Features to consider when choosing a dart mat
There are certain features that separate the low-end dart mats from the high-quality ones. In this section, we’ll discuss what features to look at before buying your dart board mat. This way you’re able to pick a product that has the specifications you need for your game of darts.
Mat and floor material
The first most important feature to look at before buying your dart board mat is what fabric or material was used to make it. This will determine how durable the mat is and if it’s easy to fold up for storage & how effortless it is to maintain the runner. Let’s take a look at what fabrics and materials are commonly used for dart board mats:
Foam: Dart mats made with foam are typically cheaper and more lightweight than any other type of material. On the other hand, foam is not as durable as rubber so it can tear over time. Foam is comfortable to stand on but doesn’t give you the level of protection you need for your floor.
Rubber: These dart mats come in various thicknesses and they provide the best level of protection for your floor. Furthermore, rubber is a non-slip product so mats made with this material won’t move when you’re playing. Rubber mats work well when you’re playing with heavy steel tipped darts because the material is shock absorbent. It will protect your floor from dents and scratches. Overall, rubber mats are easy to fold and maintain. The best rubber dart mat is the ZAAP heavy duty runner. It’s a tough mat that can withstand any harsh conditions and scuffs from shoes.
Vinyl: This material has a smoother surface so it’s more comfortable to stand on with your bare feet. Vinyl also has the best grip on smooth floors so it won’t move around when you’re playing. Dart mats made with vinyl are durable so they won’t tear and they’re easy to fold up. Vinyl dart mats are utilized for commercial use because of its durability and ease of maintenance. The Viper Padded Throw dart mat on our review list is made with vinyl and it’s made for commercial & home use.
Carpeted: Some dart mats such as the Shot Professional runner on our review list is made with carpet fibers. These mats are robust, easy to fold up and soft to stand on. If you do decide to buy a carpeted mat, ensure it has a rubber underlay like the Shot Professional to prevent the runner from moving
There are mats utilized for home use and there are products specifically designed for tournaments and bars.
Commercial dart mats are more durable and have extra features on them such as throw lines intended for soft & steel tip darts. Furthermore, commercial dart mats with throw lines are extra sturdy so they don’t slip and slide when you’re playing.
Dart mats that are for home use are generally lighter and flexible so they’re easy to roll up or fold for effortless storage & transportation. A dart mat for home use is affordable and can come with throw lines too. You can get ones with various designs on them so it complements the aesthetics of your home.
On the other hand, you can get dart board mats for both commercial and home use. If you want a heavy-duty mat that can be used for tournaments, bars and for the home the Viper Padded Throw will work for you.
When throwing darts you must stand behind a line, a specific distance away from the board. Dart mats come in many lengths to accommodate these throw lines so that you are the correct distance away from the board when throwing darts. These mats are between 8ft and 10ft long.
You want to select a mat that’s wider too because it will cover more surface area of the floor which provides additional protection.
Sometimes you’ll experience stray darts that will hit against the board which causes them to fly away from the mat. That’s why it’s important to select a wider mat so it can protect more surface area.
Oches are the lines you must stand behind when throwing darts. As mentioned before these lines are specifically placed for proper gameplay especially for tournaments. These oches must be measured precisely away from the dart board depending on the type of darts you’re using.
Here is the measuring distance for steel and soft tip darts.
- For steel tipped darts the oche is 7ft and 9 1/4″ away from the board
- Oches for soft tip darts is 8ft away from the dart board
If you are over the line when playing in tournaments with darts you will be penalized. But if you’re practising for a tournament at home, it’s important to buy a mat that has the proper oche distances. The Dart World Let’s Play mat is perfect for tournament practice because it has precise oche lines.
Excellent quality dart mats will come with a warranty that covers the product in case of damages on arrival through shipping. A warranty is important especially for commercial dart mats because they are expensive and need to have proper guarantees that protect the consumer. Select a mat that’s covered by at least a 1-year warranty.
Do you want dart mats that come with extra features? Let’s see what else you can get with your dart mat:
Aesthetics: Some dart mats come with amazing graphic designs on the surface that complement bars and home entertainment areas. If you don’t want the mat to affect the style of your space, select the Shot dart mat that has funky designs printed on the surface.
Dart surrounder: If you want to protect your wall then you may want to purchase a dart surrounder with your mat. These are mats that you place around the board to protect your wall from stray darts. Viper sells these surrounders so if you decide to buy this brand’s floor mat consider getting the wall protector too.
Laser dart lines: There are some dart mats that don’t come with oches. If that’s the case consider getting a laser dart line device. This device is installed below the dart board and places a laser light line on the floor where you must stand. The only downside to laser dart lines is that they can be difficult to see in brightly lit areas.
Dart mats are relatively cheap but it depends on what materials they’re made out of. Heavy-duty rubber mats can cost between $60 and $100. Carpeted or vinyl mats can cost between $70 and $150. Furthermore, you may pay less for standard streamlined designs. Our budget pick which is the ZAAP heavy-duty mat costs $51.55 so select this product if you are on a tight budget.