Three best dartboards
If you're looking for an activity to spice up your game room, you can't go wrong with a dartboard. While you may think of it as only a pub game, a dartboard also fits perfectly in the home due to its manageable footprint, low cost, and universal appeal. Young and old can throw darts, and the wide variety of games you can play on the board have two aspects in common: an easy learning curve and a lot of fun.
But what should you consider when you set out to buy a dartboard? The following guide will work you through some of the things you need to know to hit your buying experience bull's eye.
Considerations when choosing dartboards
From electronic to cork to coiled paper, dartboards can be found in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but the bristle board beats them all in popularity. These boards are made from fibers taken from the sisal, or agave, plant, and there are millions of these fibers used in every board. When a dart enters the board, it wedges between the fibers but doesn't damage them. This "self-healing" property gives bristle boards a longer life compared to boards made of other materials.
In addition to the board itself, there are several parts or characteristics that are common to dartboards. The "spider" is the inner wire mesh that separates the numbers and various scoring areas from each other. High-end spiders are usually thinner and staple-free. This limits the times when darts ricochet off the board and stick into the floor (bounce-outs).
The number ring runs around the edge of the board. On higher quality boards, this ring can be rotated, allowing you to move worn areas to other parts of the board and extend the life of the board.
Most boards use food-grade inks to differentiate the various parts. These environmentally friendly inks are soaked into the fibers to help maintain the vibrant colors and cut down on glare.
In addition to darts, there are a number of accessories that you might want to consider when purchasing a board.
A cabinet is an attractive option. In addition to protecting the immediate area around the board from errant throws, a cabinet is also handy for storing darts, and some have a scoring board built into the doors. On the downside, a quality cabinet could cost more than the board itself.
Wall and floor protection
Backboards and mats are also available to protect your walls and floors from bounce-outs and just plain poor throwing.
You can also invest in some form of line marker, so that everyone is throwing from the same distance. These range from simple tape strips to more expensive laser options that fasten to the wall or the board itself and project lines onto the floor.
Sturdy bristle dartboards start at around $20 and go up to $100 or more. Adding accessories like top-of-the-line darts or a cabinet could more than double that amount.
Q. How do I hang a dartboard?
A. Your dartboard should have a built-in bracket or hanger that you can use to mount the board to a wall or frame. With more expensive boards, you can easily rotate the board within the bracket without removing it from the wall.
Q. I had a lot of bounce-outs with my old dartboard. What should I look for in a board to avoid these?
A. Most bounce-outs occur because the wire in the metal frame, or spider, is too thick or held on by staples. In addition, you also want to check that the board isn't too thin. The darts won't penetrate far enough into a thin board, resulting in more bounce-outs.
Dartboards we recommend
Best of the best: Winmau Blade 4 Bristle Dartboard
Our take: Sturdy board offers a superior design that works for both casual and professional players.
What we like: We like the high visibility. Thin wiring and the lack of staples also minimize bounce-outs.
What we dislike: Surface can be a little uneven.
Best bang for your buck: Hey! Play! TG Champion Tournament Bristle Dartboard
Our take: Inexpensive, durable board. Self-healing sisal. Easy to remove darts.
What we like: Quality construction holds up over time. Inks are both attractive and visible.
What we dislike: Quality can be a little off on some, resulting in uneven surface or misplaced numbers.
Choice 3: Franklin Sports Bristle Dartboard
Our take: Heavy and durable. Affordable choice for recreational players.
What we like: Regulation-size board stands out for visibility and sturdy construction.
What we dislike: Wire in spider is thicker than on other options, which could increase bounce-outs.
Rich Gray is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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