There are two types of darts: steel-tip and soft-tip. So can you use them interchangeably, or do you always have to use soft tip darts on an electronic dartboard?
Steel tips darts cannot be used on electronic dartboards, except for those with a bristle surface which is designed specially for steel tips. Steel tip darts will damage the plastic surface typically found on electronic dartboards. Instead, only soft tip darts should be used on electronic dartboards.
Soft vs Steel Tip Darts
Steel tip darts are very hard and sharp, and are designed to be used on regular sisal fibre or paper dartboards. They are usually slightly heavier than soft-tip darts. The design allows them to easily penetrate the sisal fibres of a bristle dartboard, and be removed without causing damage.
Soft tip darts are designed to be used on plastic electronic dartboards. They are made from soft moulded plastic and are not as sharp as steel tip darts. The plastic tips are slightly flexible and are also lightweight. Soft tip darts are designed to stick into into the tiny holes found on the surface of the board.
Images link to Amazon
Bristle Electronic Dartboards are Suitable
The only electronic dartboards that steel tip darts can be used on are those with a bristle surface.
Traditional non-electronic dartboards are made from sisal fibres which are densely packed and compressed together. This allows a steel-tip dart to penetrate the board and prevents it from falling out.
Some electronic dartboard manufacturers have designed bristle E-dartboards which means that they have the same feel as a traditional sisal board, and can use steel tip darts. They also allow the board to function electronically for scoring and to play games so it’s the best of both worlds.
Unfortunately, there aren’t that many manufacturers which make bristle E-dartboards at the moment. Here is an example.
- Uses an app for electronic features and connects via Bluetooth
- 8 games included
- Battery powered
- Includes 6 magnetised steel tip darts
Most Electronic Dartboards are Unsuitable
The vast majority of electronic dartboards on the market are designed for soft-tip darts only. Steel tip darts are too sharp for the plastic surface and will cause it to become permanently damaged. The steel tips could also damage other components such as the display, lights and trackers.
Electronic dartboards have lots of tiny holes which are designed only for soft tip darts. Check out the image below for an example.
Check out this article on the different types of dartboards to learn more.
Changing the Tips
So what if you have a electronic dartboard at home but also want to be able to use your same darts on a traditional bristle dartboard too? Well there is an option in this case.
Some darts have replaceable points so can be used with either soft tips or steel tips. This allows you to use the darts on both electronic and bristle dartboards by simply changing the points.
Many soft tip darts allow you to change the tips to convert them to steel tip darts. You’ll simply need to purchase conversion points (link to Amazon) and unscrew the soft tips and replace them with the steel tips.
Most steel tip darts do not have the option to switch them to soft tip darts and back again. However, there are some companies that can permanently modify the steel tip darts to a 2BA thread to allow them to fit soft-tips.
Wondering if you can use soft tip darts on a bristle dartboard? Check out this article to learn more.
The other thing you’ll need to keep in mind if you plan on switching your darts from soft to steel tip, is the weight difference.
Steel tip darts typically weigh between 20g and 25g, whereas soft tip darts are lighter and usually weigh between 15g and 20g.
Hence, if you regularly play with separate steel tip darts and then convert your soft tip darts into steel tips, you’ll find that the latter are lighter. This means you will have to adjust your throw accordingly, or try and increase the weight of the converted darts by using weighted tips.
This is typically why players who use both bristle and electronic dartboards have a set of darts for each board.
If you want to learn more about dart weight and why it matters so much, check out this article.