Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Do you like to stand at the dartboard in bars, pubs and bowling alleys and practise your precision? Or are you just interested in the sport and want to try it out for yourself? Maybe you've already tried one at a friend's house and were immediately impressed? Then your own dartboard could be just the thing for you!

In our dartboard test 2021 we have compiled detailed background information on the subject of dartboards and answered the most important questions. In addition, we present different types of dartboards in more detail and give you criteria that you should definitely look out for when buying a dartboard.




The most important facts

  • Dartboards are a part of the precision sport of darts. Darts is a game of skill in which darts are thrown at a round dartboard.
  • Basically, you can distinguish between two types of dartboards. There is the cork dartboard, which is usually made of sisal, and the dart machine, which runs electronically.
  • Cork dartboards are recommended to be played with steeldarts, electronic dartboards on the other hand with softdarts.

The Best Dartboard: Our Picks

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and rate dartboards

Size / Weight

Since a cork dartboard has no computer or display, the Unicorn Bristle Dartboard consists only of the dartboard. Thus, the diameter of 46 cm on the round dartboard is tournament size. The depth of 5 cm is average among cork dartboards.

The weight of almost 5 kg is absolutely acceptable for a cork dartboard.

Scope of delivery

The scope of delivery of the Unicorn Bristle dartboard only includes the dartboard and the necessary wall mount. Unfortunately, to play darts, you first have to get darts.

Number of games / number of players / game functions

With cork dartboards, there is generally no limit to the number of games and players. This is because cork dartboards do not have a computer to keep score. Therefore, the computer is also obsolete. You can play any game with as many players as you like. You only have to count or calculate the points yourself and write them down.

Size / Weight

With a size of 52 x 57 x 5 cm, the Dartona JX200 Tournament Pro electronic dartboard is below average among electronic dartboards. Only the height is much higher than usual for electronic dartboards. This is because the scoreboard and player display are above the dartboard and buttons are below the dartboard.

The weight of 7 kg is relatively high despite the computer. Especially because the Dartona JX2000 Tournament Pro Electronic Dartboard has no wooden doors.

Scope of delivery

In order to be able to start your first dart game right away, the Dartona JX2000 Tournament Pro Electronic Dartboard comes with 24 darts with replacement tips in case you break a tip.

To use the computer functions, a 220 volt power supply is included, as well as a storage compartment that you can place underneath the dartboard to keep spare parts within easy reach. You can store your darts on the side of the e-dartboard. There is space for up to 12 darts.

The enclosed instruction manual is completely in German. This will help you to operate the Dartona JX2000 Tournament Pro electronic dartboard. Screws for mounting on the wall are also included.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a dartboard

Who is a dartboard suitable for?

Basically, there is no real age limit for dartboards. Very young children should not play with sharp objects, of course. Younger players are better off with electronic dartboards with soft darts. Dartboards are for young and old, regardless of gender. It's mainly about having fun and competing.

Where is a dartboard most often used?

Dartboards are of course used in professional darts. There are also many pubs that put dart machines in their premises and let visitors play for a small fee. Here, electronic dartboards or large dart machines are the most common.

Dartscheibe Analog

To start playing darts, all you need is a dartboard and the corresponding darts. With electronic dartboards, the score is usually recorded automatically; with cork boards, it is advisable to have a piece of paper and a pen ready. (Photo: TeroVesalainen / pixabay.com)

In addition, many private individuals buy dartboards for their own amusement. The dartboards are usually kept in hobby cellars, game rooms or garages.

What do I need to play darts?

Basically, all you need to play darts is a dart and a target. You could also draw the target yourself on a piece of paper. But that would not be as much fun. You should have three darts per player, soft darts for an electronic dartboard and stone darts for a corkboard. This is already enough to make a decent game.

A catch field behind the dartboard is often recommended, as throws next to the target can damage the wall. Another recommendation from us would be a piece of paper and a pen if you use a dartboard made of cork to note down the score.

What alternatives are there to dartboards and what are the advantages in contrast?

An alternative to electronic dartboards and those made of cork are magnetic target boards or those made of Velcro. The Velcro version is very suitable for children.

There are also possible alternatives for the sport of darts. If you want to do a sport where you have to hit a target to score points, you could try archery with a recurve bow or sporting activities with firearms. However, with firearms, be aware of the laws and do your research.

