Soft Tip Vs Steel Tip Dart: Which Is Compatible With Electronic Boards?

By Tavish Archer
Edited On

Ready to dive into the world of high-tech electronic dartboards? You might have heard that these boards are all about soft-tip darts. I totally get it; I had the same question when I started my journey with electronic darts.

Now, don’t get me wrong – there’s something undeniably cool about throwing those hefty steel-tip darts. But when it comes to playing on a digital board, soft tips are the name of the game.

Here, I’ll provide you with an in-depth comparison of both options, with the pros and cons of each, so you can confidently choose the right one for your requirements. Let’s make your darts game awesome!

Soft Tip Vs Steel Tip Dart

Soft-Tip Darts: What Makes Them Outstanding?

Soft-tip darts, with their softer plastic or rubber tips, are a modern twist on the classic game. Originally designed as a safer option, they have found fans among both kids and adults, myself included.

They’ve even transformed the scene in many arcades and clubs, where traditional dartboards have given way to electronic ones, making soft-tipped darts the go-to choice for a fun night out.

What makes them cooler? Well, it’s still about hitting the right spots on the board to score points, just like with traditional darts. The difference lies in those soft tips, which add an extra layer of safety to the game. Plus, electronic dartboards do the scoring for you – no more math headaches!

Soft-tip darts are perfect for hanging out at home, at a friend’s place, or in your favorite arcade. Whether you’re a casual player or aiming to be a pro, they offer a modern, safe, and engaging way to enjoy a classic game with a high-tech twist.

soft-tip dart

Benefits Of Soft-Tip Darts

Safety: One of the most significant advantages of soft-tip darts is their safety. The plastic or nylon tips are much safer than the sharp steel tips of traditional games. This makes them an excellent choice for families, beginners, and environments where safety is a concern.

Compatible With Electronic Dartboards: Those darts are designed to be used with electronic boards, which have become increasingly popular. They automatically calculate and display scores, making gameplay more accessible and eliminating disputes over scoring.

Variety of Dart Boards: Those can be used on a wide range of boards, including electronic and bristle dart boards. This versatility allows players to enjoy the game in various settings.

Lightweight: Soft-tip darts are typically lighter than steel-tip darts. This can be an advantage for players who prefer a lighter dart for better control and accuracy.

Reduced Damage: Those are less likely to cause damage to walls and surrounding areas. Even if a dart misses the board and hits a wall, it’s less likely to leave a mark or damage the surface.

Ease of Maintenance: Darts with soft tips require minimal maintenance compared to steel-tipped darts. There’s no need for regular sharpening, and the tips are less prone to wear and tear.

Beginner-Friendly: Those are ideal for beginners who are learning the game. The softer tips help them focus on their throwing technique without worrying too much about where the dart lands.

Quieter Gameplay: Soft-tipped darts produce a softer “thud” sound when hitting the dartboard compared to the louder “click” sound of steel-tip darts. This can be less disruptive, especially in home or pub environments.

Wider Range of Accessories: These come with a wide range of accessories, including various tip styles, flight designs, and shaft lengths. Players can customize their darts to suit their preferences.

Tournament Play: Soft-tip dart tournaments are held worldwide, offering players opportunities to compete at various skill levels and win prizes. This has contributed to their growth as a competitive sport.

Drawbacks Of Soft-Tip Darts

Low Durability: Soft-tip dart tips are more prone to wear and tear compared to steel-tip darts. Over time, the plastic or nylon tips may become flattened or damaged, requiring frequent replacement.

Bounce Outs: Those darts are more likely to bounce off the dartboard and not register a score due to the flexibility of the plastic tips. This can be frustrating for players, especially in critical moments of a game.

Lower Scoring Accuracy: While electronic dartboards automatically calculate scores, they may occasionally misinterpret or fail to register a dart’s landing accurately. This can lead to scoring discrepancies and disputes.

Reduced Realism: Some players prefer the authenticity of traditional steel darts, as they mimic the feel and style of classic pub darts. Soft-tip darts can lack this traditional appeal for purists.

