Updated December 2018
Whether you’ve been active in the hobby for many years or are just starting out, the surest way outside of regular practice to get good at darts is to get the best darts. High quality equipment is vital to any hobby, so knowing how to buy the best steel tip darts for you will go a long way toward improving your game and increasing your enjoyment of the sport.
So what are the best darts for you? Let’s take a look.
1. Wolftop 15-pack 18-gram Steel Tip Darts
If you’re looking for a solid working set of darts, this is a great way to go. The Wolftop 15 pack comes with aluminum shafts and brass barrels with distinctive knurling for a good grip.
The best thing about them is that they’re fairly inexpensive for the quality that you’re getting. These darts are likely not going to be the greatest that you’ve ever thrown. However, they’re reasonably inexpensive and a step up from the place that most dart players start and they provide a good transition for people still learning the game but trying to work with better equipment.
About the only real drawback is that they are very, very light. In order to get a good throw with one of these you really have to put a lot of power behind it, which can cause you to release too late and end up throwing more downward than at your target. They don’t loft very well, which can be a problem if you’re trying to improve your aim.
That being said, if you’re just getting used to playing with darts and want to start taking your game to the next level, it’s worth investing in this set just to have an idea of what it’s like to play at a more serious level. The darts themselves are solid and the sharpener that comes with them in a nice touch that will help you keep using these, at least for practice, for a while.
2. Ohuhu Tip Darts With National Flag Flights
At less than a dollar per dart, you can’t go wrong with this as a starter set. The plastic shaft is functional and will probably last for a while so long as you don’t start throwing really close groupings that would cause them to crack.
The flag-print flights, while simple, are not bad considering the price. You’ll likely have to play with them a little after insertion to make sure that they’re straight, but they certainly do the job and help put the right amount of spin on your darts. I suspect that they won’t last particularly long, but if you can get a month’s worth of use out of these flights, they’ll more than have paid for themselves.
Like the Wolftop darts above, they are very, very light, but for the type of player who is using these, that could actually be a pretty good thing. Light darts, while requiring more power to stick, don’t stick as well if you don’t really know how to put power behind your throws. That means that you’re less likely to, for example, put holes in your wall if you miss the board since these are more likely to bounce off.
While I wouldn’t get used to these darts since they will likely break, they are certainly worth the money if you want to try the sport out and like flags a lot.
3. Ignat Games Professional Darts Set
While “professional” might be an overstatement, these aluminum shafted steel tip darts are definitely a good set if you’re looking for something that will last you a little while.
For one thing, it comes with a case for your dart set that make them easy to transport and loan an air of professionalism to your play. The magnetic closure is strong enough that it shouldn’t open up accidentally and set your darts falling all over the car or your backpack.
At 20 grams this is starting to get more into the weight class of serious darts players, giving people with more experience actually hitting the target a better chance of them sticking. More than that, they are also balanced really well for people that don’t like front or back loading. The darts loft well, making it easier to target specific portions of the board and the shafts should mostly keep in good shape, though be sure to inspect them every so often for bending.
If there’s a significant drawback, it’s that the flights that come with this set aren’t the best quality. They’ll do the job, but one of them split when I was trying to attach it to the dart and they feel a bit flimsy. I would invest in better flights for this set.
Otherwise, absolutely worth the money for a set edging toward professionalism that will last a while.
4. Centaur 6 Pack Steel Tip Darts
These Centaur darts are the real deal. While you only get six in a pack for the price, they are much higher quality than anything on this list. Also clocking in at a respectable 20 grams, they have excellent flight and amazing accuracy. There is heavy knurling on the steel barrels, but that generally just makes for a strong grip. As mentioned above, whether it’s too much for you is very much a question of the individual and the circumstances, but this should be a pretty good level for most people.
The set comes with two styles of flight: a smooth and a dimpled. It will give you the opportunity to see how both perform with an otherwise identical dart and make appropriate purchases in the future.
Apparently some people have gotten this set with manufacturer defects, which I think is common with any set, but most worked perfectly. While I would like a sharpener to go with it, bonus features have to be cut to have quality products and the case is probably more important. The aluminum shafts will need looking after following heavy use and could use some rubber o-rings to keep from slipping, but that’s the nature of aluminum. In the meantime, they won’t break from hitting other darts and maintain high levels of accuracy while throwing. That’s really what the best steel tip darts should do: fly right.
