If you’re purchasing a new set of darts, or think you are ready for a set of replacements, then it’s good to know how long darts actually last on average. In this article, I’ll explain how long the different components of a dart should last, what affects it, how to know when they need replacing and how to make them last as long as possible.
The Quick Answer
Good quality darts will last for several years, however the flight of the dart will likely need to be replaced every few weeks or months depending on how often you play. The main cause for replacement is because the grip has worn down. Tungsten darts last longer than brass darts.
There are several different components of a dart to consider when discussing the lifespan:
- Barrel and shaft
When purchasing a new set of darts, you’ll get all three components. However, if certain areas such as the flight or tip become worn, then you can get replacements. Also if the barrel becomes worn then you can just replace this parts. Now let’s take a look at the different components and how long they typically last.
There are two main types of dart tips: soft and steel. Steel tip darts are designed for bristle boards, whilst soft tip darts are made for plastic electronic boards.
Dart tips do not really wear out and should only be replaced if they break, or you want to upgrade your darts with a different tip. You can sharpen your darts if you feel like they have become blunt and are making bounce-outs more frequent.
You can purchase an automatic dart sharpener or use a manual one. It’s a good idea to do this every few months if you’re playing very frequently, but for more casual players you may not need to do this for a couple of years.
The best way to ensure your dart’s tips last as long as possible is to prevent them from actually breaking. This is more common with steel-tip darts due to the additional weight, however it can happen with soft-tip darts as well.
The most common cause of breakage is when the dart hits hard flooring at an awkward angle. Purchasing a good quality dart mat will prevent this from happening. Take a look at my article on dart mats for some recommendations and more reasons why I consider them essential.
You should also store your darts properly to make sure that the tip is not damaged when transporting them. Something like this Casemaster Dart Case on Amazon is a great affordable option.
Dart Barrel and Shaft
The barrel of the dart is a component that is likely to need replacing more frequently than the tip. The frequency at which you’ll need to replace the dart shaft/ barell depends on a few main factors regardless of whether you’re using soft or steel-tips:
- How frequently you play
- The material the dart is made from
- How you grip the dart
- How to maintain the dart
This part of the dart wears out because it’s the part you are holding whenever you play. The friction between your fingers and the barrel itself causes the material to wear down and become smoother. Of course, the more frequently you play, the more likely this is to happen.
The good news, is that high-quality tungsten darts can last for several years, or even for a lifetime because the grip is unlikely to wear down with frequently use. However, cheaper materials such as brass may only last up to a year because the material is much softer.
Generally, the higher the percentage of tungsten used in the dart, the longer it’ll last. Very high quality darts usually have a 95-97.5% composition of tungsten, but anything over 90% is pretty good. In the 80-90% range, you should still get a very long lasting dart which should keep you going for a couple of years.
Check out my article comparing tungsten, brass and steel darts to learn more about the three types.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that the way you grip the dart will affect its longevity. Players who grip the dart more tightly will wear away the grip more quickly than players who hold the dart more loosely.
Taking Care of Your Darts
There are also a couple steps you can take to look after your darts and keep them fresh.
- Clean them frequently (every few months) using warm soapy water, rinse thoroughly and dry immediately.
- Store them in a cool dry place (humidity should be avoided). The best option here is to store them in a case.
Dart flights are the least durable component of a dart and typically need replacing every few weeks for serious players and every few months for more casual players. You’ll know when a flight needs replacing because the dart won’t move as straight in the air.
Many players replace their dart flights before every competition because they’re pretty inexpensive and this will ensure that they travel as straight as possible through the air.
More expensive flights will typically last longer than cheaper flights because they are sturdier and less prone to damage. Thicker materials also will last longer. If you’re going for a folding flight, try and get one that is at least 150 um thick, or go for a molded flight instead.
Flights will usually become damaged if the dart falls on the floor, or if it is hit by another dart. To prevent the flight becoming damaged by another dart, you can use a flight protector which helps to shield it from other darts. It will also usually help the flight last longer by keeping it in a better shape when it moves through the aim.