10 Best Bristle Dartboards to Buy in 2022 (Reviews & Buyer’s Guide)

Bristle dart boards are the board of choice for most competitive players. If you turn on a darts stream or a PDC event on your TV you will always see the top pros playing on incredibly well-built bristle boards.

Over the years many different styles of dart boards have come and gone, with some still providing alternative competition to this day for soft tip darts players, but nothing has come close to the consistency and quality of steel tip bristle boards. Their durable construction and groundbreaking technology sets them miles ahead of the other types of board.

With so many bristle dartboards on the market to choose from, it’s tough to know which one you should take home and which ones you should avoid.

We’re going to break down the top 10 best bristle dartboards on the market right now, why they sit atop the rest and we’ll also let you know exactly what you should be looking for in our buyer’s guide at the end of the article!

10 Best Bristle Dart boards to Buy in 2022

1. Winmau Blade 5 Dual Core

Quick Specs:

  • Weight: 10.7 Pounds
  • Material: Plastic
  • Dimensions: 17.75 x 17.75 x 1.5 inches

The best-selling steel tip dartboard on the market, the Winmau Blade 5 bristle board is still the player’s choice to this day. It is without a doubt the best bristle dartboard in the market when considering build quality, availability and price.

The Winmau boards of late come with their patented Blade technology which combines razor-thin wiring with deeply bedded construction to produce a solidly wired board with shallow beds. This helps to increase the scoring area size and with that the players’ scoring average.

Unlike the Eclipse Pro, the Winmau Blade 5 bristle board’s bullseye inner ring is well bedded and fits well within the outer bullseye, utilizing carbon diffusion technology to strengthen the steel. It’s visually more pleasing but also allows for more bed space and therefore less bounce-outs.

On the back of the board, there is a triple-wheel secure system. Mounting the board including this system helps a player keep the board perfectly horizontal and reduces impact sound.

With all factors concerned, the Winmau Blade 5 bristle board comes out on top every time as the best bristle dartboard on the market.

What I Liked

  • Razor-thin wiring
  • Double Core Sisal
  • Solid construction
  • Sleek design
  • Cost-effective

What I didn’t Like

  • Not triple-core like its successor

 

 

2. Unicorn Eclipse Pro

Quick Specs:

  • Weight: 11.2 Pounds
  • Material: Blend
  • Dimensions: 18.11 x 18.11 x 1.97 inches

The current choice of many PDC events, the Unicorn Eclipse Pro bristle dartboard is the main competitor to the number one pick on this list. The segmentation and razor wire width are as thin as possible in the current generation of darts and the fiber-wiring connection is clean and consistent.

With the combination of well-manufactured wiring and densely packed sisal, the Eclipse Pro helps players minimize bounce-outs and of all the dartboards lower on this list seems to have the best dart retention percentage.

This high-quality dartboard is officially endorsed by the PDC and used in many of their TV events. Professionals tend to enjoy the board and the way it plays, although in a competition setting it can wear quite quickly due to the sheer amount of darts being thrown and its lack of multiple cores.

All in all the Eclipse Pro is a solid dartboard at a fantastic price point that shouldn’t be slept on when in the market for a regulation-size board.

What I Liked

  • Razor wiring
  • PDC endorsed
  • Solid construction

What I didn’t Like

  • Only single-core sisal
  • Mounting hardware not included

 

 

3. Winmau Blade 6 Triple Core Shield

Quick Specs:

  • Weight: 11 Pounds
  • Material: Triple core sisal
  • Dimensions: N/A

On paper, there is no competition for the Winmau Blade 6. Its features are the epitome of modern-day darting technology yet there is one huge drawback to this impeccable board.

The Blade 6 boasts a triple-core technology unseen on other bristle dartboards. The sisal fiber is organized into three individual layers under the scoring beds which provides a soft nest for darts to penetrate into. Once in, they are gripped by the individual layers and therefore unlikely to fall out. This has never before been seen on a dartboard and brings a new dimension to what high-quality sisal fibers can do.

Of all the professional boards in circulation, the Winmau Blade 6 looks the most impressive. It has a new off-black number ring that no longer stands out on the edge of the board and the paint job on the playing surface is consistent and accurate.

The 60-degree angle blade and carbon diffusion technology allow for a 25% thinner bullseye ring than most average boards allowing you more room for error in your centerboard shots.

