Bristle Dartboard 101:The Best Resource in One Place

Did you know that the bristle dartboard is the most popular type of dartboard used by professional dart players around the world? With its durability, improved grip, and enhanced playing experience, it’s no wonder that bristle dartboards have become the go-to choice for both beginners and experts alike. But what is a bristle dartboard? And why should you have one?

With this article, I want to share with you all the knowledge and experience I have gained over the years and give you everything you need to know about bristle dartboards, from understanding the materials used in their construction to choosing the right dartboard for your needs, and how to maintain it for long-lasting use.

Bristle Dartboard 101 All You Need to Know in One Place

Disclosure: At zero cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. I earn from qualifying purchases as an Amazon associate. Products featured are selected based on quality, performance, and reputation, regardless of affiliate relationships.

Key Takeaways

  • Discover the materials used in bristle dartboard construction.
  • Understand the key components and standard dimensions of a bristle dartboard.
  • Learn about the benefits of using a bristle dartboard, including durability and improved grip.
  • Explore factors to consider when choosing the right bristle dartboard for your needs.
  • Gain insights into proper maintenance techniques to prolong the lifespan of your dartboard.

A bristle dartboard may be the most popular, but there are a total of 6 Types Of Dartboards that are used, some often and others less often. If you also want to look at all other options before continuing with this article, be sure to follow the link above which will bring you one level up into the learning process of this website.

Understanding the Bristle Dartboard

What Is A Bristle Dartboard?

A bristle dartboard is a type of dartboard that has become the standard in competitive darts and among many recreational dart players. These Bristle dartboards are made from densely packed natural fibers, which can be of either animal or plant origin. This significantly extends the board’s lifespan compared to traditional cork or coiled paper boards.

The surface of a bristle dartboard is sanded smooth and then divided into scoring sections by a network of thin wires (called a spider). This design not only minimizes bounce-outs but also ensures a uniform playing surface that can withstand the wear and tear of regular play. The bristle dartboard embodies the perfect balance between traditional craftsmanship and modern sports standards.

Bristle Dartboards vs. Sisal Dartboards: What is the difference?

Note how I talk about bristle dartboards and not about sisal dartboards! Aren’t they the same? Well, no. To explain this simply, this type of dartboard is called a bristle dartboard because the material used resembles brushes. Bristle dartboards can be made from animal hair or plant hair.

A sisal dartboard, on the other hand, is a type of bristle dartboard that owes its name to the material it is made from, namely sisal or plant hairs. So a sisal dartboard is a bristle dartboard, but not the other way around, you can read more about that in detail in my article where I compare bristle dartboards vs sisal dartboards. When you read the next section about the history of bristle dartboards, this will become even clearer.

Sisal that is used to make dartboards
Sisal that is used to make dartboards

How Many Bristles Does A Dartboard Have

The use of bristles in dartboard making has been on the decline for years. Nowadays, animal bristles are replaced by compressed sisal fibers.

Answering the question of how many bristles a dartboard has is actually a bit tricky, but I’ll do my best so you can get an idea. The number of individual fibers is not data that is usually communicated by manufacturers. Instead, they tend to emphasize density: a dartboard with high-quality bristles (sisal) will be densely packed with about 1 to 2 million fibers. This density creates a surface that is both durable and allows darts to stick securely.

The History of Bristle Dartboards

The history of bristle dartboards is a fascinating journey that intertwines the evolution of the game of darts with the discovery and use of sisal as a durable material for dartboard construction. This history begins in the early 20th century, marking a pivotal shift from the use of wooden and paper boards to the innovative sisal boards that dominate the sport today.

Initially, dartboards were made from solid wood, often elm or poplar, which had to be regularly soaked to prevent the wood from drying out and cracking. Although traditional, this method was labor-intensive and not conducive to the lifespan of the board. In the 1930s, manufacturers began experimenting with new materials, searching for a more durable and maintenance-free alternative, primarily using animal hair. This led to the development of bristle dartboards.

