Looking for a game of shooting and aiming, and the first, simplest idea that comes in is darts! Teeming with enthusiasm, you immediately start to look up the best dart board.
You recognize that there is some difficulty in getting the darts to hit the bull’s eye, and you’re up for the challenge. You’re ready to put in the practice. But guess what? The wall area around the dart board and below it is vulnerable. You have to think of the darts raining down (and not hitting the target).
Your walls will appreciate your foresight: Put up a dart board surround or dart board backboard. The role it plays is mainly that of a shield.
If you intend to keep up the hobby and get good at dart gaming, it is a good idea to protect your walls from the sharp steel, aluminum, or tungsten dart tips. Simply have a soft, yielding surface behind the dart board so that the darts missing the target don’t hit the wall directly. Instead, they hit this soft surface and fall to the floor with far less force.
It’s all very well that you wish to protect your walls and surfaces from the sharp tips of your darts. But that not all! Have you thought about what happens to the sharpest of dart tips when they hit a wooden or concrete wall? The pointy tips get bent too, and this is not how you want to treat your darts.
Dulled out dart tips become less effective on the actual dart board, and you don’t want to cause this. Impact causes darts to wear out and become less accurate in their flight. Prevent all this hassle, keep the tips away from the walls through effective dart board backboards.
Here’s some crucial knowledge about dart board backboards. Dart board backboards are usually made of wood or cork. You’ll see the performance of each material through the following reviews.
Best Dart Board Backboards Including Pros and Cons
1. Dartstop 29″ Professional Octagonal Dartboard Backboard
This is a piece of octagon-shaped wood with a tan colored spongy fabric covering it. It has a deep bracket with grooves upon it, on which the dart board can be fitted. Rotating the dart board for easy maintenance to achieve even coverage of the playing area can be done with a minimal adjustment. You will see that the mounting bracket is recessed and settles into the groove provided with ease, after which it has no way of moving out, unless deliberately removed. Flyaway darts get embedded a little over a centimeter into the spongy canvas of the backboard.
Now comes the hard part. It costs almost as much as a decent dart board. Does that need to stop you though? No! The Dartstop backboard is worth its weight in gold, and that comes at about 5.44 kg. The dimensions are regulation-size, at 29.5 inches. It is about 1 inch thick and effectively prevents darts from penetrating the backboard. It can easily be mounted on any kind of wall, and there are very few steps in the set-up. The backboard comes with two wall-mount holes at the top and bottom, and the screws and anchors with which to fit it to the wall are provided in the purchase. A single person can do the whole installation using common household hardware and tools.
Don’t be fooled by the dull look of the fabric and the tan color. Up close it does look like a mass of sponge, but that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be, considering the purpose of the dart board backboard. The fabric cover ensures that the holes made by the darts are not visible. It is supposed to gather darts and keep your wall safe, and it does exactly that. It covers the wall amply and the darts thrown stay put. Bounce-outs from the backboard are few and rare.
- Integrated recessed dart board backboard accommodates dart board snugly into the surround
- Surround is ample – also get a larger variant of 36″; also available in black
- High-quality materials used and smooth edges give good finish to the backboard
- Intuitive instructions for installation
- Notch inside ensures snug, wobble-free setup
- Near zero bounce-outs
- Made by a reputed manufacturer of dart gaming accessories
- Sound of landing darts is high; some might not enjoy it
- Heavy-set – can be cumbersome during installation for some
- Price might deter passing hobbyists
2. Viper Defender III Extended Length Dartboard Surround
Good players and those in the process of getting there – both require a dart board backboard that protects the wall from dart tips. Simply put, the larger the area covered by the backboard, the better the protection for your wall and your darts. It keeps your dart gaming set and the surrounding areas in your home/office/game room looking and working as good as new.
