another, fairly. One aspect of the design I really appreciate about the Cricket Pro is that that the dividers between the numbers are quite thin which makes contact between the dart and the dividers unlikely.
This for me is a BIG feature as some dart boards use wide dividers which commonly results in the dart hitting it more often. Enlarged dividers mean you’ll need to spend time searching for the darts that didn’t hit the board but with the Cricket Pro this isn’t a concern.
Overall, the build-quality is top-notch, rigid, and durable and utilizes what they call “Nylon Tough” segments which are actually exclusive only to the Arachnid-made dart boards. I’ve been a loyal user of the brands dart boards for years and can genuinely say that it has held up over time incredible well. The material hasn’t warped and the material is still like-new.
Furthermore, Arachnid sells this dart board with all of the accessories that you’ll need to start playing. These accessories include additional dart tips, darts with soft tips (6), a power cord, operational instructions, and even hardware for wall mounting.
2. Viper 797 Electronic Soft Tip Dart Board
With a total of 43 built-in games modes boasting a total 240 options the Viper 797 is one of the best electric dart boards in the price range. Yes, while there are some boards that host 50+ game modes – for those on a limited budget that don’t want to sacrifice features this is the best choice. With support for up to 16 players you’ll be able to host dart games with all of your friends with many game modes to choose from.
With this dart board comes a total of 2 sets of darts, a power cord, and extra dart tips (everything you need to start playing). On the back there’s hardware in place that allows you to easily mount the board to a wall. It’s an eye-catching dart board with a good red/black contrast making it easier to aim your shots. Regardless of the decor – I believe that it’d be a great fit in to any room you choose to hang it in – just remember to leave enough open floor space for shot.
With micro thin dividers that reduce bounce-outs and highly affective sensors that accurately determine the darts location – it’s a great dart board overall and is one that you should definitely consider.
3. Arachnid Cricket Pro 650 Electronic Dart Board
Constructed from highly durable nylon with multiple sensor positions for shot accuracy; the Cricket Pro 650 is an incredible dart board offering support for up to 8 players. This high-quality, well optioned dart board is one of the top-rated electric dart boards as it boasts a stunning LED display (15.5”) which is incredibly easy to read from the throw line. Furthermore, the Cricket Pro 650 actually speaks to players to let them know whose turn it is.
With 8-player support, 24 unique game modes, and 132 game variations – it has held up to the reviews and is one of the best electric dart boards in the Arachnid product lineup.
Included with the Arachnid Cricket Pro 650 dart board is 6 darts, a game/operations manual, a power cord and even free a 1-year warranty (goes to show how good the quality is).
4. Viper 800 Electronic Soft Tip Dart Board
The Viper 800 hosts a total of 57 games with an impressive 307 options with 16-player support. It’s impressively built with a regulation sized 15.5″ board size with what the manufacturer calls a “thermal resin, Tournament quality segments” which truly does provide exceptional durability. Bounce outs from darts are far and few between due to the thin holes which allowed me to groups my darts closer together to maximize my score(s) when competing against friends.
Storage was thankfully one thing that Viper kept in mind when making this dart board as it can hold a total of 2 sets of darts in addition to storage space specifically designed to hold additional dart tips. One feature of this board that I really appreciate is its LARGE catch ring that provides your wall with impact protection. As long as take your time when shooting you’ll never need to worry about hitting your wall as the outer ring is nicely sized to help catch overthrown darts.
One noteworthy attribute of the Viper 800 dart board is the bright and easy-to-read LCD screen which makes it extremely easy to view scores and player statistics. This eliminates the need for keeping score tally’s manually. There are also three color schemes to choose from (red, black or silver) which makes it even more customizable to its users.
Last but not least, everything you need to start darting is included. If you end up going with the Viper 800 – you’ll receive a total of 6 starter-level darts (soft tips), hardware to mount the dart board to your wall, and a power supply adapter (which means you’ll never need batteries)!
Overall, the Viper 800 is an exceptionally-built dart board, hosts tons of games/features, and is built to last. While darts seem to stick a little too tight at times which can make the darts difficult to remove, it’s the only con of the dart board I have but doesn’t outweigh the many features this board has to offer.
5. Fat Cat 727 Electronic Soft Tip Dart Board
The Fat Cat 727 electronic dart board bridges the gap between affordability and quality. While it’s not on the same level as let’s say an Arachnid or Viper board; it’s a fraction of the cost and a majority of those who purchase this board are more than satisfied with the quality and board options.
This board is targeted for non-competitive, casual players who want to play for the fun of the game and not the sport. Game options are a bit limited at only 18 game modes but there are 96 customization options that you can adjust to your preference. As a prospective buyer I feel it’s only necessary that you know the build quality of the Fat Cat 727 isn’t the greatest. This is to be expected as this board costs about a quarter of what some of the better boards are going for but with moderate use there’s no reason it cannot last a long time.
