Can Soft Tip Darts Be Used On A Bristle Dartboard (Point Conversions)?

I recently purchased my first set of soft tip darts, and I wondered if I could use them on my bristle dartboard that I used with my steel tip darts.  I did some research and testing on my bristle dartboard to find out the answer.

So can soft tip darts be used on a bristle board? Yes, soft tip darts can be used on a bristle dartboard with no problems.  It is perfectly safe for both the soft tip dart and bristle dartboard to throw soft tip darts at a bristle dartboard.  Since soft tip darts are virtually the same as steel tip darts except they have a plastic tip.  Soft tip darts can be thrown at bristle dartboards interchangeably with steel tip darts and also tend to do less damage to the bristle dartboard made out of sisal than steel tip darts.

Soft tip darts can be used with a bristle dartboard which is typically made out of sisal with no change in dart setup.  Soft tip darts plastic points will do less damage to bristle dartboards as well.  If desired, most soft tip darts can be converted to steel tip darts with a variety of steel tip point converters and conversion, but it is not necessary if you plan to use a soft tip dart on a bristle dartboard.  Even though using soft tip darts on a bristle dartboard is straightforward, there are a few things to keep in mind.  Keep reading to learn about my testing and the various ways soft tip darts can be used with bristle dartboards.

What Is A Bristle Dartboard?

Modern-day steel tip bristle dartboards are made out of sisal fiber which comes from the agave plant family.  Sisal fiber is used in a variety of products and is most commonly used in rope and twine.  Sisal fiber dartboards otherwise known as bristle dartboards are the most popular dartboard manufactured today and steel tip darts are used mainly with them.  Bristle darts boards made out of sisal are best known for their self-healing properties when a steel tip dart is thrown at them.  What this means is that the hole created by the steel tip dart disappears or the sisal fibers return to their normal state when the dart is removed from the dartboard.  Newer bristle dartboards typically self-heal much quicker than older bristle dartboards.  Dartboards overtime exhibit wear and tear usually in their self-healing properties deteriorating or the metal wire used to designate each scoring zone getting bent.  Steel tip darts will do the most damage to the metal wire on direct hits, but most modern-day bristle dartboards can handle years of use.  Steel tip darts that have developed a bent or blunt point will do the most damage to the sisal fiber. 

What Is A Soft Tip Dart?

Soft tip darts are identical to steel tip darts except they have a plastic point and they tend to be lighter than steel tip darts which allows them to be used on plastic and electronic dartboards.  Soft tip darts can be used on bristle dartboards with no modification, but over time the plastic point will develop more wear than designed for because the metal wire used on bristle dartboards will chew up the plastic tip when the soft tip dart eventually hits the wire.  This is one of the reasons that most soft tip darts have replaceable plastic points.  Another caveat to keep in mind is that since soft tip darts are lighter than steel tip darts, they will need to be thrown harder at bristle dartboards versus throwing steel tip darts.  You will want to throw soft tip darts at a bristle dartboard harder to reduce the possibility of bounce outs.  I have used 18-gram soft tip darts on my Winmau Blade 4 Dual Core dartboard with no issues.  I do have to throw soft tip darts harder than I usually would to make sure they stick and not bounce out of the sisal dartboard.

Why Would You Want To Throw Soft Tip Darts At A Bristle Board?

You might be asking yourself why you would want to use soft tip darts on a bristle dartboard.  There are a number of reasons, but the main reason would be for practicing with your soft tip darts.  When using soft tip darts with a plastic or electronic dartboard the angle of the dart flight path is one of the most critical variables to make sure the soft tip dart doesn’t bounce out.  Soft tip darts need a relatively flat flight path.  Any angle to the dart at impact will increase the likelihood of a bounce out.  Throwing soft tip darts at a bristle dartboard allows the flight path at impact to be determined.  Bristle dartboards allow darts to impact them with much more angle.  Throwing soft tip darts at a bristle dartboard is a great practice technique to observe and modify your soft tip dart throw.

Another reason to throw soft tip darts at a bristle dartboard is if you are ever in a pinch when friends come over and you don’t want them to use your favorite steel tip darts, or you are worried about walls or floors being damaged. Then having your guests use soft tip darts on bristle dartboards is a great alternative.  Read more on soft tip darts damaging walls and floors.

Will Soft Tip Darts Damage Bristle Boards?

Soft tip darts will not damage bristle boards unless the plastic point is broken or severely bent.  Under normal use, a soft tip dart is safe to throw at a bristle dartboard.  In my testing, I noticed over time that soft tip darts are gentler on my bristle dartboard.

Can Steel Tip Darts Be Used On A Soft Tip Dartboard?

Steel tip darts should never be used on plastic or electronic soft tip dartboards as they will quickly damage the plastic dartboard surface.  The only exception to this is that my research has found at least two electronic dartboards that allow both steel tip and soft tip darts to be used: the Halex BristleTech and the Arachnid Bullshooter with E-bristle board.  I can find very little information on the Halex BristleTech, and it appears the Arachnid Bullshooter with E-bristle board is a rebranded Halex.  The Arachnid Bullshooter is available from Amazon (Click to see it on Amazon.com).

Soft Tip Point Conversions

If you like using your soft tip darts and want to use them on your bristle dartboard, but do not want to worry about the wear and tear of the plastic points, then purchasing soft tip dart point conversions is a great alternative.  Point conversions screw on to your soft tip darts adding a steel tip point in place of the plastic point.  Soft tip point conversions will add weight to your soft tip dart.  As an example, an 18-gram soft tip dart with a steel tip point conversion will be 20 to 21 grams.

There is an assortment of types of soft tip point conversions available.  You will primarily find them in two lengths: 26mm and 30mm.  They will either be smooth or grooved.  The base where the point is screwed into the soft tip darts barrel will be smooth, keyed, or have a hole to assist in screwing in the point.

Generally, the darts community recommends that you get soft tip point conversions that have an o-ring to minimize the need to continually re-tighten the points.

I like the soft tip point conversions from Target Darts (Click to see it on Amazon.com).

I would also get some o-rings for the conversion points that do not already have o-rings on them (Click to see it on Amazon.com).

Related Questions

What is a soft tip dartboard?  Soft tip specific dartboards are usually made out of plastic.  Most soft tip dartboards are electronic dartboards in that they typically keep score for you automatically and typically have a range of different dart games one can play.  There are also soft tip dartboards without electronics and are made out of plastic.

What are soft tip dart bounce outs?  Soft tip dart bounce outs are when the soft tip dart hit the dartboard and bounce out or off of the board and typically hit a wall or the floor below where the dartboard is mounted.