The steel tip darts have been around for a very long time now and come in a few different types. The oldest style of dart produced these days is the wooden widdy dart that has a ½ inch wooden barrel and steel tips built into the barrel. It would surely be a minor miracle to score a 180 with those darts. The Widdy darts are made for use on the specialised Widdy dart boards Australia, popular on the East coast of America.
The other more common dart is the standard steel tip dart with the tip built into the metal barrel. The barrel can be made of brass or tungsten. The main difference between the two metals is that tungsten is twice the density of brass so that a tungsten barrel can be made ½ the diameter of a brass dart for the same weight. This means that you can more easily fit three darts into the treble 20 with tungsten darts than brass darts. Now that’s worth the extra they cost don’t you think?
One of the more novel steel tip darts are the Bottelsen hammer head darts which have the infamous retractable tip that can retract into the barrel if the dart hits one of the wires on the dartboard so that the dart can absorb the initial shock and still have the momentum to push itself into the board. Apparently they work very well.
The barrels come in all varieties, especially when it comes to the grip. The grip can be smooth with just the grooves in the barrel to give the grip, or knurled with a more aggressive diamond pattern marked into the barrel for extra grip and the new edge grip.
The other consideration is the weight, you can have up to 50 gram darts according to the rules but I suggest you stick to the 18 – 26 gram range. Also remember there are screw in steel tips that convert soft tip darts to steel tip as well.