This official tournament size board is without a doubt one of the best bristle boards, however … and it’s a BIG, however, the Winmau Blade 6 is not yet available to all consumers worldwide. Once it is, it will no doubt be a number one pick for all players worldwide as the number one professional dartboard.

What I Liked

  • Razor wiring
  • A fresh number ring design
  • Extremely thin bullseye wiring
  • Modern look
  • Triple core sisal

What I didn’t Like

  • Not yet available worldwide

 

 

4. Nodor Supawire 2

Quick Specs:

  • Weight: 11.4 Pounds
  • Material: Sisal
  • Dimensions: 17.75 x 17.75 x 1.5 inches

Yet another staple wire bristle dartboard on this list but one that comes with its own merits.

The Supawire 2 bristle dartboard is built similarly to the Shot King but differs in one major aspect; it has much thinner and tighter grouped staples within the outer bullseye. This adds to the total target area, potentially increasing your dart retention within the center of the board.

It also takes the crown over the Shot King when comparing the style of wiring used. The Supawire comes built with a razor Supawire system instead of the Shot Kings round wiring. As always this helps guide the dart into the board instead of resulting in bounce-outs. With razor wiring also comes shallow bed depths giving the entire board a much neater and consistent look.

As the highest rate stapled bristle dartboard on this list, the Nodor Supawire is a great choice for a budget-conscious, intermediate player.

What I Liked

  • Razor wiring
  • Tightly grouped bullseye staples

What I didn’t Like

  • Stapled wiring
  • Smaller bed sizes due to staples

 

 

5. Viper Shot King

Quick Specs:

  • Weight: 9.1 Pounds
  • Material: Sisal
  • Dimensions: 18 x 18 x 1.5 inches

You may find it strange seeing a staple wiring board this high up on a list of ‘must have’ dartboards, but manufacturing quality and solidity are vital factors to consider when picking up a board to practice on for months and months and the Viper Shot King bristle dartboard is exactly that.

Everything about this board screams duty to care. The staples that exist are extremely well placed and set. They are deep enough into the sisal fiber to both reduce any bounce-outs in your game yet still hold down the wireframe so it doesn’t shimmy across your board.

For a round wiring board, the bed depths are completely acceptable and suitable to practice in order to improve your game.

One of the other top features of the Viper Shot King board is the sisal fibers themselves. They seem weaved in a fashion completely different to the Viper Slash and are proving to be extremely effective at self-healing, giving the board an exceptionally long lifespan. Some reviews are even suggesting durability of up to three years!

Don’t miss the boat on this board because it’s not staple-free. It might not be the best bristle option but it’s a quality board with huge practice potential.

What I Liked

  • Solid construction
  • Extremely long life-span
  • Durable sisal fiber

What I didn’t Like

  • Stapled wiring
  • Smaller bed sizes due to staples
  • Mounting hardware not included

 

 

6. One80 Gladiator 2

Quick Specs:

  • Weight: 11 Pounds
  • Material: Sisal
  • Dimensions: 18 inches

Despite its outlandish and in-your-face packaging (which features a gladiator surrounded by thunder), the Gladiator 2 bristle board is a very straightforward board. Expect no thrills or gimmicky add-ons but instead a very well-made, reliable bristle dartboard.

What stands out on the Gladiator 2 is its pristine sisal fiber and the way it molds seamlessly with the razor wiring. The tiny fibers seem to be connected at every point of the metal framing and give the look of an extremely high-quality bristle dartboard. Additionally, each and every inch of the sisal fibers is painted with care and it makes the board look fantastic when mounted.

One strange issue with this board is the impact sound. For some reason or other, the sound of a dart landing board seems amplified in comparison to other boards. Although this is only an issue if you plan to practice darts in silence, it can sometimes be a little distracting.

There have also been reports of the single-layer sisal peeling over short periods of time. If you do choose the Gladiator 2 and in order to prevent bounce-outs, be sure to rotate regularly and take care of the scoring beds by peeling away any loose fibers.

