Traditionally, steel tip darts and bristle boards are used for the game of darts. However, the metal points of steel tip darts pose injury risks to players. Unless you use soft tip darts, inaccurate throws will also riddle your walls with unsightly holes. The soft tip darts are best for practicing darts and for kids, though you’ll need soft tip dart boards.
But because soft tip darts are a relatively recent addition to the sport, few people know what to look for when choosing a soft tip dart board.
The best soft tip dart boards for 2021 include the electronic Shelti Eye2 and Arachnid Cricket Pro 800, as well as the non-electronic Ylovetoys dart board.
In this post, we explore the best soft tip dart boards in the market. We identify five of the very bests and examine their features to reveal what makes them great. Lastly, we’ll reveal what you need to look out for when buying soft tip dart boards.
Let’s get started!
What are the best soft tip dart boards in 2021?
The best soft tip dart board in 2021 are:
Shelti Eye2 Electronic Home Dart Board
Arachnid Cricket Pro 800 Electronic Dart Board
Franklin Sports FS5000 Electronic Dart Board
Fat Cat Mercury Electronic Dart Board
Ylovetoys Dart Board
Let’s take a close look at these soft tip dart boards.
1. Shelti Eye2 Electronic Home Dart
The Shelti Eye2 electronic home soft tip dart board has grabbed the number one position in our rating because it offers an unrivaled league play experience.
The free-standing Shelti Electronic dartboards are some of the best for taverns or bringing a tavern-style playing experience to your home.
The dart board features a hinged design to fold in two for easy transportation. It also has locking front access doors to store darts and accessories.
When it comes to games, you'll like this dart board’s options. If you like the old favorites, you'll find ‘01’ games, cricket, and Hi Score games. If you want popular games, you'll find You Pick It, Wipe Out, and Cut Throat options. If you prefer speed-based games, you'll find options like Rapid Fire.
The Shelti Eye2 uses the T60/30 target. This has less spider than any other dart board. So, you'll have more target area to aim at and more chances of scoring.
This electronic dart board uses TRU-SCORE, which gives accurate scores. Another excellent feature of the Shelti Eye2 is its clear overhead scoring board. It's forward-facing and tilted at 8 degrees, making it easy for both players and spectators to view scores. It features a dot-matrix display area that provides player instructions before and during games.
The package comes with 6 high-quality darts and 100 tips.
What we like
- Multiple games and game options
- Ultra thin spider increases chances of scoring
- TRU-SCORE for absolute scoring accuracy
- Phone-in the keypad and LCD menu operation
- One button auto and manual player change
- Highly visible overhead scoreboard
What we don't like
- Relatively expensive
- Quite heavy - weighs 200 lbs
2. Arachnid Cricket Pro 800 Electronic dart board
If you’re looking for professional dart boards, go for the tournament Arachnid Cricket Pro 800 dart board.
It’s perfect for practicing for a competition or hosting a tournament because it’s regulation-sized. The target area is 15.5" which is the same playing area you'll find in dart tournaments.
The Arachnid Cricket Pro 800 is built to last. Its segments are made of NylonTough - a material that offers exceptional durability. So, the dart board can withstand the powerful throws.
The board has about 39 games and 179 variations that'll keep you busy. You'll find everything from the old favorites to the recent greats. With three difficulty levels, it’s fine for players of all levels. It also has a heckler that activates sound effects and provides an immersive gaming experience.
The soft tip dart board comes with a wide LED display screen below the target area to make scores visible even from a distance.
The package comes with two sets of darts. You can use this for solo games or multiplayer games of up to 8 players. It also comes with extra tips, mounting hardware and games instructions.
What we like
- Tournament size 15.5" target area
- Multiple games (40 games with 179 variations)
- Three difficulty levels to accommodate all players
- Durable NylonTough construction of segments
- Highly visible score board
What we don't like
- It requires an AC adapter which limits where you can hang it
3. Franklin Sports FS5000 Electronic dart board
The FS5000 is a professional dart board that comes with a 15.5" target area which is the official size for dart tournaments. It’s also one of the best dart boards for practice play. You can enjoy a variety of games, including Cricket, Overs, Under, High Score, and more. In fact, there are 28 programmed games with over 100 variations.
The dart board has a default 2-players setting, but it supports up to 8 players. You can also engage in solo play against the Digital Play computer. To accommodate players of all experience levels, the FS5000 dashboard has 5 difficulty levels ranging from beginner to professional.
It keeps accurate scores to allow you to focus on your game. The LED display of the scoreboard is big enough for easy viewing. And with the sound feature, you can set the desired volume level for voice commands. It has a fun voice and sound effects that will be very entertaining for kids.
The FS5000 electronic dart board will fit perfectly in any room as it’s easy to mount on a wall. Also, it comes with in-built dart storage on both sides. So, you won’t have to worry about keeping your darts separate and losing them.
The package comes with 6 high-quality soft tip darts and 6 replacement dart tips.
What we like
- Easy to mount
- Offers 28 games with 100 variations
- Official size 15.5" target area
- Built-in storage to keep darts
- Powered by AAA batteries
What we don't like
- The LCD is small
4. Fat Cat Mercury Electronic Dart Board
The Fat Cat Mercury is one of the best dart boards because it features thermoplastic segments. This gives it a tough target area that'll withstand years of vigorous throws.
