Darts come in a wide variety of shapes, forms, sizes, grips, types, and materials. The two most common types are steel-tipped and soft-tipped darts.
Steel tipped darts are the more traditional type and are used for playing with sisal or bristle dartboards, while soft-tipped ones are for electronic dartboards.
Steel tip darts are made of various metals, with tungsten being recognized as the best option.
By choosing a set of good quality steel tip darts which are suitable for your throwing style, and technique, you can seriously improve your game.
Since there are so many darts available, we have reviewed and picked the top best steel tip darts for 2020 for you, to make your choice easier.
Read on to find out what their main features are, as well as their pros and cons. We have also added some useful guidelines and tips on how to choose the best steel tip darts and how to maintain them properly.
Type: 95% Tungsten and 5% nickel, and oxide coated steel tip
Barrel grip: offered in 4 types: finely ringed, large knurl, 5 banded knurl and shark-finned
Diameter of the barrel: ¼ inch
Flights: 6 wide glide flights
Shaft: rotating aluminum shafts with locking holes
Weight: 22, 24, 26, and 28 grams
Other features: a durable TacTech EVA case, and a Dart Mechanic repair tool
Suitable for: Intermediate and advanced players
- Extremely durable 95% tungsten and 5% nickel slim profile barrel
- They offer one of the fastest and smoothest performances of all darts on the market
- You can choose among a weight from 22 to 28 grams
- They are offered in ringed, shark-finned, large knurl or 5-banded knurl grips for an exceptional and consistent grip and hand placement
- They have wide glide flights for high speed and steadiness
- Aluminum shafts which ensure a high speed
- They have spinning shafts to limit the bounce-outs and improve consistency
- The shafts have locking holes minimizing the need of retightening them and ensuring a secure fit
- Suitable for bristle or sisal dartboards
- Perfect for intermediate and advanced players
- Very durable darts which will withstand a lot of playing and practicing
- They come with a durable TacTech EVA case and a Dart mechanic repair tool
- The set includes 6 flights and 6 Viperlock shafts
- They are pricier than many of the other products on our list
Type: Tungsten steel tips, but you can also choose brass steel ones
Barrel grip: knurled, 95% tungsten
Diameter of the barrel: tungsten barrel, 2.2 inches, 28 grams
Flights: slim polycarbonate PolyFlights 0.5grams, 26 square mm and standard, 34 square mm, 0.5 grams
Shaft: aluminum, 1.75 inch, 1.5 grams, 2BA slot, added polycarbonate shafts
Weight: 22 grams (also available in variations of bras or tungsten and a weight of 18, 20, 24, 26, 28, 30 grams)
Other features: vegan leather wallet case with EVA foam, darts sharpener, extra flights (slim and standard), flight puncher, rubber shaft O-rings, dart wrench
Suitable for: beginners, intermediate, professionals
- A complete set suitable for casual and professional players
- High-end tungsten knurled barrels for an excellent grip and improved precision
- Added rubber O-rings to keep the shafts from loosening
- The set comes with durable aluminum hammerhead shafts and extra polycarbonate shafts
- The set includes 3 tungsten darts, 3 aluminum shafts, rubber O-rings, 3 polycarbonate shafts, 4 slim and 4 standard polycarbonate flights, a dart sharpener, a flights puncher, a darts wrench, and a luxurious leather case
- The set is available in different weights, number of darts and steel types, for every taste and every budget
- It is sold with a 20% discount if you purchase a bristle dartboard by IgnatGames
- Assembling the darts may be a bit challenging for players with no experience
Type: 95% tungsten black steel with moveable hammerhead points
Barrel grip: coarse knurl
Diameter of the barrel: 9/32 inches
Flights: logo flights
Shaft: anodized aluminum hammerhead, spinning 2ba shafts
Weight: 23, 25 and 27 grams
Suitable for: Professionals, experienced, intermediate players
- Made of premium durable 95% tungsten
- Hammerhead moveable points for reduction of bounce-outs
- Alloyed aluminum shafts
- A comfortable grip and steady and consistence throw thanks to the coarse knurl barrel
- O-rings which will minimize the need for tightening the darts while playing
- The set includes 3 darts, and replacement shafts and flights in a luxurious Croco case