What I Liked

  • Well constructed
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Good dart retention
  • Affordable

What I didn’t Like

  • Sound issues
  • Mildly expensive for a simple board
  • Reports of fiber wear over time

 

 

7. DMI Sports Bandit

Quick Specs:

  • Weight: 10.6 Pounds
  • Material: Metal, Plastic
  • Dimensions: 18.3 x 7.2 x 1.8 inches

The DMI Sports Bandit dartboard is the best-looking dartboard on this list, hands down. Its sleek and minimalist design means it would like perfect on any surface and fit in well in both club and tournament setups.

DMI has adopted a new approach to wiring with razor-bladed, staple-free micro wiring giving you on average 16% more scoring area than mid-range stapled boards. The sisal-wiring connection is impeccable and it would appear to be just one flat piece of fabric across the board.

So why exactly is the DMI bristle dartboard not further up on this list? Due to the tautness of the sisal fiber, it heals incredibly slowly. You are required to rotate the board almost every playing session in order to allow the board to heal which can be a big pain when you just want to step up and practice some darts.

Most consumers have stated that the quality of the board features on the DMI has decreased in recent years due to outsourcing of manufacturing, however, the Bandit still performs well as a mid-level board for regular use.

What I Liked

  • Great to look at
  • Extremely shallow bed depths
  • Staple free wiring

What I didn’t Like

  • Aesthetically ugly
  • Fiber and wire separation huge
  • Sisal fiber quality poor

 

 

8. Viper Slash

Quick Specs:

  • Weight: 11 Pounds
  • Material: Sisal
  • Dimensions: 17.75 x 1.25 x 17.75 inches

The Viper Slash come into the market as Viper’s leading board in quality in technology. It brags razor wiring, staple-free bullseyes, and single-core sisal fiber, all features that should excel it to the front of this list.

All of the above features mean that playing on the Slash can produce great results in dart deflection tests and reduce bounce-outs. Unfortunately, there are a few durability issues with the Slash that means it can join the ranks of the Eclipse Pro or Winmau Blade 5.

Unlike those boards which have densely packed sisal, the Slash seems to be inconsistent in fiber distribution across the board. This particular board arrives looking … strange. Parts of the scoring area look thicker than others and small chunks of fiber may appear to be missing. It plays well and doesn’t have noticeable bounce-out issues but definitely will not stand the test of time. If it’s sitting in a competitive venue being played on regularly, don’t expect the Slash to last more than a month of serious playtime.

On top of the fiber quality, the wiring looks as though it has been forced into the board in order to reduce the bed size. As it’s been forced in, it has created slight fiber-wiring separation all across the board.

It’s strange how Viper’s Slash hasn’t quite beaten its stapled alternative on this list, but manufacturing is everything in this game and the Slash doesn’t quite live up to the hype. It’s an extremely capable board but we just wish they had taken a bit more time and care when designing the playing surface.

What I Liked

  • Razor wiring
  • Extremely shallow bed depths
  • Staple free wiring system

What I didn’t Like

  • Aesthetically ugly
  • Fiber and wire separation huge
  • Sisal fiber quality poor

 

 

9. Viper Aim 360

Quick Specs:

  • Weight: 11 Pounds
  • Material: Sisal
  • Dimensions: 18 x 18 x 1.8 inches

Of all of the boards on this list, the Viper Aim 360 is the most suitable for beginner dart players. Despite its higher price tag, it comes with a select few features specifically targeted towards newer players.

Each multiple scoring bed (trebles and doubles) on the 360 features diamond markers. These markers provide a focus point for new players to aim for instead of the entire bed. It can help to track progress throughout practice and is a great visual aid for a bristle dartboard.

As well as the diamond markers, the 360 comes with movable target pins. These pins can be placed anywhere in the board to create new, precise targets for players looking to improve their accuracy. You can place and remove them as and when you like and the board will heal as usual thanks to its single-core sisal fibre.

Just like the Whimlets dartboards, the Viper Aim 360 boasts an ultra-thin and sharp razor wire angle but uses the same technology meaning deeper scoring beds. On top of this, the sisal fiber and wiring separation are a little on the large side, meaning darts landing right next to the wire have a tendency to bounce out.

Despite this, the Viper Aim 360 is a fantastic starter board for those looking to venture into board ownership for the very first time.

