Dartboard 101: the Ultimate A-Z Starter’s Guide

This is the first page of the dartboard subcategory, your introduction to understanding these boards. To broaden your horizons, ascend from this subcategory to the main category where you’ll find a treasure trove filled with in-depth insights and information on all dart equipment. From the finest darting boards to precision-engineered darts and essential accessories, discover everything you need to enhance your gameplay and enjoy your favorite sport to the fullest.

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There’s something magnetic about a dartboard. It draws both spectators and players into a captivating dance of skill, strategy, and suspense. A staple in pubs, clubs, and homes worldwide, the dart board represents more than just a game—it’s a union of tradition, precision, and camaraderie.

But what is a dartboard? What are the parts? How do you use it to play a game?

At its essence, a dart board is a marked circular board used in the game of darts, where players throw small, pointed missiles known as darts. Typically crafted from sisal or bristle, the board is divided into 20 sections, each with its specific number, facilitating a myriad of scoring possibilities.

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Key Takeaways

  • Origins & Anatomy: Darts target boards have evolved over time, with materials like sisal becoming popular due to durability. The numbering isn’t random; it’s designed to penalize inconsistent players and reward skill.
  • Scoring Made Simple: The outer rings, the bullseye, and the triple 20 each have their unique scoring values, understanding which can elevate your game.
  • Perfecting Setup: Correct height and distance are crucial for official gameplay. Whether in an apartment, outdoors, or in your garage, there’s a way to set up your board, but each comes with its considerations.
  • Choosing Your board: From traditional to electronic, there’s a darting board for every enthusiast. Research, budgeting, and understanding features will ensure you get the right board for your needs.
  • Maintenance is Key: Regularly rotating and understanding potential issues like hardening or swelling can prolong the life of your darting board. Proper care can make all the difference.

When I came into contact with a dartboard for the first time many years ago, I had many questions: How does it work, what is this board made of, why are those numbers in such a strange order?

Now, so many years later, with a wealth of experience and knowledge, I want to help people who are new to the world of darts and have the same questions. With this introductory article, I want to acquaint you with the dartboard specifically (don’t worry, on this website I also discuss other necessities for playing darts). Enjoy the knowledge you will gain below and do not hesitate to click through to suggested articles. My website is designed so that by following the links, you will be offered more targeted information.

Understanding Dartboard Anatomy

Dartboard Anatomy A Clear 101 Guide to Darts Components

From their rudimentary origins as tree cross-sections or simple wooden boards to the sophisticated versions we see today, darting boards have chronicled a fascinating journey. They transformed from rugged targets bearing the brunt of thrown darts to the intricate designs that exude precision and craftsmanship in the modern era.

Dive into the history of darts

Interested in more about the history of this sport? Be sure to read my article The Bullseye Mystery: Who Invented Darts? (The history of Darts).

Decoding the Design

The darting board’s design is no accident. It’s a calculated arrangement intended, with origins dating back to the late 19th century, to challenge and reward players in equal measure.

With every detail and design choice, darting boards exemplify precision and a rich history that has been honed over the years, making them an integral part of the competitive gaming landscape.

Dartboard Sizes: What You Need to Know

Darts game boards, despite appearing quite standardized, can come in a variety of sizes, especially when we venture outside of professional tournament standards. That said, for those looking to practice seriously or even casually but with a professional touch, adhering to standard dimensions is key.

The regulation size for a professional dartboard (just the board without a backboard) is specified by the World Darts Federation. It dictates that the board should have a diameter of 451 mm (±3 mm) and a double and triple ring on the inside and outside of the scoring area respectively.

But, if you’re looking for something other than a professional board, perhaps for a more casual setting or even for children, you’ll find darts target boards that vary in size.

Here’s a quick summary of common board sizes:

Dartboard TypeDiameter (mm)Double Ring Diameter (mm)Triple Ring Diameter (mm)
Professional451 ±38mm width8mm width
Trainer (larger)47510mm width10mm width
Children’s3506mm width6mm width
Dart board sizes

It’s essential to choose the right size based on where and how you’re planning to play. For official matches or serious practice, always stick to the professional standard.

Deciphering Scoring Regions

The darts target board, with its concentric circles and numbered segments, is an enigma to the uninitiated. Each of these regions has a specific point value associated with it, and mastering the significance of these zones is crucial for mastering the game.

On the dartboard, numbers are displayed. These indicate the point value of the entire segment, also called a bed. But as you will see, the numbers are not in chronological order! But why?