- A preferred option by many professional players
- Their price tag is pretty hefty
- They are not so suitable for beginners
Type: brass steel tips
Barrel grip: knurled rings
Diameter of the barrel:
Flights: 6 standard and 6 slim Poly flights
Shaft: 12 aluminum shafts with O-rings
Weight: 20 grams
Suitable for: casual, beginners, intermediate, experienced players
- This is the best budget-friendly option in this list of the best steel tip darts
- The set includes 6 brass barrels with stainless steel tips, 12 aluminum shafts, 12 poly flights (6 standard and 6 slim), a dart sharpener, a dart tool, 12 O-rings, a durable case, and a free eBook
- Ringed knurled barrels for a comfortable grip and a steady hand
- The O-rings will keep the darts from loosening while playing
- Durable protective storage case
- Sold with a 3-year warranty
- The darts do not fit in the case when fully assembled
Type: 95% tungsten with weighted center
Barrel grip: 4 knurls and 11 hand-painted grooved rings
Diameter of the barrel: 3/10 inches
Flights: 6 slim flights
Shaft: 6 anodized aluminum medium 1.8 inches with thread
Weight: 24, 26, 28, 30 grams
Suitable for: casual and advanced players
- Durable tungsten steel tips coupled with anodized aluminum shafts which will withstand a lot of use and play
- Weight options from 26 to 30 grams
- Center-weighted barrel for easy control
- Excellent grip and consistency thanks to the 11 grooved rings and 4 knurls
- Designed for added accuracy and stability
- The set includes 3 tungsten steel tip barrels, 6 anodized aluminum shafts 2ba grooved, 6 slim flights, O-rings and a case
- You can customize your darts to your liking
- It is sold at a very reasonable price for the value offered
- The heftier front may take some getting used to
Type: brass barrels steel tips
Barrel grip: rings grooved
Diameter of the barrel: 11/32 inches
Flights: 6 standard and 6 slim extra thick flights
Shaft: 12 aluminum shafts
Weight: 22 grams
Suitable for: beginners, intermediate, casual or expert players
- The set includes 6 precision-engineered, 22-gram brass barrels, 12 aluminum shafts ( 6x 3.5mm, 1g) and 6×4.8mm 1.5grams), 12 extra thick flights (6 standard and 6 slim), 12 rubber O-rings, a darts sharpener and a multi-tool
- It is one of the best deals you can find on the market for such a low price
- The set allows for 8 different darts setups, and customization, so it is one of the most versatile too
- You can accommodate the dart to your throwing style rather than having to accommodate your throwing to the darts
- Suitable for all types of players – beginners or advanced
- The essential dart tool can be used for flight tightening, closing, and as a bottle opener, plus it looks really cool, and can be used as a key chain as well
- They may not be as durable as some of the higher-end steel tip darts on this list
Type: 90% tungsten
Barrel grip: perfect grip groove
Diameter of the barrel: 9/32 inches, 50mm length
Shaft: anodized aluminum
Weight: 24 grams
Suitable for: beginners, intermediate, casual, advanced and professional players
- They are designed based on input from professional dart players
- They offer a consistent grip even without looking, thanks to the perfect grip grooves on the barrels
- Made of 90% durable tungsten
- Offered in a set of three barrels, aluminum shafts and nylon flights in a professional darts case
- Each dart is weighed and has up to a +- 0.05g weight tolerance
- The set is sold with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a lifetime warranty for the barrels
- They come with nylon flights, which break easily but are easy and inexpensive to replace
Type: 97% tungsten
Barrel grip: laser etched concentric grooved rings
Diameter of the barrel: 1/5 inch
Shaft: 2ba plastic Harrow Speedline shafts
Weight: 22, 23, 24, 25 grams
Suitable for: casual, experienced, professional players
- Made of injection-molded 97% wolfram tungsten with a uniform atomic structure, one of the most durable darts on the market
- Laser-etched rings on the barrel for better control of the spin
- Their weight is also engraved on the barrel
- The set includes 3 tungsten barrels, 3 flights, and 3 shafts
- The set comes with a plastic case
- Elegant darts which provide a true flight
- The shafts and flights are plastic so they will break quite a lot
Type: 80% tungsten
Barrel grip: grooved rings