What I Liked

  • Ultra-thin wiring
  • Practice rings
  • Diamond markers
  • Staple free wiring system

What I didn’t Like

  • Very deep beds
  • Expensive for a beginner board
  • Fiber and wire separation can be large

 

 

10. Whimlets Pro Board

Quick Specs:

  • Weight: 9.52 Pounds
  • Material: Sisal
  • Dimensions: 17.72 x 17.72 x 1.97 inches

The Whimlets Pro Board, despite being a fairly unknown brand, is a solid addition to this list at number 10. As a single-core board, its durability can be brought into question but it does come with a rotating number ring in order to increase board life.

The staple-free bullseye and wiring is a huge selling point on the Whimlets, being a feature that you usually only see on the larger brands’ boards. The technology they’ve incorporated into their wiring is impressive but it has one big drawback; bed depth. Due to the amount of wiring left protruding from the board, the beds are set quite deep in comparison to the wiring. This can actually increase bounce-outs despite the wiring being extra thin.

The sisal fiber holds up well for a single core construction but won’t last particularly long in a competitive setting with regular dart players. Additionally, at this price point, you could pick up a slightly better board from a well-known competitor. A great board for practice at home with decent board features, but maybe not for the longer term!

What I Liked

  • Ultra-thin wiring
  • Staple free wiring system
  • Movable Number Ring

What I didn’t Like

  • Very deep beds
  • Expensive for a mid-level board
  • Durability issues over long periods

 

 

Bristle Dart board Buyer’s Guide

What makes a great professional dartboard? Bristle dartboards come in all different shapes and sizes. It’s important to know what to look out for when deciding which dart board to buy.

Not only is board construction and durability a factor to consider but so is the impact that it will have on your game. Unfortunately, there are plenty of cheap and poorly made boards on the market which will almost definitely negatively impact your game and scoring power. This could lead to less fun at the oche and could be a leading reason for leaving the game of darts.

A great bristle dartboard means higher scores and a happier darts player. This can only affect your game positively and can help you in taking the next steps towards improving your average!

Board Type

Although only one dart board might spring to mind when you think of darts, it isn’t uncommon to find a few different physical styles of boards. Hardly any of them are used in professional competition, so it’s vitally important to select the correct configuration for your practice to make sure you’re playing on the board that suits your future darting ambitions.

Below are a few of the standard and weird and wonderful boards seen around the world.

Old London Board

The Old London board is the classic board many think of when they consider darts; twenty numbered segments each with double and triple segments with an inner and outer bullseye in the center of the board.

It has become the industry standard board and is used in all major steel tips competitions sanctioned by the PDC and BDO (such as the Blade 5 Bristle Dartboard or Unicorn Eclipse Pro).

If you’re looking to get better at darts and challenge others you will certainly need an Old London board at home to practice on. In fact, you will probably have a hard time finding any of the other boards on this list in mainstream darts stores. The Old London is the go-to bristle dartboard.

London Fives Board

One of the downsides of a bristle dartboard is that it does not calculate scores as electronic dartboards do. With the sheer amount of numbers and multiplication opportunities on the board, counting up scores can be tricky even for trained mathematicians!

The fives board is separated into twelve segments each representing a multiple of five. It does feature triples and doubles but they are much larger than a usual Old London board.

The fives board would be a great introductory board and good for the odd practice session but doesn’t really properly represent the game of darts. It could be a good transitional board for electronic board players.

Yorkshire Board

Take an Old London board, remove the triple beds and outer bullseye and you have a Yorkshire board. These boards require huge accuracy when it comes to hitting the bull, meaning it can be good for precise bull practice but quite frankly not much else. Some players like to mix up their dart games to keep their darting brain sharp and so for that, it could be useful.

The modern game relies on power scoring in the treble beds and so without that bed, the Yorkshire board is kind of irrelevant in the 21st-century darts market.

Size Regulations

Most bristle dartboards you’ll find for purchase will have exactly the same build dimensions. There are a few boards however that come in smaller than regulation size. Make sure your board fits the PDC specifications by checking the dimensions below!

Regulation Specifications

In the most recent statements by both the PDC (Professional Darts Corporation) and BDO (British Darts Organization), regulation size bristle dartboards should be 17.75 inches in diameter and weigh around 5kg. Most boards on the market round the diameter size up to 18 inches which is also fine as they usually maintain the correct segment and bed sizes.

