The 7 Best Dartboard Backboards and Surrounds to Protect Your Wall: A Buying Guide

One of the biggest challenges people face when it comes to darts is how to best protect the wall behind the dartboard. If you were wondering how to best protect your wall, then look no further.

We’ve researched and looked at the best dartboard surrounds and backboards, and have made a list of the five best ones. Additionally, we can help you determine which features and type of backboard is best for your games room. 

What is the Difference Between a Dartboard Surround and a Backboard?

In this article we look at the best products that you can get to protect the wall around your dartboard. There are two main types that you can get – a backboard and a surround

They do fundamentally the same thing, enough that buying one or the other doesn’t make much of a difference. However, they are different products. 

A surround does exactly what its name implies – it surrounds the dartboard. That means it comes with a hole in the middle of it where the dart board would fit. 

On the other hand, a backboard does not have a hole in the center. It’s a whole piece of material that is mounted on the wall, and then the dartboard is mounted on top of it. 

One isn’t necessarily better than the other, so it all comes down to your personal preference. We will be using both terms interchangeably throughout this article, and the top 7 list below has examples of both!

Why You Need a Backboard

Not everyone can throw darts accurately enough to hit the dartboard every single time. People make mistakes, new players have to practice and learn how to play more confidently, and distractions can cause people to miss. 

Regardless of the reason, darts will miss the dartboard, and the majority of these misses will hit the wall immediately surrounding the board. This is where a backboard, or surround, comes in.

A surround can protect your wall from all of these misses, and keep it from being damaged by countless punctures. This then saves you the money and hassle of fixing or patching up the wall. 

It is also a benefit to the safety of the players and spectators of the game. Darts that hit the wall could bounce off and come back toward a person, or even fall to the floor. If you find that darts are bouncing off a lot, we recommend getting a good dart mat to protect your floor as well. 

Types of Material

Surrounds and backboards can be made from a few different materials. The four main materials you will come across are foam, wood, cork, and fabric. Depending on your needs and situation, you might want to opt for one over the other.

Foam

Foam is one of the most common materials for surrounds. It is relatively inexpensive compared to ones made from wood and fabric, and it is lightweight and easy to ship. The thick, soft foam is very good at catching darts, so there are very few bounce outs.

It is used more for surrounds than backboards because it is easy to cut into the shape of a surround, with a hole in the middle for the board. It can also come in multiple pieces that then assemble around the dartboard. 

Foam surrounds and backboards are light and easy to install and take down, so these would be best if you need to constantly move or reassemble your darts area. However, they can dry out easily, especially if left outdoors, and this makes them weak and crumbly. 

Cork

Cork surrounds and backboards are the least expensive option on sale. These are lightweight like foam and also incredibly easy to install. However, cork as a material is not very durable, so they break down quicker than other kinds. You would have to replace a cork backboard fairly frequently.

The other downside is they are not aesthetically appealing. They do not come in different colors, though you could potentially use fabric or paint to color and decorate them as you please, but without any changes they can look cheap and not fit the decor of a well-furnished games room.

Wood

The oldest dartboards, cabinets, and backboards used to all be made of wood, and today it is considered to be an aesthetic and nostalgic choice for a backboard. Because wood is stronger as a single, solid piece, wooden backboards are more common than wooden surrounds, though you can find either if you are so inclined. 

Wooden backboards can also be made to look the most elegant and classy, and therefore they fit in most every games room and make the whole room more visually interesting. 

Wood is a solid material that can withstand a lot of damage, so a wooden blackboard can last a long time if it is well taken care of. However, due to this durability, darts don’t sink into it as well and as deep as they do with cork and foam surrounds. This can lead to more bounce outs, limiting the safety around the dartboard, and your dart tips won’t last as long. They could become bent or broken more easily. 

Fabric

Fabric backboards are usually made of a combination of felt wrapped around a wooden backboard. These are typically the most expensive and best backboards and surrounds, because they have the durability and long-lasting lifespan of a wooden board. 

Additionally, the fabric offers a softer and less hard surface for the dart to hit. The darts therefore stick in more and bounce out less, making these backboards more safe. They are also more forgiving to the darts, so there is less wear and tear on the darts and they last longer without getting bent or broken. 

Size and Shape

In addition to the material the backboard is made out of, it is also important to think of the size and shape of it when you’re looking to buy one. This is more of an aesthetic choice, but because you can have a surround or backboard for years it is still very important. 

