If you’re in the market for a new set of darts then one of the first decisions you need to make is what material you want them to be. Darts are typically made from either tungsten, brass or stainless steel. In this article, I’ll compare all three types of darts so you can decide which will be the most suitable for you.
Tungsten vs Brass vs Steel Darts
Tungsten darts are denser than brass or steel darts. The density of tungsten means that you can make the same weight dart with smaller dimensions, hence tungsten darts can fit more closely together on the board. Tungsten darts are also more durable than brass or steel darts.
Effect on Weight
Tungsten darts are more dense than brass or steel darts which allows you to achieve the same weight but with a smaller dart when using tungsten. This is useful because it gives you more room on the board to fit your darts, and less drag when they travel through the area.
Tungsten is roughly twice as dense as stainless steel and brass.
Stainless Steel Density: 7.9 g/cm³
Brass Density: 8.7 g/cm³
Tungsten Density: 19.3 g/cm³
This means that tungsten darts are usually a lot smaller than brass or stainless steel darts, even when they have the same weight. Check out this table comparing the different materials and the average dimensions of a 22g dart.
|Material||Average Dimensions of a 22g Dart|
|97% Tungsten||50.0 x 6.3 mm|
|95% Tungsten||50.4 x 6.3 mm|
|90% Tungsten||51.0 x 6.7 mm|
|85% Tungsten||52.2 x 6.4 mm|
|80% Tungsten||53.6 x 6.5 mm|
|70% Tungsten||54.6 x 6.5 mm|
|60% Tungsten||54.0 x 7.2 mm|
|Brass||57.5 x 8.9 mm|
|Stainless Steel||57.9 x 9.4 mm|
You’ll notice that you can get different percentages of tungsten. This is because tungsten darts are not made from pure tungsten and are instead made from an alloy.
This alloy usually consists of nickel and tungsten. Nickel has a much lower density than tungsten (8.9 g/cm³ compared to 19.3 g/cm³) so the higher the percentage of tungsten, the smaller the dart will be.
So what are the benefits of having a smaller dart?
- Smaller darts have less drag so are faster and have a straighter and more stable flight path
- Smaller darts fit into smaller areas
It’s really the second point that’s most important here. Having a narrower dart gives you more room on the board to fit multiple darts. This is very useful in tighter areas such as the trebles, doubles and bullseye.
It’s not only the weight of tungsten that helps in this regard, but also the feel of it.
Tungsten darts are less “springy” compared to brass and stainless steel darts. This means that when the tungsten dart brushes past another dart that’s already in the board, it’s less likely to bounce off it. This again helps you to fit multiple darts in a small space.
Which are the Most Durable?
The barrel of a dart will wear down over time due to the friction created by your grip. The durability of the dart will depend on the frequency you use it, how you grip it and also the material it is made from.
Tungsten darts are tougher than brass and steel darts which are softer, this means that tungsten darts are more durable and the grip is less likely to wear down as quickly.
Good quality tungsten darts (over 80%) should last several years before they need replacing. Brass and stainless steel darts may need replacing within a year, depending on how often you play.
Using dart grip wax can help with maintaining some decent grip when the barrels on brass and stainless steel darts have worn down, but it’s not the best option in the long run. Have a look at my guide to grip wax for info on how to use it.
Are Tungsten Darts More Expensive?
Tungsten darts are more expensive than brass and stainless steel darts. Tungsten darts start at around $25 and range up to over $100, whereas brass and stainless steel darts start at $5-$10 and go up to roughly $25.
Tungsten is harder to source and work with, and also makes better quality and more durable darts which makes them the most expensive.
Here is a table with some examples of how much different darts cost. All the darts listed below come in a set of 3, and each dart weighs 22g. I’ve selected a range of prices for each material so you can see the upper and lower ends of the range.
|Winmau Neutron 2||Brass||$11|
|Power Silverlight Taylor||Brass||$15|
|Harrows Black Jack||Brass||$22|
|Harrows Genesis||60% Tungsten||$25|
|Shot! Martin Schindler||70% Tungsten||$30|
|Winmau Vendetta||80% Tungsten||$30|
|Red Dragon Fusion||90% Tungsten||$32|
|Red Dragon Dragonfly||95% Tungsten||$40|
|Dart World Renegade||70% Tungsten||$50|
|Target Vapor||80% Tungsten||$56|
|Harrows Wolfram Infinity||97.5% Tungsten||$62|
|Winmau Aspria||95% Tungsten||$75|
|Harrows Ice Recut||90% Tungsten||$80|
|Unicorn Code||80% Tungsten||$90|
|Unicorn Purist||97.5% Tungsten||$100|
|Shot Viking Raven||90% Tungsten||$112|
|Target Daytona Fire||95% Tungsten||$215|
How Much Do Darts Cost?
Brass Darts: $5-$25
Stainless Steel Darts: $10-$25
60-70% Tungsten Darts: $25-$50
80-90% Tungsten Darts: $30-$100
90%+ Tungsten Darts: $30-$200
Which Metal Should You Choose?
This really depends on your budget.
If you are willing to spend $40 on a set of three darts, go for 85%+ tungsten darts. They will fit into smaller areas on the board than brass or steel darts, and they’re more durable. However, there’s nothing wrong with getting some brass or stainless steel darts if you have around $10-$20 to spend.
Cheaper darts are good for getting started, and cheap to replace if they’re broken or lost. That’s why many bars and pubs use brass darts because it’s not the end of the world if they need a new set.
|Tungsten Darts||Brass or Steel Darts|
|More durable||Less durable|
|More dense||Less dense|
More Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some more questions you might have about the different types of dart material.
Are tungsten darts the best?
Tungsten darts are the best in terms of overall quality and durability. They are denser than brass and stainless steel darts so the same weight dart will be smaller, allowing you to have more space on the board.
Do professionals use tungsten darts?
Most professional darts players use tungsten darts which have a purity of between 85%-97.5%.
What percentage of tungsten is best for darts?
Tungsten darts over 85% are usually good quality. The higher the tungsten percentage, the better the dart will be so many players like to play with 95%-97.5% tungsten darts which is the highest percentage that is commonly available.
What materials are darts made from?
Darts are usually made from tungsten or brass but can also be made from stainless steel and nickel. Tungsten darts are the highest quality compared to any other material.