Best Dart Backboards: Complete 2021 Buyer’s Guide

AirHockeyGeek is supported by its readers. If you buy through our links we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn more.

Selective focus

Creating the perfect dart throwing environment can be crucial, especially if you’re a beginner. Using the best dart backboards, you can protect your walls from some serious damage caused by a flyaway dart or a bounce out. As you probably already know, beginners are more susceptible to missing their mark, so having this type of failsafe in place will be important.

If you’re not sure what your options are, in terms of backboard size, type, or style, then you’ve come to the right place. There are many different options available, however, if you’re looking for a top-of-the-line board, one that can really provide the high level of protection you need, then you’ll need to do some serious research to find a board that can actually deliver. In this guide, you’ll not only find important information on how to pick the perfect backboard, but you’ll also get a look at the top six models on the market that are crushing the competition. These are the backboards you want if you’re looking for a board that offers full protection and one that’s designed to last.

Below, you can check out my comparison chart, which includes each of the boards that landed on my list, how they rated, and other important information that can help you make the right choice for your setup.

Dart Backboards Comparison Chart

ProductShapeCoverageMaterialRating
Viper Defender III Wall Protector
Shop On Amazon!
Rectangular8.2 ftFoam
Viper Wood Dartboard Backboard
Shop On Amazon!
Rectangular29 x 29"Wood/
Felt
Dart-Stop Professional Dart Backboard
Shop On Amazon!
Octagonal29 x 29"Wood/
Fabric
Viper Dartboard Surround Wall Protector
Shop On Amazon!
Square28 x 28"Foam
Cork Dart Board Backer
Shop On Amazon!
Rectangular36 x 24"Cork
Hathaway Dart Backboard
Shop On Amazon!
Square25.5 x 27.75"Foam/
Wood/
Felt

Viper Defender III Dartboard Wall Protector


Our Rating: (5/5)

Viper is one of the leading dartboard manufacturers in the industry. Their wide selection of accessories have a reputation for both style and durability. Their latest backboard, the Defender III earned top marks in a variety of areas, including durability, style, and versatility.

This model will work for both 17.75 and 18-inch bristle boards. It offers a total of 8.2 square feet of protection. The surface of the backboard is covered in velvet, which is not only attractive, but it also helps to minimize signs of wear and tear. The board is easy to assemble and features a compression fit design that will not require any mounting hardware, bracing or tools.

The backboard is made out of a thick foam that’s tough and protective. The six-piece design will take just a few minutes to assemble. Once assembled, you can slide your board right onto it and it will hug the sides of the board I stantly. In terms of thickness, this model provides one-inch-thick protection all around the dartboard.

Pros

  • Thick foam
  • Easy to assemble
  • Compatible with most models of sisal boards
  • Offers 8.2 feet of wall protection

Cons

  • Not compatible with electronic boards

Conclusion

This backboard isn’t just sturdy, but it’s also easy to assemble and provides better than average wall protection, covering 8.2 feet of wall space. This model’s clean looking design will also complement your existing setup, while offering the type of coverage you need to protect both your walls and your darts.

Viper Wood Framed Dartboard Backboard


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This backboard features a wood frame with a deep mahogany finish that’s aesthetically appealing and sure to fit in with your existing décor. The backboard is made out of MDF wood and comes with a surface that’s covered in black felt. The backboard measures in at 29-inches in length, 29-inches wide and 1-inch thick. It will work with most styles of traditional bristle boards. This model also comes with the all the mounting hardware you’ll need, so installation is fast and simple. The board is designed to provide ultimate protection from bounce outs and stray darts. It’s also compatible with both electronic and traditional boards. The felt covered surface is gentler on dart tips so you can protect your walls and your darts at the same time.

The beautiful mahogany finished frame borders the felt covered backboard, giving it a sophisticated look.

Pros

  • Mahogany border
  • Durable
  • Felt covered surface
  • Fast and simple installation

Cons

  • Low quality mounting hardware

Conclusion

This backboard is versatile, durable, and features a sophisticated, pro design that many dart throwers want for their in-home dart setups. This backboard doesn’t just look good, but it also protects your walls and both steel tipped and soft tipped darts. The simple set up process is also a big selling point. Overall, this board is a steal for the price and offers the level of protection you need to prevent broken darts and holes in your walls.

