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Top 9 Dartboard Surrounds and Backboards: Reviews and Helpful Buying Guide!
Last updated 28th May, 2020

When you’re putting together your ultimate home darts set up, one of the things you’ll be thinking about is whether you should get a surround or backboard to go with your dartboard. Well you’ve come to the right place.

Below we cover the reasons why you should buy one, our top 9 surrounds and backboards, and a handy buying guide to walk you through the things you should consider before choosing which one is right for you. In there you’ll also find some tips on what to do if you’re feeling a bit creative and want to try your hand at making your own backboard!

Some of our recommended surrounds and backboards come with a dartboard included as part of a set, others don’t. A great alternative to a surround or backboard is to get a dartboard cabinet, so it's also worth checking out our popular post on the top dartboard with cabinet sets.

First, though, a quick bit of jargon busting...

What is the difference between a dartboard surround and backboard?

While they serve a very similar purpose, to protect the wall around your dartboard, surrounds and backboards are not quite the same thing. Surrounds have a hole that the dartboard fits snugly into, hence it ‘surrounds’ the board and may not need to be attached to the wall separately. A backboard, on the other hand, sits behind the dartboard - it’s mounted onto the wall, and the dartboard attaches to it, in front.

You can see examples of both in our top 9 below!

Why buy a dartboard surround?

There are a few great reasons to buy a dartboard backboard or surround:

Protection

The main reason people buy one of these is to protect their walls. Sorry to have to break it to you, but no matter how good you are, you’re going to throw the odd stray dart! And when you do it’ll leave a nasty hole in the wall unless you’ve got something there to protect it. These holes look ugly, are a pain to fix, and can leave everyone else in the house feeling resentful of your love of darts - so they are best avoided!

Surrounds and backboards also help to protect the darts themselves. Your darts are much less likely to be damaged or blunted when they land in a soft foam surround as opposed to a hard wall made of brick, plaster or wood.

Top tip: It’s more important to protect your walls if you’re playing with steel tip darts, however soft tip darts can leave marks as well so we’d recommend a backing for all types of boards!

Safety

Because surrounds and backboards are specially designed, darts are less likely to bounce off than if they hit a wall. This helps to prevent darts flying around and potentially hitting someone nearby.

Aesthetic

A backboard can really add something visually to your darts space, and make it feel complete. The surrounds sold by the big darts brands will give a more professional look, or you can go for something more creative and artistic that will help your dartboard fit into the general decor of the house.

Top 9 dartboard backboards and surrounds

Without further ado, below you can find our top 9 dartboard surrounds and backboards. We’ve gone for a nice mix of styles and price points so you can find one that’s right for you. If you’re looking to get started with a complete darts set, look out for the ones that come with a dartboard and darts included.

1. Winmau Dartboard Surround

This foam surround from Winmau is one of the most popular on the market. It’s designed to fit any Winmau bristle full size dartboard, but it would likely stretch around other brands as well. We love it in black - simple but stylish!

Dartboard not included.


2. Unicorn Striker Dartboard with Surround

A fantastic set for anyone starting out who wants to buy everything in one go. The red surround is sure to brighten up any man cave and you can’t go wrong with a top brand like Unicorn! It’s made of EVA foam so your darts will sink into it nicely, reducing bounce outs.

The surround comes with a quality Unicorn Striker bristle dartboard and two sets of darts for the ultimate setup.


3. Viper Defender II Dartboard Surround Wall Protector

This black square high-density foam surround from Viper offers a good amount of wall protection around the dartboard. The surround should fit tightly around any standard 18 inch dartboard, and therefore doesn’t need to be mounted separately on the wall. A nice feature is that it’s reversible so once one side starts to show signs of wear and tear, you can flip it around and it’ll be good as new!

Dartboard not included.


4. Professional Octagonal Dartboard Backboard - Burgundy

A beautiful, professional-looking octagonal backboard with a fabric finish. Measuring 29 inches across and 1 inch thick, this backboard will protect your wall from those stray darts and simultaneously turn your dartboard into the focal point of your man cave. The great thing about the fabric finish is that it means the dart holes won’t show. It comes ready to mount onto the wall with an easy step-by-step guide, so you’ll have it up and ready to use in no time!

Dartboard not included.


5. Viper Defender III Extended Length Dartboard Surround

Providing 8.2 square feet of protection, this is the largest backboard or surround on our list. It covers a large area below the board so is particularly good if you’ve got kids starting out who often under-throw their darts. It comes in a sleek bland with the Viper logo in the top corner, and it has a velvet-style surface that minimises the signs of wear. It hangs off the dartboard so doesn’t need to be mounted and it’s reversible, meaning it lasts twice as long!

Dartboard not included.


6. Unicorn PDC Dartboard Surround - Red

If you like the red Unicorn surround but already have a dartboard then this one's for you. A quality product from a top darts brand, this surround should fit any standard size dartboard, but to be sure go for a Unicorn board as well. To install, you simply push it around the dartboard and you’re ready to go.

Dartboard not included.


7. Winmau Blade 5 Dartboard with Xtreme Surround Set

We’ve put the Winmau Xtreme dartboard surround in our list simply because it looks awesome! The design helps it stand out from other surrounds on the market and it’ll really add something to your darts space at home. Not only that, it’s a premium quality surround that’ll protect your walls so you can focus on playing darts with peace of mind.

