Bullseye! The Ultimate Guide to Electronic Dart Boards

By Tavish Archer
Edited On

“Let’s see, I wonder how it works. Does it actually feel the same as playing with steel-tipped darts on a traditional dart board ?” – These were the questions that raced through my mind when I stumbled upon electronic dartboards for the very first time.

Armed with more than 10 years of experience, I was no stranger to bristle and magnetic boards. But electronic dart boards? That was uncharted territory even some years back.

As it turned out, these futuristic dartboards not only deliver heaps of fun but also usher in a whole new dimension to the game, with a treasure trove of perks that eclipse their traditional variants.

In this article, I’ll delve into the fundamentals of electronic dart boards, uncovering the secrets behind their skyrocketing popularity, whether for laid-back home battles or high-energy duels at game arenas and arcades. Join me on this electrifying journey into the future of darts!

Electronic Dart Board

What Is An Electronic Dart Board?

An ELECTRONIC DART BOARD (also known as soft-tip dartboard) is a type of dart board, that bears a striking resemblance to traditional boards, but with a high-tech digital scoring system, in-built games, and light & sound effects. There’s another notable feature– the surface is typically crafted from robust plastic or resin instead of traditional wood, cork, or sisal fiber materials.

Now, you might wonder, how do the darts actually stay in place? My first encounter with an electronic dartboard revealed an intriguing secret – these boards feature hundreds of tiny pores on their plastic surface. When a dart makes contact, its tip nestles snugly into one of these minuscule holes, securing it firmly.

HERE’S THE KICKER: digital dartboards are INCOMPATIBLE with traditional steel-tipped darts. Instead, they require specialized soft tip darts with tips made of plastic and rubber, which is why they’re often referred to as soft-tipped boards.

Here’s what I love the most about these sophisticated dart boards – the scores are recorded electronically each time a dart enters one of those holes. An electronic display shows the total scores, based on the respective scoring mechanism, depending on the type of dart game you’re playing.

It’s a fusion of tradition and technology that elevates the darting experience to new heights.

What Is The Difference Between Traditional And Electronic Dartboards?

As someone who has spent a lot of time playing darts, I became increasingly curious about the differences between electronic dartboards and regular ones.

I later purchased the Arachnid Cricket Pro 900, Viper Neptune, and Fat Cat Mercury electronic dart boards, and played for months. Eventually, everything became clear to me. So, let me break down the main differences between electronic and regular boards based on what I’ve learned.

Point Of DifferenceTraditional DartboardsElectronic Dartboards
Board MaterialWood, bristle (sisal or hemp), cork, or coiled paperPlastic or resin
Dart TypeSteel-tippedSoft-tipped (Plastic or rubber)
Dart Weight25 to 50 grams16 to 20 grams
Durability Very high to very poor, depending on the materialFairly durable
Beginner-FriendlinessMight be difficult for beginnersGreat for starters
Ideal ForProfessionalsCasual players, starters, and hobbyists
Minimum Age10 years and older6 years and older
SafetyMore risky due to the sharp steel dart tipsVery safe to play, even for kids
Special FeaturesNonePlayer ranking, handicapping, different game modes, light and sound effects, etc.
Price Range$8 to $500 (Depending on the type)$40 to $5000

What Is An Electronic Dart Board Made Of?

Experience the evolution of darts with electronic dartboards! These high-tech marvels blend high-density materials with advanced electronics for a thrilling experience. Let’s take a closer look at its various components:

  • Dartboard Surface: The primary playing field of an electronic dart board is typically crafted from high-density plastic or nylon. This surface is strategically perforated with small holes designed to securely cradle the soft-tip darts upon impact.
  • Segments: The board is divided into distinct segments, each assigned its own point value. These segments are often fashioned from thin yet durable materials such as rubber or synthetic fibers. Color-coded and numbered, they create diverse scoring areas that add depth to the game.
  • Electronics: Behind the surface, an array of sensors and electronics spring into action. These sensors detect precisely where a dart lands and swiftly calculate the corresponding score. Additionally, they control the LED display, which showcases scores, game options, and other vital information.
  • LED Display: Most electronic dartboards come equipped with an LED display. It serves as the scoreboard, presenting the current player’s score and an array of game settings and options. You’ll typically find it positioned above or around the surface.
  • Buttons and Controls: Those boards offer convenience through buttons and controls. These features allow you to select game modes, tweak settings, and maintain an accurate score tally. Look for these controls on the sides or bottom of the dart board.
  • Power Source: To power the electronics and LED display, digital boards rely on a power source. This source often takes the form of batteries or an AC adapter, ensuring uninterrupted gameplay.
  • Cabinet: Many electric dart boards are bundled with a cabinet or housing that envelops the board, safeguarding it when not in use. These cabinets may also incorporate additional storage space for darts and various accessories.