Dart-Stop Professional Dart Board Backboard


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This octagonal shaped backboard features a soft no-holes fabric finish, to prevent signs of wear and tear. The frameless design offers a clean, muted look. The board also has a pre-installed mounting bracket, which is designed to keep the backboard firmly in place, so it won’t shake or move during use. This model is basically ready to mount straight out of the box. The mounting points are steel reinforced for added durability.

This model offers 29’ x 29’ of wall coverage and measures in at ¾ inch thick, which is slightly lower than average. The board is made out of wood substrate with a thick fabric that covers the surface. This fabric will help prevent or reduce damage to stray dart tips. The board itself weighs in at just 9.5 pounds.

Pros

  • Fabric minimizes damage to darts
  • Offers excellent wall coverage
  • Durable
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Price

Conclusion

This wood substrate, felt covered octagonal backboard can provide better than average wall coverage, protecting your walls and your darts from ongoing damage. The board itself is also reasonably priced, durable, and includes all the mounting hardware you need to easily and quickly set up your new backboard. The addition of this board will give your entire home setup a more professional look, with a simple design that meshes well with your existing décor.

Viper Dartboard Surround Wall Protector


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This is another popular model by Viper that can be a great addition to any home or commercial setup.

This model provides a protective barrier around a dartboard, preventing darts that miss their mark from hitting your walls. The board is compatible with both bristle and electronic boards. The board itself is made out of high-density foam. This type of material will not only help to keep your walls free from holes, but it also protects the tips of your darts. On the front of the board, you’ll find a hanging bracket already attached. The bracket allows you to quickly mount your dartboard. This model provides a total of 28’ x 28’ of wall protection, which is slightly lower than average.

Pros

  • Compatible with both soft tipped and steel tipped darts
  • Prevents broken dart tips
  • Works for electronic and standard dartboards.
  • High-density foam

Cons

  • Provides smaller than average coverage

Conclusion

The thick foam material is a huge selling point, since it will prevent dart and wall damage. This type of foam offers just the right amount of give for gentle surface penetration. The level of the surface’s rigidity gently captures the dart to prevent it from bouncing out, and without damaging the delicate tip. The board itself can be hung as a square or diamond shape, includes all the mounting hardware you need, and features a versatile design that’s perfect for all types of darts.

Cork Dart Board Backer


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This affordable backboard is made out of 100% cork, which is environmentally friendly. The board measures in at 36 x 24 x0.5 inches. Unfortunately, the board doesn’t come with its own mounting hardware, so you’ll need to purchase that separately. The natural texture of the cork will minimize any signs of wear and tear. Its large surface area will protect your walls in the event of a bounce out. The material also offers plenty of give, so it won’t damage the tips of your darts. The design of the backboard allows you to use multiple boards together, so you can customize your coverage. While this model’s design is rather plain, compared to the other products in my best-of lineup, it’s an affordable option and one that will allow you to combine the boards for ultimate wall protection.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Protects the tips of darts
  • You can setup multiple dartboards for ultimate protection
  • Provides excellent coverage

Cons

  • Does not come with mounting hardware
  • Plain design
  • Half-inch thick

Conclusion

This budget-friendly backboard may not offer the type of flashy design that some players are looking for, but if you want to customize your setup and add more backboards, then this model is a great choice. It also features the type of forgiving surface that will hug the dart, keeping it securely in place, without damaging the tips of your darts. The biggest drawback is that you’ll have to purchase your own mounting hardware, but for most buyer’s this won’t be a deal breaker.

Hathaway Dart Backboard


Our Rating: (4/5)

This popular model from Hathaway will protect the walls that surround your dartboard. It will also protect stray darts. This is due to the board’s thick foam surface that’s impact absorbing. The vivid red color of the board will make your dartboard setup really pop, while the wood backing improves the dartboard’s stability and durability. This board comes in at one-inch thick, 25.5 inches wide, and 27.75-inches tall.