The surround comes with a Winmau Blade 5 bristle dartboard, two sets of darts and an official oche line for a fantastic setup!


8. Premium Custom Made Wooden Backboard

You’ve seen all the most common types of surround and backboard above, but it’s time for something a little different. This product shows how you can turn a dartboard backboard into a beautiful feature that complements the decor of the room. It is custom made from wood and there’s even the option of adding a matching iPad holder if that’s how you do your scoring. Once mounted on the wall, the dartboard attaches with ease so it will work with almost any board.

Dartboard not included.


9. Handmade Driftwood Backboard with Shelf

A serious bit of upcycling if ever we saw it! This rustic-style backboard is handmade from recycled pallet wood and the effect is stunning! The inexpensive backboard offers incredible value, looks fantastic and comes with a handy shelf to keep your darts and other accessories on. All the while, the backboard will keep your wall looking pristine, and we think that if anything a few dart holes in the wood will make it look even better!

Dartboard not included.

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Buying guide

You probably came here thinking that buying a dartboard surround should be a simple purchase, right? How many types of backboard can there really be? Well, quite a few, it turns out. We help to break down the decision of which to buy below, by covering the different types, as well as a few other factors to consider.

When thinking about the type of surround, it’s best broken down into two things: material, and shape and size.

Material

Most dartboard surrounds and backboards will be made of one of the following four things.

High density foam

Pros:

  • Light and easy to put up on the wall
  • Soft material doesn't blunt your darts and results in fewer bounce outs
  • Relatively inexpensive

Cons:

  • Lower durability as they can dry out and become powdery over time
  • Cannot keep outdoors

Wood

Pros:

  • Durable and highly protective of your wall
  • Can be used outdoors (if the wood is treated properly)
  • Can look really stylish

Cons:

  • Less accommodating of your darts than foam, leading to more damage and more bounce outs
  • Generally more expensive than foam or cork

Fabric (stretched over wood)

Pros:

  • The fabric looks professional and aesthetic
  • Dart hole marks don’t show

Cons:

  • The wood can blunt your darts and cause bounce outs

Cork

Pros:

  • Light and easy to put up on the wall
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Not very durable
  • Can look cheap and unappealing (unless you do something creative with it!)

Type - shape and size

Most surrounds and backboards are one of four shapes:

  • Round: typically made of foam, they surround the board with an extra few inches of protection.
  • Octagonal: typically a backboard made of fabric and wood, they offer a more professional look and protect a slightly larger area than a round surround.
  • Square: come in all materials and offer similar protection to an octagonal backboard. You can find square surrounds and square backboards.
  • Rectangular: extended length rectangular surrounds and backboards offer the largest surface area of protection, and can also come in a variety of materials.

Of course, you can find artistic backboards online that come in all shapes, sizes and materials. Etsy, for example, is a great place to start if you want something a little different! If you’re feeling creative yourself then check out the section below on how to make your own backboard.

Compatible dartboards

Before buying your backboard or surround, check that it’s compatible with your dartboard. Generally with a backboard you shouldn’t have any problems as the board just hangs off it, but with a surround it’s important to make sure the board will fit snugly into the hole. If you buy a surround with dartboard set then you won’t need to worry about this!

Price

Price can vary greatly depending on the type of surround or backboard. For a round foam surround you’ll generally be spending in the £30-50 ($40-65) range, but you can pay less for a cheap cork board, and a lot more for a stylish octagonal backboard - over £100 ($120) in some cases. If you go for a custom made backboard on a site like Etsy then it all depends on the quality and intricacy of the product.

Buying a surround with dartboard set will increase the price, but can represent great value as you’re buying everything together.

Installation and Mounting

As we mentioned earlier, surrounds are usually just placed around the dartboard so installation is easy and no mounting is required. Backboards need to be attached to the wall, so before buying, check you’re happy with the mounting method and that you already have the right tools in the house to do it!

Make your own dartboard backboard

If none of the surrounds and backboards above took your fancy, or if you’re feeling creative, you can make your own! Aside from being a lot of fun, making your own backboard is a great way to recycle some old materials you’ve got hanging around and to put a personal touch onto creating a great feature for your home.

If you’re doing it, you may as well go crazy and do something special. For inspiration, check out this great blog with loads of cool ideas for materials to use from rope to wood to wine corks and even flower pots!

Conclusion

So there you have our favourite dartboard surrounds and backboards from around the internet, along with a helpful buying guide. To sum up, if you just want an affordable surround to get started with, then go for the black Winmau surround, and if you’re looking for a complete darts set to get started with then we recommend the Unicorn Striker dartboard and surround. Alternatively if a professional look is most important to you then you can’t beat the octagonal backboard, or why not get creative and try making the perfect backboard yourself!

For the rest of your man cave needs and desires, why not explore our site or head over to the Darts section to see more posts and recommended products!

Affiliate disclaimer: on some or all of the products above, we receive a small commission if you make a purchase via our site. This does not impact the price you pay, but it allows us to keep helping people by writing these reviews, so thank you!


Louis
Co-founder at Mancaves HQ

Dreams of having his own fully-specced man cave with all the bells and whistles one day. Until then, he loves to play poker around the dining table and pool at the pub, and occasionally get out of the house for a run along the Thames.