How much does a dartboard cost?

The prices of dartboards vary depending on the workmanship and the scope of delivery. Simple e-dartboards tend to be inexpensive, whereas electronic target boards with doors and dart holders might be a bit pricey. Different cork dartboards are for the most part not far apart in price. 35 to 55 euros can be spent on such a dartboard.

You can buy electronic dartboards for as little as 25 euros. However, the price can rise depending on the construction and functions. An e-darts game with folding doors and many games and variations can cost up to 200 euros.

Decision: What types of dartboards are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between two types of dartboards:

  • Electronic dartboard (soft darts)
  • Cork dartboard (Steeldarts)

Both dartboards have advantages and disadvantages, which are mainly noticeable in their function and workmanship. Different darts are used for the different types.

Depending on the area of application and intended use, you should choose a different type of dartboard.

The selection is large, so you should inform yourself well in advance and think about which type of dartboard it should be. In the following, we will help you to find out which dartboard best suits your needs.

What are the characteristics of an electronic dartboard and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

The electronic dartboard requires connection to a power outlet. Only then can you use all the advantages of the electronic version. Of course, you can also throw the darts at the dartboard when it is switched off.

Once the power is connected, you can select a game and the number of players by pressing a few buttons. The computer counts the points thrown so that you and your teammates don't have to do the maths.

Some e-darts have integrated sounds. They tell you the score or play music when you win a game or hit the bullseye.

Advantages
  • Automatic counting for multiple players
  • Saved games and game variations
Disadvantages
  • Requires electricity
  • Arrows have weaker durability

The darts used in electronic dart machines have a plastic tip. These break relatively quickly if, for example, you miss and hit the wall. Replacement tips are not very expensive and usually come with enough. They can be easily replaced with a simple unscrewing. Darts with plastic tips are called soft darts.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a cork dartboard?

Playing darts like the pros is possible with a cork dartboard. Professional dart players play their tournaments exclusively on cork dartboards.

They use darts with metal tips. These are not suitable for children and don't leave a nice residue on the walls if you miss. However, metal-tipped darts have a higher durability than soft darts. These darts are called steeldarts.

The cork dartboard does not need electricity. As a result, you have to keep score yourself and there are no preset games.

Advantages
  • Does not require electricity
  • Darts have good durability
Disadvantages
  • Weaker durability of the disc
  • You have to count your own points

If you throw the metal arrow at the cork disc, a small hole appears at the spot. The sisal fibres that adorn the surface of the dartboard normally regenerate, but after a while they don't regenerate as well as they did in the beginning.

At some point, the darts then no longer stick to the disc. However, this can take some time. If you play infrequently, the durability can be estimated at 10 to 15 years.

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate dartboards

In the next few paragraphs I will explain the criteria you can use to compare and evaluate dartboards. This will make it easier for you to decide which dartboard suits you best.

I will explain the following buying criteria in the following so that you can adapt them to your wishes:

  • Size
  • Weight
  • Arrows included
  • Number of games
  • Number of possible players
  • Computer opponents

Size

The size of dartboards is slightly different for electric models and those made of cork. E-dartboards often have a frame with displays and buttons. Thus, they are wider and higher, usually also thicker.

Cork dartboards are usually only the round target board and thus the same size in height and width. The thickness varies from dartboard to dartboard.

The dimensions are given in the following form: Width x Height x Depth.

Weight

The weight of your dartboard does not affect the quality of play or the durability of your board. If you have a special wall device on which you want to hang your dartboard, you should test beforehand whether it can hold the weight.

Dartscheibe Digital

Dartboards in electronic form can already be purchased at a relatively low price. Unlike a dartboard made of cork, this one uses darts with a plastic tip instead of metal. (Photo: Stephen Niemeier / pexels.com)

Again, there is a difference between electronic dartboards and those made of cork, but it shouldn't be very big when it comes to weight. Of course, e-dartboards have a computer and displays built in, but the cork has a certain weight of its own.

This serves to prevent the cork disc from falling directly off the wall. Cork dartboards are often used outdoors. This means that the disc does not fly away directly in a strong wind.

Arrows included

An important tool for playing darts are the darts. They are almost more important than the dartboard itself. Of course, you can simply buy the darts, but isn't it nicer to start playing directly when the dartboard is up?