The Viper Defender with extended length is perfect for offering this kind of protection and support to the darts. It suits dart boards of both 17.75″ and 18″ size. A total of 8.2 sq. feet of covered area means the darts have greater protection and very little chance of hitting the wall. The entire rectangular patch is covered by 1 inch-thick vfoam. This is a plush material that helps to lodge the darts firmly while leaving no holes in the backboard.
Installing the dart board backboard takes next to no effort. The four segments of the dart board can be affixed simply by pushing them together. There are notches and groves within the framework that make the installation a minute’s job with no need for use of tools or additional bracing. The six pieces come together to form a rectangular surround stretching down, intuitively being present to catch falling darts. The manufacturer Viper makes it to match the color of many of its own dart boards, but it suits many other brands’ boards too. You just slip the Defender around the dart board and it holds in position because of the adhesive on the foam.
The thickness of the surround is ample to keep the dart tip away from the wall. Even long-tipped darts don’t get through despite entering at a fairly high speed. The dimensions of 45″ x 32″ bring up the backboard to only 2 pounds, making it the perfect accessory to any dart board. The surface of the backboard is covered with a velvety material that does a good job of minimizing the size of the holes seen.
- Well-suited to inexperienced players who wish to have extra protection for the wall and darts
- Rotating the board is easy – remove the surround and put it back on after rotation
- Simple installation – similar to a jigsaw puzzle
- Light-weight and effective
- Slips into place easily, can be trimmed if necessary
- Ideal for use at regulation height of dart board
- Some models of Winmau might need slight adjustment/trimming
- Colors may fade after some time
3. Viper Championship Wood Framed Dartboard Backboard
A clear value-for-money offering among the many options by Viper is the backboard that offers both functionality and a little extra in terms of accessories and accoutrements. This one comes with a wooden finish (mahogany is a popular choice of finish), and gives fun features such as a chalk-board and a pouch for holding your darts.
The back board itself is made of MDF (medium-density fiberboard) that is made of compressed wood fibers. This consistency makes it more porous than any other naturally-occurring material. The fibers are combined together with a wax or a resin, which gives it enough strength and durability to withstand the impact borne by the dart board. At the back is a piece of felt attached, and this is layer that effectively prevents the dart tips from penetrating the backboard and damaging the wall. It is essentially a square piece of engineered wood, but the mahogany stain makes it dark and attractive when paired up with any dart board.
Installation of the dart board backboard is straight and simple – it comes with all the necessary pieces of hardware (screws and studs for mounting) needed to hold the plank in place and the reinforced bracket is firm and strong. It holds the dart board firmly, and keeps the flying darts away from the wall surface. Among the options on the list, this is a framed dart board backer that comes with a pre-installed metal bracket. The combination of vfoam, MDF and the felt at the back makes it an impermeable shield protecting the wall from darts. It also comes with fine quality strap hangers that are equally durable.
With the additional provisions of the chalk-board and the removable dart pouch, this backboard makes a suitable addition to cabinet-type dart boards. The pouch can hold up to 4 sets of darts, and the chalk board can be used to log dart game scores with the dry-erase marker. The dart board pouch has individual pockets for each dart to keep them fitted in snugly and the tips are protected, so as not to lose their sharpness.
- Regulation size backboard offers defense perimeter of 29″ x 29″ that fits almost all sisal fiber dart boards.
- At 8.7 pounds or 3.9 kg, it is not the lightest of the backboards, but these extra features more than make up for the weight
- Covers a good portion of the wall and offers high-quality protection
- Holes for mounting are placed out of sight, so it looks great
- Value for money
- Sturdy construction, high-end materials and rich look
- With prolonged use, the backboard may get jammed in
- Might need to use your own nails and screws for reinforcement
4. Viper Defender Dartboard Surround Wall Protector
From afar, it looks like the perfect circular surround, and up close, you will see that your first impression is well founded. It forms 5 inches of protected coverage around your dart board, and fits all standard issue dart boards of 18″. It is made by the ace dart board manufacturer Viper. The circular backboard is covered by an opulent velvet material that gives extra sponginess and superior retention of erratically flying darts.
