A fully-equipped man cave accommodates multiple kinds of activity. While there might not be room for a full-sized snooker table, a decent darts board will function as a stylish focal piece and a handy time-killer while barely taking up any space.
Typically when choosing a dart board, you’ll be looking for a compacted bristled board, thin wiring, and a staple-less bullseye, but these are not the only options.
While some boards also come with accessories, often these amount to no more than a gimmick, and serious players will want to buy their own darts. Here’s a look at five popular dart boards on the market right now.
Man Cave Dart Board Reviews
EastPoint Sports Bristle Dartboard Set
This self-healing, bristle dart board comes in its own mountable cabinet to keep everything organized, but the accessories need some work. All in all, this is a good board for the price, but you’ll have to buy some better darts to go with it.
This good-looking dart board comes inside a closable cabinet full of accessories. The cabinet hangs on the wall and keeps the board tidied away when not in use. It houses a scoreboard, darts, chalk, and a chalk eraser. The board itself has tightly-compacted sisal fibers, which are said to expand to refill the hole when a dart is removed from the board. This allows the board to ‘self-heal’ and prolongs its life. The bullseye ring is fixed into the board without staples, which leaves less chance of darts bouncing back off the steel.
While the board seems to be of good quality and value for money, the accessories don’t live up to expectations. The cheap darts break quickly, and the chalk eraser is poorly made. The sisal fibers also need some work and perhaps aren’t compressed as much as the company would have you believe. Still, the board works as intended and won’t break the bank.
The cabinet and board give a weighty quality that looks classic and professional – this setup wouldn’t be out of place in an English pub or a pilot’s mess.
Reasonably priced, this board is somewhere in the middle of the range for the boards reviewed today and has decent value for money. Perhaps ironically, if the board came for the same price without the tacky accessories, it might feel like a better deal, but this is a problem with a lot of products that come with extras. If later models could improve on the quality of the accessories, this would be a very appropriate choice for any man-cave.
In summary, if your man cave is missing a classic-looking cabinet board, this one might be a good choice for the price. It keeps things organized and tidy and fits with a comfortable, pub-style aesthetic.
- The cabinet makes this board compact and well-organized
- Staple-free bullseye reduces bounce-out of darts
- Heavy, authentic feel
- Well-compressed bristles
- Darts are of bad quality and have a tendency to break quickly
- Poor quality chalk eraser
Winmau Blade 5 Bristle Dartboard
This is a high-tech, professional-standard bristle dart board with extra thin and sharp wiring to reduce bounce-outs. The board boasts a range of technological advantages over the competition, but are they really necessary?
The manufacturers boast a dazzling array of beneficial technologies, including a steeper angle on the wiring system that reduces bounce-outs and creates extra targeting area on the board. The bullseye ring is marketed as 20% stronger with nothing to reference it against, and a triple wheel lock and level system suggest versatile mounting and adjustment options. This board is also mid-range in price but doesn’t appear to live up to its own hype. The board that claims to usher in the next generation of game-changing performance falls a bit flat with issues of poor manufacturing quality and no longevity.
The board apparently has an ‘exclusive’ British Darts Organisation endorsement and carbon diffusion technology in the bullseye ring, which the manufacturers do not go deeply into. Some of these boards might be tournament-quality, but others are cheaper and won’t live up to all the hype.
The Blade 5 comes in single and dual-core models, the latter of which is more expensive but holds up to more punishment as the sisal fibers are more compact. As with a lot of lower-cost boards, the single-core board suffers from poor self-healing and may disappoint.
For the price, you get a single board, no accessories. This means you’ll have to pay extra for darts.
The Winmau Blade 5 is the sort of board the professionals play on, and as such, it meets tournament regulations, so if that’s something that’s important to you, this board might be an eye-catcher. There is quite a range of quality, however, and the company boasts a lot of high-tech solutions that you probably don’t really need or at least won’t notice.
- Leveling feet allow the board to sit flat against any surface and make mounting and adjustment of the board easy
- Sharper wires mean fewer bounce-outs
- Thinner wires give a larger target area
- Dual-core models have better compact sisal fibers
- Build-quality doesn’t live up to expectations, particularly in the single-core version
- No accessories
Viber boards are cheap and relatively effective, but you get what you pay for in some cases. If you’re looking for a decent budget board, Viper might be right for you. It comes with a hand full of accessories, and while it’s not top-of-the-range, it’s a solid all-rounder.
The Viper King range offers low-cost boards with many of the same features as the EastPoint. It includes sisal, self-healing fibers, a staple-less bullseye ring, and accessories such as darts and chalk. It’s a very popular board and offers a robust and durable option that’s good value for money. This is a no-nonsense piece of hardware that does more or less what you expect it to. Nothing outstanding, but not too many flaws.
