A new dartboard is a thing of beauty with the red, black, and white surface, gleaming and enticing you to aim for that bullseye and throw a dart. However, you may find that your board ends up being an eye-sore, looking grubby and doesn’t last as long.
How long your dartboard lasts depends on the quality of the board and how much you use it. If you play casual darts once or twice a week, your board should last you about 4 to 5 years. However, if you’re a more serious player, playing for an hour a day, expect your board to last 2 years.
If you are a serious darts player and don’t want to be replacing your dart every couple of months, there are ways to preserve your board to keep it lasting longer. Sooner or later you will have to replace your dartboard, but there are ways to prolong the need to do that. All it takes is some proper care and maintenance.
Different Types of Dartboards
Dartboards come in a variety of sizes and materials to suit your budget and your enthusiasm for the hobby. Dartboards are quite cheap compared to other hobbies, but it is worth your time and money to invest in a good quality board if you wish to take your hobby to the next level. Here are the most common types of boards:
- Bristle dartboards: This is the most common board on the market and if you play casually you will usually see this in homes and bars. These boards are also used for major and minor dart tournaments. Bristle boards are low maintenance and long-lasting.
- Coiled paper dartboards: This is an entry-level board made from wound paper in a steel or plastic frame. It’s super cheap and usually used by amateurs for recreational purposes. These types of boards are often bought for children and they are easy to dispose of. Darts leave permanent holes that cannot be “healed” and the board will, therefore, deteriorate quickly.
- Electronic dartboards: This is a new kind of board that has become popular with all types of players, from clubs to bars to sports centers. The principle remains the same. The electronic board is filled with many small holes that are activated when a dart strikes them, and they track the correct amount of points. This board uses soft-tip darts. The accuracy of these boards is sometimes questioned, but it can help to keep track of your stats and improve your performance. These boards are quite expensive.
- Magnetic dartboards: These dartboards are not common but are a casual and fun option for those who don’t wish to play seriously or competitively. It’s more durable as the darts are flat-tipped and are great for children and adult parties, especially when alcohol is involved. These boards are priced reasonably, and you don’t have to worry too much about maintenance.
- Wooden dartboards: These boards were seen as the best before electronic and bristle dartboards came onto the scene. Nowadays they aren’t used as much as they were in the past. Wooden dartboards are usually built out of elmwood. The issue with purchasing one is that it’s far more difficult to preserve compared to bristle boards. Wooden boards need regular moisturizing, or they will dry out and crack. Wood dartboards are also often used in conjunction with wooden darts and if you’re more used to steel darts, you may not prefer to change your preferences.
- Cork dartboards: These boards are often confused for bristle boards but they’re not the same. Corkboards are more similar to paper boards with regards to quality, durability, and price. It’s a great option for beginners.
Did You Know Boards Can Be Self-healing?
Self-healing is a unique feature of high-quality dartboards. It refers to the ability of a board to close up the holes created from the darts hitting the board. This is not a miraculous, instant process, and you won’t see it happen immediately, nor will it look brand new. However, self-healing means your board will last longer and be more value for money as you continue to use it.
“Healing” depends on how frequently you play. Despite popular belief, the more you play, the better the healing will be as it assists the sisal fibers – what the bristle is made of – to move and adjust. Some holes will gradually close while others may still be present although less obvious than before. If properly looked after, self-healing dartboards can last about 2 to 3 years.
6 Tips to Ensure Your Board Lasts Longer
Modern, good quality dartboards are usually made of sisal fiber, a firm, highly resilient material. Here are a couple of tips on how you can maintain your dartboard:
- Spray the dartboard with a little bit of water: this helps your board stay compact. How effective this method is dependent on the area you live in. If you live in a warmer area, close to the sea level, you should be cautious of adding too much moisture to the board. Some manufacturers specifically warn against allowing liquids to come in contact with the surface so make sure you check the owner’s manual.
- Remove the number marker and rotate the board periodically: Revolving the board frequently means it won’t wear away quickly. Rotating it by just a few segments has been known to increase the lifespan of the board. For example, the 19 and 20 of the dartboard are an area most susceptible to damage, which is why rotating the board can spread out the wear and tear more evenly and consequently reduce the disintegration of the board. If you play habitually, rotate your board weekly. Unfortunately, the wear and tear on the 25 and the bullseye area cannot be protected by rotation. But hey, if you’re wearing out the bullseye, that’s a testament to your skills. Nice one!
- Know the capacity of your dartboard: If your dartboard is made for a maximum of two players, playing with more than two people at a time – for example, a party of four, can greatly impact the surface of your board.
- Keep your board inside: A dartboard is not built to withstand the elements. Moisture in the air and sunlight can severely affect your board and cause its colors to fade over time. Being placed in direct sunlight can also make the fibers of the board fragile which will lead to further wear and tear.
- Check your dart tips: Despite what you may think, if a dart is too sharp, it can pierce the fibers of the board and make it weak. A tip that is too blunt can also damage the board by packing down the fibers. Your dart tip should be well-rounded. Avoid hooked darts which will tear at the bristle fibers when removed from the board. When removing a dart from the board, twist out the dart, don’t pull away from the steel tip.
- Frequent use: Much like those boards falling apart in your local bar because of the high traffic of people playing on it, your board could suffer in the same way. If your dartboard is limited to only a few people, your board will last longer.