Diameter of the barrel:
Flights: extra thick
Shaft: red dragon street-art nylon white art shafts with torsion springs
Weight: 22, 24, 26, 28 grams
Suitable for: newbies, casual, experienced, and pro players
- Well designed and centered, they are slim and yet heavy enough for perfect accuracy
- They are offered at a very reasonable price, for the quality provided
- The set includes 3 80% tungsten barrels, 6 shafts, 6 extra-thick nylon flights, and a case
- You can customize them with aluminum shafts and flights of your choice, and they will most likely become your favorite set of darts for practice or play
- The darts look very cool with the Red Dragon designs
- The plastic shafts are not to everyone’s liking
The benefits of using steel tip darts over soft tip ones
If you are new to darts, you may be wondering what the fuss is about using steel tip darts, and what the differences between steel and soft tip darts are.
Steel tip darts – pros and cons
Firstly, the steel tip darts are the original type of darts, which were used when people in the UK and France first started playing the game in the 1860s.
So, steel-tipped darts are as close to traditional darts as possible.
Also, steel tip darts allow for more precise throws thanks to their better balance and more substantial weight than those with soft tips.
Plus, if you plan on practicing and playing darts a lot, the chances are that your darts will suffer a lot of wear and tear. There is no doubt that steel tip darts are much more durable than soft-tipped ones.
The steel tip darts are the most commonly used ones by professionals as well as in bars and pubs where there a bristle or sisal dartboards.
They are highly customizable and are available with movable and with fixed points.
Keep in mind that steel tip darts can be dangerous, especially around or in the hands of young children, so if you don’t have a safe place to play, then you may want to opt for soft-tipped darts instead.
Soft tip darts – pros and cons
The darts with soft tips are suitable for electronic dartboards, which have become increasingly popular in the last decades, due to their easy score calculation and safety.
Soft tip darts have tips made of rounded nylon or plastic. They are soft and blunt enough not to cause any injuries or damage, so they are more suitable for children and home dart games.
Soft tip darts cannot penetrate the traditional sisal or bristle dartboards and should be used only on electronic or magnetic dartboards.
The soft-tipped darts usually come in two width options, depending on their barrel size.
Features to look for when buying the best steel tip darts
It may seem like a pretty straightforward task, but buying the most suitable steel tip darts for your needs and preferences depends on a number of features and factors.
If you are a beginner, choosing a dart set with several different flight and weight options can help you experiment and find out which types of darts are the most suitable for you.
Keep in mind that your overall performance will depend on the type of darts you choose, so consider the following characteristics and aspects when picking the right ones:
Steel or soft-tipped darts
As mentioned above, the steel tip darts are more suitable for professional and casual players who use bristle or sisal dartboards.
They are heavier, and thus offer better accuracy.
Also, they are more durable and will handle a lot of practice and play.
The soft-tipped darts are a better option if you are going to be playing with an electronic dartboard, or you are going to be playing with young children or at home, as they are a much safer option for people, animals, and objects.
Just like with any other purchase, it is advisable that you set a budget for your darts, and look for the best possible option available within your price range.
Steel tip darts can cost as little as $15-20, but there are higher-end darts, which can cost up to $200 and more.
Consider whether you need darts for casual use, for home use, or whether you want to invest in professional range darts.
Take a look at the list of the best steel tip darts for 2020 we have compiled for you to get an idea of the prices of the best darts with steel tips you can buy on the market this year.
The number of darts you need
Darts are sold in sets, so consider whether you need darts for your personal use, or whether you want to buy darts for several players.