The inventor of this, Brian Gamlin, designed the darting board in such a way that a bed with a high point value is always between two beds with a lower point value. This way, the player is challenged to throw more accurately, otherwise, the points are significantly lower when you miss.

In addition to the beds with their specific scores, there are also rings placed on the board. When your dart lands in these rings, it will significantly affect the points scored.

  • Outer Ring: Also known as the double ring, a dart landing here awards the player double the segment’s number value.
  • Inner Ring: Termed the treble or triple ring, this section triples the value of the segment in which the dart lands.

Bullseye: The Heart of the Dartboard

The bullseye, situated at the very center of the dartboard, is the most coveted target for many players. Split into two distinct sections:

  • Outer Bullseye (Green): Scores a player 25 points.
  • Inner Bullseye (Red): Nabs a neat 50 points, the maximum for a single dart throw.

But the bullseye’s significance transcends its point value; it symbolizes precision, skill, and the sweet spot every darts player aspires to consistently hit.

Spotlight on the Triple 20

While the bullseye often garners much of the attention, the Triple 20 segment is a darling among professional darts players. A dart landing in the triple ring of the number 20 segment earns a whopping 60 points—the highest score possible with a single dart. Understanding its placement and strategic significance can be a game-changer.

Scoring in darts is a blend of strategy, skill, and deep understanding of the board’s layout. Each segment and ring has its value, and mastering them is the key to elevating one’s game.

BullseyeCenter of the board50
Outer BullRing around the bullseye25
Double RingOutermost thin ringDouble points of segment
Triple RingInner thin ringTriple points of segment
Dartboard Anatomy Breakdown

To dive deeper into this knowledge and understand your darting board better, I suggest visiting my main article about Dartboard Anatomy. Knowing your darts game board better is the basics for better results, So don’t miss this important info!

Diving Deep into the Types of Dartboards

Dartboard Types

Dartboards have evolved over the years, introducing us to a variation of types, each with its unique features and benefits. From traditional sturdy bristle boards to the more modern electronic ones, understanding the nuances of each type is paramount.

There are 6 different types of dartboards: electronic, cork, magnetic, coiled paper, wood, and, of course, the most well-known, the bristle dartboard. Since this last type is used in professional competitions, I will introduce you to it and delve a bit deeper into this type of board.

Dartboard TypeMaterialBest For
BristleSisal fibersProfessional and amateur play
Electronic Plastic with electronic scoringCasual play and beginners
Coiled PaperCompressed paperCasual play and beginners
CorkNatural or composite corkCasual play and practice
MagneticMagnet-tipped darts and boardChildren and casual play
WoodenElm or poplar woodTraditionalists
Dartboard Types Overview

Bristle: The Material of Choice

The current favorite in the darting board industry is the ‘bristle’ dartboard. Composed of densely packed sisal fibers, these high-quality boards are renowned for their durability and the unique self-healing properties they possess.

This ensures that dart holes close up naturally over time, offering a long lasting playing surface.

What is bristle?

  • A bristle darts game board is made from densely packed sisal fibers, which are derived from the Agave sisalana plant, native to the Yucatán region of Mexico but also grown in other countries such as Brazil, China, and parts of Africa.
  • The term “bristle” can be somewhat misleading because no animal bristles are used in the board; it’s all plant-based.

Why bristle?

  • Durable: Can withstand frequent play without significant wear and will last longer.
  • Self-Healing: The sisal fibers close up when darts are removed, maintaining the board’s aesthetics and functionality.
  • Professional Preference: Widely used in professional dart tournaments.
  • Can only be used for steel tip darts
  • Offered by many brands like Winmau and Unicorn

This part about the different types was just the beginning. My article about the Types Of Dartboards will go more in depth to this and will introduce you to each of these types.

Pro Dartboard Setup Insights

Differnet ways of a Dartboard Setup

Mastering the Basics: Height and Distance

The setup of a darts target board in your game room might seem straightforward, but minor errors in its positioning can drastically affect your game. Achieving the perfect balance in height and the throwing distance from the oche is crucial. According to the PDC regulations, these are the official measurements:

  • Standard Height: The bullseye should be positioned 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 meters) from the floor.
  • Oche Distance: The standard distance from the front of the board to the throwing line or oche should be 7 feet 9.25 inches (2.37 meters).
Height (from floor to bullseye)5 feet 8 inches
Distance (from front of board to toe line)7 feet 9.25 inches
Diagonal (from bullseye to toe line)9 feet 7.5 inches
Dartboard Setup Recommendations

Dartboards in Compact Spaces: The Apartment Setup

Urban living often means limited space. But does that mean you have to give up your passion for darts? Certainly not! Setting up a darts board in an apartment can be easily done, but it requires a number of considerations to ensure that you don’t end up with holes in your interior or irritated neighbors due to the impact of the dart on the board.

