Electronic dartboard purchasing advice: how to choose the right product

  • What You Need to Know
  • Electronic dartboards have sound effects and an automatic counting function.
  • Usually, games for several players and different game variations can be set.
  • Soft darts are used. These are equipped with a rounded plastic tip.
  • Dart cabinets have doors that cover the target when you are not using the machine.

Cult sport darts

While most people pursue darts more as a leisure activity, playing with friends in convivial gatherings in the bar or party cellar, the sport has developed into a true cult in recent years. World championships in darts fill entire halls with frenetic fans and attract an audience of millions in front of the television. Those who want to indulge in this sport, which was once considered a pub game, in the private sphere have a wide choice of dartboards. In addition to the conventional models made of sisal fibre, which are thrown at with steel-tipped darts, there are also a number of electronic models.

Features of an electronic dartboard

Among other things, the device shows the score of each player on small LC displays. These are located above or below the playing surface. As a rule, there is a small display for each player. In addition, many models are equipped with various sound effects, for example, a hit feedback or an announcement of the score. If desired, the sounds and jingles can be turned up, down or off.

 electronic dartboard

A big plus of electronic dartboards are the preset games. Usually, several game variations are possible; the different counting methods are stored. There are dozens of dart variations, each with additional modes. These can be played alone against a computer opponent, in pairs against each other or with several players. Some dart machines can store scores for up to 16 players simultaneously.

Two or three row holes

Players who are interested in an electronic dartboard can choose between so-called two-hole and three-hole discs. These differ in the width of the double and triple fields. Two-hole dartboards have – as the name suggests – two rows of holes in the said fields and are therefore harder to hit. This variant is used in official tournaments in professional darts. Discs with three rows of holes in the double and triple hit zones are popular with recreational players and beginners because the possibility of a high-scoring hit is more likely here.

The right dart

The scope of delivery for electronic dartboards usually includes suitable darts with plastic tips, so-called soft darts, as well as spare tips. Arrows with a weight of up to 18 grams are recommended. Never use darts with steel tips, also called steeldarts. These can seriously damage the housing of the dart machine as well as the electronics.

Advantages of an electronic dartboard

The system of the electronic dartboard automatically counts points and scores. So you don’t have to calculate yourself and remember or write down the scores. Therefore, these models are also well suited for children who may not be so quick with counting down. As a rule, up to four players – in some models even more – can take part in a game. The scores are displayed separately on the electronic dartboard.

The darts developed for electronic dart machines are not pointed. Players can therefore not accidentally injure themselves on them. The darts are equipped with a plastic tip that can be replaced if it breaks or bends. In addition, the electronic dartboards have game modes and dart variants programmed into them for every level of play. Games against a computer opponent at different difficulty levels are also often possible.

Disadvantages of an electronic dartboard

Electronic dartboards require a power source to be fully functional. Usually they have a power cable, but there are also models that run on batteries. Although the dartboards can also be used without a power supply, in a way like a conventional variant, then advantages such as automatic score counting and the score display are omitted.

Sometimes it happens that the darts do not get stuck in the target. This is because the target consists of many small holes into which the tips have to hit. If you throw too slackly or at an awkward angle, the darts can bounce off and the points will not be counted.

The electronic dartboards are usually made of an artificial material. Both the disc itself and the housing are made of robust plastic or PVC. This makes the devices stable and resistant, but in the event of a fall, the outer shell can crack or the electronics can be damaged. A conventional dartboard made of sisal fibre is more resistant in this respect. Another problem that can occur as the life of an electronic dartboard increases is broken arrowheads that get stuck in the small holes in the target.

person plays dart

Do not hang outside

The permanent location of an electronic dartboard should not be outdoors. This would damage the electronics in the long run – even with dart cabinets. Of course, you can find a suitable place to hang it up outside and play there in good weather. Afterwards, however, you should store the board indoors again, where it is protected from the weather.

The dartboard cabinet

A special variant of the electronic dartboard is the dart cabinet. It is equipped with doors that can be folded shut to cover the target when it is not in use. This protects it from outside influences. In addition, the doors are often decorated so that the dart cabinet is also an attractive wall decoration. On the inside of the doors are storage options for the darts.

Dimensions of a dartboard

Since the dartboard target is known to be round, electronic dartboards are also about as wide as they are high, usually between 45 and 60 centimetres. Only the controls take up a few centimetres extra, usually at the bottom of the device. Dart cabinets are accordingly about twice as wide when opened up. In addition, these variations are heavier; they can weigh up to seven kilograms. Conventional electronic dartboards often weigh only about two to three kilograms. Be aware of the weight when hanging the machine and make sure that nails or hangers can support the load.

If you value official tournament dimensions, the disc must have a diameter of 34 centimetres. Not all manufacturers install their discs exactly according to this measurement, but simply orientate yourself to it. According to the regulations of the German Darts Association, the disc must be mounted so that the centre – the bullseye – hangs at a height of 1.73 metres. The distance from which it is thrown is exactly 2.37 metres. So make sure you have enough free space in front of the dartboard before you mount it.

Measures for noise protection

During operation, both the music and sounds of the dart machine and the impacts of the darts can be relatively loud, i.e. they can also be heard in neighbouring flats. If necessary, you should therefore install insulation between the dartboard and the wall, for example a board made of cork or polystyrene or a surface made of carpet remnants.

Popular game variations

Depending on the number and skills of the players, other game variations are possible. The number of points for different hit zones remains the same: The equal-sized squares with the values 1 to 20 are distributed all around the disc. Often, high values are deliberately placed next to low ones, for example, 20 is between 1 and 5, 3 is next to 19, 4 is next to 18. Thus, the risk of misses is higher. At the outer edge is the double zone, which doubles the respective number value; approximately in the middle of the number fields, the triple zone gives three times the number of points. The highest value of 60 points is therefore the Triple-20 field and not – as one would intuitively assume – the bullseye in the centre of the disc, which brings 50 points.


dartboard game 501

Probably the best-known game variant, which is also the mode played in tournaments and championships, is the so-called “501”. This value is set for each player at the beginning of a game and must be reduced with as few throws as possible that bring high values. The maximum number of points per turn is 180, which requires hitting the triple-20 three times. It is important that the value is played down to zero. A shorter variant is “301”, which is played in lower dart leagues, among others. On many dart machines, a 701 variant can also be set.

Shanghai or Round the clock

dartboard game around the clock

In this mode, which is popular as a training game, the players compete in seven rounds of three throws each and have to hit in ascending order into the fields 1 to 20. The winner is the player who has gone furthest after seven rounds. The possibility of winning the game beforehand is interesting for particularly skilled players: For this, the single, double and triple fields of the required number series must be hit. In double or triple mode, only the double fields on the outer edge or the smaller triple fields of the required numbers count.


dartboard game cricket

Cricket is a popular dart variant in the USA. Here, each player must hit a predetermined number field three times. Hits in the double zone count as two hits, in the triple zone as three. If someone has scored three hits, the field is considered to be completed. Now points can be scored with hits into this field, while the other players still have to work through the field. Only when everyone has completed the field does the next round begin and a new numerical value is targeted by each player.


dartboard game elimination

The players throw one after the other and try to reach an exact value, for example 301, during the course of the game. As in standard darts mode, the value must be hit exactly and must not be surpassed. Otherwise, the players fall back to the value they had reached before the outdone throw. The special trick in this game is that you can throw your opponents back in the race and, in a sense, put them back at the start: If you come up with the exact same score as one of your opponents, that person is reset to zero.