There are a few shapes that backboards and surrounds come in. The main shape is probably a normal square, but some can be octagonal, circular, or rectangular. A square that is the same dimensions as a circle covers more area, so if you feel that you need more protection it would probably be best to go with a square or rectangle backboard. 

However, circular and octagonal backboards are more visually appealing because it accentuates the circle dartboard in the middle. 

Cabinets and Backboards 

If you already have a dartboard that came in a cabinet set, or want to get a cabinet to fit behind the dartboard, this could affect your purchase of a backboard. Surrounds are not effective when placed behind a cabinet, because they are specifically made to go around a dartboard that is alone on the wall. 

Also, you might want to get a bigger backboard to accommodate the cabinet.

Surround Hole Size and Non-Circular Dartboards

With surrounds you need to take into account that it has a hole in the middle. Dartboards can come in different sizes, although there is a standard size that the majority of boards will be. However, you don’t want to order a surround and realize the hole is either too big or too small to fit the dartboard it is supposed to fit around.

Another note is that electronic dartboards are often not circular. Therefore, just like cabinets, it is likely better to get a backboard for an electronic dartboard rather than a surround, as it just won’t offer much protection. 

How to Install and Mount a Backboard or Surround

Every product you buy, whether it be a backboard or a surround, will come with all of the necessary nuts and bolts for installation and mounting. Additionally, it will have detailed instructions on how to do so. 

Surrounds and backboards are installed differently. Surrounds are easier to mount, because there is only one step. When installing a surround, you will have the dartboard already mounted on the wall. 

Therefore, all you have to do is mount the surround directly on the dartboard. The inside of the surround attaches to the outside of the dartboard. There is no need to attach the surround to the wall, unless the instructions specifically say otherwise.

Installing a backboard requires multiple steps. First, you have to mount the backboard to the wall. It will come with the nails or bolts required, and you just have to attach it to the wall at the predetermined mount points. 

There will be built in holes on the back of the backboard, and those are what you use to install it. You can install the backboard on any type of wall, such as plywood, drywall, plaster, and concrete.

There will also be a mounting bracket or two on the front of the backboard. This is where you mount the dartboard to it. If you have already mounted a dartboard to the wall, then this step will be the same process.

The Top Rated Backboards and Surrounds – A Review List

Here are our top picks for the best backboards and surrounds. Dartboards and darts are sold separately, except where specified. 

#1. Dart-Stop 36-inch Professional Octagonal Dartboard Backboard

Sale
Dart-Stop 36 inch Burgundy Octagon Pro Dart Board Back Board | Wall Protector | Dartboard Surround
  • TRUSTED QUALITY. EXPERIENCE | Built to the Highest Standard. Created to Last a Lifetime. Proudly Handcrafted in the USA Since 2004
  • MORE THAN WALL PROTECTION | Enhance your Darts Experience. Improve your Dartboard Appearance. Symmetrical Dartboard Surround.
  • QUICK REGULATION HEIGHT | Just Two Measurements. Secure. Steel-Reinforced Wall Mounting Points. Easy, Clear Instructions. Hardware Included

The Dart-Stop 36 Inch Octagonal Backboard is the best Dartboard Backboard on the market today. It has a unique, octagonal design that covers more square footage behind the dartboard, making it more effective at catching stray dart throws. 

It is made to be very durable and solid. It has a ¾ inch thick engineered wooden backing, with a ¼ inch felt fabric finish, so it is 1” thick overall. The “no holes” fabric does not show dart holes, even after multiple hours of playing, and the solid wood base will not allow any darts through to the wall, providing full protection for your wall. 


The front fabric finish also softens the landings of the darts into the wood, keeping them from bending or breaking and allowing you to get more mileage out of each dart set. Lastly, it just looks classy and elegant with its shape, embossed logo on top. With three color choices of black, burgundy, and tan, it will fit visually within any games room.

#2. Viper Defender III Extended Length Dartboard Surround

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Viper by GLD Products Defender III Extended Length Dartboard Surround Wall Protector, Black, One...
  • Accommodates Both Standard 17. 75 Inch And 18 Inch Bristle Dartboard
  • Provides 8. 2 Square Feet Of Protection, With A 1 Inch Thick High-Density V-Foam
  • An Attractive Velvet Surface Minimizes Signs Of Wear

The Viper Defender III Surround is our choice for the best Dartboard Surround out there. The best feature that it has going for it, and what even propels it above the Defender I and II, is the fact that Viper finally figured out that the area below the dartboard takes a lot more damage than the walls on the other sides of the board. 

