When I first got into darts, I had a hard time picking which set of darts I should get. There were just so many choices. Not only is there a plethora of shapes, colors, and brands but there are so many different weights available of the same dart. After years of experimenting and researching what some of the best players use, here is what I discovered.
Are Heavy or Light Darts Better? Lighter darts are better for players that tend to have a faster throw and heavier darts are better for players that have more strength in their throwing arm and a powerful throw. Selecting a dart weight is subjective and it all comes down to what feels best to you over the course of a dart match. It is highly recommended to select multiple weight dart sets and play a couple of matches with each to determine the best weight dart for you.
Initially, when I started playing darts I picked a much too heavy weighted dart. After playing an entire match my arm would be sore and I felt that by the end of the match my throw would change so that I would require more energy to get the dart to the board. I sought guidance from my Dart mentor and he told me of a system to find the perfect weighted dart. I would outline that system below.
Heavy or Light Darts?
Let’s first define what a light and heavy dart is. All dart sets are weighed in grams (g). You can typically purchase steel tip darts from 12g to 44g and soft tip darts from 14g to 24g. For steel tip darts a light dart would generally be anything from 12g to 21g and a heavy dart would be anything over 28g. From 22g to 27g would be considered a middle-weight dart.
It is generally considered that the lighter the dart you will have more control over their flight, are less forgiving, and you will not tire as much. With heavy darts you need a more powerful throw to get the dart to the dartboard, are more forgiving to making mistakes in your throw, and you will get tired more quickly during a match.
The lighter the dart you tend to have to throw it faster while the heavier dart requires more force behind it. Take for instance a baseball and a wiffle ball. Wiffle balls are very light plastic balls that take a ton of force and you can never throw them as far as a baseball if you tried throwing it as hard as you possibly can. Same thing for lighter darts and heavier darts. Less force is required to throw a heavier dart just as far as a lighter dart.
Heavier darts tend to be thicker because more material is needed to add the weight whereas lighter weight darts can be much thinner and smaller. The effect that this could have is that lighter darts have less mass which could go into a dartboard less than heavier darts causing the potential that lighter darts could bounce out. Whereas heavier darts have more mass and more kinetic energy hitting the dartboard.
|Light Darts (18g – 21g)||Heavy Darts (28g-44g)|
|-Easier to throw|
-Less forgiving of throwing mistakes
-More bounce outs
-Tends to be thinner than heavier darts
|-Requires more force to throw|
-More forgiving of throwing mistakes
-Tends to be thicker than lighter darts
How to Pick the Best Dart Weight for You
I was taught by my dart mentor that the best way to select the perfect weighted dart for your dart throw was to select an assortment of differently weighted darts and then play with each of them to find what works best for you. All darts are available in a variety of weights. You can typically get the same model darts set in multiple weights.
The key is to find three similar dart sets that are under $20 dollars in three different weight ranges. With some dart brands like Unicorn, Harrow, and Bulls, you might be able to find the same dart set in all three sizes. You want the dart sets to be a standard barrel size with nothing fancy on it. You would want to purchase at least three of the same or similar dart sets in three different weights. Select a lightweight dart in the range of 19g-21g, a middle-weight dart set in the range of 22g-26g, and a heavy-weighted dart set in the range of 28g or greater.
Once you have selected your darts, play at least three games with each dart set to get a feel for each dart. The particular game that you choose to play doesn’t matter. If you really want to get geeky about it, you can play the same game with each dart set and compare scores. I would also suggest that you play with each weighted dart set on different days so as to not influence the testing process.
After testing each weighted dart set you should have found a personal preference. Keep in mind you are only determining the best weight for your style of throw. All other features of the dart, barrel size, shaft length, and flight will be determined after you select your weight. After the testing, you can then refine the specific weight of your dart, for instance, I found that I like a heavier middle-weight dart. The dart I chose to test with was 26g. I felt that over a match my arm would get tired playing with a 26g. Through this testing I found that a 24g was my ideal dart weight.
The beauty of this process is that when you are done, you now have a variety of dart sets so that when you have friends over they can take their pick at the type of darts that they fancy.
What Weight Dart Do Professional Dart Players Use?
My favorite darts forum had a member put together a data analysis of the dart weights of each professional dart player. In this analysis, they found that professional dart players use steel tip darts between 18g-26g. The most widely used dart weight by professional dart players is 22g, followed by 23g, and 20g & 24g. This data tells us that most professional dart players are using lighter weight darts and more balanced middle weight darts. The takeaway from this data is that anyone getting into darts should start with middle weighted dart set from 20g-24g.
Do heavier darts go straighter? Yes, heavier darts have a straighter more flat flight trajectory than light darts. Heavier darts have more mass, which requires more energy to throw the dart to reach the dartboard. The more energy and mass allows the dart to fly a flatter trajectory to the dartboard.
Why do professional dart players use light darts? Professional dart players tend to use lighter darts from 20g-24g, because the darts are slimmer and they have more control over their flight. Most professional dart players use tungsten darts which allows darts to be slimmer than a material like brass, but still be the same weight. A slimmer dart is an advantage because it allows for tight groupings especially when going for triple 20s.