Manchester Board Specifications

Manchester boards are the only semi-popular boards in the darting world with a slightly smaller size. If you’re looking to play darts on a Manchester board it should only be 9.8 inches in diameter.

Bed Sizes

Bed sizes are generally the same across all steel tip boards. The one thing that could change the target area of your beds are the wiring staples. With the staples removed, the beds should as such:

  • Inner Bull: 0.20 inches squared
  • Outer Bull: 1.05 inches squared
  • Total Bull: 1.25 inches squared
  • Trip Segment: 0.40 inches squared
  • Double Segment: 0.65 inches squared

It’s important to note that soft tip and electronic boards have completely different bed dimensions.

Wiring Construction

The wiring of a bristle dartboard could be the difference between a 60 and 80 three dart average. Poor wiring construction is usually the culprit for dart bounce-outs and no-scores. It’s vital to use boards with a specific construction of wireframe in order to avoid these issues.

Stapled Wiring

Stapled wiring is a method of constructing dart board wiring whereby the wires are held down by individual u-shaped staples dotted throughout the board. Imagine a peg holding down the ropes of a tent; without the pegs, the tent would fly away. It’s the same with staples on a dartboard.

Although effective at holding down wire frames, staples tend to take a lot of bed space on the dartboard. In the case of stapled bullseyes, they can even reduce the bullseye size by up to 30%, massively impacting your bullseye dart retention and scoring.

Staple wiring is the cost-effective method of wiring stabilization on bristle boards and will be found on most budget dart boards. If finances allow, try to stay clear of stapled wiring and instead go for the next option.

Staple Free Wiring

Staple-free construction consists of wiring that is embedded into the sisal fiber. Instead of being held down by metal pegs or staples, the wiring is built inserted into the fiber.

Having staple-free wiring means there is much less metal surface area on the board and therefore less chances for bounce outs and lost darts. It also means the bed depths are much shallower which helps with the same issues.

A staple-free bullseye can alter the target area so dramatically that professional darts players will refuse to play on stapled boards.

Wiring Shape

The metal wiring on a dartboard is what separates the scoring segments and helps players identify where their dart has landed. The shape of the wiring can help prevent bounce outs and increase scoring averages or vice versa.

Round Wire

This cylindrical wiring style is the easiest and most cost-effective way of producing spider wiring for a dart board. It is often found on less than desirable boards and can result in many bounce outs and lost darts due to its large surface area.

Blade (Razor) Wire

Blade wire technology (as seen on the Blade 5 bristle dartboard) is wiring that is thinned out to a sharp edge and at a steep angle. The web surface area is greatly reduced and if your dart hits the blade wiring it will simply deflect into one side or the other and not bounce back towards the player.

Diamond Wire

Diamond wiring is pretty much a cross between the two types above. It features sharpened edges like the blade wiring but sits on top of the fiber-like round wiring and requires staples in order to be held down. It’s a technology that is a little outdated but is still found on a few boards.

Sisal Fiber Core Value

All of the best bristle dartboards are made out of sisal fiber. This particular material on the playing surface has a property that increases the life of a dartboard exponentially; self-healing. When a dart is removed from a bristle dart board, the fiber instantly begins to close up and heal and over time will no longer be visible.

Dartboards come with distinct sisal core values. Put simply this indicates how many independent layers of sisal fiber there are beneath the playing surface. In theory, the more layers there are the less likely your dart is to fall out of the board and the quicker it will heal. There are currently only three core values on the market; single, dual, and treble.

Fibre and Wiring Separation

When looking at Blade or Razor wired boards it’s important to check the separation between the sisal fiber and wiring. Some companies tend to force the blades into the fiber and wiggle them as they push them down. This can then create a small gap between wiring and fiber where a dart can’t be received. Any boards with particular large separation should be avoided.

Number Ring

The number ring on a bristle dartboard should be suitably distanced from the scoring area and also rotatable. Rotating number rings allow players to change the values of each segment in order to give the board time to heal. For example, if you’re practicing 20s and see that the segment is getting a little bit roughed up, you can rotate the number ring round so that the number 20 is above a different black segment of the board. This massively increases a board’s life span and durability.

Be sure to check the above guide before picking up a new bristle dartboard for your practice needs. A great dartboard can be the difference between enjoyable darts and a boring practice slog! Best of luck with your new board and we’ll see you at the oche!

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