Essential Darts Equipment
Before you get too far into the steel tip dart buying process, keep in mind that you are highly likely to get a new set of darts about a year after you buy your first set. This is particularly if you are not very familiar with the game. It’s pretty common to get a set then discover through experience that this or that feature is better suited to your play style.
So in general it might not be a good idea to jump in with the most expensive set you can find right away unless you know exactly what you want. Instead, take your time and try to think about what sort of game you would like to play. Then start thinking about the dart materials you would like.
Below is an excellent video that discusses some of the things we mention below.
Darts can be made from a number of different materials including plastic, brass, nickel/silver, and tungsten. All of these can feasibly be steel tip darts since the purpose of the material is to control flight rather than contribute to penetrating power.
The cheapest and most common are plastic barrel darts. These are pretty easy to find in many bars around the world and generally require a lot of energy to throw due to how light they are (more on that later). Professionals on the other hand only use the best: tungsten darts. Because tungsten is so dense a material, it allows for the barrel to be slimmer, meaning that you can have tighter groupings and avoid bounce-outs but still maintain the same weight. Tungsten darts are usually measured by the percentage of tungsten in them, so the best tungsten darts have the highest percentage.
Other materials can also be good, especially if you’re just starting out, but keep in mind that softer materials can wear down over time from contact with skin oils and other darts, particularly the knurling. That being said, brass and nickel darts can still work very well.
When you’re talking about dart barrels, often what you really are discussing in the barrel grips. The place where you hold your dart has a major effect on the spin and penetration.
The best darts have barrel grips that are suited to your fingers. Everybody has different concentrations of oils on their hands, not to mention a different grip strength and even skin texture. The ideal dart barrel will work with these factors to launch from your hand and spin toward the target. This is done primarily through knurling.
Knurling is something that the best steel darts have in a variety of options. Basically, it’s the grooves and texture cut into the barrel grip. The heavier the knurling, the easier it is to grip the dart. The drawback, however, is that it can catch on your fingers when you release, throwing off your accuracy.
There’s no one perfect knurling for all people. In fact, most people find that different grips work for different darts or even at different times. Experiment and choose the ones that work for you.
Dart shafts can come in a number of styles and materials and both contribute to the grip as well as change the flight by moving the center of gravity. While length is a factor, it’s a personal one that you just have to test. Materials, on the other hand, can be quantified.
Plastic or nylon shafts tend to be inexpensive and easy to use. They are very stylish since they come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. The biggest problem with them is that they tend to break particularly easily. This won’t be as much of a problem when you first start, but when you begin throwing close groups and your darts hit each other at high speed, you’ll end up breaking a lot of plastic shafts.
Aluminum shafts are much more durable than plastic/nylon and also are available in a number of colors and with several decorative elements. For newer hobbyists that are looking for a good balance of price and quality, this is generally a good way to go before dropping a major investment. The biggest drawback is that they can bend over time and tend to loosen during regular play. You can counter the second problem with rubber o-rings, but the first is just a fact of life.
Carbon fiber or composite dart shafts are more expensive than either of the above mentioned types, but are by far the strongest of the bunch. They will not break from regular use and don’t bend easily, so you don’t have to worry about your accuracy being thrown off by a misshapen dart.
Finally, you have spinning shafts. These do not affect the flight of your dart, but they are great to pull out if you’re throwing a particularly tight group. What they do is spin at the end to avoid hitting another dart entirely. A dart with a spinning shaft will, when hitting another dart on the board, spin out of the way and hit the board rather than deflect off into the air.
Flights are often the place where players most show their personalities since they are easy to decorate. They come in a variety of sizes, though the most common are standard and slim. Unsurprisingly, flights control how the dart flies.
They also come in two textures: smooth and dimpled. Dimpled flights slow down the dart in midair to give it more accuracy, but increase your chances of bouncing off the board instead of landing. Smooth flights are quicker, but less accurate. Test to see which ones work for you and don’t be afraid to keep trying different flights over time as your game changes.
The best steel darts generally weigh someplace between 12 and 50 grams, though it’s very rare to see somebody throwing a dart that weighs more than 30 grams.
This is another aspect of your darts that has to be largely about feel. The lighter your dart, the harder you will have to throw in order to get it to the board with enough power to stick. Heavier darts require less power, but you have to learn to compensate for the drop the extra weight will cause.
