Among the different types of dartboards, by far the most popular kind – and the ones used in tournaments around the world – are bristle dartboards. Bristle dartboards have a classic appeal that often is missing in electronic dartboards or paper, wooden, and cork ones. You’ve probably seen them in pubs or bars at the game or activity sections.
Bristle dartboards are the ones most people associate with the game of darts. These boards are made of a special fiber that is cultivated from the sisal plant, and consist of numerous tiny fibers which help hold the board together.
The most unique aspect of bristle dartboards is that these fibers are naturally self healing, which means when you pull out a dart off the board, it closes itself up again.
In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know when buying a bristle dartboard. It is essential to know what to look for because different people have different expectations and preferences when it comes to darts and dartboards.
How to Choose the Right Bristle Dartboard
What Is A Bristle Dartboard?
A bristle dartboard is a circular board that is used as a target for the game of darts. It is a type of dartboard which is manufactured using sisal, hemp, or basswood. It is suitable for darts with both steel and soft tips, although they are primarily used with steel tip darts.
A good bristle dartboard is often the best quality dartboard available. They’re made up of sisal fibers that offers strength and increase the self healing capacity of the board.
Sisal is like a horsehair material that is widely found naturally in Mexico, but is cultivated and manufactured all around the world for use in rope, twine, paper, and clothes, as well as bristle dartboards. It comes from the agave plant.
The most important thing to ask before buying a bristle board is what you intend to use it for. For the most part, either you are a casual player (so, you don’t need to go for the high end ones), or you are a serious and frequent dart player (which requires durability and quality).
Removable /Rotatable Number Ring
The number ring just refers the number system on outer ring of the dartboard. The removable number rings can help reduce wear and tear even after frequent and heavy use of the board. This is because most players throw at specific numbers most of the time, so if you rotate the number ring you’ll be throwing at different sections.
The one feature that has undergone numerous changes over the years to better the quality of the dartboard is the wiring system. You should always look for a thin wiring system, as this helps reduce bounce outs that are caused due to thick wires between the sections on the board. If the wiring is perfectly placed, and very thin, then your dartboard is less prone to bounce outs.
Staple or Staple Free Boards
If you are a serious dart player, this is one of the features you should definitely consider. Staples are small metal pieces that are used to attach the wiring system to the dartboard, as well as to itself. They often cause darts to bounce out off of the board, so if given the choice you should avoid staples in a new bristle dartboard altogether.
Size or Dimensions of the Board
If you are buying a dartboard for public places like a bar or rec center, you may want to buy a traditional sized board. As per the dartboard regulations, regulation sized dartboards have a diameter of 18 inches. These dartboards are the ones most used for tournaments or competitions.
Bristle dartboards typically have a diameter of 17 inches to 18 inches and a depth of 1.5 inches. If you regularly practiced on a traditional size bristle dartboard, then it will be easier for you to translate your game to a tournament or public setting.
As we have already discussed, bristle dartboards are made out of sisal. Always check the density of sisal when buying a bristle dartboard. The fibers should be tightly packed – if the fibers are loose, the board will lose the self healing property that is the fundamental feature of a bristle dartboard. The fibers will not be able to pull themselves back together.
Price and quality are the two most important factors that people consider while buying a bristle dartboard. A proper bristle dartboard ranges from $50 to $100. Check out the customer reviews and recommendations while buying a cheaper bristle dartboard.
The price tag becomes higher concerning the size, brand, quality, and features. However, even the highest quality dartboards are not too expensive, and with their durability, they are typically less expensive in the long run.
A lot of people may think it unnecessary, but a good and reliable brand is essential when buying a bristle dartboard. Some of the most common and renowned brands which manufacture dartboards are Winmau, Unicorn, Viper, andTarget, among others.
You can always check out reviews to have a better idea about the public notion of these brands. Winmau and Unicorn especially are used in tournaments and by professional darts players.