In essence, an electronic dartboard amalgamates robust materials, hi-tech electronics, and user-friendly features, culminating in a convenient and enjoyable way to engage in throwing soft-tip darts.

An electronic dartboard

How Does An Electronic Dart Board Work?

Picture a circular target, typically 15.5 inches in diameter, adorned with a multitude of miniature openings, each with a crucial task: securely capturing soft-tip darts. Concealed within these pores, you’ll find tiny sensors, diligently recording each dart’s successful entry.

Beneath this seemingly ordinary surface, lies the electronic heartbeat of the dart board – a complex network of connections poised to bring your game to life. Those concealed sensors work tirelessly to detect every dart’s impact, instantly translating it into a digital score displayed on the LCD.

Electronic dartboards truly shine for their technology: effortless and immediate scoring, sparing you the hassle of manual calculations. To put it simply, every dart that finds its mark triggers a sensor, transmitting an electric signal to register and display your score.

However, there’s an essential rule to remember: steel-tipped darts and electronic dartboards don’t work together. Those sharp steel tips can pose a threat to the delicate sensors inside.

BUT HERE’S THE TWIST: advanced electronic boards are designed to take on the challenge, seamlessly blending tradition and technology for those who relish the best of both darting worlds.

Also Read: Soft Tip Vs Steel Tip Darts: Comparison

How Far Is The Shooting Line For Electronic Darts?

In the realm of electronic darts, the distance from the shooting line to the target is set at 8 feet (244 cm). Interestingly, this measurement is only slightly longer than that of steel-tipped darts on traditional boards. For the classic dart board, the official shooting line stands at 7 feet and 9.25 inches, equivalent to 237 cm.

Additionally, when it comes to the height of the bullseye from the floor, both electronic and traditional dartboards adhere to the same standard, with the official measurement fixed at 5 feet and 8 inches, which translates to 173 cm. This uniformity ensures a consistent playing experience across both darting worlds.

Do Heavier Darts Work Better On Electronic Boards?

While the heft of heavier darts can indeed impart a more professional ambiance to the game, they are not the best companions for electronic dart boards. The sharp steel tips, combined with the momentum generated by these weighty darts, pose a REAL RISK to the board’s delicate sensors and internal components.

In a moment of curiosity, I attempted to manually insert a steel-tipped dart into an electronic dartboard, and I couldn’t help but sense that the dart’s weight might cause it to dislodge.

Unlike traditional dartboards, where the material itself holds the dart snugly in place, those digital boards rely on a different mechanism, where darts merely slide into plastic-molded holes.

Soft-tip darts typically range from 16 to 20 grams. Personally, I prefer using 20-gram darts on my home dart board and would recommend staying within this range for a safe and enjoyable experience.

However, if you’re particularly keen on playing with heavier darts, it’s essential to first ascertain the upper weight limit stipulated by your specific electronic dartboard before embarking on your dart selection.

Additionally, keep in mind that many game centers enforce weight restrictions on the darts they allow, which may be as low as 16 grams.

Soft tip darts with electronic dartboard at my home
Soft tip darts with electronic dartboard at home

Who Can Play Electronic Darts?

One of the remarkable features of electronic darts is its universal appeal – a game suitable for both the young and the young at heart. This inclusivity was precisely why I introduced an electronic dartboard to my collection.

Whenever my nephews visit, we engage in spirited dart games at my place, and traditional darts feel too risky for their safety. Anyone who’s handled steel-tipped darts can attest to their potential danger, especially when in the hands of children who might inadvertently hit themselves or others.

The beauty of soft-tipped darts lies in their INHERENT SAFETY, adorned with tips crafted from either rubber or plastic. It’s no wonder that many game centers and arcades have made the switch to electronic dartboards, significantly reducing the risk of accidents within their premises.

