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Best dartboard 2023: Elite electronic, soft tip and professional bristle dartboards

Set up your own at-home oche with one of our favourite dartboards

Darts might be a game of numbers but choosing the best dartboard isn’t a case of simple addition. Paying more doesn’t always mean better quality – or make it any more likely you’ll score 180 – especially since there are numerous brands to choose from across different categories of board.

Whether you want a bristle dartboard as used by professional players, an electronic dartboard to play a range of preprogrammed games, or just a cheap, soft tip dartboard to get your eye in with as little expense as possible, there are a startling number of options available to you. And that’s forgetting any useful add-ons like a stand or a cabinet to frame your purchase.

To get your head around which board will meet your needs – as well as the features and extras you might want to consider when purchasing – read on for our deep dive into the world of dartboards and our suggestions for the best in every category and across a range of price points.

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Best dartboards: At a glance

How to choose the best dartboard for you

Types of dartboard

Bristle dartboards are considered the traditional choice. They are made with tiny fibres of a sisal plant that are bound together to form the board surface. These boards are said to be ‘self-healing’ as the fibres can close up the holes left by your darts somewhat and, for this reason, make an excellent choice in terms of longevity. In fact, the more you play, the faster the healing process of a bristle board becomes, as it encourages the fibres to adjust and reposition. So, it’s a solid choice for those that can’t get enough of the sport as you’ll get greater bang for your buck over its lifespan than with other board materials.

However, not all bristle boards are created equal. Different products will have different densities and depths to their sisal fibres, where the density tends to be associated with the hardness of the board and the depth will affect how far and frequently your darts bounce back from the board. Generally, the greater the density and depth of a board, the higher the cost will be.

Soft tip or electronic dartboards keep costs low as they are made from plastic. As the name suggests, these boards use darts that have a soft, plastic tip – as opposed to the hard metal of darts made for bristle boards – which make them a much safer option for children. Instead of being made up of sisal fibres, the boards feature hundreds of holes in each segment that allow the soft tip darts to stay in place. Handily, electronic boards should also keep score for you, and usually have many different games to play as part of their system.

What features should I look out for?

  • Base: As detailed above, traditional dartboards have a sisal fibre base where greater density and depth of those fibres means less chance of darts bouncing out and greater longevity of your board. Some dartboards will have multiple layers of sisal fibres, or another material below the fibres – such as carbon fibre – with all this layering providing added reinforcement. Plastic base or electronic boards are fairly uniform in build, however, some of these dartboards have a greater number of holes in them, with less chance for bounce outs.
  • Size: The regulation size of a dartboard is just over 45cm in diameter (or 17.75in to be precise). Larger or smaller boards work just as well, but it’s better to practise on a regulation board if you ever want to compete against others – be it in a pub setting or a professional tournament – so this is an important number to watch out for.
  • Wiring: This is what separates the different scoring areas of the board. Ideally, you’ll want the thinnest wiring you can find as that means less chance of your darts bouncing out and a greater chance of hitting your target.
  • Number ring: Every dartboard has a number ring – otherwise you wouldn’t be able to play – however some allow you to remove or rotate it. This feature is usually reserved for bristle boards, as removing the number ring allows you to rotate the board, spreading the wear and tear of the sisal fibres on frequently targeted zones, like treble twenty.

What darts go with my board?

Bristle boards use metal tip darts, while electronic or soft tip boards use plastic tip darts. There is much more to get stuck into than that, with darts coming in various shapes and weights as well as different grips, and you can read all about both types in greater detail in our best darts roundup.

What else might I need?

If you’re mounting your dartboard directly onto a wall, you’ll want to protect your interiors with a backing board or surround that sits behind your board. This way, any stray darts will hit the backboard protection rather than dig chunks out of your walls. Alternatively, you can get yourself a darts cabinet, which will offer backing protection as well as storage space and will look aesthetically pleasing to boot.

If you want to avoid any DIY and keep things simple, a dartboard stand is a handy purchase. This will hold up your board in a sturdy position while in use and can be packed away when you’re finished. Ideal for smaller homes or those who don’t want a permanent darts-themed feature wall.