Dart darts are usually supplied with the electronic dart machine. These are light soft darts with a plastic tip. Spare parts for the darts are always included.

Cork dartboards rarely have darts included in the delivery. This is due to the fact that these are better and of a higher quality. In this case, the darts are steeldarts.

Number of games

There are a large number of different games and game variants in the sport of darts. You can read about these games and their variations further down on this page. This purchase criterion could be important for you, as the price is driven up by many games and variants.

Of course, cork dartboards have no limit to the number of games and this also applies to e-dartboards. This criterion concerns the default settings on the computer of e-dartboards. The computer knows the rules of the games and game variations and counts the points that are thrown.

Number of possible players

This purchase criterion concerns only electronic dart machines. With cork dartboards, the number of possible players is unlimited. This also applies in part to e-dartboards. With the computer switched off, more players than intended can also participate in a game.

The higher the number of possible players on electronic dartboards, the more players can participate in the game. The computer indicates whose turn it is and keeps score for each player. It also recognises when the game is over for the respective player.

Computer opponents

This purchase criterion also only applies to electronic dartboards, as cork dartboards do not have a computer. The computer opponent allows you to play darts alone.

At random, the computer "throws" numbers in different game variations and adds them up. So you compete against a computer opponent in a game of your choice to improve your darting skills.

Facts worth knowing about the dartboard and the sport of darts

What are the rules of darts?

There are various rules in the sport of darts. In the following I will go into more detail about the points you should pay attention to.

Distance

The minimum throwing distances vary by a few cm for steel and soft darts. Officially, for steel darts you should stand 2.37 m away from the cork dartboard, while the minimum throwing distance for soft darts to the e-dartboard is 2.44 m.

Parallel to this, the distance of your toe to the bullseye is measured diagonally. For e-darts, 2.98 m is calculated, while you should stand 2.93 m away from a cork dartboard.

Height

This is measured from the floor to the bullseye. With e-darts, the centre of the disc is 1 cm lower than with steel darts. The bullseye should be 1.72 m from the floor for soft darts and 1.73 m for steel darts.

Rules

The numbers on the dartboard are always arranged in the same way. You can recognise two rings by the pattern. If you hit the outer ring, the number is multiplied by two. The outer ring multiplies the number by three if you hit it. The centre of the dartboard is called the bullseye, which gives you 50 points. The small ring around the bullseye gives you 25 points and is called the bull.

Usually, each player throws three times. The total score is then added up. The rules vary slightly depending on the game variant.

What game variations are there in darts?

There are several different games and variations in darts. I will introduce the eight most important ones in the next paragraphs.

301 / 501 / 701

This game variant is the basis for tournament games and is probably the best known and most popular game.

Each player has 301, 501 and 701 points respectively. The aim is to bring them to exactly zero. Each player throws three times per round. If a player throws more points in a round than he has left, his throws in that round are invalid.

There are other variations of this game, which are as follows:

  • Straight Out: you can hit any square to finish the game
  • Double Out: to finish you have to hit a double field
  • Master Out: to finish the game you have to hit a double or triple square
  • Double In: at the beginning of the game you have to hit a double field
  • Triple In: at the start of the game you have to hit a Triple square

Double Out is the most common here. There are constantly variants with different scores but in the same principle.

Tactics / Cricket / Mickey Mouse

Here you have to hit the numbers 20 to 10 and Bull three times each. If you have already hit the field three times and hit it again, you get the corresponding points. The prerequisite for this is that the opponent has not yet hit this square three times. You win if you hit all the above-mentioned squares three times first and have the most points.

A double means two hits, while a triple means three hits.

Blind Killer

In the blind killer, the numbers 1 to 20 are written down on slips of paper. The slips are folded, shuffled and each player draws a slip. The player must now keep the drawn number secret. The remaining slips of paper are unfolded so that everyone can see which numbers have not yet been drawn. Now write the numbers on a board and put eight to twelve lines behind each number.

After the turn, all players throw three darts at the numbers that are in play. For each single hit, one stroke is removed, for each double two strokes and for each triple three strokes. The player whose numbers have lost their last dash must report and is eliminated. Eliminated players may not throw again. You win if you are the last one left.

Killer

First you have to determine any number of lives. The first player gives a field. Any field is possible, whether single, double, triple, bull or bulls eye.

