You might have your wall protected from rogue darts, but did you remember to protect your floor as well?
Keep forgetting how far you need to throw the dart from? Or perhaps it's the slippery flooring that is preventing you from taking the proper stance.
No problem, all you need is a professional dart mat.
These mats are designed to catch any shots that fall short or bounce out, protecting your flooring as well as your darts from untimely damage. The mats are also marked with exact throw line (as per Oche measurement), thus saving you the hassle of measuring the throwing distance every time you change the location or when your existing marking goes off.
Built to last, dart mats provide you with a comfortable, stable footing during games and are an essential accessory for any serious dart player.
To help you make the right selection, we've sifted through most (if not all) dart marts currently available and selected the five of the very best.
The 5 Best Dart Mats
1. PerfectDarts McKICKS Dart MAT
- Measurement: 118'' x 65''
- Throw line: 7 ft 9 1⁄4 in (2.36855 m)
- Built as per the specs laid down by World Darts Federation
For our top-pick, we have the McKicks Dart Mat from Perfectsdarts. It's heavy-duty, durable professional looking and incorporates official Oche measurements. Its unique feature is that it's made out of a plush carpet unlike rubber or Vinyl and comes with a raised oche marking. The carpet top is strong and thick enough to prevent any damage to the flooring from the falling darts. Even if you play with a 30-gm dart, you can rest assured, the falling darts won't be damage your flooring. At the same time, it's soft enough not to damage the dart tips. Additionally, the mat is fitted with anti-slip rubber backing, which ensures the mat firmly remains footed at all times.
The coarse top material provides for a stable footing, while the raised Oche makes it easy to keep track of throwing distance at all times. While this mat is suited for anyone looking for a quality product, but professional players are the ones would really appreciate it. Measuring 118" x 65", this mat offers fairly large protection in comparison to other options. And when you're done with your game, simply roll up the mat and tuck it away.
Price-wise, it's definitely costly, but it's one such mat which is sure to last you a lifetime. It's made out of premium material, unlike rubber or Vinyl which you find in the cheaper options.
All-in-all it's an excellent choice for anyone who is looking for a pro-quality dart mat which offers superior protection.
What We Liked
+ Professional quality
+ Superior protection
+ Raised Oche
Watch Out for
2. Let's Play Darts Dart Mat
- Measurement: 9' x 10" x 24"
- Throw line: 8' 0" / 7' 9 ¼" / 7' 6"
Next up is the Let's Play Darts Dart Mat from a well-known manufacturer Dart World. This pick offers a fine balance between quality and price, and it's the best fit for most buyers. The pro-quality design and the durable rubber build, makes it an ideal choice for home or competition usage. The micro grip top surface keeps you grounded during each shot, and we also didn't notice any slipping across different surfaces, we tested it on. You'll see three throw line markings for different dart types and skill level players to use:
- 8' 0" (244cm) - Soft tip
- 7' 9 ¼" (237cm) - Steel tip
- 7' 6" (229cm) - For youth play
The overall size is the same as most, at around 9 feet 10 inches, and 24.5 inches wide. The 3 mm thick rubber mat can handle the heaviest of steel-tipped darts on bounce outs without piercing through the mat. Surprisingly, we didn't notice the smell of rubber quite as much, which is common with other rubber mats.
This mat functions excellent in all regards. If you're not constrained by budget and want guaranteed quality, we say go ahead and opt for this choice. If there was something like a warranty included, it might have pushed this to our number one spot.
What We Liked
+ Heavy duty rubber mat
+ Comes with three throw line markings
+ Micro grip design for increased stability
Watch Out for
- Throw lines aren't raised
3. Shot! Pro Dart Mat
- Measurement: 9' 9” x 2'
- Dual throw lines for steel and soft tip
- Weight: 3.3 kg
The third one on our list is a mat which is also endorsed by US National Champ Chris White - Shot! Pro Dart rubber mat. This heavy-duty mat helps you maintain stable footing during play, and the 3mm thick padding ensures those missed throws don't wreck your flooring. Printed on the mat are two throw lines for player's reference — one for those using steel tip and one for those using a soft tip.
The total length of the mat is 9 feet and 9 inches, and about 2 feet in width. This mat covers plenty of floor space, but when you need it out of the way, you can just roll it right up and place it in storage. The weight of the mat keeps it from moving around or curling, so no need to keep adjusting during play.
We found two minor issues with this mat. First, on the carpet, the mat feels a little less grounded. It doesn't move too much, but some double-sided tape can be added to remove the slight slip. The other issue was the rubber smell. The odor is strong, and can fill up a large house right out of the box. It will dissipate with time, but leaving the mat outside for a few days should help clear the smell.
This a good product for any home, bar, or competition space that needs to keep the floor, and more importantly, the darts safe from potential damage. Also, the design and logo are clean and professional looking. For under $70, this a great buy.
What We Liked
+ Attractive design
+ Two throw line markings
+ Anti-slip and sturdy
Watch Out for
- Strong rubber odor in the beginning
4. ZAAP Heavy Duty Dart Mat
Best Bang for Your Buck
- Dimension: 118 x 24.5 x 0.1 inch
- Four printed oche lines (7'6", 7' 9 1/4", 8'0" and 8'6")
The ZAAP dart mat comes in at around $50, delivering excellent value at an affordable price. This mat covers just under 9 feet and 9 inches and is a little over 2 feet wide. When folded up, you can get this mat to a nice compact size of about 5 x 5 x 24.5 inches. Good for storage or traveling with.
This mat actually comes with four printed lines for players to reference, depending on the dart tips and the game being played. It is also a handy reference for players of different skill levels, in case you want to give a handicap to help even the odds.