Difficult Flight Control: Soft-tipped darts may be more challenging to control for some players due to their lightweight nature. Players who are used to the heft of steel-tip darts might need time to adjust.

Skill Differences: Darts with a soft tip can be perceived as having lower skill requirements than steel-tip darts because they compensate for accuracy and technique with electronic scoring. Some players prefer the challenge of traditional games.

Steel Tip Darts: Are They Good Enough?

Ah, metal-tipped darts, the classics we all know! They are called “steel tips” because the tip of the dart is typically made of steel. Those are used with a traditional bristle or wooden dartboard, which has a scoring system consisting of numbered segments and a bullseye.

How do steel-tip darts work? It’s all about nailing the bullseye or those coveted high-scoring zones on the dart board. Precision is the name of the game, and the sharp tip ensures you hit the mark every time.

You can use them everywhere, from pub nights to professional tournaments like the World Darts Championship. And if you want to bring the dartboard home, steel tips offer that classic darting experience you’ll love with your family.

Why are steel-tipped darts so popular? TRADITION, PRECISION, AND DURABILITY. These darts have history on their side, and they’re perfect for serious competition or just a fun game with friends. They’re built to last, so you can play countless rounds without worrying about wear and tear.

Steel tip dart

Advantages Of Steel-Tip Darts

Precision and Control: Steel-tip darts are often preferred by experienced players for their precision and control. The sharper steel tips allow more accurate targeting of specific areas on the dart board.

Traditional Feel: They offer a more traditional and authentic dart-playing experience, resembling the style of play commonly found in pubs and tournaments.

Durability: Steel tips are durable and less prone to wear and tear compared to the plastic or nylon tips of soft-tip darts. They can last longer with proper care.

Scoring Accuracy: In traditional darts, players must manually calculate and record their scores, which can improve mental math skills and add to the challenge and engagement of the game.

Minimal Bounce Outs: Steel-tip darts are less likely to bounce out of the dartboard, reducing the frustration of missed shots that can occur with soft-tip darts.

Variety of Designs: Those come in a wide range of designs, including different shaft lengths, barrel shapes, and flight styles. Players can customize their darts to suit their preferences.

Professional Play: Steel-tipped darts are the standard for professional dart tournaments worldwide, offering players the opportunity to compete at the highest levels of the sport.

Community and Tradition: These darts have a strong and enduring community of players who appreciate the history and tradition of the game. This can add to the social and cultural aspects of dart playing.

Disadvantages Of Steel-Tip Darts

Safety Concerns: The sharp steel tips of these darts can pose safety risks, especially in environments with children or inexperienced players. Accidental injuries are more likely with steel-tip darts.

Damage to Surroundings: Steel-tip darts can cause significant damage to walls, floors, and other surfaces if they miss the dartboard. This can result in costly repairs and is a common concern in home setups.

Limited Dartboard Compatibility: Those are designed for use with specific types of dart boards, such as bristle, sisal, or cork boards. They are not suitable for use with electronic boards without an adapter.

Higher Maintenance: In my experience, steel darts require more maintenance compared to soft-tip darts. The tips can become dull over time and need regular sharpening to maintain their performance.

Scoring Challenges: Traditional steel-tip dart games require players to calculate scores manually. This can be a disadvantage for those who prefer the convenience of electronic scoring systems.

Skill Barrier: Steel-tip darts are generally considered more challenging to master, which can be intimidating for beginners. It may take time to develop the accuracy and consistency required for competitive play.

Noise Level: Steel tips create a louder “thud” sound when hitting the dartboard compared to the softer “click” of soft tips. This noise can be disruptive in quiet environments.

Heavier Weight: The heavier weight of steel-tip darts is not suitable for all players. Some individuals, especially those with physical limitations, may find them more difficult to throw.