Top Rated Bristle Dartboards Reviews
#1. Winmau Blade 5 Dual Core Bristle Dartboard
The Winmau Blade 5 Dual Core Bristle Dartboard is the most popular bristle dartboard currently on the market, and for good reason. It is used by professional darts players and tournaments all over the world, and has an exclusive endorsement with the British Darts Organization. Every component of the Winmau Blade 5 is state of the art, and it’s made with the highest quality materials.
As the latest Winmau model, the Blade 5 Dual Core has 14% thinner wiring than previous models, which leads to more area the darts can land in and keeps your score more accurate. The angle of the razor wire also has been reduced by 30° as well, and this keeps bounce outs to a minimum and actually helps direct darts more easily into the board. The Rota-Lock blade technology is new and locks the board in place in any orientation, and keeps the board level on any surface you hang it.
The Dual Core advantage keeps the dartboard incredibly durable. It has carbon diffusion in the back core which protects the board from being damaged by the physical impact of the dart, while the front core has a lower compression which allows for deeper dart penetration and better self healing for the sisal fibers.
#2. Viper Stadium Dartboard Cabinet Set
- Features. Removable score ring for easy rotation. Wood cabinet features a classic walnut finish.
- Antiqued brass-finish hinges. Magnetic lock prevents the doors from swinging out. On-door dry-erase scoreboards for traditional games like cricket; hosts up to four players.
- Slots underneath the board for six upright darts and a dry-erase marker. Includes six starter darts. 90-day manufacturer's warranty.
The Viper Stadium Dartboard Cabinet Set is the best cabinet and dartboard set available nowadays. One of the biggest reasons for this is that it comes standard with the Viper Shot King bristle dartboard, which is a top of the line board in every way. The sisal fibers are kept tightly compressed and this makes them faster and better at self healing. The self healing fibers keep the dartboard from wearing down over time, making it last longer and hold up better even after many games.
The radial spider wire is razor thin, and the bullseye and entire wire frame is staple free, both of which reduce the amount of bounce outs you will throw. This feature helps your darts stick thoroughly and more frequently into the board surface, keeping your scoring data more accurate as well as increasing the safety of everyone playing the game. Additionally, the dartboard comes with a removable number ring so you can frequently and easily rotate the board, which also keeps the dartboard fresh and allows you to throw at different sections, never wearing one specific one down.
The cabinet itself is also incredibly well crafted. It is made of wood and features a classic walnut finish, and with brass-finish hinges it looks great whether you’re playing darts or not. It has magnetic locks to keep the doors from swinging out when it’s closed, and it has two dry-erase scoreboards on each door, so you can keep score for multiple games at once!
#3. Unicorn Eclipse Pro Bristle Dartboard
- Championship quality bristle board
- Unicorn high technology wiring design
- Completely staple-free construction
The Unicorn Eclipse Pro Bristle Dartboard is a perfect dartboard for anyone and everyone, regardless of whether you’re just beginning or have been playing darts for years. It is the most popular, flagship bristle dartboard for the Unicorn brand, and is one of the few dartboards that is endorsed by the Professional Darts Corporation.
The board has strong, compressed sisal fibers that are self healing and keep the board looking new for a long time. It uses the Unicorn high technology wiring design to minimize the amount and width of the wires in the spider. This gives you a great amount of space to aim for and allows you score more points and keeps the darts from bouncing out. The area of the double and treble squares particularly is increased, which makes them more manageable.
The bullseye and the wire are staple free as well, directing your darts more to the sisal fibers and helping them stick more to the dartboard surface. Both the spider and the number ring are made to be highly visible, even from the throw line. This is especially very helpful for beginners who are learning the scoring rules and tactics.
#4. IgnatGames Assassin Elite Professional Dartboard Set
- 🎯READY TO PLAY LIKE A PRO: Our bristle dartboard set comes with everything you need to start playing with your friends, including 6x20g professional brass steel tip darts, 2 dart wallets, flights...