Pros

  • One-inch thick
  • Stylish design
  • Surface is covered in foam
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Felt backing is weak

Conclusion

This board will shield the walls in your home from stray darts. It’s made out of thick engineered wood, with a tough foam surface that will cushion the tips of your darts, to prevent damage. This model is also covered by a 180-day warranty, which will give most shoppers every incentive to buy this beautiful board and give it a shot.

Dart Backboards Buyer’s Guide

The goal of playing a round of darts is to hit the target. Ideally, you’ll hit the bull. But it doesn’t always work out that way. If you’re playing at home, then one of your top priorities will be to protect the areas surrounding the bullseye. You may have kids who are just learning to play, or friends and family that are new to the game. As you know, when you first learn how to play darts, you end up with a lot of bounce outs or you hit the wall more than anything else. There will be some shots that won’t land on the board, and instead will land right next to it. Your walls will have several tiny holes surrounding your dartboard and your dart tips will be bent or badly damaged. Fortunately, there are steps you can take that will protect both your walls and your darts.

Dart and Wall Protection

In public spots, such as pubs and rec centers, you may have noticed that their setups are heavily protected, both the floors surrounding the dartboard and the walls as well. The dartboard itself is usually mounted on a backboard, which serves as a shield that covers up the wall behind it. When a player throws at the dartboard and misses, the dart will stick into the backboard instead of the wall. Using a backboard for your home setup will allow you to focus more on the game and keep your mind off you or another player damaging your walls.

No one wants to end up with hundreds of small holes or gouges in their wall.

Buying a dart backboard is the perfect solution if you want to protect both your setup and your darts. A hard wall can easily bend and seriously damage dart tips. On the other hand, if you’re a beginner or beginners use your board, then your wall is in for some serious damage.

While some players will recommend choosing a backboard based on your skill level, in reality, anyone shopping for a backboard wants a model that offers top of the line protection. So, regardless of your skill level, go with the best, the toughest, and a backboard that you know will protect your walls, regardless of who’s throwing.

Now, let’s start this buyer’s guide off by discussing the benefits of using a backboard and why every dart setup should have one.

Benefits of Dart Backboards

  • As you probably already know, the biggest benefit of dart backboards is wall protection. People who are just learning how to throw darts tend to miss the board more than they hit it, so, if you want to avoid a wall full of holes, purchasing a backboard is the best way you can protect your walls. This will be especially important if you have plaster walls, which are not only complicated to patch up, but costly to repair.
  • A backboard will also protect your darts from serious damage. If you end up missing the board and hit the wall, you can bet the tip of your dart is damaged beyond repair.
  • If you plan on mounting your dartboard on walls that are made out of stone or concrete, darts are more likely to bounce out if they hit these types of materials.
  • If you have your dartboard set up inside, then aesthetics matter. You don’t want to use a piece of scrap plywood as a backboard, inside your home. Instead, you want to use something that’s functional and looks good on your wall. You’ll have no trouble finding a wide selection of backboards online, in a variety of sizes, shapes, and styles to choose from, so you’re sure to find a backboard that will blend in well with your existing game room décor.
  • Aside from serving the purposes I mentioned above, getting a backboard can also make your throwing setup look complete. If you want a pro looking setup, then you probably want to avoid that college dorm room look. A good-looking backboard will tie everything together and will make your backboard, mat, cabinet, and oche look clean and professional.

Now that you know why you need a backboard, let’s go over the different types of materials these boards are made out of.

Materials

When you’re shopping for a backboard, first consider the type of material the board is made out of, before you worry about other features. You should also keep in mind that the price of a backboard is heavily impacted by the type of material it’s made out of.

Additionally, material type can indicate just how much protection the board can provide and how durable it is.

The most common types of materials used for backboards include:

Wood

You’ll find that most types of backboards are made out of wood, however, they’re not quite as durable as some alternatives. Additionally, wood doesn’t hide damage as easily as other types of materials, so you may find that the backboard becomes somewhat of an eyesore over time.

