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Ah, the humble dart board.
There's good reason this sport has been around in one form or another for 700 years. Like most great games, it takes a moment to learn, but a lifetime to master. It also allows participants of all ages, shapes, and sizes to participate, and, should it tickle your fancy, its one of the few sports you can successfully play with a drink in one hand.
What board should I buy?
We recommend investing in a decent board, however – cheaper ones can lack sufficient yield, which turns a promising hobby into a nightmare. Throw a dart at a cheap board, and it can hit perfectly then bounce right out. Nothing is quite so frustrating as knowing a shot is true but that the board isn't good enough to cooperate. Buy a better board, and this won't be a problem. This is your primary difference between a £20 board, and a £50 one.
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We're not going to get into anything too techy, though – we're working on the assumption you're a casual player, not the next Phil Taylor. We will say, though, that looking for thin wiring and no staples in the make is the best way of avoiding bounce back and rapidly improving your score.
Another important consideration ahead of purchasing – do you have a sensible place to put a dartboard? Basements, attics, and (if your house is grand enough), games rooms are the logical choice, but if it's anywhere with a heavy thoroughfare, buy a dart board with a cabinet – that way your lounge or kitchen wall won't get decorated with errant dart holes.
If you want to stick to official rules, your toeline is supposed to be 7 feet 9.25 inches (we know, we know – precise, right?) from the board, so if you have a room that is longer it will work best – but this is home darts, so feel free to break the rules.
Winmau DWIN500-5 Blade 5 Bristle Dartboard
Endorsed by the British Darts Organisation, the Winmau is a fantastic option regardless of your skill level – from darts neophyte to wannabe superstar.
The wiring has been designed for minimal hindrance: the thin triangular wires reduce bounce back and can even deflect darts into the target area if hit. They're some of the thinnest wires on the market.
Made from East-African sisal fibres, it's built to last, as the materials are renowned for withstanding humidity. Additionally, a high-compression inner surface means that holes will disappear shortly after you remove the darts.
The lock and level system makes it simple to secure almost anywhere you fancy in your home.
Unicorn World Championship Dartboard, Cabinet & 2 Darts Sets
This is the dart board used by the Professional Darts Corporation at the world championships. The wiring isn't as thin as the Winmau – but this is a level of proportion, as it's still thinner than conventional boards, so great for reducing bounce outs.
Complete with a stylish presentation cabinet, chalk board, pen, and wiper, this is ideal for any eager amateur, providing everything you need.
It should be noted that the darts are not the highest quality, but they’re fine if you’re new or occasional to the game.
HOMCOM MDF LED Electronic Dartboard w/ 12 Darts
An electronic dart board takes any hard work out of scoring your game, a tedious element that can sometimes take as long as the game itself (particularly if you are new to the sport).
This electronic dart board is easy to use, with 27 pre-programmed game modes, and 202 different scoring options, allowing up to eight people to play at once.
The board auto-calculates average points per dart for each player after their round ends – brilliant for improving your score as you go along, and having a sense of where you need to improve. It's all displayed in LED, making for a festively tournament feel to a home game.
It's highly portable (should we be allowed to go anywhere soon), in a hardshell case. The bounce-back is the best of any electronic boards we've tried.