The Viper Defender III comes with an extra long bottom section, and overall the surround is 45 inches long! That is by far the longest surround or backboard on the market today. If you have small children who constantly miss the dartboard by throwing below it, this could be perfect for you. It is also 32 inches wide, so it still provides plenty of wall protection on either side of the board as well. 

The surround fits around both standard dartboard sizes, and requires no installation or mounting hardware whatsoever. It is very easy to set up and mount to the dartboard, all you have to do is combine the foam pieces and then snugly fit them onto the dartboard. 

#3. Viper Wood Framed Dartboard Backboard

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Viper Wood Framed Dartboard Backboard, Dark Mahogany Finish
  • Dartboard backboard features a luxurious dark mahogany finish, complementing your home décor
  • Constructed of MDF wood and is equipped with a durable black felt backing which protects your wall from miss throws
  • Measures 29" L x 29" W x 1" D and fits most traditional sisal fiber bristle dartboards

Boasting a dark mahogany finish, the Viper Wood Framed Backboard is a very visually appealing backboard to put in your games room. It also has a felt finish on the front of it, giving your darts a nice, soft surface on which to land. This will keep your darts from being broken or bent, and keep them fresh for lots of gameplay. 

The backboard is 1 inch thick, meaning darts will not penetrate fully through it so it provides complete protection for your wall. It is also 29 inches, or 74 centimeters, in length and height so it provides a full protective radius on every side of the dartboard. 

Installing and mounting this backboard is very easy, as it comes with all of the material necessary for installation. It has hooks on the top that you can slide over a nail or screw and simply hang it on the wall. On the front of it, there is a simple mounting bracket for the dartboard to slide into. Setting up this backboard and dartboard, as well as taking it down or moving it somewhere else, is quick and painless.

#4. Viper EVA V-Foam Dartboard Surround Wall Protector

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Viper EVA V-Foam Dartboard Surround Wall Protector , Black
  • Adds a protective barrier around your dartboard, preventing unsightly marks and puncture; Supports both bristle fiber sisal and electronic dartboards. Does not include the dartboard.
  • Constructed with high-density V-Foam, allowing errantly thrown steel tip and soft tip darts to be absorbed, protecting your walls and flooring from damage
  • A hanging bracket is already attached on the front of the surround, allowing you to quickly mount your dartboard

The Viper EVA V-Foam Dartboard Surround is actually not a surround but a backboard. However, of the backboards listed it is one of the easiest to set up. Simply hang it up on the wall with installation materials that come with the backboard, and then mount the dartboard on the front using the pre-installed mounting bracket. 

The best feature for the Viper EVA V-Foam Surround is that it can rotate. It comes in a square shape, but it can be put on the wall either as a square or rotated 45° and installed in a diamond shape. This offers a lot of flexibility in which areas of the wall you protect more thoroughly by providing more coverage in those areas.

At 28 inches, or 71 centimeters, square this surround is smaller than most, but it is made of a durable, thick foam that will not dry out like many other foam backboards. It has a nice, matte black finish, meaning it will look good in any room you play in.

#5. Winmau Dartboard Surround

The Winmau Dartboard Surround is the only truly circular surround on this list. If you have a dartboard that is alone on the wall (without a cabinet, for example) and want to keep the visual appeal of a circular design, then this surround would be perfect.

Mounting is incredibly simple, as all you do is fit the surround snugly over the dartboard and you’re good to start playing! This surround is 2 inches thick and made of high quality foam, meaning the wall behind it is well protected and it will not break down quickly. Darts also stick easily to it, reducing bounce outs and overall improving the safety of the game.

The surround is only 27 inches, or 69 centimeters, in diameter, so it is smaller than most other backboards and surrounds. But it still provides ample coverage around the dartboard, about 5 inches, or 12 centimeters, on all sides. 

#6. Jelinek Cork Dartboard Backboard

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Cork Dart Board Backer 36x 24x0.5 Inches
  • Dart board backer protects both the darts and the wall from damage
  • 100% natural cork material; renewable and environmentally friendly
  • Large surface area protects wall and darts by preventing bouncing

The Jelinek Cork Dartboard Backboard is the least expensive option on this list, and for the price it is a great option. If you’re looking for a budget friendly backboard, this is the one to go for. 

