Sharpen Your Game: How to Use a Dart Sharpener

So you finally got your own dartboard and a set of darts to go with it. Great! Now you’re ready to channel your inner Michael Smith and work on your throw. But after a few games, you start to notice your darts aren’t sticking in the board quite as well.

The tips are getting dull, and your accuracy is suffering as a result. Time for a quick sharpening session to get your darts back to peak performance.

Using a dart sharpener is easy and only takes a few minutes. With a freshly sharpened set of darts, you’ll be throwing tight groupings and hitting triples in no time. Here’s how to use a dart sharpener to put a razor-sharp edge back on your darts.

Choosing the Right Dart Sharpener

Choosing the Right Dart Sharpener

The most important thing is choosing a sharpener designed specifically for darts. General purpose sharpeners can damage darts. Look for a sharpener with multiple slots for different point styles.

For steel tip darts, a carbide sharpener is best. It files down points precisely while adding a sharp edge. For soft tip darts, look for a sharpener with finer grits to sharpen the plastic without cracking it.

Electric sharpeners speed up the process but can be harsh. Manual sharpeners with diamond files give you more control. Mounted sharpeners are convenient but bench models are more versatile.

Whatever you choose, take it slow. Check your work with every few strokes. It’s easy to over-sharpen, leaving points misshapen or weakened. Touch-up darts before each game to keep points needle-sharp and ready to hit their mark. With the right sharpener and a careful technique, you’ll have competition-level points in no time.

Using a Manual Dart Sharpener

Using a Manual Dart Sharpener

Using a manual dart sharpener is pretty straightforward.

Inserting the dart

Carefully slide the dart into the sharpener at a 90° angle until the tip pops through the other side. Make sure at least an inch of the dart remains sticking out for you to grip.

Twisting and pulling

Grasp the exposed end of the dart and slowly twist while pulling it through the sharpener using light, even pressure. Work the dart through the sharpener until the tip emerges from the other end.

Inspecting your work

Examine the sharpened tip to ensure it comes to a symmetrical point. Look for any jagged edges or imperfections and re-sharpen if needed. A well-sharpened dart will have a razor-sharp tip and smooth tapered edges.

Test and repeat

Throw a few practice darts at your board to determine if the sharpener did the trick. If your darts are flying straighter and sticking better, you’re all set. If they’re still a bit off, run them through the sharpener once more.

With regular use and maintenance, a quality dart sharpener can keep your darts in peak condition for consistent, accurate throws.

How to Use a Dart Sharpener

Maintaining Your Electric Dart Sharpener

To keep your electric dart sharpener in working order, perform regular maintenance.

Every few months, lubricate the cutting blades with a drop of mineral or silicone oil. This will prevent rust and keep the blades moving smoothly. Wipe away any excess oil with a soft cloth after application.

Check the cutting blades for dullness or damage and replace as needed. Dull or nicked blades won’t sharpen darts effectively and can damage them. Most electric sharpeners use standard replacement blades that can be found online or at sporting goods stores.

After each use, empty the shavings container. Built-up shavings can jam the sharpener and dull the blades faster. Some models have removable shavings trays while others require vacuuming out the shavings with a small hose attachment.

For cordless rechargeable models, recharge the battery fully between uses. Run the sharpener until it stops to ensure maximum blade life before recharging. Storing the sharpener with a partially drained battery can reduce its overall battery life.

With regular care and maintenance, an electric dart sharpener can provide many years of reliable service and keep your darts honed to a razor-sharp point. Staying on top of lubrication, blade changes, shavings removal and recharging (if needed) will help maximize the lifespan of your sharpener.

How to sharpen darts without a sharpener

How to sharpen darts without a sharpener

Many people prefer to sharpen their darts manually without an electric sharpener. If you want to put an edge on your darts the old-fashioned way, here are the basic steps:

Gather your supplies

You’ll need a few essentials:

  • Dart points or shafts
  • Whetstone or sharpening stone
  • Honing compound (optional)
  • Magnifying lens or magnifying glasses (optional but helpful)

Secure the dart

Hold the dart steady on a tabletop. You can clamp the dart in place with a vise or pliers to keep it secure as you sharpen. Be very careful not to damage the barrel.

Sharpen the point

Rub the dart point back and forth over the whetstone using small circular motions, applying light pressure. Check your progress with the magnifying lens. Continue sharpening until you see a fine edge form.

Smooth and polish (optional)

For an even sharper point, use honing compound on the whetstone. Gently slide the dart point over the stone using small figure-eight patterns. Rinse and wipe away any metal filings when done.

Test the point

Carefully run your finger over the point to check that it’s sharp. An ideal point will snag slightly on your skin. Be very careful not to prick yourself! Your darts are now sharpened and ready to fly. With some practice, you’ll be hitting those bullseyes in no time.

Are dart tips interchangeable?

The short answer is yes, most dart tips are interchangeable. The most common types — steel tip and soft tip — have standardized sizing so you can switch between them on the same set of darts.

Steel tip vs soft tip

The main difference between the two is that steel tip darts are used on bristle boards, while soft tip darts are used on electronic boards. Soft tip darts have plastic tips that won’t damage the electronic board sensors.

If you want to switch from soft tip to steel tip darts or vice versa, you’ll just need to replace the tips. Most dart tips screw onto the barrel, so you unscrew the old tips and screw on the new ones. It only takes a few seconds. Some darts may require a special tool to unscrew the tips, but most can be changed by hand.

This means if you have a nice set of darts that you like, you don’t necessarily need to buy a whole new set just to switch between soft tip and steel tip. You can reuse the same darts and just swap the tips. How convenient!

The only exception is if you have a set of darts with fixed tips that can’t be unscrewed. In that case, yes you would need separate sets of darts for soft tip and steel tip. But for the vast majority of darts, the tips are interchangeable.


As a general rule, sharpen your darts after every 10-15 games. Dull darts can negatively impact your accuracy and consistency.

For most steel tip darts, a medium and fine grit sharpener will work well. Something in the range of 400 to 800 grit for sharpening, then 1200+ grit for honing a smooth point.

While electric dart sharpeners can speed up the process, a manual sharpener will work just fine for casual players. Electric sharpeners tend to be more expensive, so only invest in one if you frequently sharpen a lot of darts.

There are a few signs your darts could use a sharpening. If your darts are bouncing out of the board more often, not grouping tightly together, or you’re experiencing “bounce-outs” where the dart hits the board but falls out, it’s probably time for quick sharpening.

Soft-tip darts cannot be sharpened in the same way as steel-tip darts. The soft plastic tips will melt in a dart sharpener. Some soft tip darts can be lightly sanded to restore a smooth, rounded point, but frequent sanding can damage the tip. It is best to replace soft-tip darts once the points become too dull.


That covers the basics on how to use a dart sharpener. Now it’s up to you to get sharpening and see how it can improve your game. Sharper darts mean tighter groupings, higher scores, and more fun. Once you start using a sharpener, you’ll never want to throw dull darts again.

So get out there, grab your sharpener and darts, and start throwing. Your opponents won’t know what hit them. And when you’re racking up the points, you’ll have your trusty sharpener to thank for the edge. Stay sharp and keep improving your game—the bullseye is waiting!

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