Weight distribution is also a factor. A lot of steel tip darts have the weight balanced toward the tip. Rather than being front loaded like those, some of even the best darts have the weight concentrated closer to the flight.
Your best bet is to go to a dart shop and try a number of different weights in the same style to get a better idea of what matches your throwing technique.
It may seem like there is a lot to consider when buying new darts, and there is, but don’t get too bogged down into the details. As we mentioned above you’re likely going to buy a new set after you’ve gained some experience. And since darts aren’t very expensive it’s not worth spending hours debating about which set to get.
We suggest you read some reviews and then get a set that you think is good. Then you can start playing and practicing with them and upgrade as needed. Once you have a good set of darts you can also start thinking about buying a nice dart board. We cover the best dart boards in 2018 so that you can find a great one to play with.
Dart Games: Rules and Tips
Now that that we’ve gone over some of the leading darts and also discussed what to look for when buying them it’s time to talk about the fun stuff. Mainly the games you can actually play once you pick up your new set of darts.
Originally used as a form of warfare, darts have certainly evolved over the centuries. First introduced in English pubs in the later part of the 1800s, darts has become an extremely popular game across the world. Some people play the game strictly for fun, but many play it as a competitive sport. In fact, there are several professional dart organizations, such as the British Darts Organization, in which members play the sport on a professional, competitive level.
Whether you are interested in playing darts merely for fun, or you are considering getting involved in professional dart playing, you’re going to want to familiarize yourself with the different games that are involved in this sport. Below, you’ll find a description of some of the most popular variations of dart games, as well as general rules, tips, and other helpful details about each game.
Of all the variations of dart games, cricket is one of the most popular. It’s a fairly simple game to play, but in order to win, it does require some strategy.
Objective: The objective of the game of cricket is to close up all numbers from 20 down to 15, as well as the bulls-eye. In order to close a number, a player has to hit a number three times. The player who earns more points wins.
Scoring: To keep track of the score, a scoreboard with the numbers 20 to 15 is drawn. Every dart that hits a number is counted toward closing that specific number.
Playing: Players then throw all three darts, trying to close each number. The ideal strategy is to close the highest number first and close the remaining numbers in descending order.
The majority of professional matches are 501 and up, and it is the easiest of all games.
Objective: All players begin with a score of 301 or 501. The goal is to be the first person to reduce the score to zero. The final dart thrown has to land in either a double or on the bulls-eye.
Scoring: In this game, a bulls-eye earns a 50, the outer ring earns a 25, and darts that land on the double or treble ring is calculated as double or treble.
Playing: As mentioned, the goal is to reach zero. Should a player score more than the amount necessary to reach zero, that player “busts” and the score goes back to what it was at the beginning of the turn. The team who has the lowest score combined wins.
Round the World
This game is quite simple because it uses the entire board. It’s a good game to practice all other games.
Objective: The object of this game is to hit each number on the dartboard, in order, with a single dart, and to be the first to do so.
Scoring: Scoring isn’t necessary, so long as each player can recall the number they have reached and in what order they shoot.
Playing: Players start by trying to hit 1 first. When that is achieved, players try to hit 2, and so on, until all three of their darts have been thrown.
This game is intended for 3 or more players. In fact, the more players, the more fun.
Objective: The goal is to be the last person on the board with a remaining life. Each player is given a set of “lives” (numbers, and usually five).
Scoring: Players are assigned numbers and take turns trying to hit their numbers. Each dart that hits an assigned number receives a life; 2 lives are given for hitting a double, and 3 lives for hitting a treble.
Playing: When a player receives 5 lives, he/she becomes the killer until another player deducts lives from that person’s score. The killer tries to hit the numbers of other players. When they do, lives are deducted from the “victim”.
This game is fairly simple and involves using the entire dartboard. It can be played by as many players or teams as desired.
Objective: The goal is to try to earn as many points as possible in the span of 20 innings.
Scoring: Names of players are written across the top of a paper and the numbers 1 – 20 are written along the left side of the board in a vertical fashion.
Playing: Players take turns throwing three darts and try to earn the highest possible score in each round. The only number that counts toward a score is the number that is up in the round; for example, only 1 counts in the first round, and so on. Once all 20 rounds have been played, the winner is the person who has the highest score. You can also “Shanghai” opposing players. To do so, a dart has to land in the single, in the triple, and in the double of the targeted number in any order.