This is a set up: what you need to start playing darts

This is a set up: what you need to start playing darts

For lots of us, our first experience of playing or watching darts is at the pub, the local bowls club, or catching a PDC tournament on TV. But what if you want to hone your new skill in the privacy of home? Or invite your mates around for a laugh and a bit of healthy competition. In that case, you’ll be wanting to get your own set up sorted. Preferably by the weekend.

Here’s your basic dart set up guide. You will need:

  •  A good dartboard  Our picksBandit or Outlaw 
  •  A set of three darts per player, either steel-tipped or soft-tipped. 
  •  A well-lit place to play (you might be here for a while).
  •  A scoreboard – a notepad or blackboard is all good to get you started.
  •  Some healthy competition
  • Refreshments (optional, but recommended)


Note: for the more serious shoppers, a throwline or mat and a wall-saving surround are also a good idea.


A standard international dartboard, or ‘clock’ board, measures 45.72cm/18 inches across and has 20 numbered pie-shaped segments of equal size, and a bullseye in the centre. Each segment has a double and triple scoring ring, while the bullseye has outer bull (aka the single bull) which scores 25 and an inner bull which scores 50 (a double bullseye).

Bristleboard or a paper dartboard?

Bristle dartboards are made from compressed sisal fibres from agave (A Shot Bandit or Bandit Duro board has around 3.7million fibres, in fact). The best sisal for a bristleboard comes from Kenya. A bristleboard lasts for ages because when you remove a dart from the board the hole will close behind it. A good quality bristleboard will have nice thin wires that help to prevent darts from bouncing out. And costs about the same as a couple of rounds at the pub.

A really budget-friendly option if you’re just getting started is a paper board. But assuming you’re using steel-tipped darts, a bristleboard is a much better investment in the long term. A paper board will wear out much faster and give you a generally less satisfying game. A bristleboard will also last longer because it has a number ring you can rotate to avoid wearing out one area.