As an added accessory, the Viper comes with a measuring tape. This allows you to make sure you’re working from the right distance. It might be a bit of a gimmick unless you don’t have a tape measure at home, but it’s one that none of the other board manufacturers have thought of, so there’s that.
All Viper boards come with bright Tri-Color screen printed faces, giving the board surface a classic and vivid look. The contrast is nice, and the build quality is, in most cases, decent.
The board is quite soft, which reduces bounce-out but also limits its self-healing capabilities. It seems like the fibers aren’t as compressed as they should be, which could lead to disappointment if you’re expecting it to heal well. Still, for the price you pay, it should do the job.
All in all, this is a good beginner board and still quite popular with regular players. You’re unlikely to get better value for money from any of the other boards in this review, but it’s not the highest quality board on the list either.
- Low price
- Good build quality
- Thin wires reduce bounce-out
- Includes a measuring tape and other accessories
- Self-healing fibers don’t work as advertised
Arachnid Cricket Maxx
There is a bit of a change of pace with this electronic system including lots of cool features, but maybe a little too expensive for the quality. The main issues are with shoddy wiring, which should be an easy fix for future models.
Electronic dart boards can bridge the gap between traditionalists and modern gamers. For electric boards, the assessment criteria are different. Fibers aren’t relevant, and usually, there are no wires at all to cause bounce-out.
The Arachnid boards are well known in this field. Being the originator of soft-tip darts systems, Arachnid produces their boards as a complete electronic darts system with built-in features. The scoreboard is hardwired into the cabinet door and houses 34 games with 183 level variations.
The E-Bristle can handle metal or soft-tip darts, and the scoreboard keeps track of how well you’re playing. In heckler mode, the game will mock bad throws and applaud good ones, and it can accommodate up to eight players.
As with many soft-tip darts systems, the board struggles to grip the darts, leading to a lot of bounce-outs and drops. Since this is a common issue with e-darts, it’s hard to say whether this board is worse than average, but if this becomes an issue, it’s possible to rough up the dart tips with sandpaper to improve their performance. Though, perhaps you shouldn’t have to.
The price tag is a little high on this one, and sometimes the system doesn’t really live up to that. Build quality can be tacky, and the boards often arrive badly put-together. The magnets on the cabinet doors aren’t strong enough, and the wiring of the electronics causes a bunch of problems.
Perhaps most notably, the system is sometimes a little buggy, leading to the game resetting in the middle of a session, which can be very frustrating. The volume of the sounds might be a little low if there’s background noise or music going on.
All in all, this is a good-looking board with fun features and possibly an affordable entry into the world of electronic darts. If you’re trying to get people into darts for the first time, it’s worth considering but probably not worth the price tag.
- Well-designed aesthetic
- Varied and interesting game options
- Can handle metal or soft-tip darts
- Comes with six darts
- Poor build quality
- Computer glitches that ruin games
The Barrington Collection is a luxury board from an expert in man-cave accessories that gives the strong impression of class but falls slightly short of a complete package.
Barrington tailors their products to those who want to fashion their man-cave after a Hertfordshire manor. Crafted from a stylish wood veneer, all boards come with a scoreboard and two sets of darts.
All boards come with compact bristles which claim to be self-healing and have staple-less bullseye rings, which have become the standard. All are also up to professional specifications.
With prices ranging relatively high, you are definitely paying for a quality look, but it’s disappointing to see that the scoreboard uses a whiteboard marker, which leaves a residue on the board. This can be avoided by using your own chalk, but the darts themselves are also low-grade, and the fittings for hanging the board seem cheap and insecure, so you’ll need to add some of your own pieces before you can get going.
The casing itself is fiberboard with a wood veneer finish, and it does look really nice. Many of the cabinets come with their own interior lighting, which can be a game-changer in the aesthetics of a man-cave.
This board is definitely an elegant addition to a games room, but for the price, you’d expect the accessories to keep up with the aesthetic. As with the other boards that provide cheap accessories, this one gives the impression you’d be better off spending less on a stand-alone board and buying decent darts for it separately.
In summary, this is a good set of boards, with the best-looking frames and cabinets of the bunch. Any one of these would be an immediate talking piece on entering a man cave. With its own lighting, it’s really going to pop out of the wall. The accessories hold it back, however, and give you the intuition that you could have spent less, especially since you’ll have to buy better chalk and darts.
- Very good-looking board casing
- Comes with everything you need to start playing immediately
- Internal lighting adds a lot to the room
- Fits well with the ‘cigars and whisky’ aesthetic of a traditional games room
- Tacky accessories
For budget boards, you’re probably safe to go with the Viper. It offers all the key features of a dart board at a really low price.
If you’re willing to spend a little more, however, the folks at Barrington have mastered the art of turning a dart board into a stylish piece of furniture for your wall.