This mat weighs about 17 pounds in total - little lighter than some rubber made mats. This often shows during play, as may need to readjust the mat after a few games. The mat doesn't stick well to carpet either. We recommend for optimal performance, stay on hard floor surfaces. Also, like all the rubber-based mats, the smell is overpowering at first. Give it some time to air out once you open the box.
We highly recommend this mat to players who want to save a little money, but don't want to sacrifice quality.
What We Liked
+ Affordable pricing
+ Decent build quality
+ Four throw-line markings
Watch Out for
- Strong rubber odor but it dissipates with time
5. Viper Padded Throw/Toe Line Dart Mat
Best for Comfort
- Measurement: 117" L x 24" W x 1/4" D
- Comes with dual throw line markings for soft and steel darts
- Made in the USA
Our last pick is ideal for anyone who is looking for a soft and padded mat for foot comfort and additional safety. This mat measures 117 x 24 x .25 inches and is made from vinyl material. It offers a decent level of protection to your flooring and the darts. However, the real advantage of Vinyl is the softer feel and firm hold you get when playing on it. When it comes to comfort, this mat definitely has it. Like any good mat, it can also be rolled up for easy storage. Two reference markings are marked for steel and soft tip players to use.
However, this mat is a little thin and may not be able to counter all the falling darts. With heavier darts, depending on the arc, they tend to pierce pretty deep into the mat. We don't see this as being an issue most of the time, but we have to take off a few points for the less than optimal performance. We should also mention that once out of the box, you will need to give the mat a couple of hours to expand fully. A minor issue, but at least there is no heavy smell like rubber from the material.
We really like the Viper mat for how soft the material is. It really feels good to play on. Unfortunately, it could have used a little extra thickness to protect from those heavier darts that land straight into it. It still does a good job overall. However, this mat is slightly expensive. Not our first choice for the cost-conscious players, but a good buy for those long games that wear out your feet.
What We Liked
+ Soft padding for comfort
+ Two throw lines for soft and steel darts
+ Good overall quality
Watch Out for
- May not be able to handle heavier darts
Buyer’s Guide to Dart Mats
When buying a dart mat, you primarily need to consider three factors: What type of dart you're going to play with, material and ultimately the price. All the five picks that we've recommended offer a fine balance between these parameters. But if you would like to dig further, here is the buyer's guide to assist you with your decision making.
Type of Darts
Depending on whether you play with a steel or soft tip dart, the throw line varies. Officially, for steel darts it's 7' 9 ¼" (237cm) and for soft dart it's 8' 0" (244cm). So, the mat you buy must have either of these or both throw lines properly marked. While most mats come with steel dart marking but not all of them come with soft tip marking.
Foam can be a cheap alternative for a dart mat. A foam-based mat didn't make into our top 5 picks, but that doesn't mean you should rule it out. You'll get extra comfort standing on foam, but not the same level of protection. If you want, we could even see someone using exercise foam mats, to homebrew into a dart mat.
Vinyl is nice for the smooth profile that provides good standing grip, and comfort - All in one. Vinyl mats make a good addition to pubs or competitive arenas, as they are sure not to slip or move during play, and provide good traction. But Vinyl is thicker than the usual rubber mats and costs about the same.
Rubber provides the most durable level of protection for your darts and floor. The cost of rubber tends to be in the middle. What rubber lacks is stability. Rubber tends to move around on certain surfaces and is not as anti-slip friendly as Vinyl. Choosing a rubber mat is best if you have heavy darts, especially steel tip ones. Be warned though; rubber mats usually have a very strong odor and it takes time for the smell to fade.
Most dart marts are advertised as being compatible with all types of flooring, but this is not always the case. For best results, you should stick to hard surfaces. These mats tend to perform well on concrete, wood, or tiled flooring.
If you play in a room with a particularly hard or rough surface, we suggest going with a rubber mat, as you'll most likely need the extra thick protection to keep your darts safe. On softer flooring, any mat should be compatible.
Carpet is where it tends to get tricky. A lot of mats will struggle to stay put on carpet. Vinyl and foam tend to perform better here. Rubber can work as well, albeit minor, adjustments. Easy fixes include things like double-sided tape, or an extra piece of non-slip rubber or foam under the mat to help keep it in place. Anything that adds a little extra friction under the mat will work.
Benefits of Using a Dart Mat
It's easy to forget that your floor needs just as much protection as your wall when playing darts. Even if you are a pro, the occasional bounce out is bound to occur. When it does, you'll want to something to keep those heavy steel-tipped darts from causing any damage to the floor. Likewise, there is a good chance you'll end up damaging the dart as well.
Replacing those expensive top tier darts is no joke. A fully customized set of darts can cost up to a couple of hundred dollars. Investing in a sturdy dart mat can save you the pain of going through that process.
Also, Dart mats are marked with exact throw lines. It provides a very practical and professional way to keep everything as per regulation, be it home or at a tournament. Additionally, a dart mat gives a more professional look to your dart set up.
Darts and flooring are expensive to replace, so don't make the same mistake many others have in the past. Picking up a new dart mat will save you a lot of trouble right now rather than later.
Besides, just think about the great benefits they provide — safety for you and your equipment by providing a soft no-slip surface. Reference lines to keep track of where to throw, for different type of darts. A professional and complete look to any dartboard setup. We are sure there are a few more, you can think of as well!
A dart mat is something which shouldn't be overlooked. Along with dart backboards, they are just as needed and helpful. The price range isn't too bad either, so don't hesitate to get one today, and stick to our guide to find the best dart mat for your home now!