Steel Tip Vs Soft Tip Darts: A Quick Comparison

Point Of DifferenceSoft Tip DartsSteel Tip Darts
Tip MaterialPlastic or nylonSteel (usually made of tungsten or brass)
Compatible DartboardElectronic dartboardWooden or bristle dartboard
Weight RangeTypically lighter (12-20 grams)Much heavier (18-26 grams)
Playing SurfacePlastic segments with small holesSisal or cork fibers
DurabilityProne to tip breakage, less durableMore durable, less prone to damage
Noise LevelQuieter (clicking sound on impact)Louder (thud sound)
SafetySafer for children and novice playersPotentially more dangerous due to sharp tips
MaintenanceLow maintenance, no sharpening neededRequires regular sharpening or maintenance
Bounce OutsMore common due to the soft tipsLess common due to the sharp tips
ScoringElectronic scoring with automatic trackingNo electronic scoring aids
Skill LevelSuitable for hobbyists, kids, beginners, and other casual playersPreferred by professional players
Minimum Age6 years and older10 years and older
Rules And RegulationsMay have variations in rules and scoringFollows traditional dart rules

Is Soft-Tip Darts Easier?

Mastering soft-tip darts turned out to be surprisingly easier, even though they follow the same throwing technique as steel-tip darts. My teen sister, Sarah, who’s been my dart partner for years, agreed that the soft tips are a breeze to play with.

I first got a taste of this while trying electronic darts at a local club. Almost everyone was hitting higher scores than expected when compared to playing with steel-tipped darts on a regular board.

Despite a slight weight difference, soft-tipped darts are a bit lighter, making them more comfortable to throw. Even my sister found them a better fit, with the added assurance that he wouldn’t accidentally hurt herself. She confidently threw the darts, performing better than she ever did with steel tips.

Can You Use Steel Tip Darts On An Electronic Dartboard?

For even the best electronic dartboards, the answer to this question is a big NO. Here’s the deal – the sharp steel tips have no use on them since they don’t actually have to pierce the material. The plastic or resin surface already has hundreds of tiny holes for the darts to slide in.

Now, inside these holes lie electronic sensors that detect the hits and help register the scores. Steel-tipped darts can easily cause severe damage to these sensors, eventually making your digital board unusable.

However, there are electronic dartboards that are compatible with steel tip darts, though such boards are pretty rare. Unless yours is specially designed to work with them without getting damaged, stick to soft tips.

Can You Change Soft Tips Of The Darts To Steel Tips?

Converting darts from soft tips to steel tips, or vice versa, can be a game-changer in your journey. Whether you start with convertible darts or decide to transform your existing set, this versatile feature opens up exciting possibilities.

Imagine this: you’re pondering whether to invest in a new set of steel-tip darts for that classic dartboard feel. Then, you stumble upon dart conversion kits, which essentially replace the soft tips with steel tips with threaded screw attachments. It piqued my curiosity, and after some research and hands-on testing, I was convinced that converting my darts was the way to go.

The process is surprisingly straightforward. You’ll need just two things:

  1. A conversion kit.
  2. Optionally, an O-ring (though highly recommended for added stability).

The O-ring prevents the steel tip from loosening with each dart throw. Every impact causes the tip to unscrew slightly, which, without an O-ring, can lead to undue stress on the screw thread. This, over time, could potentially make both the dart and conversion tip unusable.

One thing to remember is that switching from soft to steel tips will add weight to your darts. My soft-tipped darts, originally 18 grams each, now weigh around 22 grams after the conversion. It’s a small change, but one that can influence your game strategy.

In Conclusion

When it comes to choosing the right darts for your electronic machine, the smart move is to opt for soft tips. While personal preferences do matter, it’s essential to recognize that steel-tipped darts are the most practical choice for sisal dartboards.

Now, I get it if you’re a die-hard fan of traditional darts. Change can be tough. But here’s the deal: steel-tip darts, with their potential to damage a digital board, just aren’t worth the hassle. Sooner or later, your board might need repairs or even a replacement.

Choosing soft-tip darts means you can have the best of both worlds without sacrificing your gear. Enjoy your game without fretting over unnecessary wear and tear on your electronic dartboard – a win-win for any dart enthusiast.

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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), United States. His experience and proficiency in the field allow him to provide winning strategies, creative ideas, and expert advice.

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