Soft tip darts are hugely popular around the world and while steel tip darts get the most publicity from tournaments and the PDC, soft tip darts are the more commonly played option.
Being from the UK and only ever playing steel tip darts on a bristle dartboard, it’s fair to say that soft tip darts piques my interest due to their popularity. One key aspect that is typically in soft darts’ favor is that they are considered to be a safer option.
While this is usually based on opinion, it’s worth questioning: are soft tip darts safe?
Soft tip darts have a flexible plastic tip which means they are a safe option and will cause minimal damage to the walls, floor, and furniture around a dartboard. They are also unlikely to cause an injury if they accidentally hit a person and offer a safe way to introduce children to darts.
There are likely a few reasons why you are wondering whether or not soft tip darts are safe and in this article, I’ll cover what you can expect when playing soft tip darts whilst also answering the question “are soft tip darts safe”.
Are Soft Tip Darts Safe
Soft tip darts are designed with a flexible plastic tip (in contrast to the sharp, pointed steel tips) and while safety was not necessarily the reason for their design, having a plastic tip does make soft tip darts a safe option.
Soft tip darts are played on a plastic, electronic board with flexible holes along the dart face designed to hold the dart in place. These boards are similar to webbing and the design is made to allow for a more inclusive game of darts.
The electronic boards do all of the countings for you so that you don’t need to worry about any complicated darts math and the flashing lights and “unintimidating” board make this a more universally accepted option than the steel tip with bristle board alternative.
While it’s seen to be a more fun option in the US, Canada, Asia, and parts of Europe, the safety aspect is definitely something that appeals to people. Steel tip darts in public bars and at home can definitely pose a risk as they can easily pierce objects as well as skin.
While darts accidents are rare, they do happen and the video below shows just what can happen when a dart throw goes wrong…
Ok, that was a joke but simply do a google search of “dart in head” and you’ll find the links to see what I mean.
Steel tip darts can also cause damage to furniture and other items in the surrounding area so when we then look at the softer, more flexible plastic points on a soft tip dart, it’s easy to see why they are the safer option and will pose less risk for damage or injury.
Do Soft Tip Darts Damage Walls
One key issue with steel tip darts is the damage they cause to the surrounding wall when you miss the board as well as the damage the sharp points cause as a result of bounce-outs and hitting the floor and nearby furniture.
When I was young, I basically destroyed my grandad’s wall with holes when I’d miss the board and also ruined the kitchen door in my parent’s house. Even now, an occasional dart can always slip and miss the board which is why I’ll always make use of a dartboard surround to catch any stray darts.
Soft tip darts, on the other hand, are flexible and when they come into contact with the wall, floor, or furniture they will bend and absorb impact. This means that soft tip darts are definitely the safer option when it comes to protecting the area around your dartboard and in particular the wall.
** One key point however is that while the point is flexible, the darts will still have a metal barrel. This means that if you throw them with a significant amount of force, the soft tip will flex but the barrel can still come into contact with (and damage) a wall.
Are Soft Tip Darts Safe for Children
Soft tip darts are safe for children but this will of course depend on a few factors that will be individual to each child. As long as it’s supervised, soft tip darts can be suitable for children aged 6 years and over.
As mentioned steel tip darts are sharp and weighted so can cause damage or injury in handled by unsupervised children but soft tip darts have significantly less risk and will only cause damage if the dart is thrown with substantial force (with contact being made by the metal barrel)
This is why a child will still need to be supervised with soft tip darts and while they are the safer option, I can say that they will be safe for all children, especially when left unsupervised. Temperament, mood, excitement and a general understanding of the game will all be a factor that should be considered on a child by child basis.
Are Soft Tip Darts the Safest Option
If you are looking at a scale from safest to most dangerous, soft tip darts are on the safer side but in honesty, they are not the safest option. If you are really looking for a safe option that is more suitable for young children, a magnetic dartboard is going to be your best option.
A magnetics dartboard eliminates points or heavy barrels altogether and uses a light plastic dart with a slightly weighted, magnetic flat end to stick to the board. These are convenient as you can get rollout magnetic boards which are great for travel and storage or these boards are even available in a standard size to truly introduce your children to the full concept of darts.
It’s hard to argue against the fact that soft tip darts are a safe option. The flexible plastic point minimizes any damage to objects upon contact and also won’t pierce your skin if it hits you as a steel tip dart would.
They are not 100% safe for children if left unsupervised and depending on the weight of the dart you choose, the barrel could still cause damage but that’s just me being super cautious. In general, soft tip darts are a safe option.