Traditionally crafted from soft woods like elm or poplar, the first dart boards were easy to cut and shape. The wood ring’s circular pattern and the manner in which it cracks when it’s hit with a dart are said to have inspired the design of the board’s double and treble rings and scoring segments.
Known as the descendant and the complicated miniature version of the archery target, a dartboard is typically smaller, and has more segments and higher scoring rings. In the 1900s, and with the sport gaining popularity around the world, the rules of darts were changed and eventually standardized. It was in the 1970s that the international throwing line was set to 7 feet 9.25 inches from 7.5 feet and 8 inches. As such, the board should be hung at a height in which the bullseye will be 5 feet 8 inches from the floor.
Types of Dart Boards.
Dart boards come in different types that are made to suit different players’ needs. Each type, including electronic boards, has their unique characteristics, and knowing how one type differs from another can help you weigh and narrow down your options before you make a decision on which one to purchase.
- Customized Dart Boards
Some players want their boards personalized with an image, their names or initials, company logo or team colors and mascot. It makes throwing darts a little more fun and exciting, especially when you’re aiming at an interesting target. You can also have your board customized to feature a particular item or product or pay homage to something or someone.
- Bristle Dart Boards
Suited for those who are serious about the sport are bristle dart boards, which are designed for professional use and competition purposes. They’re normally regulation-sized and come with durable self-healing boards made of sisal fibers or hemp, and thin staple-free wires that keep the dart from bouncing out when it lands in an awkward manner. Steel-tip darts with brass or tungsten body are used for this type of dart board.
- Magnetic Dart Boards
This type offers a safe alternative to bristle boards with steel tip darts. Magnetic boards often come with six flat-tipped magnetic darts and cloth covering to protect the wall behind it. It offers a safe way to enjoy playing with your friends and family and to hone your dart-tossing skills without causing injury to onlookers or damages to your wall.
- Children’s Dart Boards
Designed to help improve a child’s hand-eye coordination in throwing darts are children’s dart boards. They’re not intended for competition purposes so they’re not regulation-sized and are typically larger. They’re also flexible and soft so they won’t get easily damaged in case your child trips on them or accidentally drops them on the floor. They also come in different sizes, and striking designs and colors so kids can have more fun playing with them.
- Electronic Dart Boards
This type of board revolutionized the sport with the unique and modern features that make it a great option not just for seasoned players but even for amateurs. Electronic boards are predominantly plastic with a playing surface that’s covered with thousands of tiny holes. They usually come with plastic soft-tipped darts, which are safer and lighter than steel tips, although some models come with steel tips for a more genuine feel.Designed to automatically record and calculate scores when hit with a dart, electronic boards eliminate the need for manual scoring, which make it a convenient alternative to traditional boards. They are great for home use and league plays. They’re also commonly used in pubs and bars. They come with handicap features to level the playing field for players with different skill levels, and a cyber-play option that allows players to compete with other players who are in a different location. Darts that don’t land on the board are also recorded through the missed dart catch ring placed below the board.
In general, electronic boards come with enlarged targets, which make this type of board a popular choice among novices. League players and those who plan on joining one would benefit from using regulation-sized 15.5” electronic boards. Boards with super thin segment dividers feature more holes in the playing surface than those with thick ones. For those who want to improve their scores by keeping track of their performance, there are electronic boards that come with a dart averaging function.
Electronic dart boards also come in different sizes, color and styles. And while soft-tip darts used to dominate this type of board, there are now some models that accept steel-tip darts. However, they tend to wear out more easily since steel-tip darts are generally heavier than soft-tip ones.
Prices of electronic boards also vary depending on the types and number of options and features that they offer. There are several criteria that you can use to help you determine your choice of board. Here are some of them.
- Number of Players
Most electronic dart boards have multiple scoring mechanism but can only show scores of two players at a time. They usually accommodate 1 to 8 or to a maximum of 16 players. If you often play in big groups, look for one that can display more than two individual scores at a time.
- Number of Games
All electronic dart boards offer multiple games in different fun and interesting variations so be sure to get one that includes the games you like to play. Most boards have Cricket, which is the game used in world championships, but not all boards feature the X/O style scoring, which is something you may want to look out for.
- Handicap Feature
As mentioned earlier, this feature allows players with different skill levels play on an equal playing field.
- Number and Type of Screens
The number of screens a board displays can range between 1 and 4. Some electronic boards have low energy LCD while others come with LED, which is brighter and easier to read.