Sound carries, especially in close-knit apartment complexes. The last thing you want is an unhappy neighbor knocking on your door. There are various techniques you can apply to make your darts quieter, which you will be able to discover as you go along this journey on my website.

Venturing Outdoors and Unconventional Spaces

Due to the versatility of a dartboard, you are not limited to indoor setups. You can hang your darts target board anywhere, but there are still some considerations you’ll need to take into account. Perhaps you’ve wondered whether it’s feasible to have an outdoor board, or if you want to use the back of a door.

These are just a few examples, and based on these, I want you to think carefully before you hang your dartboard in a specific place:

  • Outdoor setup: You will need to consider the weather conditions. Wind can steer your darts in a direction you can’t control, and rain can wet your board and cause it to swell, making it unusable.
  • Placing your board on the back of your door or in busy areas: Although you can hang the dartboard anywhere, you should consider whether anyone might unexpectedly pass by this spot. The sharp steel darts can cause serious injuries, and in the worst case, lead to death.

Dartboard Mounting Masterclass

Hanging a darts target board is much more than just finding a spot on your wall and drilling in some screws. The placement and method of hanging can influence your game, the lifespan of the darting board, and even the state of your walls. There are two ways of mounting your dartboard:

  • Wall Mounting: The traditional method involving screws and brackets.
  • Stands: Freestanding fixtures ideal for non-permanent setups. Perfect for those who prefer mobility or wish to avoid drilling into walls.

With these insights, you’re prepared to create the perfect darts environment tailored to your space and preferences. But this was just the beginning. There is a lot more to discover on How to Hang a Dartboard correctly. Be sure to follow the link and read about it!

Dartboard Buying Guides

Dartboard Buying

Unlocking the Perfect Dartboard: Your Ultimate Buying Guide

Choosing the perfect dartboard may seem overwhelming, given the vast array of options on the market. I still remember that day i wanted to buy my first board, the offers where overwhelming.

So, how can you pinpoint the board that aligns with your specific needs, tastes, and playing technique, you might ask yourself? Well, my detailed buying guides are crafted to empower both beginners and experienced players with the knowledge needed to make a well-informed decision.

Balancing Cost and Quality: Finding Your Ideal Match

Every dart aficionado operates within a budget. While some seek the most value-effective choice, aiming to maximize their investment, others are prepared to indulge in a high-end dartboard that promises an unparalleled playing experience. My guides cover a spectrum of choices to help you navigate between budget-friendly picks and luxury buys, ensuring you find a board that not only meets your financial constraints but also elevates your game.

Choosing the right board for darts is akin to selecting a trusty companion for your darts journey. Whether you’re budget-conscious or looking for the elite experience, equip yourself with the knowledge to find your ideal match. That is why you should go to the main article of my Dartboard Buying Guides. I’m 100% sure you will find what you are looking for there!

Bristle Dartboard Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Materials to clean a dartboard

Ensuring Your Bristle Dartboard Lasts

Bristle dartboards, celebrated for their durability and premium quality, are a staple in the world of darts. These boards, made primarily from sisal fibers, are favored for their ability to self-heal from dart punctures, making them a top choice for serious dart players. However, to preserve their longevity and performance, a regimen of proper care and maintenance is essential. This quick guide offers comprehensive insights into keeping your bristle darting board in prime condition.

Key Maintenance Tips:

  • Choose the Right Dart Points: Using darts that are compatible with your dartboard. Soft-tip darts are not suitable for bristle board and steel tip darts are not suitable for electronic boards and may cause damage.
  • Rotate the Board Regularly: Regular rotation of your board ensures even wear across its surface, prolonging its life.
  • Understand Your Board’s Capacity: Recognize the resilience of your darts target board. While sisal fibers offer excellent self-healing properties, excessive play in the same area can lead to premature wear.
  • Keep the Board Dry: Moisture is the enemy of sisal fibers.
  • Maintain Sharp Dart Points: Blunt darts can bend the sisal fibers instead of penetrating them, leading to quicker degradation of the board.
  • Limit Light Exposure: Continuous exposure to sunlight can dry out and fade your dart game board.
  • Maintain a Clean Environment: Dust and dirt can embed into the fibers of your dartboard, affecting its texture and self-healing capability.
  • Proper Installation: Setting up your board correctly can prevent unnecessary stress on the board.
  • Indoor Use Is Best: While bristle dartboards are robust, they are best suited for indoor environments where conditions can be controlled.

