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How to Choose the Right Set of Darts

How to Choose the Right Set of Darts

For many years I’ve been asked by customers looking to buy a set of darts, either as a beginner for themselves as they play for the first time, or as they buy them as a gift for a friend or family member. In this, we’ll break down how to work out what set of (steel tip) darts is likely to be the best set for you, but not for someone else.

Barrel Weight

This is probably the most important ingredient in deciding what set of darts will best work for you. Remember, the “barrel weight” is weighed as just the barrel, with no stem or flight attached. The PDC (Professional Darts Corporation), one of the main global darts organizations operate under the rules laid down by the DRA (Darts Regulation Authority). The DRA rules state that “players shall provide their own darts which shall not exceed an overall maximum length of 200mm nor weigh more than 40 grams”. Many other leagues allow dart barrels to weigh up to but not exceeding 50 grams in weight with the lower end set at 10 grams. So that’s the rules, but what would typically work for you? The average dart weight that we sell to hundreds of dart players throughout New Zealand is between 22-24 grams. So, there’s your starting point. For beginner’s it is said that a heavier weighted barrel will help you throw straighter, but as you improve, you’ll typically find you will drop the weight of darts back to around this “starting point”.

For a burly, strong or thickset player or someone that throws hard at the dartboard, you may wish to play up towards the 28-30 gram weight. I have seen player’s use a 48 gram set of darts, but not for too long.

Remember, if you did use a near 50 gram set of darts, you’ve effectively thrown 3kg of weight after just 20 visits to the board. That’s tough going for anyone!

For children, short or bantam sized players or someone that likes to lob their darts, drop the barrel weight into the 18-20 gram weight range, this will typically suit this type of player.

Remember if you change the weight of darts you throw, don’t change by much, a couple of grams difference will be plenty.

See how difficult it is to pick the barrel weight for yourself, imagine trying to choose for someone else! (if buying as a present). We’d suggest if you are buying darts as a present, buy them an online voucher, that way they can find the set that will best suit them, then everyone will be happy.

Barrel Shape

Dart barrels are manufactured in all types of shapes, cuts and lengths. A barrel will typically be made from Brass, Stainless Steel, Nickel Silver or Tungsten. It’s recommended to buy a tungsten set of darts, for as little as $20 more than a brass set (in some cases) as they will likely last three times longer than a brass set, plus the barrel will be much thinner making grouping of darts much easier. You’ll pay more for a tungsten set with more tungsten content. So, a 95% tungsten set will be way more expensive than one with just 80% tungsten, but both are as good as each other. Barrel length will range between 35-55mm (barrel only, not including point) with barrels shaped from straight, torpedo, with a tapered front, bomber or even a bamboo “specialist” shaped barrel. They’re either ringed, smooth, scalloped, have a knurled cut or a mixture of cuts. Neither cut is better than the other, it’s purely a personal preference how the barrel is cut to give the best grip for that player. I once played with a teammate who played with a smooth barrel and put his darts into a glass full of ice between shots. When asked, he told me it gave him the best grip of his darts for his next throw. Each to their own I suppose.

Then there’s the question: Is the barrel front, centre or rear weighted? Meaning, where is most of the weight built into the barrel? The reason for a difference in where the barrel is weighted is based on where the person holds their darts to throw. If you hold the dart near the back of the barrel (nearer the flight), pick a set of rear weighted darts. If you hold at the front (near the points), get a front weighted set. The majority of players tend hold in the middle of the barrel so typically use centre weighted darts.

To recap: Shape, length or cut of barrel = personal preference. Weighted position of barrel = depends on throwers hand position.



Stems, or as some call them shafts, range in sizes, colours and material. There are the “one piece” systems that combine the stem and flight into one, like Condor’s, Winmau’s Fusion or Shot’s Flight Deck. Apart from those, stems themselves can come made with polycarbonate, metal or aluminium or a combination of these. Again, like the shape, length or cut of barrel, it’s really a personal preference of what the dart thrower would want or likes. But the length of the stem is important as it will affect the overall flight trajectory of the darts and angle it lands into the board. The theory is, the longer the stem on the dart setup, the more stable the flight path will be. If your dart lands too upright into the board, change to a longer stem. Likewise, if the dart lands too flat into the board, change to a shorter stem. A new darts set will typically (90% of the time) come with a set of stems and flights as well as the barrels, although I’ve yet to find a complete darts set that I can use to my liking straight from the packet. Stems can range in length typically from between 15mm right up to 55mm so change your equipment and tinker a bit to see what works best for you and your throw.


Like dart barrels and stems, there is a multitude of shapes, sizes, colours, makes and models of flights. Typically a beginner dart player should use a standard set of flights in standard shape (Standard No2). Once again like the stem length, if the dart lands into the board too upright, change your flights to either a kite, pear or even a slim shaped set of flights to level out the dart’s landing into the board. The smaller service area of a flight, the quicker the dart will fly and in turn land flatter into the board. For those interested, the difference between a standard and pear shaped darts flight is just 6mm2, but the difference is has on a dart into the dartboard is very noticeable.



A standard set of points is 35mm long. You can buy and change different points as you get more serious into the game of darts. They range from many different colours and can come between 22mm and 60mm. The idea is that a longer point will allow for better grouping and once at that level, allow for more 180’s in the game. Not something a beginner or even a regular player would need to concern about.

How much to spend?

If you’re buying a set of darts for young children or just to bang around in the garage or for that neighbour you dislike, spend as little as possible on a brass or steel set of darts, $15-$35. But if you want your darts to last or are thinking of playing more regularly or even get serious in this great game of darts, then buy a decent set of tungsten darts. You can buy a very good set of tungsten darts for between $50-$80 that will do the job quite nicely for you. As you improve and as you take it more seriously, then you can pay more for a darts set with higher tungsten content, or in the named or pro player range.

Good luck and straight arrows.


Paul Webber

Owner – Bullseye Darts


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