Authentic playing experience, durable construction, and streamlined features to reduce bounce outs. Just some of the things we look for in the best bristle dartboards.
Although it’s estimated that the game of darts was invented around seven hundred years ago, it still remains one of the most popular games in the world.
And once you fall in love with this game, you might consider purchasing a dartboard for your home.
Yet with thousands of options on the market, it can be hard to figure out which board is right for you.
At first, regulation size bristle dartboards all look pretty similar. The numbers are the same. The colors, for the most part, are the same. And all quality bristle dartboards are made with sisal fibers. So how do you know which one to buy?
It’s the subtle differences in board design and construction that make the difference. Specifically, we look for boards with extra thin scoring rings and staple free construction to reduce bounce outs and provide an authentic playing experience, plus quality sisal fibers and tight construction for long term durability.
We highlight some of these features below in our list of the best bristle dartboards.
Each board has some pros and cons, but we’re confident you’ll find a great board that will hold up to all those Cricket games you’ll play over the years.
The Best Bristle Dartboards
Best overall to reduce bounce-outs.
With endorsement from the British Darts Organization (BDO), the Winmau Blade 5 Bristle Dartboard is an excellent choice for both beginners and professionals alike. Not only does it feature an increased scoring area for you to hit, but the wiring system is also thinner as well.
In comparison to its predecessor, the Blade 4, the wiring system on the Blade 5 is precisely 14% thinner. To reduce the number of bounce-outs, there’s even a 30-degree reduction in the angle of razor wire.
Securing the dartboard to the surface you want to play on can be a challenge. Depending on where you live, you may only have limited space to play—and if your dartboard doesn’t stick to the surface you need it to, it can end up being a waste of money. Luckily, the Winmau Blade 5 Dartboard solves this concern by including a triple wheel lock-and-level system that helps you secure the board to almost any surface.
Those who decide to purchase this board may even find that it’s much easier to set up and mount than other options.
- Has a thinner wiring system than previous models
- Reduces bounce-outs by using a 30-degree reduction in razor wire angle
- Includes a triple wheel lock-and-level system
- Easy to set up
- Steel is 20% stronger
- Some of the bristles may begin to fall out after frequent use (common problem with bristle boards – see below for tips about dartboard maintenance)
- The instructions that come with the board may be confusing to follow
Designed to work for both beginners or advanced level throwers, the Unicorn Eclipse Pro Bristle Dartboard is meant to be versatile. Endorsed by the Professional Darts Corporation, this bristle board features an entirely staple-free construction.
Although some dartboards might be high-quality, they might not always consider visibility during the construction process. Regardless of how far away you throw your darts, players should always be able to read the score and see where their dart has landed. With the Unicorn Eclipse Bristle Board, visibility is a priority. The board is designed with ultra-visibility so that you don’t always need to walk up and check where your dart landed.
Speaking of landing darts, the Unicorn Board also makes hitting the board a little easier with an increased scoring area. This way, both beginners and professionals can work on honing their skills.
- Endorsed and recommended by the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC)
- Darts are less likely to bounce out than some other options
- Designed for durability
- Completely staple-free construction
- Mounting the board may be a little more complicated than other bristle boards
- After regular use, the bristles may begin to loosen or fall out
- Some boards have arrived with minor damage
Best for long-term durability
Constructed from high-quality sisal fibers, the Viper Shot King Regulation Bristle Steel Tip Dartboard is designed for durability. Unlike some boards, which may begin to fall apart after frequent use, the Viper Shot Bristle Board has a high-quality construction process to help ensure that it lasts over the long haul.
One of the most frustrating issues that players frequently have with dartboards is bounce-outs. Even great shots might not stick if the board isn’t designed to prevent bounce-outs. Luckily, this board is able to reduce bounce-outs by using a staple-free bulls-eye. The number ring is also movable, which may extend the lifespan of the board.
At eighteen inches, the Viper Shot King board is an official tournament size board and may be great practice for players that are looking to take their game to the next level. And despite being a little bit bigger, this board still includes ultra-thin wires that help your darts slide off the spider and into the scoring area.
- Removable number ring allows players to rotate the board whenever they need to
- Designed to make it easier for the fibers to heal and last longer
- Comes with two sets of steel tip darts and mounting hardware
- Dartboard works with both steel tip and soft tip darts
- Good practice for tournaments
- There may be more bounce-outs than some other options
- Fibers may not heal as well as advertised
One problem that dartboard players frequently run into is storing their board. While some people may leave their boards up even when they aren’t playing, others prefer to store their bristle board in a safe place so it won’t get damaged. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers make storing their boards easy.