While the Fat Cat 727 wasn’t built to regulation standards (in terms of size); it’s an excellent choice for those who want a simple board that focuses on the game rather than options.
Best Bristle Dart Boards
6. Winmau Blade 4 Bristle Dart Board
The Winmau Blade 4 dart board is a much improved model over the previous “Blade 3” dart board with boasting new “Dynamic Sector Wiring” that Winmau claims to be 50% smaller. This is one of the greatest improvements I’ve seen from the brand and after playing around 50 games on this board I noticed some incredible improvements in my performance and scoring.
Winmau has been around for quite some time and as such I wasn’t surprised to see how well-built the board was. The Blade 4 makes use of spider wiring which is constructed from high-tensile, galvanized Steele which is incredibly strong, resilient, and pretty much indestructible. The strength of the wiring directs darts on to the board (if struck) which certainly contributes to the board’s life-span.
If you’re a dart fanatic such as me then I’m sure you’ve played on dart boards in the past that had stapled wiring. Such boards can make landing shots difficult as the darts can hit the staple causing it to bounce off the board. However, when it comes to the Blade 4, Winmau went with a staple-free solution which reduces the amount of wiring that covers the dart board’s surface area. This wire design was actually developed by Winmau back in 1997 and they’ve continued using it after receiving such great feedback from their fans.
Before concluding my review on the Blade 4 I want to say that it’s a very quiet board. By this I mean that upon the darts impact on the board the noise level is quite minimal. I’m a night owl player and with family sleeping in my home it’s important to keep the noise down during late night play.
For those that may find it interesting, this board was seen on TV during the “Lakeside World Championship” at the “Winmau World Masters” which goes to show the level of craftsmanship that has gone in to the board.
7. TG Champion Tournament Bristle Dart Board
Simple in design, well-built, and easy to hang up are all the advantage points of the TG Champion Tournament Bristle Dartboard. With over 800 glowing reviews on Amazon it was certainly a dart board that I needed to review to see if it held up to the hype. I first want to comment on the quality. Constructed from high-quality fiber using a staple-free wiring design it’s a board that I see lasting for years even with daily use.
It has a diameter of 18 inches with a 1.6-inch thickness making it fit in to most cabinets. It’s constructed from bristle that self-heals instantaneously upon removal of darts and is very durable. To say it’s more durable than a cork-made board would be an understatement.
Whether you want to play cricket, Shanghai or even “Around the Clock” – you’ll be able to enjoy all of your favorite games on the TG Champion dart board. I was able to have the board mounted to my wall within a matter of 2-3 minutes thanks to the rear-mounted brackets which allows seamless installation. Unlike electric dart boards, no setup or assembly is required so you can jump right in to action with your friends.
8. Viper Shot King Tournament-Sized Dart Board
ULTIMATE VALUE FOR THE MONEY! Sorry, didn’t mean to “CAP” you out there but wanted to catch your attention as the Viper Shot King dartboard is so much more than just another board. Consider it to be, well, a BUNDLE. I was excited to have the chance to review the Viper as it had tons of positive reviews, included 6 high-quality darts, and was very reasonably priced. Let’s begin with the board’s construction.
Made from the use of sisal bristle fibers which are very tightly compressed together – the Viper Shot King provides nothing short of impeccable durability and blends together quality and affordability for the ultimate cost-efficient darting purchase. One unique attribute of the Viper is that you’re able to reposition the number ring which extends the life-quality of the board. Furthermore, for those who take darts seriously, you’ll be pleased to know that the Viper measures in at 18″ in diameter making it tournament-sized.
Viper is also boasts a staple-free bulls eye which is awesome. This is one component of a dart board that I rather play without as it makes hitting the center more difficult. However, you won’t need to worry about this as the entire board is staple-free and features an awesome color contrast (one that’s easy to see and aim on).
9. DMI Sports Bandit Dart Board
The Bandit is a world-class dart board and is sanctioned by the “World Darts Federation”. It has also been the “Official World Cup” dart board since 1999 due to its innovative design reduces the chance of bounce outs making it the ideal board for competitive play.
Part of its popularity is due to Bandit’s forward-thinking approach in totally revamping the wiring system. Rather than the traditional “wire spider” system utilized by most dart board brands; the Bandit board uses interlocking bands which are literally embedded in the bristles of all dividers (very thin). This means that there’s virtually no chance of the dart making contact with the wiring.
I was super impressed with the board’s stability during installation and play. Because of the interlocking bands used on this particular board, the boards strength is greatly improved and increases the lifespan since the board overall is held together much more securely.