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How much should I pay?

You won’t find a bristle dartboard for less than £25, and even that’s pushing it, with most hovering closer to £30 outside of sales periods. The longer-lasting boards made from higher quality and high density fibres begin at around the £50 mark, with multi-core options pushing the price up to £60 and beyond.

Soft tip dartboards tend to be much cheaper, given their plastic material is simpler to manufacture, and they can start from as little as £15. Conversely, electronic versions of these boards can often cost more than elite bristle boards, running into the hundreds of pounds as the quality and the number of game modes increase. These higher-end buys tend to be more reliable too, as the automatic electronic scoring isn’t always recorded as well on the cheaper buys. However, you can still get a decent electronic board with multiple game modes for around £25.

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The best dartboards to buy in 2023

1. Winmau Blade 6: Best overall dartboard

Price: £50 | Buy now from Argos

Darts players want a board that won’t bounce back their throws and has decent durability and aesthetic, at a reasonable price. The Winmau Blade 6 is a dartboard that ticks all those considerations and more.

It’s made from the tightly packed, high-quality sisal fibres that Winmau have become known for, and we found the vast majority of our throws still stayed in the board, no matter how poor our shots were. Those fibres should mean it remains in usable condition for longer than other cheaper buys, offering solid value for money. Plus, it’s professional tournament-approved since it’s made to World Darts Federation specifications – including ultra-thin wiring to maximise your chance of a high score – so you’ll be playing under similar conditions to stars like Michael van Gerwin or Fallon Sherrock.

Considering the calibre of its build, the Blade 6 offers some of the best value at a price still affordable to most people.

Key details – Type: Bristle; Diameter: 45.4cm; Core: Single; Game modes: N/A; Darts included? None

Buy now from Argos

2. Canaveral Plastip dartboard: Best budget plastic dartboard

Price: £15 | Buy now from Decathlon

Buying cheap is often the best way to test the waters on a new hobby and that’s where dartboards like the Canaveral Plastip make a lot of sense.

At just £15, newbies can get their fix for very little financial investment and without damaging their walls (or themselves) given this is a plastic dartboard that uses soft tip darts. This is especially important for kids, with this set being safe for ages six and up.

Compared to other sets, particularly Bristle boards, you may have to throw a little harder to get the darts to stick, but the Canaveral Plastip board can provide hours of fun, for adults and children alike, at a bottom dollar price.

Key details – Type: Plastic (soft tip); Diameter: 40cm; Core: N/A; Game modes: N/A; Darts included? Six

Buy now from Decathlon

3. Jack Daniel’s Home Darts Centre: Best dart cabinet with dartboard

Price: £74 | Buy now from Home Leisure Direct

An aesthetically pleasing cabinet like this sleek Jack Daniel’s Darts Centre can bring a little pizzazz to your home darts arena. Coming pre-assembled, its wooden build feels sturdy and only requires mounting to your wall. Likewise, the included Axis dartboard is high quality, using tightly compacted sisal fibres made to match the Jack Daniels colour scheme.

The set offers greater functionality and convenience to your playing too, since there are whiteboards on the inside of the cabinet doors to record your scores (whiteboard pens included). It also comes with two sets of Jack Daniels-branded darts so you can start playing right away (although do peruse our best darts recommendations for even higher-grade equipment).

All-in-all, it’s an aesthetically minded buy and a particularly useful purchase should you, or any cohabitants, not want a dartboard as a permanent piece of decor – your hobby can hide away disguised as a neat and tidy cupboard. For a non-brand alternative, have a look at the Mission Darts Centre.

Key details – Type: Bristle with cabinet; Dimensions (HWD): 61 x 53 x 9cm (cabinet); Diameter: 45cm (dartboard); Core: Single; Game modes: N/A; Darts included? Six

Buy now from Home Leisure Direct

4. Unicorn Striker: Best budget bristle dartboard

Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon

The Unicorn Striker is one of the cheapest bristle dartboards on the market that still offers solid quality. You get all the design features found on more expensive bristle boards – like a metal number ring and a spider made from traditional, thin wiring – the only difference is you may find it wears away a little faster due to weaker and less crowded sisal fibres.