The breakthrough came when Englishman Frank Dabbs used the sisal fibers from the Agave sisalana plant, commonly found in Africa and Brazil. Dabbs discovered that these fibers, when compressed and bonded together, formed an ideal surface for darts: the darts could easily penetrate the board, and the natural self-healing properties of sisal would close the holes once the darts were removed, significantly extending the board’s lifespan. A new kind of bristle board was born: the sisal dartboard.

Agave sisalana plant that is used to make sisal dartboards
Agave sisalana plant

This innovation was quickly adopted and refined, leading to the production of the first commercial sisal dartboards. The boards were an instant success, offering a superior playing experience and drastically reducing the need for frequent replacements. Manufacturers around the world began producing sisal dartboards, and the material became synonymous with both professional and recreational darts.

Over the decades, the production process of sisal dartboards has been refined to ensure even greater durability and a more consistent playing surface. Modern sisal dartboards are made with millions of tightly compressed sisal fibers, bound together without the use of chemicals, and are known for their longevity and minimal bounce-outs.

Through years of innovation and craftsmanship, the method of crafting sisal dartboards has evolved significantly, enhancing their durability and providing a more uniform playing surface. Today’s boards are constructed from millions of densely packed sisal fibers. These fibers are meticulously joined together, sometimes using eco-friendly methods that forego harsh chemicals, although practices can vary among manufacturers. This approach not only extends the life of the dartboards and reduces bounce-outs but also plays a pivotal role in reducing their environmental impact. Discover more about how these advancements contribute to sustainability in our detailed analysis.

The transition to sisal dartboards significantly impacted the sport of darts, elevating it from a casual pub game to a globally recognized competitive sport. The use of sisal dartboards is now the standard in professional competitions, and they are celebrated for bringing a higher level of precision and skill to the game. The history of sisal dartboards is not just a testament to the evolution of materials technology but also to the enduring appeal of darts as a sport that continues to grow and evolve.

Why choosing Sisal?

The choice of material in the construction of bristle dartboards is crucial for several reasons, affecting everything from the board’s durability to its performance during play. As previously mentioned, bristles can be made from animal hair or plant fibers. The difference in material choice significantly influences the board’s ability to effectively retain and release darts.

A sisal dartboard is a bristle dartboard, but not the other way around

Animal hair, though a traditional material, poses challenges in dartboard construction. Its smoothness and lack of grip can lead to darts slipping or not holding well once they hit the board.

On the other hand, sisal, a type of agave plant fiber, has emerged as the superior material for constructing dartboards. Sisal fibers are robust and dense, providing the perfect texture for securely holding the darts when they land. This plant-based material also has the added advantage of being naturally self-healing. This self-healing capability significantly extends the lifespan of the dartboard, making sisal an economical and sustainable choice.

Is a Bristle Dartboard really Self-Healing?

Like mentioned before, one of the remarkable features of a sisal fiber are their self-healing properties. The sisal fibers used in the construction of bristle dartboards have a natural elasticity that allows them to close up after a dart has been removed. This self-healing property helps maintain the integrity of the playing surface, reducing the visibility of dart marks and prolonging the lifespan of the board. To learn even more about what a self-healing dartboard is you can follow the link and gain more insights.

Self-healing propertiesYes
Ability to close dart marksYes
Extends board lifespanYes
Close up of a bristle dartboard showing that holes wil close themselves after removing the dart
Self-healing dartboard – After removing the dart, holes will close themselves

Other Materials Dartboards Are Made Of

In addition to bristle dartboards, there are also other types of dartboards made from different materials such as plastic (electronic dartboards), metal (magnetic dartboards), wood, and coiled paper. Since this article focuses on bristle dartboards, I won’t delve deeper into those, but for those interested in learning more, you can explore here what what dartboards are made from

Standard Size and Dimensions

A bristle dartboard follows a standard size and dimensions to ensure consistent gameplay and compatibility with dart accessories. According to official regulations, the diameter of a standard bristle dartboard is 18 inches (45.72 centimeters).

