For anyone used to playing darts on a bristle board with steel tip darts (the traditional way to play darts) the popularity and temptation to test out the soft tip game of darts played on an electronic dartboard is ever-growing.
The soft tip game has taken America and Asia by storm over the last decade introducing hundreds of thousands of new people to the game of darts and simultaneously improving the quality of soft tip darts and electronic dartboards.
When making the switch to test out soft tip darts though, you might notice one key thing and that is soft tip darts have a limited weight range. So, why are soft tip darts lighter?
Soft tip darts are lighter than steel tip darts because a heavier weight dart would damage the circuitry of an electronic dartboard. For this reason, soft tip darts have a maximum weight limit of 20g which is lighter than the average steel tip weight of 21g – 24g.
If you’re struggling to make the switch to soft tip darts then read on, we’ll cover why there is a noticeable weight difference between the darts and what you can do to work around it.
Why Are Soft Tip Darts Lighter?
The main reason soft tip darts are lighter than their steel tip equivalent is that the tips are made from molded plastic which is a few grams lighter than a steel tip. This is because they are primarily used to throw at electronic dartboards where the softer plastic tips sit into tapered holes on the board when thrown and won’t damage the internal circuitry of the board.
When electronic dartboards first entered the market, a common issue was that heavier darts would easily (and quickly) damage the electronic circuitry meaning the board could no longer register the dart on contact. This has meant that a lighter dart was needed with 16g or 18g being the limit.
As boards have improved over the years, you can get soft tip darts that weigh 20g and won’t damage the dartboard but anything heavier will result in damaging an electronic dartboard and for that reason, soft tip darts are still much lighter than most steel tip variations.
With that said, the barrels of soft-tipped darts have been developed over the years and are made from tungsten or nickel silver which is the same material used for steel tip darts. So, despite a lighter weight, the overall quality of the dart is the same.
This does mean that you’d need to buy a high quality dart though. The image below shows how the lighter soft tip dart (made from nickel silver) is significantly larger than the steel tip dart made from tungsten.
The drawback is that the tips are very fragile, break quite easily, and therefore have to be replaced regularly.
Soft tip darts usually weigh in at around 16-20 grams, as opposed to between 18-40 for steel-tipped with 21g – 24g being the most commonly used weight for steel tip darts.
What Is the Best Weight for Soft Tip Darts?
Recently, we’ve covered the difference between heavy darts vs light darts whilst weighing up (excuse the pun) the pros and cons of each. As soft tip darts have a limited weight range, the most common and best weight that people use for soft tip darts is 16g – 20g.
Are Lighter Darts Harder to Throw
Switching to soft tip darts after using steel tip darts will require a certain amount of patience and in most circumstances a change of equipment or technique.
Soft tipped darts, whilst going through a renaissance in recent years through investment and development, are still a long way from throwing a heavier steel-tipped dart.
The trajectory of a soft tip dart is different because its lighter weight won’t achieve the arc of its heavier counterpart and it also requires more pace from the arm to hit the target and enable it to stick in the board. This
While soft tip darts are always developing they still have a tendency to bounce out – though better boards are making this less of a problem and not forgetting it’s possible to use them on a bristle board – but you can’t use a heavy steel-tipped dart on an electronic board.
The popularity of Soft tip darts has not gone unnoticed by the higher echelons of the darting community so now all the top manufacturers produce high-quality soft tip darts and their price sometimes reflects this!
This does help to make the experience of throwing them all the easier, as they are better balanced and more accurate than previous darts so while they can be harder the throw initially, the adjustment won’t be to difficult.
As a last resort, you can use some methods to add weight to your darts to make them more comfortable when throwing, just make sure you don’t exceed the limit of your particular dartboard.
Soft tip darts are lighter than steel tip darts for two main reasons:
- The plasting molded tip is a few grams lighter than a steel tip
- Electronic dartboards have a weight limit of 21g and over. Therefore, lighter darts need to be used in order to prevent damage to the circuitry of an electronic dartboard
There is definitely an adjustment needed if you’re moving from steel tip to soft tip darts so keep this in mind if you’re someone that throws with a heavy steel tip dart.
If you’re struggling to make the adjustment from steel tip to soft tip darts, or you’re just not too sure what set you’d need to use then we’d recommended checking out our detailed guide on the best soft tip darts. Choosing one of these sets will definitely make the transition much easier – even with the difference in weight.