Which dart should I buy?
5 ways to get it just right.
As a newbie, choosing which darts to buy feels a bit like choosing a car – there’s a lot of choice at both ends of the spectrum, and you want to make sure you’re getting a kit that feels comfortable, and just right.
While there isn’t the serious investment involved in, say, getting a new car, finding the right dart is a very personal thing. So drawing on what we’ve learned from 50 odd years of giving players the right dart, here are the five factors you should consider.
- How you naturally hold your dart
Think back to when you picked up a dart for the first time. Did you hold it a bit like a pencil? Check for yourself the next time you’re throwing. The way you naturally hold a dart is key to finding a set you love to play with. For example, does it feel right to hold your dart near the front of the barrel? If so, a front-weighted dart is your best choice. Do you hold the dart in the back of the barrel? A rear-weighted dart would probably give you the best control and accuracy. It follows that if you hold your dart right in the middle, you need to look for an evenly weighted dart.
- How fast you throw your darts
While your grip will determine whether you’re best with a front-, mid- or rear-weighted dart, its overall weight depends on how hard and fast you throw. Generally speaking, lighter darts need to be thrown harder and faster to hit the mark and not bounce out of the board. So if you feel like you throw quite hard, have a go with a light-ish dart. (If your taste in darts tends toward the featherweight, soft tip darts could be your thing.) And of course, if you prefer to take your throwing a bit easier, check out a heavier dart.
Most players stay below 30 grams, but if you’re into extreme sports, you’ll find darts available at weights anywhere between 12 and 40 grams. If you’re not sure, try playing with a set of darts that fall somewhere in the middle, around 22-24 grams.
How you throw will also have a bearing on the flights you choose. If you’re faster, experiment with small, slender flights, to help your dart hit its target without getting affected by air movement. On the other hand, if you throw a bit slower, try a larger flight, to keep your dart stable as it flies.
- The texture you like in a dart
There are almost infinite variations in dart barrel texture available. Again, the best thing to do is experiment with a few different styles. Some people like their darts to be smooth with little or no knurl (the cuts and grooves on a barrel). Some like the whole barrel to have a very sharp or rough edge to them. Pay close attention to your personal preference: what feels right for someone else may feel uncomfortable and unnatural for you. Your preferences will probably change, so playing with different weights and textures will definitely keep things interesting.
- What's your budget for darts gear?
There’s no need to go all out with diamond encrusted flights (which probably wouldn’t fly all that well anyway). But while you’ll find darts at pretty much every pricepoint, take a close look at the darts you’re buying. Lower manufacturing quality standards – leading to bounce outs, breakages and inaccuracy – affect your playing and knock your confidence. An affordable set that’s well made is a great choice to get you playing.
We recommend that you start with a good solid set of darts costing around $40 to $60. As you progress, you may decide to go up to around $100 plus for top of the line gear, or stick with the tried and true. It’s up to you. PS. Ignore review sites that tell you to buy the most expensive set of darts, especially if they include affiliate links. A solid, mid-range set will be good as gold for right now.
- How you like your darts to look
Okay, maybe this is slightly less important to your playing that the other four factors. But we say, all other things being equal, why shouldn’t your darts look good? The flight is of course the main way to display a bit of personality in your darts. Like having an epic walk on track, great flight artwork – and the story behind it – can represent you as a player, get you in the right headspace and give you an extra shot of confidence. Maybe you like taking on an alter ego, whether that’s a Pacific warrior, a Samurai or a Viking longboat captain.
Who’s your player alter ego?