The playing surface is divided into numbered sections, with the bullseye located at the center. The size and spacing of these sections, including the doubles and triples rings, are meticulously designed to provide balanced gameplay and scoring opportunities.

Key Components

The key components of a bristle dartboard contribute to its functionality and gameplay experience. The bullseye, located at the center of the dartboard, is the highest-scoring area and serves as the aim for players. Surrounding the bullseye is the triple ring, the double ring and on the outside of the board the numbered ring, which determines the point value (from 1 to 20 in non-chronological order) of each section.

Additionally, the doubles and triples rings strategically placed on the board offer players the opportunity to score double or triple the points depending on where their darts land. These key components are crucial in creating an engaging and competitive darts experience.

For those who want to know more about the numbering order or components of the board: In my dartboard anatomy article, I talk about this more in depth.

Bristle Dartboard Construction

Bristle dartboards are available in different constructions, in which one or more layers of brushes are applied, and therefore each offer unique playing characteristics. I’ll go over this briefly and for those who want to dive deeper, you can follow the links.

Dual-core dartboards: These board consist of a sisal fiber outer layer and a softer backing material, providing a balance between durability and reduced bounce-outs.

Triple-core dartboards: the boards feature an additional middle layer for enhanced durability and fewer bounce-outs.

Ok, and what follows is something many people get wrong. Many associate the quadro dartboard with dual-core and triple-core dartboards. I must admit that when I first heard of a quadro board, I too thought it had something to do with the cores. Don’t be fooled, though, as it has nothing to do with the cores but rather with an extra ring on the board.

Benefits of Using a Bristle Dartboard

In the previous parts, I have already discussed the advantages of this type of dartboard, but for the sake of clarity, I will briefly list all the advantages before we delve further into the bristle dartboards.

Durability and Longevity

One of the key benefits of a bristle dartboard is its exceptional durability and longevity. Thanks to the high-quality sisal fibers, bristle dartboards can withstand constant use without significant wear and tear. This ensures that your dartboard will remain in optimal condition for extended periods, providing you with countless hours of dart-playing enjoyment.

Improved Grip for Better Accuracy

The texture of sisal fibers offers an enhanced grip, allowing for better accuracy in dart throwing. The natural bristles on the board’s surface provide just the right amount of friction, enabling players to have greater control over their throws.


Playing darts on a bristle dartboard enhances the overall dart-playing experience. The self-healing nature of sisal fibers ensures that the board retains its original condition, even after repeated dart impacts. This feature eliminates unsightly holes and allows for extended use without compromising the board’s performance. The reliable bounce-outs and reduced dart bounce, commonly associated with bristle dartboards, also contribute to a more enjoyable and uninterrupted gameplay.

Environmentally friendly and sustainable

An additional, often overlooked benefit of bristle dartboards is their eco-friendliness and reduced impact on the environment. Bristle dartboards at the end of their life can be recycled and reused, reducing waste and the need for new materials. For example, if you compare bristle dartboards vs electronic dartboards, you will quickly see that dartboards with bristles are an excellent choice for people who want to enjoy darts in an environmentally responsible way.

Latest News: For those looking to combine tradition with modern technology, the introduction of bristle dartboards featuring electronic scoring offers an exciting option. Retain the classic feel of the beloved dartboard while embracing the ease provided by advanced sensors, microprocessors, and software algorithms for electronic score tracking. Curious to learn more? Explore the full details in the article linked here!

Durability and LongevityBristle dartboards are highly durable and can withstand constant use without significant wear and tear.
Improved Grip for Better AccuracyThe texture of sisal fibers provides an enhanced grip for better control and accuracy in dart throwing.
Enhanced Playing ExperiencePlaying darts on a bristle dartboard provides a reliable and enjoyable playing experience with features like self-healing and reduced bounce-outs.
Eco-friendlyBristle dartboards can easily be recycled and the materials can be reused for other purposes.

