When it comes to creating a dart setup at home, there are a few factors that you need to take into consideration. Available space (both floor space and wall space), skill level (are you a beginner and prone to missing the board), and convenience (do you want a permanent setup or a portable one).
For most people, you will either opt for a dartboard cabinet or a dartboard surround depending on your answers to the above questions. A dartboard cabinet is a permanent fixture and therefore it’s become more common for people to opt for a more versatile and portable dartboard surround.
I used to own a dartboard cabinet, however, recently made the switch to a dartboard surround for that exact reason, portability. In this article, I’m going to cover the best dartboard surrounds on the market so that you can easily make the addition to your dartboard set up.
5 Best Dartboard Surrounds
Quick Review: This is an inexpensive and hugely popular surround that is the go-to option for most players new to darts.
Our Rating: 8.5/10
For any beginner players, the Viper Defender II is a go-to product. It’s a reliable and inexpensive product that comes highly rated so you know you are getting a good value for money surround.
Ease of use is probably the key feature of this product. It slots together effortlessly out of the box and is universally made to fit 17.75” and 18” boards (though the included felt is needed to plug any gaps).
The material is the right blend to allow the dart to penetrate it but it will also hold the dart in place protecting your floor. The fact that it is reversible and can be rotated also means that you should get long term use from this product.
One clear downside with this product is that the logos are just too excessive. They haven’t subtly blended the logo and it ends up distracting from the board rather than being complementing.
Considering the popularity of this product, it’s priced very competitively and matches some unbranded, untested products on the market providing good value for money. Overall it’s a solid option that’s exactly what you’d expect it to be.
- Long-Lasting: While the surround has some good self-healing technology, the fact that it’s a reversible product means that this will remain in good condition for a long time with regular switching from back to front.
- Popularity: The Viper Defender II is the most popular and highest reviewed option of any dartboard surround on the market demonstrating its quality and value for money.
- Price: It’s not the cheapest option on the market but if you need an inexpensive and good value product, this is arguably the best choice.
- Size: This product has a good surface area but the Viper Defender III is larger and is becoming the preferred option for some players.
Quick Review: The Winmau dartboard surround is a slim, yet dense, option that has a clean design and will last a lifetime.
Our Rating: 9/10
One of the best surrounds on the market is the Winmau Dartboard Surround. This particular model in black is a clean and crisp design that ensures your playing area looks like a professional set up. The material is of the highest quality which is demonstrated by the surrounds ability to “self-heal” after a dart lands in it.
Whilst on that topic, when a dart does go stray and lands in the surround, it will hold it firmly protecting your wall, floors, and most importantly (for some) the dart tip!
The fit is great around your board (mine fits snuggly around the Winmau PRO SFB) whilst offering some flex and it will fit all Winmau dartboards except the Rebel and other steel-tip, bristle boards depending on dimensions.
The product is highly rated and despite a seemingly high price, customer satisfaction and product ratings are almost perfect which demonstrates the quality of this product (to which I’m also a happy owner!).
Overall, this is a high-quality product that will completely transform the look of your board from an amateur setup to a professional standard that will last for years of use and abuse with little sign of damage.
- Self-Healing: The material has a good ability to bounce back and self-heal so the surround always looks new.
- Fit: This product has a snug fit and offers some flex making it compatible with all Winmau dartboards (except for the Rebel). It can be compatible with other steel-tip, bristle boards but you’d need to check the measurements yourself to check.
- Highly Rated: A 5* rating on Amazon demonstrates the product quality and customer satisfaction.
- Price: This is a premium product and unless you are based in the UK, the price can seem quite high. The product quality and high rating more than justifies the price tag though.
Quick Review: This extended surround is ideal for any beginner player that can’t consistently hit the board and needs a larger surface area for protecting the wall behind.
Our Rating: 8/10
The Viper Defender III is an extended dartboard surround that offers impressive coverage to catch loose darts that miss the board whilst protecting the wall behind.
The extended size covers 8.2sq foot of space which is huge and possibly the largest on the market. This allows for great coverage, and more importantly, protection for the area around your board.
A simple design is used so the 6 pieces slot together in seconds for easy assembly and the universal fitting means this product will fit almost any steel-tip, bristle dartboard with standard measurements of 17.75” and 18”.
The one potential flaw that I need to point out with this product is the thickness, or lack of… With a 1” diameter, quite a few customers have found their darts to go straight through and still hit the wall behind. This will depend on your darts tip length so it’s worth measuring that before choosing to buy.
Overall, if you are looking for a larger surround for added protection, this is going to be a decent option in my opinion. Just be cautious that you are not using long points as a rubber/PU blend may not be the best option.
- Universal Fitting: This surround is universally compatible with 17.75” and 18” steel tip, bristle dartboards for more versatility with board selection.
- Quick Fitting: The 6 pieces slot together in seconds and the included foam strip ensures you get a quick and tight fit when assembling this around your board. It’s also tool-free.
- Size: This extra-long dartboard surround is ideal for any beginners or when playing against a surface you want to protect from holes. This is particularly ideal for homes with kids and teenagers getting started in darts.
- Thickness: The surround thickness is a 1” depth which quite a few customers are not happy about. A lot of darts with long(ish) points get through and still put holes in the wall behind.
Quick Review: This cork dartboard surround offers a more authentic looking surround to protect your walls and dart tips when missing the board.
Our Rating: 6/10
The Cork Dartboard Surround is a unique addition to this list and offers a more authentic look when hanging a dartboard in front of it.
With dimensions of 36” x 24” x 1”, this is a good size surround that will offer sufficient protection to the surrounding wall area. The thickness, in particular, is useful for holding the dart and protecting the wall and the darts tip.
