Best Electronic Dartboard Buying Guide
There are no two ways about it. Darts is fun. And while it is a common sight in your local watering hole, it is an actual professional sport. It tests your hand-eye coordination and precision and actually requires a great deal of skill to master. In your family’s rec room, a game of darts is a great way to unwind and destress a bit. More than that, though, a game of darts can actually benefit you and your kids in different ways such as:
- Improving concentration and confidence. A game of darts requires you to focus on the bull’s eye while being aware of your body’s position in space. Since you only get three throws per turn, an inaccurate throw can greatly affect your final score and cost you the game. This is why a lot of people who are good at darts have great concentration and confidence. For your kids, they can channel this to their studies and turn out to be better learners.
- Building teamwork and social skills. Darts can be played in teams making it a wonderful family activity. When darts is turned into a team game, your kids can develop a sense of pride and purpose in contributing his points to his team’s overall score. Further, if you have guests and their children over, a game of darts can put your kids in a fun social situation and give them real face to face interaction with people – a boon if your kids spend a lot of time in front of their gaming consoles or tinkering with their mobile devices.
- Improves non-verbal skills. In this age of internet chatting, texting, and emojis, children may have difficulties understanding subtle facial expressions and body language. Playing darts helps in that department when teams learn to communicate with each other without speaking and while watching the other team give each other their non-verbal signals too.
Have we piqued your interest in installing a dartboard and making darts a family hobby? If we did, you might still have doubts as to whether or not it is a good idea because of the potential hazards of having pointy metal spikes close to your pets and children. Fear not! Dartboards have come a long way from the sisal boards of old. Enter the electronic dartboard. It is the same game, only better, because instead of metal darts, you and your family will be playing with soft tipped plastic darts that are lighter and blunt. Need another reason? An electronic dartboard is made of tougher stuff than the Kenyan sisal of traditional dartboards. This means they will never lose their shape and you can play on them for a very long time. So pick a wall on your rec room – your electronic dartboard is moving in!
Types of Electronic Dartboards
Electronic dartboards are growing in popularity. They are basically the same game of darts, except that it can do automatic scoring and can have many different dart games programmed into it. In place of the traditional pointed metal darts, you use soft tipped darts as ammunition. These soft tipped darts make it a favorite among parents to add to their family game rooms because they pose very little threat of injury to young children and pets. Electronic dart boards come in three types:
• Regulation-size boards are the size of tournament standard dartboards and the size that you would normally see out in public places where dart games are held. As far electronic dartboard sales, this size is the most popular.
• Cyber play boards are dartboards that allow you to link up with other similar dartboards and compete even if you’re not in the same place. This is a great choice if you like to play with other teams and have a continuous “tournament.”
• Kid-sized boards look just like regulation sized boards, only smaller so they are easier for kids to play with. If you have small children, you can start them on a kid sized board since a regulation sized one might be difficult for them to play with. Having a little beginners’ dartboard will be beneficial for your little ones because it will help them develop their hand-eye coordination.
What are the featured to look out for when buying Electronic Dartboards?
Whichever size or type of dartboard you choose, it will be a great addition to your game room and will provide hours of fun for you, your kids, and your guests. But while electronic dartboards may look the same for the most part, you might want to evaluate them for their individual features. Here are things to look out for when you go out to make your purchase.
● Number of Games
Did you know that there is more to darts than aiming for the board and keeping score? The fun thing about electronic dartboards is that they can have more than one type of game programmed into them. If you already have a favorite dartboard game, you may want to look for a board that has that game programmed into it. But if you don’t have a favorite or you are unfamiliar with special dartboard games, you might want to ask if the following popular games are programmed into the board:
- Cricket – there are different kinds of cricket – cutthroat cricket, scram cricket, standard cricket just to name a few. Each version has its own variations but in general, two persons or two teams play to own numbers on the board and score as high as they can.
- Round the Clock – round the clock games involve the whole board. Basically, two persons or two teams try to hit all the numbers in succession until they have hit the whole board.
- ’01 Games – a ’01 game is a countdown game. Each player or each team starts with a certain score, for example 301 points, and they have to play their way down to 0. The team that does so first wins.
- Shanghai – to win at Shanghai darts, you must score higher than your opponent by shooting darts at only one number per turn starting from 1 to 20.
If the dartboard doesn’t have games programmed into it, it doesn’t really mean that you can’t play the game. You will have to keep score manually, though, and not having to do that is supposed to be an advantage of owning an electronic dartboard.