You will find different options on our list, some of which include sets of 3 darts, and others which include 6 or more.
For professional use, it makes sense to invest in a high-quality set of steel tip darts for your own personal use.
The materials used for the barrel, shaft and the flights
Your performance depends on how comfortable and stable your grip on the dart is, as well as on its shape, weight, and other factors.
The barrel is the part of the dart, which provides the grip for the player.
It can be constructed from a wide variety of different materials, but the most preferred one used by professional and advanced players is the strongest and made of tungsten alloys.
You can also choose among other barrel materials such as brass, nickel, or silver.
Tungsten is not only the strongest, but it is the most expensive metal too. The different darts are made of different percentages of tungsten. They can vary from 70 to 95 percent. The higher the tungsten content – the better and stronger the dart will be.
Tungsten is also a preferred material because of its excellent weight to volume ratio, which means that the higher the percentage of tungsten used, the slimmer the dart will be, due to its high density.
For casual players and those with a limited budget, a good quality brass barrel is a perfect option.
The shaft is the area in which the barrel is connected to the flight. The shaft is essential for the dart’s balance. The features which can affect the performance of the dart include the material used, the length, and the thickness of the shaft.
The most popular materials used for making the shaft include aluminum, plastic, nylon, carbon fibers, and others. Some of these materials are lighter, and some are more durable than others.
The best shaft to choose for a premium tungsten barrel is an aluminum one. This combination makes the best balanced and sturdiest darts.
But then again, the recommended length and the thickness of the shaft depends on the personal preferences of the player.
Short and thin shafts allow for more precise and fine throws, while thicker and longer ones will ensure that the throws are more powerful.
Keep in mind that the longer the shaft, the less stable the flight path of the dart, and the shorter the shaft, the more stable the throw. But with shorter shafts, the bigger the risk of bounce-outs.
Since shafts can be replaced and interchanged easily, you can experiment and try out how the different lengths and types affect your performance, to find the optimal variant.
There are also spinning shafts, which can help you throw the darts in tight clusters because they glide past each other smoothly thanks to their lower friction at the penetration point.
The flight is the wing at the end of the dart. It is an essential element for keeping the dart stable as it flies towards the dartboard.
Flights can be made of many types of materials, including nylon, plastic, textured nylon, and others.
The performance of each dart depends on the shape and size of the flight, so it is another element of the dart which you need to consider carefully when buying the best steel tip darts.
The choice of the shape of the flight depends on your preferences.
The traditional flights are pear or kite-shaped. There are also slim flights and others.
You can also divide the flight types into fast and slow types.
The faster flights are longer and smaller, and thus have a lower surface area and better aerodynamics. They are an excellent option for dart players who prefer speedier pitching.
The slow flights are usually shorter but have a large surface area. This causes bigger air resistance, and thus slows down the flight. These are suitable for players who prefer a more controlled pitch.
Most of the sets on our list include several sets of flights for the darts so you can experiment and choose the ones which are to your liking.
The shape, the overall weight and the weight distribution of the dart
The weight of the darts is another feature that depends on your personal preferences. You should opt for a weight which you are comfortable with.
You can choose from weights from 12 grams to 50 grams, but professional players usually use steel tip darts, which are up to 30 grams.
The most common darts for beginners and practicing are 20 grams.
The soft-tipped darts are much lighter than the steel-tipped ones.
But you should choose a weight which suits your technique and throwing style. Both lighter and heavier darts have their pros and cons.
The heavier darts will provide you with more tactile feedback as you throw them. With a heavier dart, you can control the direction better.
Lighter darts are much easier to throw with higher velocity and force. This makes them more efficient for throwing in tight formations.
Professionals generally prefer heavier darts, which require more precision. Lighter darts are more suitable for beginners because less accuracy is required for throwing them.
If you find that you are throwing the darts too high, then you may want to switch to heavier darts, and if you tend to keep lowing them lower than intended, then you may want to opt for lighter darts.
It is also vital that you choose darts that have the right balance between the weight on the front and the back. With proper weight distribution, you can get better results.