The one issue that’s been flagged is the surround either suffers damage during delivery or cracks in the corners when installing it. Therefore, care when handling and researching a proper way to mount it is crucial (and time-consuming).
Overall, this is a little pricier than some of the other surrounds on this list but offers a different look in terms of the aesthetic and does a decent (but not perfect) job of stopping loose darts.
- Design: The cork design offers a more natural and authentic look that will blend in well with your dartboard for a more classic playing area.
- Size: With dimensions of 36” x 24” x 1”, this is a large surround that should cover most darters’ needs and give protection to the wall behind.
- Thickness: the 1” thick corkboard offers solid protection for preventing the dart from penetrating through to the wall.
- Damage: A number of customers have found this board to damage easily during delivery or when attempting to install it so caution is advised when handling it.
Quick Review: This is a large and super-sophisticated surround that comes with a fabric finish and easy to mount fittings.
Our Rating: 8.5/10
The Dart-Stop 36” Dartboard Surround is a high-end surround that comes with some premium features. Just keep in mind that the cost is also on the premium side!
Firstly, the size of 36” x 36” x 1” makes it one of the largest on the market for great wall coverage and protection. Not only does it come with all of the mounting kit included but it also has the functionality to attach the dartboard directly to it allowing for truly easy assembly and mounting.
The product is of good quality and finished to a high standard with durable wood topped with a fabric finish. This ensures that it’s both durable and also looks great.
The one point I would make is that the wood can be more damaging to the dart tip than other materials (particularly foam) but it’s still a solid and long-lasting choice.
This is a really high-quality product and in my opinion, it really is an excellent choice, the only thing stopping me from rating it higher is that other surrounds on this list can offer better value for money. If you’ve got the spare cash though, this could be a decent option.
- Design: The fabric design is arguably the best looking of any dartboard surround making your dartboard a feature point of your room.
- Mounting: This surround is simple enough to wall mount with the screws and anchors included but it also has the capability to mount the dartboard directly onto it as well for easy installation.
- Reviews: Considering the price, this product has incredibly positive reviews on Amazon with almost every customer rating it 5*.
- Wood Material: The wood material is soft enough for the dart to penetrate and stay in place but this is likely to blunt your dart through repeated impact.
- Price: While it’s a good looking and fully functional surround, the price is going to be quite steep for a lot of your budgets.
Why Do You Need a Dartboard Surround
The main reason why people need a dartboard surround is that they are a beginner and miss the board frequently either damaging the wall or other areas around the dartboard. This is a very real issue when playing darts and even a good player can see the occasional dart slip or pull of the arm which leads to missing the board.
A surround is therefore a backup safety addition for when you miss the board. They also help you have a more professional looking board, especially if you are using it on a dartboard stand (check out my post on the best dartboard stands).
Finally, they offer a portable solution for those that do not have their dartboard permanently set up at home. Most dartboard surrounds are lightweight and attach/detach to and from your dartboard in seconds making them a much more versatile option than a dartboard cabinet.
When selecting a dartboard surround, you’re typically looking for an easy solution to protect the wall behind the dartboard (or catch loose darts if your board is mounted on a stand) without having to mount anything.
While surrounds are an excellent solution, there are some factors you need to take into consideration to ensure you are getting the best surround to suit your personal needs.
The size of the dartboard surround is going to be important for two reasons. Firstly, if you’re a beginner and frequently have loose darts miss the board, the larger the surround the better.
When learning to develop your throwing rhythm, a slight pull of the arm on follow through or drop of the elbow could see your dart miss the board by a foot or more. Therefore, the larger the surround, the more protection you’ll have for the areas around your board.
Secondly, a more season player would only need a surround that’s minimal in size and enhances the look of your playing area. A round dartboard surround that fits snugly around your board will not only give your board a professional look but also still help to catch the rare loose dart that misses the board (a dart slipping mid-throw even happens to the pros!).
A dartboard surround can offer two forms of protection, it can prevent darts from damaging your wall or it can be designed to hold any dart that misses the board, thereby also protecting the floor. The material you select will influence what your surround can do.
The most common options are wood, cork, and a rubber/foam blend with the latter being by far the best option for most people. A wooden surround may protect your walls completely but it will damage your dart tips through impact.
Cork surrounds are a happy medium that has an authentic look and will protect the wall while catching a dart but they are not as long-lasting.
A rubber/foam blend is the best option in my opinion for a number of reasons. They usually look modern and give your darts playing area a professional look. They can fit around the dartboard with ease requiring minimal installation and they catch the dart whilst also repairing the hole once the dart is removed.
This will all depend on your individual needs and preferences but if you’re stuck on a choice, go with the rubber/foam style.
My choice for the best dartboard surround is the Winmau Dartboard Surround. Firstly, I actually own this product (I’ve included this in the image at the top of this article) and can personally vouch for the quality of this product.
It has a sleek and high-quality design that really makes the throwing area look professional and not like a beaten up board you’d find in your local bar.
It catches and holds darts with ease and its self-healing design means that it bounces back to looking almost new in no time. It fits tightly around your board and the customer service is excellent. Even if you live out in the states, customers have received theirs through shipping in just 5 days (though this isn’t a promise).
Overall, it’s one of the best surrounds I’ve ever used and I can see it lasting a good few decades worth of use!
Dartboard surrounds are not essential and players can usually take it or leave it when it comes to owning one. With that said, they are useful if you are a beginner that can’t hit the board regularly, want to protect the walls around your dartboard, or have a portable set up so don’t want/need a large and heavy cabinet.
While most surrounds will be a similar shape, design, and material, those listed in this article are more unique and offer something extra which will either be more protection around the playing area or just giving your darts setup a more professional look.