Still, you wouldn’t know that on first look and, given the price, you can always upgrade to a more durable buy once you know this is the sport for you, or you have the money to do so. For those after an authentic dartboard on a budget, there is nothing better.

Key details – Type: Bristle; Diameter: 46cm; Core: Single; Game modes: N/A; Darts included? None

5.  Winmau Blade 6 Triple Core: Best high-end dartboard

Price: £79 | Buy now from Argos

Winmau presents its premier offering, the Blade 6 Triple Core, as being the “most technically advanced board” around and we certainly can’t fault it.

What does a triple-core design add to your experience? Well, greater layers of sisal fibres have been proven to reduce bounce-outs of your darts, increase overall durability, and make your throws quieter to boot. This Winmau Blade 6’s three layers of tightly wound sisal fibres are further reinforced with a carbon fibre base too, meaning those fibres are even less likely to be ripped out. Add in ultra-thin wiring and an anti-glare number ring, and there are no excuses for not getting some double and triple scores.

As a PDC (Professional Darts Corporation)-endorsed product used by pros across the world, it’s a top purchase for those who are already fairly competent darts players in their own right. For about £15 less, you can get Winmau’s still excellent dual-core board, but we reckon this one is worth the extra cash.

Key details – Type: Bristle; Diameter: 45cm; Core: Triple; Game modes: N/A; Darts included? None

Buy now from Argos

6. Unicorn Striker dartboard with Gorilla Arrow Pro Stand: Best dartboard with stand

Price: £70 | Buy now from Amazon

The problem with dartboards is they need to be mounted somewhere to be used. So, if you’re renting a property and don’t want to damage the walls, or if you just don’t have the tools, a simple solution is to get a dartboard with a stand included.

This dartboard stand from Unicorn is an excellent choice in this regard and one of the only options on the market to include a dartboard with your purchase. We found it to be sturdy upon the impact of thrown darts and hold its position well – just be careful when taking your darts out to not move it too much. It’s also easy to assemble and take down as you please, so you can enjoy a game of darts without it taking up permanent space in your home.

Should you want an additional surround to protect your walls, you can pay an extra £40 to have that included with your purchase.

Key details – Type: Bristle with stand; Diameter: 46cm; Core: Single; Game modes: N/A; Darts included? None

7. Canaveral ED110: Best budget electronic dartboard

Price: £25 | Buy now from Decathlon

With many electronic dartboards running into the hundreds of pounds, breaking into the world of gamified darts can be an expensive purchase – the Canaveral ED110 is a board that bucks that trend.

Despite the low cost, it’s still a relatively similar offering to more expensive electronic boards. The key differences are that you have fewer games on offer and fewer players can take part. But you still have twenty games to pick from and up to eight people playing at once, which is more than enough for most people. The darts might stay in the board a little less than with the more expensive sets, as there are fewer holes for their plastic tips, but bounce out is still fairly rare if you give your throws enough oomph.

Key details – Type: Electronic (soft tip); Diameter: 40cm; Core: N/A; Game modes: 20; Darts included? Six

Buy now from Decathlon

8. Viper 800 Electronic dartboard: Best electronic dartboard

Price: £150 | Buy now from Amazon

Bristle dartboards might offer the purest experience but, for added spice in your darts sessions, electronic boards like the Viper 800 make a lot of sense. Up to 16 players can play across 57 games, like Cricket or Minnesota, with six soft tip darts to share between the players. There’s also a throw line and throw measuring tape to add some order to the darts carnage – these games can get competitive after all – and the board will automatically keep score, so no need to get your calculator out.

The board itself is a regulation size of 15.5in and is filled with more holes than many cheaper plastic dartboards, so you should get more of your darts to stick their landing. There are more expensive electronic options out there, but we think the Viper 800 is the best balance of features and reliability.

Key details – Type: Electronic (soft tip); Diameter: 39.5cm; Core: N/A; Game modes: 57; Darts included? Six

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