Troubleshooting Common Issues:

Even with meticulous care, you might encounter some issues with your bristle dartboard. Here are solutions to common problems:

  • Darts Bouncing Off: This can be due to dull dart points or a hard surface behind the board. Ensure your darts are sharp and consider a softer backing material.
  • Sisal Fibers Sticking Out: Occasionally, fibers may protrude from the board’s surface. Gently rotate these fibers back into place instead of cutting them.
  • Fading Numbers: If the numbers on your dartboard start to fade, you can refresh them using a white paint marker. Be sure to let the paint dry completely before playing again.

Embracing these care and troubleshooting strategies ensures your bristle dartboard remains a centerpiece of darting excellence. A commitment to regular maintenance not only reflects your dedication to the sport but significantly enhances your darting experience.

Encountering issues or unsure about maintaining your sisal board’s pristine condition? Dive deep into my detailed guide that offers 9 Helpful Sisal Dartboard Maintenance Tips to ensure your target board retains its top-notch performance and longevity.

DIY and Dart board Craftsmanship

Tools to make a DIY dartboard

While purchasing a dartboard is a matter of a few clicks or a trip to the store, there’s a unique charm in creating one with your own hands. However, i would not recommend this as you can never come close to the quality and longevity of a purchased dart game board.


Refining Your Dartboard Knowledge

As we draw this segment to a close, it’s clear that our journey through the world of dartboards has merely scratched the surface. We’ve uncovered the historical essence, intricate design elements, and some lesser-known intricacies that define the art and science of darting. Yet, the path to true mastery and deeper appreciation extends far beyond what’s been shared.

Embark on a Deeper Exploration

The exploration doesn’t end here. The complexity and richness of darts target boards are vast, encompassing everything from their varied types to the minutiae of their maintenance.

Your next steps are crucial in advancing your understanding and skills. I invite you to dive deeper, to transform curiosity into expertise through my carefully curated pillar posts. Each is a beacon, guiding you towards comprehensive insights into the diverse aspects of dartboards:

This isn’t just an invitation; it’s a passage to elevate your knowledge and connection with the game of darts. Let the journey continue.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a dartboard cabinet?

A dartboard cabinet is a decorative case that holds a bristle or electronic dart board. It usually comes with doors that can be closed when the board is not in use.

What is an electronic dartboard?

An electronic dartboard is a board that uses sensors to detect the location of the darts and calculates the scores electronically. It typically comes with various game modes and features for interactive play.

What is an electronic dartboard cabinet?

An electronic dartboard cabinet is a cabinet specifically designed to hold an electronic board. It provides a stylish and convenient way to store your dart game board when not in use.

What is a dartboard backboard?

A dartboard backboard is a protective board that is placed behind the board to prevent the darts from damaging the wall. It is usually made of cork or other soft materials that can absorb the impact of the darts that miss the board.

What dartboard accessories do I need?

Some essential dartboard accessories include mounting hardware, chalk for keeping score, and a dart holder to keep your darts organized. Other accessories such as additional dart tips, flights, and shafts can be added based on your preference.

What brands of dartboard cabinets are available?

There are various brands of rustic and high-end dartboard cabinets available in the market, including popular ones like from Viper, Arachnid, and Winmau. Each brand offers different styles, designs, and features to choose from.

Can I use an electronic dartboard indoors?

Yes, electronic dartboards are designed for indoor use. Whether it’s in your home, office, or rec room, an electronic board provides entertainment for the whole family.

What is a bristle dartboard and cabinet set?

A bristle dartboard and cabinet set includes a traditional bristle board made of sisal fibers and a protective cabinet to store the dart target board. It offers a classic look and feel for dart enthusiasts.

How do I clean a dartboard?

To clean a dartboard, simply use a soft brush or cloth to remove any dust or dirt on the surface. Avoid using water or liquid cleaners, as they can damage the board.

Can I rotate the number ring on my dartboard?

Yes, most dartboards have a rotatable number ring. By rotating the number ring periodically, you can distribute the wear and tear evenly and extend the lifespan of the darting board.

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