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If you are interested in the game of darts, whether for professional play or just a bit of fun, something you need to consider is what type of dartboard you want to get.
To be exact, there are six different types of dartboards that you have to choose from, each of which has its own disadvantages and benefits.
Let’s take a closer look to find out which one is right for you.
#1: Bristle Dartboard
The first, oldest, most common, and most popular type of dartboard out there is the traditional bristle dartboard. These dartboards are what the professionals use, and are the only ones allowed in tournaments. They have a playing field or diameter of 15.5 inches, which is the tournament standard.
Although they are called bristle dartboards, they don’t actually have bristles. The board’s surface is made out of either sisal or hemp, but usually the former. These long sisal fibers are stretched really tight from one side to the other. When a dart hits the board, the sisal fibers part, thus allowing for dart penetration, and the fibers are so tightly woven that they hold the dart in place.
This type of dartboard is ideal both for professional and casual use, as well as for practicing your game, but that said, it’s the only kind that a pro would ever use. A pro darts player wouldn’t even look at any of the other types. Here, you get real steel-tipped darts that fly straight and hit heavy, along with a durable yet generally inexpensive board, one that should last for a very long time to come, and also doesn’t suffer from bounce-out. This is the original.
#2: Electronic Dartboard
Next, we have the electronic dartboard, which as you can probably tell by the name, is a bit more modern and advanced. These dartboards feature sensors under the board’s surface which register when a dart hits and sticks.
The electronics in this kind of board allow for automatic scorekeeping, they can remember players and scores, as well as unfinished games, and yes, they come loaded to the brim with games that can be played. There is also the fact that these allow you to play against the computer, which is nice if you don’t have anybody else to play with.
These boards look cool and are often flashy, they are great for beginners, great for having a bit of fun, and they’re quite portable too. That said, electronic dartboards, due to the little holes they have which the darts must hit (at least with the cheaper models), often suffer from bounce-out, which means that darts often don’t adhere well.
Moreover, this type of dartboard isn’t exactly known for its durability, particularly because the electronics start to degrade and may malfunction over time. This is definitely not a type of dartboard that a pro player would use, because it just doesn’t feel like the real thing. Especially so because of the plastic-tipped and lightweight darts used, which often don’t fly right.
#3: Magnetic Dartboard
A very unique type of dartboard to consider is the magnetic variety, another type that no professional player would ever consider using. The reason for this is because these dartboards just don’t accurately recreate the real game. The darts don’t fly the same, they don’t stick to the board the same, and much more. There is also a distinct metallic clinking sound that happens each time a dart hits the board, which can be a bit irritating.
Now, these dartboards are durable enough because they are usually made out of magnetic materials, which means that there is always a good deal of metal involved. However, when a dart hits, depending on how it hits the board, it can slide around a bit, which limits accuracy and can cause problems with scoring. If the dart hits too hard, it might bounce off the board as well.
The main attraction of magnetic dartboards is that they are super easy to use and they don’t require any setup, at least not really. Moreover, magnetic dartboards are considered great for some basic family fun, because throwing the darts is easy due to their lightweight, and this is safe for kids too.
Instead of throwing around super sharp metal-tipped darts like with a traditional board, magnetic board darts are blunt at the front. You won’t take out any eyes with magnetic darts. There is also the fact that magnetic dartboards tend to be relatively cheap, and often come in miniature travel sizes.
#4: Wooden Dartboard
Ok, so when we said that the traditional bristle dartboard was the original, this was not quite true, because the first type of dartboard ever to be used was made of wood, and yes, you can still find these today.
What is true is that wooden dartboards are just classic, and they look super nice. That said, they can be difficult to use because those darts need to fly at a good speed in order to penetrate the wood surface. Yes, the wood used is somewhat soft to allow darts to penetrate, but it’s still nothing like sisal.
The fact of the matter is that a wooden dartboard is more of a novelty than anything else, something that looks super nice on your wall and costs a fortune to buy.
However, they really are not very functional, they’re fairly hard to play on, and they’re actually not that durable either. That wood can crack, and prolonged use will only increase the chances of the wood cracking or splitting.
#5: Cork Dartboard
Cork and bristle dartboards are very similar, and cork dartboards may even have a thin layer of sisal on the surface. While these two types of dartboards are very similar, there are a few differences to consider.
For one, that thick layer of sisal is much more durable and much denser than cork, which means that cork dartboards sometimes let darts penetrate through right to the wall.
There is also the fact that cork is not the most durable material in general. With years or even just months of use, cork can quite literally start to crumble into pieces. The upside is that these boards are very cost-effective to purchase.
#6: Coiled Paper Dartboard
The final and cheapest kind of dartboard is the coiled paper variety. These are made out of very tightly packed coils of paper. They are inexpensive, they’re fun to use, and they work well enough.
The big drawback is that paper is not durable. Every shot causes irreversible damage, which also happens when you pull the darts out. They just don’t last long.
What Is the Best Type of Dartboard?
When it comes down to it, the best type of dartboard is the traditional bristle dartboard. They are moderately priced, the sisal is durable and doesn’t cause bounce-out, they look nice, and it’s what the professionals use.
That said, for the casual home user, an electronic dartboard is probably the best option. Not only does it take care of scoring automatically, but also features a number of different game modes for endless hours of fun.
What Type of Dartboard Do Professionals Use?
The only type of dartboard that a professional would consider using is a standard size traditional bristle dartboard, as this is the only type accepted in tournaments.
As you can see, there are plenty of dartboard types out there, with the best being the traditional bristle variety. Sure, you can try any of the others, particularly the electronic kind, which can be a whole lot of fun.
However, if you want to practice for professional purposes, the bristle board is the only way to go.