Newbies should probably opt for front or mid-loaded darts for practice and play.
If you are an advanced player, then consider the way you hold the darts when choosing the properly balanced ones for you.
If you tend to hold the barrel at the front, then a front-loaded dart is more suitable for you, and if you hold it at the back, then you should choose a back-loaded one.
For those of you who can’t determine your exact hold, choosing an evenly balanced dart is the most sensible choice.
Here are the dart shapes which you can choose from:
- Front-loaded – these have a thick barrel and a teardrop like shape
- Torpedo – these are thick in the middle, with more loading at the front, and a lesser cut to the barrel
- Pencil – these have long and slim barrels
- Scalloped – these have a notch or scallop in the center for the finger
- Stubby – these are short, small and light
Pencil shaped darts are suitable for beginners. Professionals usually opt for darts with tapered ends or center loaded ones.
If you are not sure about the most suitable shape, then if possible, try throwing darts with different shapes. This will help you figure out which one works best for you.
There are some sets of darts with different options, so you can try each one out. These are perfect for players without too much experience so that they can find the best option.
Many professionals often switch among different dart shapes, so do not be afraid to experiment with the different darts.
The type, shape, and size of the flights
The flights are the wings on the back of the dart. As mentioned previously, the shape of the flights, their size and style can differ immensely.
The most commonly used flights are slim and standard, and most kits have a set of each included in them.
The standard flights serve to keep the dart stable in the path it has been thrown in until it reaches the dartboard. This makes them a suitable option for players with curved throws.
The slim flights are lighter and not so wide as the standard ones. They are a better option for use for players who prefer fast and straight throws.
Soft tipped darts usually come with slim flights.
The grip is another matter of preference and personal throwing style.
Since the throwing style and pattern of each player varies, you should check your grip to find the best steel tip darts with the most suitable grip for you.
In general, smaller darts provide an easier grip than longer ones.
If you tend to use a 3-point grip, then you should choose a front-loaded dart.
For those of you with a lighter grip, a dart with a narrow barrel is a better option.
If your hands are large, then a dart with a large barrel may be more comfortable for you.
The main types of barrel grips include:
- Knurled – barrels with a crisscross engraved pattern
- Wave – barrels with smooth rings which flow like waves
- Shark fin – the cascading design resembles shark fins
- Micro – barrels with closely positioned soft rings
- Precision – a finer option of the micro grip, which provides a combined smooth and rough texture and grip
- Ringed – non-slip grip provided by many protruding rings
For well-moisturized and soft hands, a smoother grip can be more suitable, while for players with rougher and dryer hands should opt for darts with grooves, rings, ridges, or other rough surfaces.
Knurling, which is too heavy, can cause the dart to stick to the fingers, which can have a negative effect on your performance.
Shorter darts with steel tips provide a better balance but are prone to wobbling when in flight. The longer ones will fly at a straighter path but may be uncomfortable to grip and throw.
A rule of the thumb is to opt for a length which is a tad longer than your hand when you are holding the dart, so you can have a proper grip and provide the dart with a better balance.
The type of tip point
The points of steel tip darts can be either retractable or fixed.
The fixed points are the less expensive option, and they are firmly attached to the barrels.
The retractable points are more expensive. They are designed to make the dart penetrate the dartboard rather than bouncing off of it, in case a wire is hit.
Soft tip darts can be ¼ inch or 2ba. The ¼ inch tips fit barrels with quarter-inch openings. The 2ba tips are more common, so you can easily replace them with other alternatives.
When choosing a steel tip dart, you should also note whether they are painted or have a titanium finish.
The titanium finish helps protect the metal from corrosion resulting from sweat, salt, and others. It also helps prolong the duration of the darts.
The painted finish is attractive, but it is not as sturdy and protective as the titanium one.
What is included in the set?
When you are buying new darts, you should check out the accessories which are sold with them.
You will need a dart sharpener for your steel tips, so if the set includes one, you can save money for buying one separately.
Also, some sets include a dart tool that comes in handy when replacing the flights, for tightening or replacing the shafts and tips and others.