The following players must now try to hit the field. If the player does not hit it, he loses a life. If the player hits it, he/she can choose a new field that the others have to throw.

You have won when all the other players have been eliminated and you have hit your last chosen square yourself.

Fox hunt

One player (fox) starts, for example, at 18 and the second at 20 (hunter). The hunter tries to hunt the fox. If the fox hits 18, it goes clockwise, so 18, 4, 13, 6, 10 and so on. After three throws it is the hunter's turn. The same principle applies.

Of course, this game can also be extended, perhaps you can only hit doubles or you play in order (hunter: 1, 2, 3, 4..., fox: 3, 4, 5, 6...). The game is over when the hunter has caught the fox or the fox has come around once.

Shanghai

There are three variants of this game:

Variant 1: One after the other, the players throw at the numbers 1 to 9. Each player throws three darts once at each number, and the points scored are noted down. Of course, only the points scored by hitting the number whose turn it is.

So the maximum number of points that can be scored per round is nine times the current number (three triples). If a player hits a single, a double and a triple of a number, this is called a Shanghai. In this variant, a Shanghai cannot consist of a single, double and triple of different numbers.

Variation 2: Each player throws 20 or 21 darts, i.e. seven rounds with three throws each. The first goes on the 1, the second on the 2 and so on. The game is played to 20 or Bulls Eye. A Shanghai consists of a single, double and triple of different consecutive numbers.

Variation 3: As in variation 2, a Shanghai consists of a single, double and triple of different consecutive numbers. Each player throws on the 1 until it is hit, then on the next number. The player who throws a Shanghai wins the game early. This applies to all variants. However, there is one exception. A player who also throws a Shanghai after throwing the Shanghai equalises. Then these two players continue to play.

Around the clock

In this variation, each player throws three times. You start with the number 1. If you hit it, you throw to the 2 and so on. The last throw goes to the bulls-eye. If you hit a double, you can skip the next number. If you hit a triple, you can skip the next two numbers.

Of course, you can also turn the whole thing around and start with 20.

Double Down 41

If you do not hit the round target with any of your throws in a round, your score is halved. You start with a score of 40. You have three throws per round.

In the first round you throw at 20. Each hit on 20 is added to the score and doubles and triples also count. The next rounds: 19, double, 18, 17, triple, 16, 15.

In the ninth round, the player must throw a total of exactly 41 points with three darts. In the last round, the throw is on bull. You win if you have the most points after ten rounds.

Which throwing technique leads to success?

The majority of dart players hold the dart in a similar way to a pen when writing. It is important to keep a constant speed when throwing. This is the only way to practise the correct sequence. In the ideal throw, the throwing arm should be the only thing that moves.

For the foot position, place the foot on the side of the throwing arm in front of you and put your weight on it. The other foot should be placed further back for balance. Your front foot should be parallel to the dartboard.

How do I mount a dartboard on the wall and what background should I use?

The best way is to fix an iron hook with nails in the wall and attach the counterpart to the back of the dartboard. In between you could fix a plywood or polystyrene board.

This way you can avoid damaging your wall and the dartboard will not reverberate as much. Make sure that the number 20 is at the top and the number 3 at the bottom. You can find the exact measurements above.

Who is the best dartboard player in the world?

This is of course difficult to answer, as the top professionals are all really good at their sport. The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) world rankings, which have been around since 2007, are based on two years' worth of prize money.

Here we have put together a small table with a selection of 5 of the most successful players of all time.

Phil Taylor Raymond van Barneveld Michael van Gerwen Eric Bristow Gary Anderson
Alias The Power Barney Mighty Mike The Crafty Cockney The Flying Scotsman
Career start 1988 1987 2003 1977 2000
Career end 2018 Current Current 2018 Current
World titles 16 5 3 5 2

Can I join a darts club?

Some cities in Germany have a darts club. These cities include Berlin, Nuremberg, Bremen, Kaiserslautern and Düsseldorf. Your city has not been mentioned? Then take a look at the German Darts Association. Here you will find all the information you need.

Why is the dartboard arranged like this?

The arrangement of the numbers on the dartboard is due to the Englishman Brian Gamlin. The sequence of numbers was intended to limit the frequency of lucky throws and restrict chance. The arrangement of the 5 and the 1 next to the 20 was simply meant to punish a lack of marksmanship.

Image source: Pachai Leknettip / 123RF.com

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