Choosing the Right Bristle Dartboard

OK, and now we’ve come to probably the hardest part, how do you determine which board is right for you? You must make the right choice among the many dartboards on offer so that you can improve your darting experience and get the most out of your game. When making your decision, you should consider several factors. From my years of experience, I know that these are the factors you should look at:

  • Sisal Quality: Opt for a dartboard that is made of high-quality sisal fibers, as this material provides excellent durability and self-healing properties.
  • Thickness: Consider the thickness of the bristle dartboard. Thicker boards tend to offer better durability and enhanced playability.
  • Budget: Determine your budget range for a bristle dartboard. Keep in mind that higher quality dartboards usually come with a higher price tag, but that they are worth the price.
  • Reputable Brands: Look for trusted brands known for their quality dartboards. Here are a few top dartboard brands to consider:
    • Winmau: Known for their exceptional craftsmanship and longevity, Winmau dartboards are a favorite among professional players.
    • Unicorn: Unicorn dartboards are renowned for their precision-engineered construction and trusted by professional dart players worldwide.
    • Target: Target dartboards are known for their innovative designs and cutting-edge technology, providing the ultimate darting experience.

Where to Buy a bristle dartboard

When it comes to purchasing a bristle dartboard, you have a variety of options:

  • Online Retailers: Check out online retailers such as Amazon (I’l show you my favorite dartboards here), Dart Brokers, and A-Z Darts for a wide selection of bristle dartboards.
  • Sporting Goods Stores: Visit your local sporting goods stores, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods or Academy Sports + Outdoors, where you can find a range of dartboards to choose from.

By considering these factors and exploring reputable sources, you can confidently choose the perfect bristle dartboard that meets your needs and ensures many hours of enjoyable dart-playing.

What Bristle Dartboard Should I Buy?

Now that you have all the necessary knowledge about bristle dartboards, it’s time to make a decision and choose the right one for you. As you weigh your options, consider the factors that align with your preferences and playing style.

When buying a dartboard, it’s crucial to consider your skill level and playing frequency. If you’re a beginner or occasional player, a standard bristle dartboard will suffice. However, if you’re an experienced player or planning to play professionally, you may want to invest in a high-quality bristle dartboard that offers unrivaled durability and enhanced performance.

Remember, the best dartboard for you ultimately depends on your personal preferences and needs. Take your time, weigh the options, and make an informed decision. Soon enough, you’ll be enjoying countless hours of dart-throwing fun!

My Personal Favorite Dartboards:

The above boards are some of my personal favorite dartboards, each thoroughly tested and rated by me for their quality and performance. For a deeper dive into selecting the perfect dartboard, I highly recommend checking out the comprehensive buying guides on my website, which will help you continue your search and ensure you end up with the right board.

Step-by-Step Dartboard Setup

Infographic on how to hang a dartboard
  1. Choose the Right Spot: Look for a spacious area, ideally away from foot traffic and fragile items. Trust me; stray darts can and will go anywhere when you’re just starting! Also look for a spot to mount your scoreboard.
  2. Measure the Height: The center of the Bullseye should be 5 feet 8 inches (173 cm) from the floor. This is the official height used in professional competitions.
  3. Measure the Throw Line (Oche): This should be 7 feet 9.25 inches (237 cm) from the face of the dartboard. You can mark it with a piece of tape or even better, a raised oche to rest your foot against.
  4. Ensure Proper Lighting: Shadowless, bright lighting ensures you see the board clearly. A dedicated dartboard light or adjustable spotlight can work wonders.
  5. Secure the Board: Using a sturdy bracket, ensure the board is firmly fixed to the wall. The last thing you want is a wobbling board throwing off your shots!
  6. Rotate Regularly: To ensure even wear and tear, rotate your dartboard regularly. Simply move the numbers around using the board’s detachable number ring.

This is just the quick version on How to Hang a Dartboard. For a more in depth article with step-by-step instructions, follow the link who will bring you to my handy guide.