- 🎯MORE SCORING OPPORTUNITIES: The completely staple-free sisal dartboard wire system maximizes the scoring area, providing a wider striking surface for more successful hits and higher scores.
- 🎯LONG-LASTING DURABILITY: IgnatGames professional dartboard is made of premium-grade Kenyan sisal, ensuring superior durability and longevity. The ideal density of the sisal allows for easy...
Available in a set that includes everything except the dartboard cabinet, the IgnatGames Assassin Elite Professional Dartboard Set has all you need to start getting better at darts right out of the box. Regardless of skill level, the extra amenities it comes bundled with are going to help with set up and gameplay.
The Assassin Elite set comes with a complete bristle dartboard mounting kit and two full sets of professional darts. It also is unique in that it includes a darts measuring tape to help you perfectly set up your oche distance every time and at any location you want to play; it also includes a practical guide titled “35 Ways to Play Darts”, so you never run out of fun games to explore!
The bristle dartboard in the set is also state of the art in all aspects. It boasts Kenyan sisal fibers that are excellent at self healing and keep your dartboard lasting for ages. It has a completely staple free dartboard wire system, and ultra thin dividers that are 65% thinner than most round wire frames. All of this increases the scoring area in the surface by 15% and significantly lowers the bounce out rate as well.
#5. Viper League Pro Regulation Bristle Dartboard
- Constructed from sisal bristle fibers compressed together, providing unsurpassed durability
- Features a staple-free bullseye which helps prevent bounce-outs; A movable number ring further extends the dartboard's life
- Viper League Pro is an official tournament size board, measuring 18" in diameter and 1.5" D; Dartboard accommodates both steel tip and soft tip darts
The Viper League Pro Regulation Bristle Dartboard is a tournament competition level bristle dartboard, with regulation measurements and materials, meaning this board is perfect for high level players. This dartboard is also great for beginners, as it comes accompanied with a chalk scoreboard for cricket and 01 darts, with chalk and an eraser and a set of three steel tip darts. It also ships with all of the mounting hardware you need, so you can immediately set up the board and start playing when it arrives!
The dartboard boasts a thin, galvanized spider wire that helps to deflect the darts into the dartboard, both reducing bounce outs and landing more shots in the scoring area. It features a staple free bullseye as well for furthering the minimization of bounce outs, and a removable numbers ring around the outside of the board, extending the life of the dartboard.
The sisal fibers are high density and kept tightly compressed, so the dartboard stays durable for longer. The fibers are also self healing, closing the scoring area around the puncture when you remove each dart. Finally, one of the unique advantages of this board is that it is cross compatible, meaning you can use both steel tip and soft tip darts with it. So, if you have an electronic dartboard and want to switch to a bristle but aren’t sure you want to buy new darts, this dartboard could be perfect for you.
#6. Hey! Play! Tournament Bristle Dartboard
- QUALITY BUILD – This dartboard is able to fit into most dart cabinets and is made of an enhanced self-healing bristle construction, proving to be more durable than cork or wound paper boards when...
- MULTIPLE GAMES – All varieties of your favorite bar games are playable on this bristle dartboard, including cricket, Shanghai, Around the Clock, and more! This dart board is great for those learning...
- SCORING ADVANTAGE – This board has a staple-free frame and bull’s eye and spider wire dividers- reducing dart deflection for a good shot. Similar to those used in tournament/professional games,...
The Hey! Play! Tournament Bristle Dartboard features the quality and style of the top of the line professional bristle dartboards, but comes at a more reasonable price. For the inexpensive cost, it is one of the highest quality options you can find. The bristle dartboard is made with premium sisal fibers that are self healing, extending the durability and lifetime of the dartboard.
You can also remove the outside number ring to easily rotate the dartboard. This keeps the most used sections fresh and helps the board last longer. This tournament dartboard from Hey! Play! comes with a staple free wire frame and bullseye, as well as thin spider wire dividers. This keeps the darts you throw in the dartboard, rather than bouncing out, and it also better reflects your score and ability. The rounded wire helps guide the darts into the adjacent sections, scoring more points with each throw.