Upgrades didn’t commence at revamping the wire system. When it comes to the Bandit no details were overlooked and the new and improved mounting bracket on the rear has been upgraded. It provides incredible rigidness and I haven’t seen any complaints about this component of the board from other buyers.
With a staple-free system, extremely thin wire system, and 10% more gameplay surface area; it doesn’t leave much to be desired and is dart board that will not let you and your friends down.
10. Unicorn Eclipse Pro Dart Board
There are many great dart boards on the market and one dart board I was really excited to review for you guys is the “Unicorn Eclipse Pro”. For those that don’t know, the Eclipse Pro is the dart board of choice every year by the PDC (Professional Darts Corporation) for all tournaments worldwide and there’s a reason for this.
These boards endure a lot of play in these tournaments and as such need to be constructed from only the best materials with a non-intrusive board design; and this they do. With engineers that have improved both the performance and construction of the board which features a staple-free design you can expect a long-lasting dart board that will improve your shot performance.
The Unicorn Eclipse Pro will certainly assist your game to maximize scoring potential. I’ve probably played close to 500 games on this board with friends and there’s something about this board that enables me to be much more accurate compared to other boards. While the board doesn’t come bundled with darts it’s a no-brainer choice for the price and is the bristle-board-of-choice for those that want a quality product that will last for years.
Buyer’s Guide to Finding the Best Dart Board
Different Types of Dart Boards
There are many unique dart boards available. So you choose the best dart board for your playing needs we’re going to briefly cover each of them so you can familiarize yourself with the various models.
Electronic dart boards provide features such as automatic score keeping and player turns. They use soft tip darts as premade holes are made for the darts to enter.
Bristle dart boards used in regulated tournaments are best suited for competitive players who want an authentic darting experience. They use steel tip darts which compared to “soft tips” last much longer.
Best used for the kids or for regular use where you don’t want to play too much on your good board; a Coiled paper dart board is constructed from a paper-like material where the dart punctures the papers layers. The holes left close up but often times they’re noticeable and these boards don’t last too long.
Wooden dart boards are commonly enclosed in a cabinet although there are some boards made of the material. For players wanting aesthetic appeal or a dart board that will compliment your room’s personality than a wood dart board would be a good option to consider.
Velcro (Best dart boards for kids)
Velcro dart boards are not only on the cheaper end of the spectrum but they’re the perfect board for children. Since the end of the darts aren’t point it’s less likely for the younger dart fans to get injured and on top of that will help to better protect the surrounding wall(s) from overthrown darts.
Magnetic dart boards are another great option for children or even adults who want a unique playing experience. As the name of the board implies; the board’s surface area is magnetic and the end of the darts are magnetic-tipped. Depending on the board you get, and, depending on the quality; darts can have a tendency to drop off of the board so check reviews to make sure you don’t see any gripes about this.
Cork dart boards in my opinion offer a playing experience similar to that of a Bristle board. They use steel tip darts, are quite light in weight, easy to hang up, and are usually pretty affordable.
Electronic Dart Boards vs. Bristle Dart Boards
Electronic dart boards are power-based boards providing a variety of unique features. Because they’re electric they’re capable of providing unique game modes to choose from, will keep track of player turns, and will tally scores/outcomes. Bristle boards on the other hand don’t offer such features but are used in regulated tournament gameplay and are best suited for players wanting an authentic dart-playing experience.
Do I need a Dart Board Cabinet?
Honestly, no. You don’t need to have one but if you want to mask your dart board so it’s not visible and want a solution to cover it up in style, then a dart board cabinet would be the perfect solution for you. Alternatively, a dart board cabinet should be considered even if you do not want to hide it but just want a more eye-appealing way of displaying it.
Benefits of a dart board cabinet include a more professional appearance, better focus ability, and lighting (most cabinets offer some sort of a built-in lighting fixture).
Soft tip vs. Steel tip Darts
Soft tips darts are used for electronic dart boards as they’re plastic-tipped and are thrown at a board with perforated holes. Because the tips on soft tips darts are made of plastic their lifespan is much shorter than that of a steel tip dart. Obviously, steel tip darts are constructed of metal which of course is much more durable than plastic making it a long-lasting dart.
Keep in mind though, most bars’ dart boards only allow soft tip darts. As you play you may develop a preference, however most professionals are able to switch between soft and steel tip darts no problem. As a beginner it’s best you purchase both types and find your preference.
We hope this post helped to provide you some insight on what the best dart board is for your playing need. If you haven’t been able to make up your mind, we recommend the Arachnid Cricket Pro 800.
Make sure you don’t forget darts!
Last update on 2018-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API