Buying darts can be complicated since there are so many different options available. Knowing what those options are and how they are relevant to your play style will help you to make the right choice.
Check Your Grip
Have you really paid attention to the way that you hold your dart? Most people haven’t, especially when they’re just starting out, but where you hold your dart could make the difference in how you throw and what you buy.
If you keep your fingers closer to the front of the barrel, you’ll probably want a front loaded dart to compensate. Similarly, if you hold toward the back end of the barrel, a back loaded dart will ensure that you don’t throw with the dart tip generally pointed downward.
You should use at least three fingers to give yourself the kind of stability you need to aim properly, but if you find that four fingers feels better, consider getting a longer barrel.
The way that your fingers feel while you’re holding the dart. This is a quality called “knurling” and it refers to the groves and texturing that of the barrel. There are as many knurling styles as there are barrels, practically, and what you prefer is going to depend heavily on how you hold your dart, how many fingers you use, and how generally tactile you are. You should enjoy the feel of holding your darts so that you’re more inclined to use them.
Generally, the more a dart weighs up until you get to the mid-20 gram range, the more control you’ll have. This is for two reasons.
First, the extra weight stabilizes the dart in midair so that it doesn’t wobble around as much. Secondly, the weight creates more momentum so that it travels faster, more easily. There’s no real difference between flying and falling except that the latter happens when you run out of forward energy.
Again, it’s important that you actually try out darts of different weights in order to get a better idea of which ones work for you. You want a stable flight, but you also want a dart that you understand how to control, and that’s something that comes with time and practice.
Darts can run anywhere from a decent set for $35 to a signature set for $200. If you’re just starting out, getting a cheaper set might be a better fit, and you can work your way up as you get more serious about the sport. Keep in mind that you do get what you pay for and the more expensive sets will be of higher quality than the cheap ones, so buy accordingly.
With that in mind, avoid plastic. Outside of flights or soft tips, nothing on your darts should be plastic or nylon. Get at least aluminum shafts and brass barrels to start, then move up from there. There are advantages and disadvantages as you go up in quality, but you won’t go wrong with metal darts.