Moreover, soft-tipped darts are notably lighter than traditional darts, which can weigh up to a hefty 50 grams. This featherweight quality makes digital dartboards far more manageable for beginners, children, and even senior enthusiasts. They are the most versatile choice, opening the door to a broad spectrum of players. To put it succinctly, electric boards prove ideal for:

  • Kids
  • Novices
  • Home gatherings
  • Indoor amusement centers and bars
  • Seniors
  • Essentially, anyone seeking a casual, enjoyable dart-playing experience

It’s worth noting that those boards usually take a backseat in professional dart games and tournaments, where sisal or bristle boards are preferred. Yet, for those seeking leisurely pastimes, skill enhancement, and pure fun, electronic dart boards stand as a fantastic choice.

Also Read: How To Play Electronic Darts?

Considering An Electronic Dartboard: Pros And Cons

So, the million-dollar question – should you invest in an electronic dartboard? These high-tech boards certainly offer a plethora of advantages, but it’s equally crucial to be aware of their limitations. Here’s what I’ve gleaned from my extensive experience with them:

The Advantages

1. Exceptional Safety

The paramount benefit of electronic darts lies in their inherent safety. With soft tips on the darts, beginners can delve into the fun without hesitation. The risk of accidental injuries, a looming concern with steel-tipped darts, is practically eradicated.

2. Immersive Sound and Light Effects

While electronic dartboards may not mimic the experience of bristle boards, they compensate with a captivating array of sound and light effects. Hitting different sections of the board triggers various sounds, adding an element of entertainment.

My nephews, for instance, have grown even more enamored with darts since our Arachnid electronic dartboard arrived.

3. Diverse Game Modes

Electronic dart boards support a wide array of dart games like 301, 501, or Cricket, injecting fun and variety into your playing experience. You can easily configure the scoring system to your liking, with special effects adapting to each game’s unique demands.

4. Most User-Friendly

LET’S ADMIT IT: these sophisticated digital darting boards are remarkably easy to use, particularly when compared to traditional boards. Learning the ropes of an electronic dartboard is a breeze, and the automatic scoring system adds an undeniable layer of convenience.

These boards serve as an ideal gateway for beginners, especially children, to delve into the world of darts without feeling overwhelmed.

5. More Advanced Features

Electronic dart boards introduce a slew of additional features simply unattainable with bristle or wooden boards. For instance, you can implement handicaps to level the playing field when competing against a child or a novice.

Moreover, these boards are equipped to record and rank players based on their scores, adding an exciting competitive edge to your games.

The Limitations

1. Maintenance Demands

Soft-tip boards require a bit more care due to their sensitivity to damage, particularly concerning the sensors and other electronic components. Exposure to moisture or extreme temperatures should be avoided at all costs.

2. Higher Price Tag

Electronic dart boards usually cost a bit higher compared to traditional ones. This discrepancy is hardly surprising, given the special features they offer. Personally, I believe their price is justified by the enhanced experience they provide.

3. Chances Of Bounce-Outs

The operational mechanism of an electronic dart board makes it slightly more susceptible to bounce-outs. In traditional boards, darts typically pierce the surface and adhere as long as they’re thrown with adequate force.

However, in a digital board, darts are designed to enter the tiny holes rather than piercing the material. If a dart strikes the space between two holes, it may not secure a grip and could bounce off.

Overall, the decision to acquire an electronic dartboard hinges on your preferences, playing style, and specific requirements. The best electronic dartboards offer an unbeatable blend of safety, entertainment, and accessibility, making them an enticing choice for casual players and enthusiasts alike.

You May Also Like: How To Clean Electronic Dartboards?

In Conclusion: Embracing the Electronic Dart Revolution

I find myself genuinely grateful to the ingenious minds behind electronic dartboards, as they have ushered in a game-changing era for hobbyists like me. These boards inject an exhilarating array of features that breathe new life into our dart-playing experiences.

Whether it’s a lively house party or a delightful bonding session with kids, those dart boards have redefined how we enjoy this age-old sport.

Safety emerges as a paramount consideration, especially if you’re not a professional gearing up for competitive games. In this context, digital dart boards unquestionably shine as the ideal choice.

So, if you’re venturing into the world of darts as a leisurely pastime or seeking to introduce your youngsters to this captivating sport, electronic dartboards stand as the unequivocal path forward. They seamlessly blend safety, entertainment, and accessibility, making dart-playing an all-inclusive and joyous endeavor.

Tavish Archer

Tavish Archer

Tavish Archer is a Recreational Gamer, Author, and Co-Founder of ThrilloGaming. He holds a degree in Sports Management from Mississippi College (MC), Unites States. His experience and proficiency in the field allow him to provide winning strategies, creative ideas, and expert advice.

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