The stark black color of the Viper Defender suits any dart game board and looks great against a wall of any color. Installation is as straightforward as unpacking the purchase and putting it together with your hands – no tools needed. In fact, all you have to do is push the segments together and they stay together – no rivets, screws, or mounting holes to worry about. It just has to be placed around the dart board. The backboard is reversible and works with equal efficiency on the other side as well.
The structure of the protector is such that the upper-most layer (inside the velvet casing) is made of flock – a textured material made by assembling together a variety of small fiber particles. This ‘flocking’ makes the surface porous (for keeping the darts lodged) but the hole made by the dart itself is small, because of the nature of the material. The next layers are made of vfoam, followed by a harder shielding material that prevents the dart tips from reaching the wall.
All this protection, courtesy the high-quality, scientifically engineered materials weighs in at only 680 gm, meaning it will not burden your dart board with undue weight. Once the boxed piece arrives, there might be some confusion as to how to set it up, since no specific instructions are offered. But the pieces can be jammed together with minimal effort, and it’s not even a two-person job. The whole routine is self-explanatory. Owners of some models of dart boards remark that there should’ve been a notch or some sort of gap in the vfoam and flocking material where the dartboard meets the hook. Punching a small notch should do the trick for this problem.
- A peel-back adhesive surface keeps the board firmly in place
- Tolerates even tournament-grade gameplay and heavy use
- The departure from the usual square shape still retains excellent protection for the back walls
- Catches errant throw without a miss
- Good looks, great functionality
- Compatible with all top brands Winmau, Nodor, Viper
- Some long-tipped darts can penetrate the shield
- No assembly instructions (but then, installation is quite obvious)
- Lots of branding stickers (can be removed)
5. Cork Dart Board Backer
For those looking for a dart board backboard made of naturally-occurring materials, there is a good choice cork dart board backer that does the job of shielding your wall. An admittedly large area is protected by this no-nonsense piece of cork. The cork material used is not very fine, but rather porous. It catches steel-tipped darts easily and retains them, so the bounce-out problem does not rear its head at all. The material is soft enough to protect the dart-tip too.
For you worshippers of beauty, it has to be stated straightaway that this is not a great looking piece. It’s a dart board backboard that does the job of keeping the wall safe from stray flying darts. The cork is not framed or branded in any place. It’s a piece of cork cut into a rectangle of 36″ x 24″ in dimension. The thickness is a solid ½ inch that firmly captures darts missing the target on the dart board. For those who have the concern that the backer is not thick enough, the simplest thing to do would be to buy multiple sheets of this solid cork dart board backer, and butt them together with glue before setting them up in the playing area. This ensures that the darts do not penetrate the thick cork and the wall retains its pristine glow. The size not being right for your darts alcove doesn’t arise either. If the piece is too big, you can always cut it down to a suitable size using a box cutter. This task might be a two-person job, but it’s a one-time thing and can save you the expense of hiring someone for such a small task.
Setting up the Cork Dart Board Backer is easy, you get the screws that go into the drywall or wooden paneling and the studs along with the purchase, but this point is worth double-checking because some items come without the screws. However, this isn’t really a point of concern as just about any screws in your toolbox can be used. The installation part is as simple as drilling two holes into the dry wall and inserting the plastic fillers into which the screws would later go. It makes no sense to hang this cork backer – it has to be wall-mounted properly and fastened at least at two places to give a good playing experience. Some players use Velcro fasteners for additional stability.
- Natural material of cork is suited to both indoor and outdoor play
- Installation is straightforward
- Several panels can be bundled together for extra strength of the backboard
- Extra cork tiles can be bought and are relatively inexpensive
- Environment-friendly material, can easily be recycled
- Covers a large area
- Can be cut in size according to specific players’ needs
- Falling darts leave holes
- Not the best-looking of dart board backboards
Now you know which backboards are easy on your walls and treat your dart tips well. Do not skimp on this dart gaming essential. Make your throwing experience all the better!