Possibly the question we get asked the most by new players is ‘What’s the best dart barrel for me?’ And it’s a smart question to ask, because choosing the right dart barrel will have a huge influence over your game. If you think of a dart as being like a rocket, the barrel is the control centre where the astronaut sits, tightly encased in a strong, narrow metal tube. Ok, so the analogy isn’t perfect, but let’s just say the barrel is the heart of your dart.
So how do you choose the right dart barrel?
This really comes down to a mix of personal preference and budget. Of course, both are likely to evolve, the longer you play. It’s about choosing the dart that makes you feel comfortable when you’re facing the board. Having said that, here are a few factors that can point you in the right direction.
Where you hold your darts
If you hold your dart near the front of the barrel, front-weighted darts are likely to give you a better game. But if you tend to hold it back further toward the shaft, then a rear-weighted barrel is a better choice. And it follows that holding your dart in the middle means a centre-balanced dart is a good idea. If you can, have a play around with front-centre and rear-balanced darts – because how you hold a dart might be the result of learning on someone else’s set. There’s no right or wrong, just what’s comfortable and accurate for you.
How much grip you like
So what about the texture on the dart? Some players prefer their barrels to have a rough edge to them, while other players like their grip to be relatively smooth. There’s a huge range of dart barrel textures from knurled, to shark grips, or ring grips.
Materials and budget
Modern dart barrels are generally made from metals – including brass, nickel, silver and tungsten. The go-to dart barrels for serious players are made from tungsten. This strong, dense metal creates a slimmer dart – great for throwing tighter groupings and reducing bounce outs. It’s also resistant to wear and tear. The higher the percentage of tungsten the better. Starting out, look for dart barrels with 70% tungsten and above. You can work your way up to about 95% tungsten, but the price will follow you up there too. Brass and nickel/silver darts are affordable, but will wear down and corrode from sweat and oil, gripping and close encounters with other darts.
The weight you prefer
Many dart barrels sit around the 22-25gm range as these are popular weights. But again, this is your personal preference, and will relate to the other factors above, as well as how you throw a dart. for a better idea of how barrel weight affects your game, check out the Find your Perfect Dart feature on our home page.