First of all, if you're in the UK, i recommend using Darts Corner, its probably the best place in the UK to buy all your darts items, especially the darts themselves!
Now, I like to think i know a bit about darts. I personally only started playing darts in 2015, when i was 25. This was when i had decided to change careers and moved to Verbier, Switzerland, to become a ski instructor. While in my first season there, my nephew, Reece, introduced me to the weekly darts tournament. it was every Monday evening at Pub Mont Fort from 7pm onward (and still is). The tournament started off in 2011, and there were just 2 dartboards being used, and roughly 8 to 12 teams every week. I am now running the tournament and have been for about 3/4 seasons now, we have 5 dartboards and 24 teams (max) every week. Its been getting so popular, that we have to turn people away, we had nearly 40 teams one week! We genuinely need a 6th or even 7th board to accommodate new teams. During that time, i also sold darts, flights & stems that i had previously bought in job-lots back in the UK. So I've got fair idea of the equipment, and I've also done some serious research into how to improve and the right techniques. I'm not a great player myself, but i know and love the game inside out.
Back in 2015, i was playing in the Verbier pairs tournament, but was only winning 1 or 2 matches in the group stage each week. I was determined to get better so i invested in a dartboard, my first board was the Winmau Blade 4, which was great, I've also had the Blade 5, standard and dual core. At the end of 2018 I wanted to try a non Winmau board, and I now have the Unicorn Eclipse Pro 2. I actually bought the board in November 2018 and its still going strong, its been really durable. They have 1 board higher up than this, the Unicorn Eclipse Pro HD 2, which they use in most professional tournaments on TV. The upgrade just has a black number ring, instead of a white one (so it doesn't distract you), thats the only difference as far as i know. Now obviously with your dartboard setup, you need a good light. I've not invested in one yet, but its only a matter of time. The Corona LED 360 Vision looks amazing, if you can afford one, you definitely should, and it seems easy to set up to!
Also i'd advise getting a surround for your board, definitely worth it. You can get one for as cheap as £29 here. Also you may want a scoreboard, i just use apps on my phone most of the time (i recommend MyDartTraining & Russ Bray darts scorer), but it is nice to use a chalkboard as well. And two more things, before i forget. If you don't have a wall to put your board on, why not try a dartboard stand? I have the gorilla one, it only cost me around £40, try Ebay!
The last thing is; a darts mat. If you have a carpet then you don't really need a mat, i'd just use tape to mark the oche, but if you have a hard floor, definitely get a mat, otherwise you'll be breaking a lot of darts!
Now, when buying darts, theres a few things to consider. First of all; weight. Do you like a light dart? heavier dart? Also, size & shape of the barrel. How long do you want it? how fat? want lots of grip? or smooth? You can use all the options on the darts corner website to find your perfect dart! You should always try your friends darts out as well, give them a throw, see how they feel, it might take years to find your perfect dart!
Then you've got your dart stems/shafts & flights. I'd recommend getting flights that are durable, and feel more solid so they last longer. The carbon ones are one of my favourites, but i also love the ruthless ones. I've tried a lot of stems in my time, some are rubbish and break to easily. I'd recommend 1 of 2, either Pro grips or Super grips. Both extremely durable.
Lastly, i just want to talk about some accessories that are very useful. First of all, a darts sharpener, especially useful for those whose darts drop out the board a lot. Use the sharpener to rough up the edges and get the dart to stay in that board. You can also get little things to protect your flights from damage, but not many people seem to use them. You can also get chalk for your fingers, to help with grip. Oh and you may need a case to for those lovely darts you have, it depends how big you want it to be, but i like my one from Unicorn.
There are of course other accessories, but I've covered all the ones I've used or owned. I hope this blog post can help anyone looking to start playing darts, or those who have just started playing, or even those who have some years under their belt already! Its a simple, fun game, which is incredibly hard to master.