The board’s surface has great color dyes in each section, as well as very high visibility numbers around the outside ring. This is really helpful for beginners who are still learning the different areas and scoring options, and you can see how you scored without being nearer to the dartboard.
#7. Hathaway Centerpoint Solid Wood Dartboard Set with Cabinet
- SOLID WOOD CONSTRUCTION – This handsome cabinet is expertly crafted from solid poplar hardwood. A rich, dark cherry finish completes the look, providing a perfect complement to your game room, rec...
- DESIGNED TO LAST – Featuring a regulation, 18-in sisal fiber board that heals quickly and minimizes bounce-outs, this set will provide your family and friends with hours of fun. Rounded target frame...
- REGULATION ACCESSORIES INCLUDED – Includes two sets of steel tipped darts with durable nylon dart flights (2 sets of 3). Keep track of the fun with two dry erase scoreboards that are mounted on the...
The Hathaway Centerpoint Solid Wood Dartboard Set With Cabinet is a visually stunning and high quality cabinet set. The cabinet is made from solid poplar hardwood, so it is incredibly durable and will last a long time as long as it is well cared for. It boasts a rich, dark cherry finish so it will always look great in any room in your house. It also comes with a stainless teel door hinges, as well as a felt backdrop on which to mount the bristle dartboard, and the whole combination looks very classy and sophisticated.
The set comes with two full sets of steel tip darts, so you and a friend or family member can start playing right away! It also features two dry erase scoreboards, one on each door, so multiple games can be played at the same time, allowing more people to get into the fun.
The sisal fiber board is high density and tightly compressed, allowing the fibers to self heal and keep the dartboard both looking fresh and playing at a high level for the entire lifetime of the board. A rounded target frame ring and thin spider wire dividers both lessen the number of bounce outs you experience, so the game is always more fun and more importantly, safer. Hathaway is very confident in their product as well, so they offer a 180 day warranty that you can return or replace any component.
#8. TG Beveled Wood Pro Style Board and Dart Cabinet
- Dart Board Features: Self Healing Sisal Fiber; Removable Number Ring; Official 18 Inch Diameter; Includes 6 Steel Tip Darts
- Solid Pine Cabinet with Bevel: 3.5 x 21.5 x 24.75 inches Closed; Dove Tail Joint Construction; Metal Hinges; Door Mounted Dry Erase Scoreboard and Outchart; 2 Magnetic Markers with Erasers
- Sport type: billiards
Great for both novices and more experienced players, the TG Beveled Wood Pro Style Board and Dart Cabinet comes as a set with everything you need to start playing immediately. In addition to the bristle dartboard, it includes 2 full sets of steel tip darts, a dry erase scoreboard (with marker included!) and an out chart. This all helps keep track of the score and how many points you need next throw, a must have for any non-professional darts player.
The cabinet looks great on your wall due to its nice beveled edges and corners. It is constructed from solid pine and has metal hinges – it will definitely last you a very long time, for the lifetimes of many bristle boards at the very least. It has space to hold all of the included accessories, so you won’t worry about it or lose your darts or marker each time you play.
The dartboard itself is tournament size and design, and it is made from premium grade sisal fibers. These fibers are kept compacted and are self healing, so your dartboard will last for many hours of gameplay. Included is mounting and installation hardware as well, so set up is a breeze and allows you start your darts journey right away!
#9. WIN.MAX 18-Inch Steel Tip Dartboard
- Enhanced Precision and Scoring--Introducing the WIN.MAX dartboard, skillfully crafted with high-pressure sisal hemp fibers for reduced bounce-outs and enhanced dart penetration, ensuring unmatched...
- The Third-generation Upgraded Detachable Number Ring--With enhanced visibility, the number ring empowers players to effortlessly achieve higher scores. The distinct numbers aid accurate targeting,...
