Electronic dartboard purchasing advice: how to choose the right product

  • What you need to know
  • Electronic dartboards have sound effects and an automatic scoreboard.
  • They usually have a range of settings for different game styles and numbers of players.
  • You use soft darts with electronic dartboards. These are equipped with a rounded plastic tip.
  • Some electronic dartboards have cabinet doors that cover the target when you are not playing.

The cult of darts

While most people like to play a round of darts with friends at home or in a bar, the professional sport also has a cult following. Darts world championships fill halls with pumped-up fans and attract TV audiences in the millions worldwide. If you want to play darts, there are now a huge range of dartboards – not just the ones you find in local drinking holes. In addition to classic boards with steel darts, there are now a range of electronic models available on the market.


One of the major innovations you get with an electronic dart board is a digital scoreboard. This is located either above or below the board itself. There is usually a small LCD display for each player. In addition, a lot of models have various sound effects. These can include a noise to indicate a dart has hit the target, or a score announcement. This said, you can always turn the sound effects off, or turn them down if they are too loud.

dartboard hanging on a wall
Electronic dartboards keep score so you don’t have to.

There are usually a range of pre-programmed game modes on electronic dartboards. This means you can have different scoring methods and dart variations, which can be a lot of fun. These different game modes can be played against the computer, 1-on-1, in pairs, or with several players. In fact, some electronic dartboards let you play with 16 players simultaneously.

Two- or three-row multipliers

When it comes to choosing an electronic dartboard, you will need to decide whether you want a two- or three-row segment board. These differ in the width of the double and triple point multiplier zones. As their name suggests, two-row boards have two rows of holes in the double and triple point areas. They are commonly used in professional tournaments and are the official standard. Three-row boards have slightly wider double and triple point zones, which makes them a great option for recreational players and beginners, as you are more likely to get a high-scoring hit.

The right dart

Most electronic dartboards come with compatible plastic-tipped darts and replacement tips. We recommend getting darts no heavier than 0.6 ounces (18 g). Never use darts with steel tips on an electronic dartboard – these will damage the board’s internal electronics as well as the plastic casing.


Electronic dartboards automatically keep a score chart, so you won’t have to do any calculations yourself or write down any point scores. This makes them a great option for kids who might not be so quick at calculating the points. You will be able to play with up to four players on most boards, but there are some models which let you have more players than that. If you don’t have anyone to play with, there are game mode options where you can go up against a computer.

The darts for electronic dartboards are soft tipped, which means there’s a much lower risk of injury compared to sharp steel darts. Most manufacturers include a set of replacement tips in case they break or bend. 


Electronic dartboards need power to work properly. They usually have a power cable, but you can get models which run on batteries. While you can still use an electronic dartboard when it isn’t powered, the automatic scoreboard won’t work.

Due to the plastic hole design, sometimes darts don’t get stuck in the board properly. The throwing style for an electronic dartboard is slightly different compared to standard sisal fiber boards, as you don’t want the plastic darts to bounce off.

Electronic dartboards tend to be made of a mix of plastics. This does make them strong and quite durable, but it also means that they can crack easily if they fall. Compared to conventional dartboards, they are much more sensitive to fall damage. A further problem is that over time, the soft dart tips can break off and get stuck in the holes on the board. 

person playing darts
Darts are particularly popular in northern Europe.

Outdoor use

While you can use your electronic dartboard outside in good weather, you should store it indoors. Even if your model has protective cabinet doors, if you keep it outside the electrics will break, most likely from water damage.

Cabinet dartboards

You can get dartboards with cabinet-style doors which fold shut to cover the target when you’re not using it. This is great for protecting the board. The doors often have small storage shelves as well as nice designs on the outside.


Dartboards tend to measure between 17 and 23 inches in diameter (45-60 cm). The electronic scoreboard is usually a few inches high, underneath the board. Cabinet-style dartboards are double the width when open, and are heavier than models without doors. As a general rule, electronic dartboards weigh between 4 and 6 pounds (2-3 kg). When hanging your dartboard, make sure that the nail or hanger can hold the weight.

Tournament-standard dartboards measure 13.4 inches (34 cm) in diameter. However, not all manufacturers follow these dimensions exactly, so make sure to check if you want a competition standard size board.

Noise control

Some electronic dartboards have quite loud sound effects, so make sure you aren’t disturbing your neighbors. Another thing to consider is putting some soundproofing between your dartboard and the wall, as the sound can travel.

Game styles

There are a range of different game modes you can play with your dartboard, depending on the number of players and their skill level. Scoring usually stays the same between these different game modes. Each area of the dartboard has a different point value, from 1 to 20. High-scoring zones are usually next to low scoring zones, to make the game more exciting. If you hit the outside ring, you get double points. If you hit the inside ring, you get triple points. The highest-scoring zone is the triple 20, which gives you 60 points. If you hit the inner bullseye, you get 50 points.


501 is the most commonly played dart game mode. Every player starts off with 501 points, and the aim of the game is to reach 0 as quickly as possible (the points you get for each throw are subtracted from 501 downwards). The highest score you can get in each round is 180, which is if you hit the triple 20 three times. If you want a quicker game, you can also start with 301 points. Some electronic dartboards also let you start with 701 points.


Also known as round the clock, this is a popular game mode for training. It has seven rounds, in which each player needs to hit each field (from 1 to 20) in consecutive order. The winner is the person who gets to the highest number. If you’re an accomplished player, you can make the game harder by restricting it to just the double and triple point zones.


Cricket is a popular game mode in the US. Here, each player has to hit a predetermined number zone three times. Hits in the double zone count as two hits, in the triple zone they count as three. If someone has scored three hits, the zone is considered completed. Once completed, the player can score points with any extra hits in the zone, while the others continue to complete theirs. The next round begins when every player has completed the zone, and a new number is chosen.


In this game, players throw darts one after the other, trying to reach a specific score. As with standard darts, you need to reach the number exactly – no higher, or lower. An interesting quirk to this game is that if you get the same score as another player, you can reset them back to the beginning.

Image 1: © librakv / stock.adobe.com | Image 2: © Andres / stock.adobe.com | Images 3-6: © FinalCheck