● Number of Players
When you’re buying an electronic dartboard, you will want to think of how many players or teams you plan to play. Some boards can score only a few players and you will want to have one that can accommodate all teams. As mentioned earlier, you can always score manually, but it is so much more fun if everyone’s scores can be counted electronically and accurately.
The surface of an electronic dartboard is full of tiny holes. These holes are what the soft tipped darts are going to attach to while the board electronically computes your score. Sometimes, though, the darts fail to attach to the board resulting in what is called a bounce out. You want to choose an electronic dartboard with thin segment dividers to reduce the chance of a bounce out in order not to frustrate players in the middle of a game.
Some boards can be quite loud and depending on your tolerance for noise, can be quite annoying. Look for a board that not only lets you lower the volume on sound effects but one that also lets you turn it off all together.
Just imagine accidentally hitting the power button in the middle of an exciting game. Not fun, huh? When you go shopping for your dartboard, make sure that you can push the buttons comfortably without pressing others. In the end, it’s the fine details that spell the difference between loving your dartboard or just feeling ok about it.
As with a traditional bristle dartboard, darts could get lodged in pretty tightly in an electronic dartboard. You will want to find a unit with a secure mount so that it stays safely and firmly on the wall when you try to pull the dart out. Nothing will be more heartbreaking than seeing your favorite family bonding toy accidentally fall to the ground just because the manufacturer didn’t provide a strong mount.
● Kit Inclusions
If this is your first electronic dartboard, you really want to have a complete set in order to play. Some dartboards are very basic and inexpensive, but you might find that you will have to buy so many accessories and darts in order to begin playing. That kind of thing really adds up in terms of cost and will definitely put a damper on your excitement to play.
First things first, electronic dartboards with similar specs might not differ too much in price. So while budget is a very important factor in purchasing anything, you will want to first determine what features you want in your electronic dartboard. If having all of the features you want turns out too expensive, then at least you can consider which features you can live without and then pick which has your must have features within your price range. And it is always a good idea to pick the best you can afford so you will never regret your purchase.
● After Sales Service
Check if the product you’re buying has some good customer service. With all things being equal (like most electronics have a 1-year warranty), some after sales service is one nice thing to have should you have any trouble or if you need any help with the board that you bought.
Installing Your Electronic Dartboard
Unlike a billiards table where you will probably need help from an installation crew, an electronic dartboard is practically DIY. But there are a few rules if you would like to set it up to regulation standards:
- Height: mount the electronic keyboard at the height of 1.72 meters from the floor to the center of the bull’s eye
- Throwline: The distance of the throwline from the board differs for steel tip and soft tip darts. Since you will be using soft tip darts, your throwline should be 8 feet from the dartboard.
- Diagonal Measurement: Once you have mounted your dartboard and marked your throwline, confirm their position using the diagonal measurement. The diagonal measurement is a straight line from the bull’s eye to the tip of your throwline. If it measures 9 feet and 9 ½ inches, then you’re good to go! If not, adjust accordingly.
Keeping Your Electronic Dartboard Clean
The great thing about electronic dartboards is that they require very little maintenance especially when they are compared to traditional dartboards. But anything suspended in the air like dust or moisture could land on the board. Likewise, dirt and grime from your hands and the dart tip could also cause your dartboard to become dirty. So once in a while, you should take your electronic dartboard down, unplug it, and give it a good wipe with a clean cloth. This is normally enough for regular maintenance.
If your electronic dartboard has some tough dirt on it, use some all-purpose cleaner for electronics. Unplug your board and take it down from the wall. Apply some of the cleaner onto a clean cloth and then wipe the board. NEVER spray the cleaner directly on the dartboard and NEVER put water on it. After you have wiped it down, lay it face side down on a table for an hour or two or until it is dry before your hang it up again.
We are enthusiastic about electronic dartboards because we know how much fun you can have with your family and friends. And with the soft tipped darts, even little children can give the game a try without you having to worry about the possibility of them getting hurt or injured. So we went out and tested different brands to come up with our Top 5 Best Electronic Dartboards. With their long history and solid reputation in the darting world, Arachnid did not disappoint when they pioneered the electronic dartboard. And their Cricket Pro 650 Electronic Dartboard is our top pick. Read about why we think any one of these 5 electronic dartboards deserve a place in your family’s rec room.