The CAVES Guide to Buying Darts: Choosing the Perfect Set

The CAVES Guide to Buying Darts: Choosing the Perfect Set

This article will cover the main points to consider when finding the right dart type for your playing style. It's a great starting point for curious minds or new players, and a good read for the intermediate or advanced player too.

Introduction: What is Darts and How Do you Play?

Darts is a popular game that has been around for centuries. It's a fun and exciting way to spend time with friends and family, and it's easy to learn how to play. The goal of the game is simple: throw darts at a dartboard and score points by hitting specific targets on the board.

Darts is played with three darts per turn, which are thrown at the dartboard from a set distance away. The rules of the game are straightforward, but there are some strategies involved in throwing darts accurately. With practice, anyone can become an expert dart player!

The Different Types of Dart Tips and Their Uses

Tungsten steel-tip darts are the most popular type of darts used in league play. They are made from steel and have sharp tips that can penetrate the board. Because of the high density of tungsten steel, they are more durable and tend to have slimmer barrels which allows for tighter groupings while minimizing bounce-outs at the same time (a bounce-out is when the dart bounces off of the board instead of sticking its landing). While tungsten steel is what you will find in most pro-player’s cases, they may not be the best choice for new players as the density of the dart can make it challenging for beginners to control.

Soft tip darts are made from plastic, making them considerably lighter. If you’re just starting out, this can be beneficial since the softer tips won’t cause as much wear and tear on your dartboard while mastering your throw technique. Intermediate or advanced players with fast, efficient throws might need to replace tips often due to the reduced durability of the plastic.

Nickel, silver, and brass tipped darts are a popular “just right” solution in between tungsten steel and plastic. They’re made of metal which will have more durability and more density than plastic, but they’re not as dense as tungsten steel. They’re in the middle of the pack when it comes to cost too, which makes them an economical option for intermediate and advanced players.

Each type of dart has its own unique uses and advantages, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.

(Dart) Size Matters

Size and weight are probably the most important factors when choosing a dart. Smaller darts are easier to throw and less intimidating for beginners while bigger darts offer more power and accuracy, but they can be harder to control and take longer to aim.

When you’re just starting out, it might be best to go with either small or medium sized darts and grow your skills with bigger ones later on. If you have smaller hands and find large darts difficult to control, you can opt for shorter shafts that are easier to handle.

Darts come in different weights from 12 grams up to 50 grams. Most people, even in professional play, won’t throw a dart heavier than 30 grams, but most dart organizations permit darts that weigh up to 50 grams.

A good way to ballpark which weight is right for you is to consider your throw speed. The lighter the dart is, the harder/faster you need to throw it in order to accurately stick your landing. Heavier darts require more strength to throw accurately, while lighter darts are easier to control but may lack the power to stick.

You should also consider where the weight of the dart is focused. Front-loaded darts are heavier towards the front, while back-loaded darts are heavier near the flight. If you aren’t sure which loading style works best for you, you can visit your local dart shop to try a few options, or purchase a few different plastic-tipped sets in different weights and loads for an economical at-home test.

Dart Barrels

Once you’ve nailed down which weight and balance are right for you, consider your barrel grip style. Knurling refers to the texture on the dart barrel achieved by rolling a pattern of straight, angled, or crossed lines into the material. Heavier knurling allows for a better grip, but too much can cause the dart to “stick” to your fingers and impact your release and accuracy.

Most players find that there is a range of barrels that works for them, so just experiment and see what you like best.


There are a few key factors to consider when choosing the right darts, and plenty of options to choose from for the perfect set. At CAVES, we offer a wide selection with different tips, materials, weights, and grips. Feel free to browse our stock here, or visit our store in Bismarck, ND.

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