Cork

Cork is a great, affordable choice. It’s easy to install, lightweight, and pretty durable. Because of its low price, you can always replace it once it becomes riddled with holes.

Fabric

Wall protectors that are made out of fabric are also pretty common. While they may not offer the same heavy-duty protection that wood or cork can, a backboard that’s made out of felt or another type of dense material will focus more on protecting your darts. In some cases, if you use a wood backboard, you’ll find that while your walls are still protected, the tips of the darts still get bent or break, which is why fabric backboards may be a better option for some setups.

Foam

If you have an indoor space and you want a tough material that can provide top of the line protection, foam backboards are a great choice and one that won’t hit your wallet too hard. These boards are easy to install, feature a lightweight design, and are affordable.

Size

Make sure you purchase a board that’s large enough to provide the level of protection you need, based on where you’ll hang a dartboard in the home. Be sure you measure your dartboard and the area surrounding it. You should also keep in mind that the model you purchase must be compatible with your dartboard. Some models will only work with certain types or sizes of dartboards. Read the backboard’s spec sheet to learn which sizes of dartboards it’s compatible with, in addition to how much coverage it can offer.

If your dartboard is eighteen inches in diameter, then you’ll want a backboard that provides a minimum of three-square feet of coverage. This type of coverage should be more than sufficient for most dartboard setups.

You’ll want to choose a model that fits your dartboard and gives you enough protection around the edges.

Shape

Backboards are available in a variety of shapes, include

  • Octagonal
  • Rectangular
  • Hexagonal
  • Round
  • Square

Round backboards will typically fit around the edges of a dartboard, connecting like pieces of a puzzle. This shape offers less protection compared to the other shapes since it has a thinner surface. However, there are people that prefer this style, since it’s very aesthetically pleasing and tends to do a better job of naturally blending in with a room’s existing décor.

Rectangular and square styles usually offer more coverage. Some are also universal, so they’ll work with any shape or size of dartboard. Both shapes are usually made out of one piece of material that you’ll hang the dartboard over.

Depending on your style preference, you may want to consider an octagonal or hexagonal shaped backing. These shapes are more distinct, and many people prefer them over the traditional circle or square designs.

Mounting

Most models will come with their own mounting hardware and instructions. For the most part, installation is simple, easy and requires only a few tools and about fifteen minutes of your time. These backboards usually come with a hanging bracket, however, if the board you buy doesn’t come with this type of mounting hardware, then you can install it using some screws.

Dartboard Compatibility

Keep in mind, some backboards won’t work well with both electronic and traditional dartboards. If the backboard is designed to work with an electronic board, it may not be compatible with your sisal board. Fortunately, many manufacturers will clearly list whether the backboard is designed for bristle dartboards or electronic boards. This information is definitely one of the first things you’ll want to look for before you buy.

Dart Type

If you normally throw soft tipped darts, then you won’t need the kind of heavy-duty wall protection that you will with steel tipped darts. Additionally, if you toss soft tipped darts, they tend to easily stick in foam backboards, but will bounce off of cork or wood boards. Pay attention to a backboard’s spec sheet. It should list whether it’s recommended for soft or steel tipped darts, or both.

Price

The price of the backboard will depend on several factors including size, material, and shape. Material is often the biggest factor. Felt or cork boards will be more affordable than wood backboards, while models made out of foam are often more affordable than cork.

You’ll find several models to choose from that are available in prices that range from just $35 up to $200. However, even the highest priced model is still more affordable than costly wall repairs. You should choose a backboard that works with your budget, but, if you need heavy-duty protection, then it’s wise to save up for a higher priced board, one you won’t have to replace often.

Final Thoughts

The best dart backboards will provide heavy-duty protection that will prevent steel tipped darts from penetrating your walls. The board itself should be durable, thick, and should offer enough coverage to protect the immediate space surrounding the dartboard. The models I’ve included here, combined with the information in this buyer’s guide, should help you choose the perfect backboard for your home dart setup, one that’s tough enough to handle heavy duty use, and a model that offers the coverage you need, especially if you’re a beginner.