How to buy darts
A dart buying guide
When shopping for a set of darts, there are many options that can be considered. A dart has various components that can be assembled in different ways, and changing one element of a component can change the way you experience the game. This dart buying guide can help simplify how to buy darts, so your shopping experience is easier.
>> What kind of dartboard do you have?
The first step in buying a set of darts is determining the type of dartboard you have. There are two types of dartboards, and darts are made specifically for each type. Bristled darts are designed to stick, almost like Velcro, into a dart board with a matching whisker-like surface. Tipped darts are equipped with soft or sharp tips and are designed to fly into a flat, soft surface, becoming wedged into a malleable surface. The surfaces of these boards are usually made out of foam, cardboard or another soft material. Soft-tipped darts can be used with a bristled dart board, but sharp-tipped darts will damage any board not suited to them. Both bristle and straight-tipped darts can be challenging and fun.
>> What kind of point do you need?
The second step in learning how to buy darts is to analyze the anatomy of a dart. Darts have four parts: a tip, a barrel, a shaft and a flight. Dart sizes are determined by the length, width and heft of each individual component. Dart designs vary widely, and any variation in materials used to make a component, or the design and construction of the component, affects the way a dart flies.
Once you have chosen your dart point type -- soft tipped or sharp tipped -- consider the construction of the point. Darts can be constructed with both movable and non-movable tips. Moveable dart points are designed to give a little when the dart meets the board. This means the dart sinks more firmly into the board without bouncing out.
>> What kind of barrel feels best to you?
Dart barrels can be made of wood, plastic, brass, nickel/silver or tungsten. Heavier-weighted grips are generally preferred over lighter ones. It is easier to achieve a more accurate throw with a heavier barrel. However, some of the heavier metal barrels are prone to corrosion.
Brass is heavy but it can corrode. Nickel silver barrels corrode less than brass. Tungsten barrels are denser and heavier than the other metals. Their increased density means they are thinner without losing heft. With a thinner dart, you can fit more darts in the bulls-eye during a game. Tungsten darts are the least prone to corrosion and are generally considered the best darts to buy.
When researching how to buy darts, consider your personal preferences. Tinker with barrel weight, analyzing your throw carefully. If you tend to aim consistently low, you might need a lighter barrel. Aiming high may means you should switch to a tungsten barrel. Barrels can be smooth, ringed, knurled (lightly pitted in texture), dimplex, stone (a new technology that makes it feel like you are holding stone), cut or shark finned (wide grooves are cut into the barrel). Try out the different types and decide which dart features and weights feel best in your hand.
As you shop for darts, use this dart comparison chart for reference.
Dart comparison chart
| Torpedo || Thick in the middle and sloping at each end |
| Front loaded || Shaped like a teardrop |
| Stubby || Super-shot lighter barrels |
| Pencil shape || Long and thin |
| Scalloped || Has a notch in the middle to help you grip it firmly |
>> What are you looking for in a shaft?
Shafts (or stems) vary in material, features and type. The two questions to ask yourself when choosing a dart shaft are what kind of length do you want, and what should it be made of? A longer shaft can fit into a smaller space, in between other darts. However, it makes for a less stable flight. Stems can be made of aluminum, plastic, nylon or titanium. Plastic and nylon are light. Titanium is light and durable. Aluminum is not quite as light as the other three, but it lasts much longer.
>> Which type of flight do you want?
Dart flights are made with different materials, each with their own properties. Typical flights are hard poly flights, nylon flights and dimplex flights. Hard poly flights are durable and rigid. This can throw off your toss or deflect other darts. Nylon flights are more durable than poly flights. Dimplex flights add drag and weight to the dart, making the flight path very stable. As with every other aspect of darts, the type of flight you want should be based on how the dart feels to you. It is important to try different types of darts and different combinations of dart features before you decide which darts to buy.
>> Have you played enough to know what feels good?
The best piece of advice is to play with different kinds of darts. This will give you a good sense of which components feel good to you. It is important that a dart be comfortable in your hand. Try different dart sizes. The pieces of the dart should work with your natural throwing style. Combining different types of darts and different dart features is key to finding your winning dart. Following the information in this dart buying guide will make adding darts to your game room a fun proposition.