The Art of the Dart - Picking the Best Dart for You

Just three different types of darts - but how do you choose?. Image (c) Aaron Bower

One of the main things that can confuse new dart players is the vast amount of equipment that is available out there to play with. Much like golf, there are a ton of different types of darts, with different weights, different sizes, and different shapes. So where on Earth do you start? Here are some basic guidelines to help you find the right dart for you.

Before You Begin

Before you start, it’s important to mention: Don’t consistently change your darts every week.

If you do that, you’ll never become a better player. Tinker until you find a style that fits you personally, and then stick with it whilst you practice different games. How you throw is more important than what you throw.

The Barrel

Arguably the most important part of the dart is the barrel (the tungsten, middle part of the dart) - that is the part which affects the throw most significantly. It’s where the weight of the dart is, and you can pick up a massive range of weights. A standard weight is between 21-27 grams, but you can find darts that are lighter and heavier if you so desire. A good rule of thumb is to go around the 24-gram mark - it’s about the average - and then adjust from there.

Every dart player has different preferences; for instance, you may instantly feel the dart is going higher than where you’re aiming. If that’s the case, you need to switch to a slightly heavier weight of dart, with the opposite applying if you can’t get the dart up to its desired location.

Another important aspect of the barrel is the grip. Like weight, there are many varieties of grip style, ranging from darts without a grip, to darts with heavy knurling. Usually, the heavier the knurl on the dart, the easier it is to grip. Again, though, it can vary by the player, and some people find that a heavy knurl can cause the dart to stick to the fingers when throwing.

There is no direct advice one can take; the only possible solution is to try a variety, and see which works best.

Accessories: Shafts and Flights

Aside from the barrel, you’ll need some shafts (the part above the barrel, usually plastic or metal), and some flights (which act as effectively a kite for the dart). Shafts and flights are cheap and easy to replace, so don’t be afraid to do it. Flights can become worn very easily (for instance, when the darts hit each other on the board, or bounce out), as can shafts, when they bend or snap. Perhaps the most important thing to consider with a shaft is the length. If you throw your dart with pace and power, a shorter shaft will work for you. However, if you rely on a loftier, lighter throw, a longer shaft will help your dart fly through the air better. Use the same rule of thumb as with the barrel; start with a basic, average shaft and adjust from there.

Flights come in all shapes and sizes, with a kite shape or teardrop shape being the most common. Just remember, the heavier and larger the flight, the slower your dart will travel through the air. You will, however, get more stability from a larger flight.

Do Your Research

If you have a local darts store, it’s a great place to go, as they will more often than not have a board and some samples for you to practice with.

If not, you can readily pick darts and accessories up at a very cheap rate. Red Dragon Darts are one of the leading dart stores around, for example. Don’t be afraid to try different options, but don’t tinker too much - when you feel comfortable, stick with it and focus on upping your game.