You’d think that a dartboard has a large enough playing surface (15.5 inches) that it’s unlikely you’d ever miss it when throwing a dart. Well, beginners that are new to darts and even experienced players will find that from time to time it’s very easy to miss the board!
Regardless of skill level, a stray dart can always happen and when this happens with a steel tip dart you often end up with a hole in the wall as a result. While modern darts are similar in design, a soft tip dart has all the same components as a steel tip dart with one key difference, a plastic tip for the dart’s point.
With a plastic tip, most people consider soft tip darts to be safer but can soft tip darts damage walls anyway? This is something we’ll answer below and recommend the best way to protect your wall when using soft tip darts or an electronic dartboard.
Can Soft Tip Darts Damage Walls
Soft tip darts can damage walls. While a soft tip dart has a flexible plastic point, minimizing the chance of the dart chipping or sticking into a wall and making a hole, the dart barrel (typically weighing 16g – 20g) will still cause damage due to a ricochet and collision with the wall.
The key thing to keep in mind with soft tip darts is that while the point is made of a more flexible plastic, a material that will cause significantly less damage than steel, the rest of the dart still has components that carry weight and can cause damage when thrown with force.
A dart is made to be aerodynamic and therefore travels toward the board with speed – just check out the speed of Ricky Evans throwing a dart to see what I mean:
With most soft tip darts weighing 16g – 18g and having a dense tungsten barrel, when the flexible point on a soft tip dart misses the board and hits the wall it will flex under the weight and speed of the dart making contact with the wall and the barrel will then follow through and hit the wall.
While it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get a soft tip dart stuck in the wall, the resulting contact from the barrel hitting the wall will be enough to cause chips to the paint or dents in the wall and this is something no dart player wants to see.
As soft tip darts can damage walls, you’ll therefore want to consider having something behind your dartboard in order to protect the wall from any stray darts.
What Do You Put Behind a Soft Tip Dartboard
Soft tip dartboards – unlike the bristle dartboard variation for steel tip darts – are typically mounted as they are, meaning without a cabinet or a surround.
This is because these electronic dartboards have the same playing area as a tournament regulation board but the dartboard itself will usually be larger to support a scoreboard, dart holder and other accessories. The design for an electronic dartboard, therefore, makes it a bit more difficult to place it into a cabinet depending on the model you own.
This means that when trying to protect your wall from soft tip darts you need to use a dedicated dartboard surround. The issue is that there is no set size or shape for an electronic dartboard.
Most dartboard surrounds are custom-made to fit a regulation dartboard. Almost all bristle dartboards have the same dimensions and therefore it’s much easier to mass manufacture a surround for these boards but due to the different models for electronic dartboards, this standardized product doesn’t exist.
Therefore, the best option is to make a DIY backboard for your soft tip dartboard. The best options for this are a sheet of corkboard or a sheet of plywood. These will protect your wall from missed darts whilst also still allowing you to mount the dartboard.
These aren’t the most “fancy” options though and could make your darts setup go from looking professional to amateur quite easily. We’d therefore recommend looking at a freestanding electronic dartboard (like the Arachnid E650). These come with a large cabinet and allow you to customize your darts set up whilst still protecting your walls.
One of the worst things when it comes to darts is the damage they can cause, especially when you miss the board! People are always looking for guides and products to protect their walls and floor from darts but soft tip dart owners might have the assumption that they won’t cause the same level of damage…
Well, soft tip darts can and do damage walls when you miss the board. While the point won’t damage the wall, the follow-through from the dart will mean that the heavier dart barrel will chip paint or dent the wall upon contact.
To prevent this, the only real thing you can do is have something behind your dartboard to cushion the impact. As electronic/soft tip dartboards do not have a regulation size, you’d need to either get a model that comes in a cabinet already or make a DIY backboard using a sheet of cork or plywood.
If you’re reading this then it’s a fair assumption you already play with a set of soft tip darts, if you’re interested in seeing some of our recommendations and what we consider to be good options, check out our round-up of the best soft tip darts here.