- Power Supply
Battery-powered dart boards offer greater mobility as they don’t require sockets to operate. On the other hand, mains allow for better LED use and don’t require recharging of batteries. Most electronic boards also come with auto-sleep mode, which automatically shuts the unit off in case you’ve left them on.
- Board Cabinet
Most board cabinets have storage drawers where you can keep your darts in when you’re not using them. For aesthetic purposes, you can also look for a board cabinet that doesn’t only have storage drawers but would also integrate or blend well into your home’s design.
Now that we’ve briefly discussed the history of darts and the different kinds of boards, and if you find an electronic board to be the best and most practical choice for you, let’s move on to five of the top-rated electronic board models that you may want to check out.
- Arachnid Cricket Pro 800 Electronic Dart Board
A tournament-quality, regulation size board featuring thirty-nine (39) games and 179 different variations including seven (7) Cricket games. The 15.5” target surface comes with exclusive NylonTough segments for a quieter game, and increased playability & durability, and ultra-thin divider segments that help keep darts from bouncing out. For a more interactive play, it comes with a voluntary three level heckler setting. It can accommodate as many as eight (8) people with four-player huge X/O LED screen that displays the score. It also comes with a player handicap feature that allows beginners and advanced players to compete on a level playing field. The Arachnid Cricket Pro 800 electronic dart board comes with 6 soft-tip darts, extra dart tips, AC adapter, installation hardware, game instructions, and an operating manual.
- Viper Solar Blast Electronic Dart Board
Coming in second place is the Viper Solar Blast that comes with a regulation-sized 15.5” target area and commercial-grade nylon segments for quieter games and increased durability. For less bounce-outs and maximized scoring, this electronic board features micro-thin segment dividers. It comes with 43 games with 187 options and can accommodate a maximum of 16 players. It also has a dart catch ring to keep your walls safe from darts landing outside the board. Players can easily view their scores through its LCD screen. Accessories include 6 soft-tip darts for starters, installation hardware and an external 5V/1000 mA power adapter so you won’t have to use batteries. It comes in a stylish color scheme of red, silver and black and has a built-in storage that holds 2 sets of darts and extra dart points.
- Arachnid Cricket Pro 650 Electronic Dart Board
Third in the rank is the Arachnid Cricket Pro 650 high-quality (tournament style) electronic dart board. It comes with a regulation-sized 15.5in target face, and offers twenty-four (24) games and 132 different variations including five (5) Cricket game variations. Its highly durable and target-tested NylonTough segments improve the board’s playability while its ultra-thin divider segments allow for less bounce-outs. The board verbally (well technically electronically) prompts players to start their turn, and the two (2) sets of multi-color LED displays make it easy to read stats and scores from the throw line. It can accommodate up to 8 players and features an easy dart removal mechanism, auto player ranking, and quick play buttons for cricket.
The Arachnid Cricket Pro 650 comes with six darts, a handy operating manual, and a one-year warranty.
- Viper 800 Electronic Soft Tip Dart Board
In fourth place is the Viper 800 Soft Tip electronic dart board with regulation-sized 15.5” playing surface. It comes with thermal resin segments that make for a highly durable, and tour level target area. It has micro-thin segment dividers that effectively keep darts from bouncing out and allows for more closely grouped darts to maximize scoring. It offers 57 games with 307 variations and can accommodate a maximum of 16 players. It comes with a catch ring for darts landing outside the board so you can keep the wall behind it damage-free. Its LCD screen provides a clear and crisp display or scores and stats. It has a built-in storage that can hold 2 sets of darts and extra dart points. Accessories included are 6 soft tip darts for starters, installation hardware, and a 5V/1000mA external power adapter. It’s designed with a red, black and silver color scheme.
- Viper Eclipse II Electronic Soft Tip Dart Board
Last but not the least is the regulation-sized Viper Eclipse II Electronic Soft Tip Dart Board. It has a 15.5” target and comes with commercial-grade and highly durable nylon segments that allow for quieter gameplay. Its micro-thin segment dividers greatly decreases instances of bounce outs and maximizes scoring as it allows for more closely grouped darts. It features 48 games with 585 options, an LCD screen from which players can easily view their scores and stats, and a large catch ring for errant darts to keep your wall protected and damage-free. It can accommodate up to 8 players and comes with a built-in storage that holds 2 sets of darts and extra dart points. The package includes 6 soft-tip starter darts, a 5V/1000 mA external power adapter, and installation hardware.
Most consumers find these top-rated electronic dart boards not only fun, durable, and easy to install, use and operate but also affordable. These professional quality boards not only serve as great alternatives to traditional dart boards but also offer novices and advance players alike a great way to enjoy the game with their family and friends at their own convenience.