Darts Buying Guide

Darts is a popular game played in many countries all over the world. Playing darts has been a fun and recreational pastime for over 100 years. The game involves two players, or two teams of players, with three darts each, which are aimed at a dartboard during each round. Players in the market for new darts should know how to choose between the two types of darts available, steel-tip and soft-tip darts, each of which are designed to be played on different types of boards. Buyers should consider a few basic concepts when looking at what type of darts to buy, and they include considering the dart’s weight, its shaft, grip, and its flight through the air. With the right darts, players can improve their skills and increase enjoyment of the sport.

Different Types of Darts:

There are basically two types of darts:
1) Steel-tip
2) Soft-tip

With the exception of their tips, they are constructed in the same general way, with all the same features. Steel-tip darts are designed to be used on a different type of board than soft-tip darts.

Steel-Tip Darts:

Steel - tip darts are designed to be used on bristle dart boards, which are most commonly made from sisal, a plant fibre, which is tightly bound and made into a board. Steel-tip darts are the most common darts used, and they are most commonly found in 20 to 30 gram weights. Their tip features a sharp steel point at its end. They are available in fixed and moveable tips.

1) Fixed - point tips are solid and completely fixed, and they are the most commonly used type of dart. 
2) Moveable - point tips feature a tip that is moveable, and they are designed to reduce the chances of a dart bouncing off the board. The benefit of using moveable-point darts is that the tips can be replaced once they become worn and blunt.

Soft-Tip Darts:

Soft - tip darts are used with electronic dart boards. They are lighter in weight than steel-tip darts. The most common weight played with is a dart that is between 14 and 16 grams. Soft-tip darts are made with a plastic tip.

What to Consider When Buying Darts:

Whether a buyer is new to the game of darts or an avid player, there are a few important things to consider when choosing which set of darts to buy. The dart’s weight, the type of shaft, the grip, and flight of the dart should all be considered when buying a set of darts, as the right darts will improve a player’s skill and ultimately the enjoyment of the game.

Dart Weight:

Darts come in a variety of different weights, and they are weighted in different areas of the dart. Generally, darts are made in weights that vary from 12 grams right up to 50 grams. For those new to the game, it is recommended to use 18 to 20 gram weighted darts. Darts are weighted by the amount of tungsten they contain; the more tungsten they contain, the heavier they are, and usually the more expensive they are.
The speed at which a player throws the dart usually determines the weight they should play with. The heavier the dart, the harder, or faster, the player must throw the dart for accurate flight. The lighter the dart, the less speed or effort is required. Lighter darts are usually used by more skilled players, as the slightest change in aim, movement, and release has a greater effect on the accuracy of the dart, ultimately giving the player more control over the throw.
Some darts are weighted towards the rear and called back-weighted darts. Those weighted in the front are called front-loaded darts. Darts can also be weighted evenly along the shaft of the dart. The type of weighting depends on the type of throw a player has. For a player who likes to lob the dart towards the board, a front-loaded dart is more suitable. For those who have a straight, flat throw, an evenly weighted dart is more suitable.

Dart Shaft:

The shaft of the dart is sometimes referred to as the stem, or the cane. The shaft is the part of the dart that connects the tip to the wings, or feathers. Shafts also come in a variety of lengths. Longer shafts offer more stability to the throw and suit more inexperienced players or those with a straighter throw. Shafts may be made from a variety of different materials, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Plastic Dart Shafts:

Plastic shafts are often made from nylon or polycarbonate. They are the least expensive type of shaft, and there are a wide variety of compositions available, from hard and brittle shafts to soft and flexible shafts. Plastic shafts are less durable and tend to break more easily than other types of shafts; however, plastic shafts do not usually bend. Instead they break, which is helpful as even a slightly bent shaft will affect the accuracy of the throw, and it can be difficult to realize that a shaft is bent.

Metal Dart Shafts:

Metal shafts are usually made from aluminium. These are strong and less likely to break. However, they are more likely to bend, affecting the accuracy of the throw. Metal shafts tend to be more expensive than plastic shafts. Carbon fibre shafts are very durable and lightweight, and they are more expensive than plastic, composite, or metal shafts. They are less likely to loosen, allowing good accuracy of throw.

Composite Dart Shafts:

Composite dart shafts are a combination of plastic and metal. They are durable and the parts are less likely to vibrate loose. Composite shafts are more expensive than plastic or nylon shafts, and they are a similar price to solid metal shafts.

Spinning Dart Shafts:

Spinning shafts are used by more advanced players. They are the most expensive type of shaft available. They are designed to allow the flight of the dart to spin out of the way if they are struck by another dart or end up in close contact with other darts. They are great at reducing the chances of ruining the flight of a dart.

Dart Grip:

The grip, or barrel, is one of the most important aspects of a dart. The grip is the part of the dart that is held by the fingers. This needs to feel comfortable for the player. The type of grip tends to be more of a personal choice rather than a choice based on performance. Players usually choose what feels comfortable in the hand. Grips can be smooth or grooved. Smooth grips are more difficult to hold, while moderately grooved grips are the most common and easiest to grip, and extremely grooved grips can tend to catch on the fingers and affect the accuracy of the throw. More advanced players prefer thinner grips so that they can group darts closer together without interfering with each other, and it is the type of metal used that enables the grips to be wide or narrow and thin. There are three different types of grips and each varies greatly in price.

Brass Grips:

Brass grip darts are the heaviest and widest, and they are the least expensive. Brass grips tend to wear down quicker than the other types of grips available.

Nickel-Silver Grips:

Nickel - silver darts are considered mid-range in price. They tend to be about as heavy as brass but are thinner. Nickel-silver grips are more durable than brass and are less likely to wear quickly.

Tungsten Grips:

Tungsten dart grips are the most expensive type available. They are durable and less likely to wear out. Tungsten is a dense metal, which means it can be pounded thin, resulting in a thinner grip. The percentage of tungsten in the grip affects the price. Darts that contain significant amounts of tungsten, such as 95 percent to 98 percent, are the most expensive and generally used by more advanced players. For a buyer looking to purchase a good tungsten grip dart without spending a lot of money, they can choose an 80 percent tungsten dart.

Dart Flights:
Flights, which are the wings or feathers at the end of the dart, affect the accuracy of the dart’s action through the air. Flights can be smooth or rough and dimpled. Smooth flights enable accurate speed of the dart when thrown. Dimpled flights slow the dart’s speed through the air, increasing its stability. The larger the flights, the more stable the dart will be through the air. However, for advanced or professional players, a lower profile, smaller flight is preferred as they do not get in the way when on the board. Flights come in a wide variety of different shapes.