Maintaining Your Bristle Dartboard

It doesn’t stop with buying and installing the board. If you want to expand it’s lifespan, proper maintenance is essential. Besides that, taking care of your dartboard will also enhance its performance , allowing you to enjoy countless hours of dart-throwing fun.

Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

Here are some essential cleaning and maintenance tips to keep your bristle dartboard in optimal condition:

  • 1. Rotating the board: To distribute wear evenly, regularly rotate your dartboard. This will prevent certain areas from excessive use, ensuring that no particular segment of the board shows signs of wear more quickly than others.
  • 2. Sharpening darts: Over time, the tips of your darts may become dull. Sharpening them periodically will not only improve their performance but also minimize stress on the dartboard surface. Use a dart sharpener to ensure sharp and clean dart tips.
  • 3. Removing darts: When removing darts from the bristle dartboard, avoid forcefully yanking them out, as this can damage the fibers. Instead, twist the darts gently while pulling them out to minimize the potential for harm.

Minor Tear/Hole Repair

Although this type of dartboard is self-healing, as we saw before, sometimes you may notice small cracks or holes in your dartboard with bristles. But fear not as you can make simple repairs to maintain its integrity. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Materials: Gather a dartboard repair kit or a strong adhesive, a small brush or applicator, and a piece of sisal fiber or fiber filler matching the dartboard’s color.
  2. Preparation: Clean the damaged area and remove any loose fibers or debris.
  3. Application: Apply a small amount of adhesive to the torn edges or the hole using the brush or applicator. Use a toothpick for precise application.
  4. Fiber insertion: Place a small piece of sisal fiber or fiber filler into the adhesive, ensuring it covers the entire damaged area, and press it firmly.
  5. Drying: Allow sufficient time for the adhesive to dry completely. Follow the instructions provided with the adhesive for the recommended drying period.
  6. Finishing: Once the adhesive has dried, trim any excess fibers with scissors to ensure a smooth playing surface.

These were just some of the maintenance tips. Do you want to know more? Dive deep into my detailed guide for more helpful sisal dartboard maintenance tips to ensure your target board maintains peak performance and longevity.

Can You Make Your Own Dartboard?

While bristle dartboards are readily available for purchase, some individuals may wonder if it is possible to make their own dartboard.

It is possible Making your own dartboard, but it can be a challenging and intricate process. It requires specialized knowledge and equipment to ensure the board’s functionality and overall quality. I wouldn’t recommend making a DIY dartboard as it can never come close to the quality and longevity of a purchased dartboard.


In conclusion, bristle dartboards are the preferred choice for professional and recreational players alike due to their durability, grip, and self-healing properties. By following the tips in this guide, you can choose the right bristle dartboard for your needs, set it up correctly, and maintain it for years of enjoyment. Now that you are armed with this knowledge, you can step up to the oche and start throwing like a champion!

Elevate Your Dart Game!

Dive deeper after learning about bristle dartboards in this article. Continue your journey to mastery with my detailed guide to dartboards. Discover the strategies and insights that transform novices into adept players.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a bristle dartboard?

A bristle dartboard is a type of dartboard that is made from sisal fibers. It is the most common type of dartboard used in both casual and professional dart games.

What are the benefits of using a bristle dartboard?

Bristle dartboards offer durability and longevity, improved grip for better accuracy, and are preferred by professionals for their enhanced playing experience.

How do I choose the right bristle dartboard?

Factors to consider when choosing a bristle dartboard include the quality of sisal used, the thickness of the dartboard, your budget, and reputable brands. You can buy bristle dartboards online or at sporting goods stores.

How do I maintain my bristle dartboard?

Proper care includes rotating the dartboard, sharpening darts, safely removing darts, and addressing minor tear or hole repairs. Bristle dartboards are not self-healing.

Can I make my own dartboard?

While it is possible to make your own dartboard, it is a complex task that requires skill and knowledge. It is not a practical endeavor for the average person.

What dartboard should I buy?

When buying a dartboard, make an informed decision based on the knowledge gained in this guide. Consider your playing preferences and budget, and explore reputable brands to find the best dartboard for your needs.