It has a very large area of coverage that it offers for the wall around your dartboard. It is 24 inches, or 61 centimeters, wide, and 36 inches, or 91 centimeters, long. This provides ample protection for a large section of the wall, and particularly for the wall beneath your dartboard, where many of the missed throws tend to land. 

It is made fully from 100% recyclable cork, which as a material is soft and easy for the darts to stick into. This both reduces bounce outs, protecting your floor and keeping you safer, and keeps the dart tips from getting damaged themselves. 

It is only ½ inch thick, so a hard dart throw could penetrate all the way through. It also doesn’t come with mounting or installing materials, so it could be a bit tricky setting it all up yourself. However, for the price, this is the best backboard you could find. 

#7. Viper Championship Wood Framed Dartboard Backboard Set

Viper Championship Wood Framed Dartboard Backboard Set, Mahogany Finish Black, 29“L x29“W x...
  • Made from MDF with a mahogany finish
  • Black felt backing to protect the wall from missed darts
  • 1 panel with dry erase scoreboard

If you’re looking for a backboard or surround that comes as part of a set, the Viper Championship Wood Framed Dartboard Backboard Set is the best one available. Not only does it come with a great wooden backboard that provides great protection for your wall, but it also comes with two other panels. 

The first of these panels is a dry-erase scoreboard that makes it very easy to keep score. From game to game, simply erase the scores and start again! The other panel that is included in the set is a panel on which you can keep up to 4 full sets of darts, as well as a removable dart pouch for any extra dart flights. 

This backboard set comes with mounting and installation hardware and materials, making set up quick and easy, and a mounting bracket on the front allows you to mount your dartboard and take it down whenever you want to play. 

DIY Options

If you want to try and make a backboard or surround yourself, then that is an option as well! There are many homemade items you can hang behind a dartboard to protect your wall, such as styrofoam, cardboard, old towels, or wooden boards.

If you want inspiration, here is an example of a handmade wooden backboard that even lights up!

Now, your ideas don’t have to be nearly as extreme as this. If you are in a pinch, most of the materials listed above are easy to install and effective to protect your wall! However, if you really want to ensure your walls are protected, a quality backboard or surround is the way to go. 

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions we get asked about dartboard backboards and surrounds.

Can a backboard or surround be used with an electronic dartboard? 

Yes, you can use a backboard to protect the wall around an electronic dartboard. You most likely will not be able to use a surround, because those are made particularly for bristle dartboards which have different dimensions. 

Some backboards are not compatible with electronic dartboards, but most are. Simply check the reviews and product features before buying to make sure!

Can a backboard or surround be used with a dartboard cabinet? 

You can use a dartboard backboard behind a cabinet, but you cannot use a surround with a cabinet. The cabinet should have a mounting bracket on the back that could be mounted quickly onto the backboard.

It is good to check if the backboard you are ordering can attach to a cabinet, because some cannot.

Can you mount a dartboard backboard or surround on a door?

While it is possible to mount a backboard or surround on a door, we would recommend against it. It is best to find a solid wall that has ample room on all sides to fit the dartboard and any backboard or cabinet you would fit around it. A door would not be sturdy enough to handle the wear and tear over months of gameplay. 

Conclusion: Which One Should You Buy? 

If you’ve made it this far and are still on the fence about exactly which backboard or surround you should get, allow us to make a recommendation. 

For our pick of backboard, we would go with the Dart-Stop 36 Inch Octagonal Backboard. It is the best quality and best looking backboard out there. 

For the best surround, we would recommend the Viper Defender III Dartboard Surround. It provides the most coverage for wall protection and is incredibly easy to set up.

We hope this buying guide was able to help you make a decision about buying the right backboard or surround for your situation. If you have any questions, please let us know!

Sale
Dart-Stop 36 inch Burgundy Octagon Pro Dart Board Back Board | Wall Protector | Dartboard Surround
  • TRUSTED QUALITY. EXPERIENCE | Built to the Highest Standard. Created to Last a Lifetime. Proudly Handcrafted in the USA Since 2004
  • MORE THAN WALL PROTECTION | Enhance your Darts Experience. Improve your Dartboard Appearance. Symmetrical Dartboard Surround.
  • QUICK REGULATION HEIGHT | Just Two Measurements. Secure. Steel-Reinforced Wall Mounting Points. Easy, Clear Instructions. Hardware Included