Unicorn and Winmau are two of the biggest names in darts and their dartboards are some of the most popular. In this article, I’ll be comparing Unicorn and Winmau dartboards in terms of their quality, features and value for money so you can decide which board to buy.
The Quick Answer
Winmau dartboards typically offer better durability, have larger segments due to thinner wiring and better value for money compared to Unicorn dartboards. Unicorn boards may be the preferred option if you want the same board that is used in professional tournaments, the Unicorn Ultra.
Bristle Quality and Durability
In general, the sisal fibres (bristles) on a Winmau dartboard are more dense and better quality than a Unicorn board. Unicorn boards usually feel softer in comparison, which is fine when using smooth dart points, but the board will wear out much faster when using grooved points which are more aggressive. This is one of the criticisms of Unicorn boards.
Winmau boards are well known for their excellent durability, with many lasting for several years even when used by serious players before they need replacing. Their dual core and triple core boards have two and three layers of sisal fibres respectively which serves to hold the dart in the board more stably, and maximise the durability.
Wiring, Staples and Segment Sizes
Both Winmau and Unicorn offer boards with exceptionally thin wiring and staple-free designs. They also offer more affordable dartboards with thicker wiring and staples, across each segment but not in the bullseye. Thinner-wires and staple-free designs are a must-have feature for many serious players because it reduces the risk of bounce-outs and increases the size of the segments That’s why all boards used in higher-level tournaments and even local leagues will have these features.
Winmau dartboards usually have slightly wider segments than Unicorn boards. This is particularly noticeable with the inner bull, where similarly priced Winmau boards have an approximately 4-5% wider segment than Unicorn boards. The treble and double segments are typically 2-3% wider on Winmau boards compared to Unicorn boards.
Here are some examples of the most popular Unicorn and Winmau boards and their segment widths.
|Dartboard||Treble and Double Segment Width||Inner Bull Segment Width|
|Unicorn Eclipse Ultra||9.1-9.4 mm||12.4 mm|
|Unicorn Eclipse HD2||9.8-10 mm||12.8 mm|
|Winmau Blade 6 Triple Core||9.7-9.8 mm||13.1 mm|
|Winmau Blade 6||9.9-10.1 mm||13.4 mm|
Unicorn boards have been criticised in the past for being quite inconsistent and some buyers have noted that their boards were of particular inferior quality. This isn’t something I have personally experienced so I won’t dwell on it too much, but it’s something you’ll hear about quite often if you spend any time on forums. My best advice is to try and buy the board in person, no matter which brand you’re buying from so you can assess the quality and make sure you’re happy that the board is in good shape before you actually purchase.
Here’s a quick rundown of the main additional features in each brand’s line-ups.
- Winmau Blade 6 boards have a rotor-lock system to help stabilise the dartboard on any surface and rotate the board very easily.
- The Winmau Blade 6 Triple core has a laser cut steel ring to help reduce glare.
- The Unicorn Smartboard has an app-enabled auto-scoring system.
- The Eclipse HD2 Pro has a uni-lock levelling system to help stabilise the board on any surface and make it easy to rotate.
- The high-end Unicorn Eclipse boards have a white plastic ring to increase visibility.
- The Unicorn Ultra board is used in all PDC televised tournaments until 2022.
I also wanted to compare the full Winmau and Unicorn ranges so you can see which boards fit into your price range. Below are two tables which compare the key features and average prices (at the time of writing) of all the main steel-tip and electronic dartboards in both brands’ ranges.
|Dartboard||Price||Staple-Free||Leveling System||Ring Material|
|Winmau Pro SFB||$42||No||No||Metal|
|Unicorn Eclipse Pro Bristle||$45||Yes||No||Metal|
|Unicorn Eclipse Pro 2||$50||Yes||No||Metal|
|Winmau Blade 5||$50||Yes||No||Metal|
|Winmau Blade 6||$60||Yes||Yes||Metal|
|Unicorn Eclipse HD 2||$70||Yes||No||Plastic|
|Winmau Champions Choice Blade Dual Core||$70||Yes||No||Metal|
|Winmau Blade 6 Dual Core||$75||Yes||Yes||Metal|
|Unicorn Eclipse HD Trainer||$80||Yes||No||Plastic|
|Unicorn Eclipse HD2 Pro||$80||Yes||Yes||Plastic|
|Winmau Blade 6 Triple Core||$95||Yes||Yes||Metal|
|Unicorn Eclipse Ultra Bristle||$100||Yes||Yes||Plastic|
|Winmau Ton Machine||$33||18||1-8||12 soft tips and 6 darts|
|Unicorn Electronic Dartboard||$35||25||1-8||12 soft tips and 6 darts|
Value for Money
Winmau dartboards typically offer better value for money than Unicorn dartboards. The most affordable and most expensive Winmau dartboards are cheaper than the equivalent Unicorn boards as you’ll see from the table above. Winmau boards also come with some extra features on lower-priced boards such as the rota-locking system compared to Unicorn where you’ll only find this feature on the top boards.
Which Should You Buy?
I personally prefer Winmau boards as I find them to be more durable and offer a bit more value for money compared to Unicorn boards. I’ve found this to be the case across the entire range, so whether you’re looking for a top-of-the-line board, or an entry-level one, my advice is to go with Winmau.
Here are my top picks for different price points.
Highest Quality Option
Winmau Blade 6 Triple Core
- Very thin wiring
- Super-durable triple core design
- Rotor-lock system
- High quality finish
Best Value for Money
Winmau Blade 5
- Very thin wiring
- Super-durable triple core design
- Classic, high-quality look
Best Budget Option
Winmau Diamond Plus
- Great price
- Staple-free bullseye Super-durable triple core design
- High quality fibres
Unsure which Winmau dartboard to buy? Check out my comparison between the Blade 4, Blade 5, Blade 6 and the Dual and Triple Core versions for all the similarities and differences.
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