Of course, since you will need a case or box where you can store your darts and carry them with you safely, choosing a set that comes with a sturdy and safe case is another plus.
The more added flights, shafts, O-rings, and other items included in the set, the more customizable your darts will be.
This is a feature to look for if you are still a novice player and want to experiment with different weights, shapes, and options.
Caring for and sharpening your steel-tipped darts
Many of the kits which we have picked for you include a tip sharpener. The sharpening stone is essential if you want to keep your dart tips in perfect condition.
Still, you shouldn’t attempt to make them needle-sharp, because this type of shape may cause them to bounce off or damage your dartboard’s wires.
Plus, an ultra-sharp steel tip is prone to burring and can get caught in the fibers of the dartboard.
This is why you should sharpen your steel tips around the actual point, so it stays firm as the dart penetrates the sisal or the bristle dartboard. It will protect your dartboard wires from excessive damage.
In other words, the right way to sharpen the steel tips of your darts is to leave the actual point rounded and sharpen the tip around it. You should avoid leaving burrs on the tip, making it way too sharp, as well as leaving it too blunt. Blunt tips will cause your darts to bounce off the dartboard a lot.
Keep in mind that even the most expensive steel tips with the highest tungsten content require regular and proper sharpening and maintenance.
As for the maintenance of your steel tip darts, you should take the time to clean them on a regular basis. Make sure that you use a moist towel or a mild cleaning solution suitable for oils to remove the sweat from your hands, which can cause corrosion of the metal parts of the dart over time.
So, if you want your steel tip darts to last longer, and to perform perfectly, you will need to take regular care for them.
Tweaking your darts
The more experienced you get, the better you will become in fine-tuning your darts for better performance.
It makes sense to customize your darts to fit your throwing style rather than the other way around.
If you find that your dart is wobbling during flight, you may want to try switching to a shorter shaft. You can pick among long, short, extra short, mild, and micro lengths of the shaft.
You may also want to try out a spinning shaft, which helps achieve tighter grouping, and also protects the darts and flights.
To further tweak your darts, you may want to experiment with the flights.
If you are a beginner, you should start off with the standard or slim flights.
If you prefer heavier darts, then you will need larger flights to provide the lift the darts need.
On the other hand, lighter or slimmer darts can perform well with smaller and slimmer flights.
Overall, you can choose among the 12 and more common flight shapes, to find the ones which are the most suitable for your throwing technique and the darts you are using.
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about darts with steel tips:
Why do some people stick the steel-tipped darts in potatoes?
Some players like to gently stick the steel tips of the darts into a potato because this helps coat the tip and thus ensures that it holds to the dartboard more easily.
Is tungsten really the best material for darts?
Through the years, tungsten has been widely recognized as the best material for darts due to its resilience, high density, and excellent weight to volume ratio.
How often do the tips need sharpening?
All steel tip darts – expensive or cheap require proper care and maintenance.
A rule of the thumb is to sharpen the tips when you touch the tips and points, and they start feeling blunt or has burrs. Remember, though, that a point doesn’t have to be needle-sharp. Instead, you should opt for rounded points and sharpened tips.
Can I use soft tips on my steel-tipped darts?
Yes, you can exchange the tip types, but only if your darts are not overly heavy.
You can lighten your darts with soft tips. The task is easy if your darts have removable points. Switching the points on darts without removable points can be tricky, especially if you have no experience.
What is a dart tool used for?
Many dart sets include dart tools. These tools are used for steel-tipped darts.
You can use the tool to tighten the shafts or tips of the dart, as well as to spread the shafts to make inserting a flight easier, or for reshaping the shafts.
As you can see, buying the best steel tip darts is not as simple a task as may seem.
There are many factors to consider when choosing the best set of darts with steel tips.
Hopefully, we have managed to help you choose the best darts for your needs, and soon you will be able to enjoy practicing and playing with your brand new steel-tipped darts, and further improve your performance with their help!
Last update on 2020-04-05 at 14:35 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API