- The WIN.MAX dartboard features a revolutionary Triangular Wire design, boasting 50% less surface area compared to traditional round wires. This innovative wire configuration not only enhances the...
The best advertising of the WIN.MAX 18-Inch Steel Tip Dartboard comes from WIN.MAX themselves. They are so confident in their product that they offer an 80-day hassle free returns and replace policy, as well as full warranty protection for up to 2 years. They stand by their work, and will replace or refund every part of it if you are not completely satisfied.
This tournament size and regulation bristle dartboard comes with 6 darts included, plus dart grip wax and extra flights, in order to better practice and gain a lot more skill and knowledge very quickly. Mounting and installation hardware is also included, so everything you need to play immediately is already packaged for you to start playing when you get it.
The dartboard itself features a unique and super thin bristle wiring system, which allows up to 9mm2 more area per double and 6mm2 extra per treble, in comparison to other leading dartboards. You have extra scoring surface in every section, and you will also throw fewer darts that bounce out, meaning more of your throws will end up on the scoresheet.
The surface is made from Kenyan sisal fibers that have incredible tensile strength and self heal and lengthen the life of the dartboard. There is a seamless playing surface around the face of the board, and the removable number ring allows you to rotate the board as often as you like, further increasing the dartboard’s durability and lifespan.
#10. Unicorn Striker Tournament Size Dartboard
The Unicorn Striker Tournament Size Dartboard is one of the official dartboards of the Professional Darts Association. That will tell you all you need to know, and is proof enough that this dartboard performs, and it performs great. It comes with a free checkout chart, which is great for beginners to learn the scoring rules and apparatus of the game. Also, a tape measure comes free with purchase, so even if you play in multiple locations you can always have a perfect oche distance to throw from.
The sisal fibers in the bristle dartboard are compressed and long lasting, so you will definitely get your money’s worth playing on this board. Additionally, the round wiring system is very thin, and is held in place with the patented SuperSlim wire fasteners, rather than staples. With this setup, bounce outs are drastically cut back, and more of your throws have an opportunity to score. It also has a staple free bullseye, so bounce outs from that area are almost non-existent.
How Long Do Bristle Dartboards Typically Last?
The lifespan of a bristle dartboard can vary depending on how often and how intensely you use it. If you play once or twice a week for a couple hours, then with proper maintenance a good bristle dartboard can last 5 or more years. If you play an hour or more every single day, then 1 year or thereabouts will be the lifespan.
How do I Clean a Bristle Dartboard?
A bristle dartboard should be regularly cleaned every 2 or 3 months. First you take off the metal frame, and then wipe down the board to get any dust or particles off of it, as well as a low powered vacuum to really clean off any materials in the nooks. If your sisal fibers are drying out, you can rub some wood polisher on the face of the board to help them become more moist. Check out our post on how to clean a dartboard for a more thorough explanation.
What Darts Should I Use With My Dartboard?
The specific darts you use for a dartboard depends on what type of dartboard it is. For electronic dartboards, you want soft tip darts, and for magnetic dartboards you need magnetic, flat tip darts to play with. For bristle dartboards, you almost always use steel tip darts with these, but some are cross compatible, meaning they allow you to use both steel tip and soft tip darts.
Conclusion – Final Thoughts
If you’ve read through this whole buying guide and are still on the fence about exactly which bristle dartboard you should get, we would further recommend the Winmau Blade 5 Dual Core Bristle Dartboard. It is overall the best bristle dartboard you can find, bar none, and it has everything you want in a dartboard. It is also made from completely state of the art materials and will last a long time if you take of it properly.
If you’re looking for a dartboard cabinet set specifically, then the Viper Stadium Dartboard Cabinet Set is the best one we’ve found. It comes with the premium Shot King bristle dartboard from Viper, and the cabinet has incredible craftsmanship and looks great on your games room wall.