The board also comes with ultra-thin spiders giving the 13.5" target area more space to aim, increasing landed shots, and reducing bounce-outs. A large catch ring surrounds the Mercury dart board to catch straw shots and protect your walls from damage.
The dart board comes in a study cabinet, so you don’t have to buy a separate dart board cabinet for storing your dart board. With a bold finish and arched door tops, the cabinet will easily blend into your decor while keeping your dart board safe. The inside of the cabinet's doors has holsters to keep your darts. The cabinet also allows easy hanging of the dart board.
The dart board comes with a large LCD that shows scores and PPD (points per dart), which can help you improve your game.
There are 28 games on offer with 167 variations, so you can play how you want. Up to 8 players can play at a time. Solo play is also available with up to 5 skills level.
The Mercury electronic dart board comes with 6 darts, 6 extra tips, and mounting hardware.
What we like
- Offers 28 games with 167 variations for up to 8 players
- In-built sleek cabinet
- Made with durable thermoplastic material
- Ultra-thin spiders to reduce bounce-outs
What we didn't like
- The 13.5" target area is smaller than tournament size dart boards
5. Ylovetoys Dart Board
The Ylovetoys dart board is specially designed for kids. However, it can be used by players of all levels. It comes with a very large 16.4” target area. With more areas to aim at, kids with less throwing skills can score more.
The dart board is made from polypropylene thermoplastic, so the Ylovetoys dart board is a long-lasting dart board.
This rubber dart board keeps things simple with only one game and not multiple games like electronic dart boards. Without an LCD/ LED display to keep score, your kids can learn how to calculate scores.
The soft tip dart board comes with 9 silicone needle tip darts. Don’t let the ”needles” worry you. These are soft tip darts that are perfectly safe for kids of 6 years and above.
There are two ways to install the dart board. You can use the build-in metal brackets to set it on a table for table-top play. Or, you could use the reinforced nail hole to mount it on a wall.
What we like
- Has a large 16.4” target area that makes scoring easier
- You can use it on a table, wall, door, and virtually anywhere
- It’s sturdy
What we don’t like
- It offers only one game
- You’ll have to keep scores while playing
How to choose the best soft tip dart boards
When choosing a soft tip dart board, your first consideration should be whether you need it for professional or recreational play. You should also consider the material and construction quality, size of target area, number of games offered, and power source.
1. Purpose of the dart board
Do you need the dart board for professional or recreational play? The purpose should determine the type and size of board you need.
For example, dart boards for professional play have more advanced features than kids dart boards or dart boards for recreational play. Also, the professional dart boards are regulation-sized, while those for recreational play are generally not. For these reasons, the dart boards for professional play are usually more expensive.
2. Quality of material and construction
Dart boards with high-quality material and construction will withstand the rigors of use.
If you play regularly, you will be throwing darts at your board all the time, which will wear it down. It’s even worse if you’re a strong player that makes vigorous throws. So, when choosing soft tip dart boards, you should go for those with sturdy thermoplastic materials that can withstand regular vigorous throws.
3. Size and construction of target area
If you need a dart board to practice for or host a dart tournament, you need a regulation-sized dart board.
The official size of the soft tip dart board is 15.5 inches. It will give you the playing field that you’ll find in the tournament.
However, if you’re playing for fun, it wouldn't matter what size of board you get. However, boards with large target areas are great for kids to score more often and enjoy the game.
It is not only the size of the target area that matters; the construction also matters. Dart games are much more fun if you score often. For this, you need dart boards with target areas that minimize bounce out.
The best dart boards achieve this using ultra-thin spiders and tiny segment concave holes. The thin spiders allow for more space to hit, while the concave holes virtually guide the darts in and allow them to stick.
4. Number of games available
Playing one game over and over again can be boring. So, go for soft tip dart boards that come with various games to keep things exciting.
In fact, offering more game options has allowed soft tip dart boards to compete with steel tip dart boards.
The electronic boards are the best in this regard, as they are usually pre-programmed with multiple games. If you have plenty of games to choose from, you are more likely to find games to maximize your entertainment.
True, not every soft tip board is electronic. However, knowing the importance of multiple game options, even when choosing non-electronic soft tip dart boards, go for those that give you more than one game.
5. Power Source
If you intend to take your dart board with you on trips, you should go for options that will not require plugging into a power source to play.
The non-electronic dart boards do not need to be powered. So, they are great options if you intend to play outdoors.
Among the electronic dart boards, some use AC power, some use batteries, and some use both AC power and batteries. If you intend to use the board in outdoor spaces far from power outlets, you should stay away from those that use only AC power. Instead, go for the battery-powered options that have the advantage of the non-electronic options.
You can also check our article on the Packed-With-Fun Game Room Ideas for All Ages.
Soft tip darts offer safe play for kids and adults practicing darts. The best soft tip dart board for 2021 is the free-standing Shelti Eye2 which will give you tavern-style play in your home.
Other great options include the three wall-mounted electronic dart boards - Arachnid Cricket Pro 800, Fat Cat Mercury, and Franklin Sports FS5000. Lastly, there’s the non-electronic Ylovetoys dart board.
When choosing soft tip dart boards, you should considerations essential like
Whether it is for professional or recreational play
The material and construction quality
The size and make-up of the target area
The number of games offered
How the board will be powered.
Our top choice (the Shelti Eye2 Electronic Home Dart Board) ticks all the relevant boxes.