Constructed to be more durable than cork or magnetic boards, the fibers in this product have healing properties so that the board can have a much longer lifespan. Another perk of the board is its staple-free frame and bulls-eye. Unlike some boards, which may be constructed with staples and make it easy for darts to bounce out, the TG Champion board can reduce the number of bounce-outs you experience.
- Players can use the board to play popular dart games like Shanghai, Cricket, or Around the Clock.
- Includes hardware for mounting the board wherever you want it
- Can use either soft tip or steel tip darts
- Official tournament size
- Bulls-eye may be a little harder to penetrate than some other boards
- Paint may begin to chip after regular use
With a unique bristle system that makes them thinner than wires, the WINMAX Bristle Dartboard tries to reduce the number of bounce-outs that players experience. Not to mention, since this board has a staple-free construction, it might be easier to penetrate the board than some other options.
To increase the lifespan of the board, WINMAX also uses Kenyan sisal fibers. Rather than making the darts puncture the fibers whenever they land, the darts slide between the tiny fibers instead. When you remove the dart, the fibers will return to the original position they were in.
Another way to increase the lifespan of this product is by rotating the number ring. Some players may choose to use this if they notice they’re always hitting the same part of the board.
Since some serious players might be trying to practice for a competition or even looking for a board that they can use in a tournament, the WINMAX bristle board works for that as well. At 18-inches, it fits the official tournament size.
- Includes small sisal fibers that are durable and less brittle
- Has a movable number ring
- Comes with free finger grip wax and six darts
- Staple-free construction
- Includes mounting hardware
- Not all places may have the space to mount the board
- Might be more difficult to set up than some other choices
Just because you know what the best bristle boards are doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t still have questions. Here are some of the frequently asked questions that buyers have about purchasing a dartboard:
What is the Difference Between an Electronic Board and a Bristle Board?
When you’re shopping for a dartboard, most people encounter two main types of boards: electronic boards and bristle boards. If you’re a beginner, you might not be aware of how these boards differ from each other.
Electronic dartboards are usually made entirely of plastic and use soft-tip darts rather than steel tip dartboards (note: some electronic dartboards also accept steel tip darts). Many of these boards also include automatic scoring features that display your score (rather than having to keep score yourself).
In some cases, people may choose to invest in an electronic dartboard if the primary players are going to be children. The soft-tip darts make it a safer option for younger kids to use.
Bristle boards, on the other hand, have been around for a long time. One reason many players may choose to invest in a bristle board over an electronic board is durability. The sisal fibers inside a bristle board usually last longer than the plastic in an electronic board. Some people may even choose to purchase a bristle board since it has more of a classic or authentic design.
How Do I Know if the Board is Durable?
One of the most important features in a bristle board is durability. Even the best products might end up being a waste of money if they don’t last more than a few months. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can tell if a board is durable before you buy it.
The first thing to do is look at the materials. Most bristle boards are made with sisal fibers, but generally, the smaller the fibers are, the longer the boards will last. Durable bristle boards usually include movable number rings as well. Rather than place stress on the same parts of the board, you can rotate it whenever you need to.
Keep in mind that boards made with at least 60% bristle material are much more likely to heal and last longer than those that aren’t. If you’re concerned about the long term durability of your board, keep these tips in mind:
- Do not get the board wet.
- Don’t expose it to direct sunlight or bright indoor lights for extended periods.
- Rotate the board (and adjust numbers ring) every so often to reduce wear in high frequency spots (i.e. the 20, 19, 16).
- Twist your darts (don’t pull) when removing from the board.
- Keep your darts sharp to reduce blunt ends and burrs that can damage the sisal fibers.
Learn more about dartboard maintenance.
How Do I Set My Dartboard Up?
Once you find the right bristle board, the next step is to set it up. In most cases, you’ll need at least a couple feet of empty wall for you to mount the board on. The last thing you want is to accidentally break a picture frame or vase that sits too close to your board.
In most cases, you’ll need to screw the center hole in place along with the other guide holes. Many bristle boards use three guide holes to fasten it to the wall.
One thing to think about is mounting hardware. While many bristle boards already come with their mounting hardware, some boards may require you to purchase that equipment separately. Before you buy anything, it’s always a good idea to check what is included.
For a set up, keep these points in mind:
- The height from the floor to the center of the dartboard (the bulls eye) must be 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 meters)
- The official distance to the throwing line is 7 feet 9 ¼ inches (2.37 meters) from the face of the dartboard
- Use a wall protector behind the board.
Read our dartboard set up guide to learn more.