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What Shuttlecocks Should I Choose? - Our Buying Guide

So you want to make the most out of playing badminton but there's a ton of Badminton Shuttlecocks out there to choose from, all made from different materials and grades. So how do you decide? Well lets help here at Badminton HQ.

There are 3 main factors when deciding what Badminton Shuttlecocks to Buy:

  1. Type of Shuttlecock you want
  2. The Speed of Badminton Shuttlecock – based upon the conditions where they'll be played in
  3. Standard and Level of Badminton Play they're intended for
  4. Price and Durability, leading to overall value for money
Example Badminton Feather Shuttlecocks

When looking on our product pages, for Badminton Shuttlecocks look for the 4 key areas we list:

  1. Shuttle Flight Path Quality – How close to the ideal shuttle flight path it flies
  2. Shuttle Consistency – How accurately the shuttle lands in the same spot when hit in the same way
  3. Shuttlecock Durability – How long it lasts before it needs replacement
  4. Playing Level: Recreational, Training, Club, Match, Tournament, Senior Tournament.

 

Types of Shuttlecocks:

There are 3 types of Badminton Shuttlecocks:

  1. Feather Shuttlecocks
  2. Plastic/Synthetic Shuttlecocks
  3. Hybrid Shuttlecocks

Feather Shuttlecocks, features include:

  • Generally used by Intermediate to Professional Level players.
  • They're made from either duck or goose feathers, with goose generally being the favoured type.
  • They tend to have good to excellent shuttle flight when hit
  • Tend to break or wear out after 1-2 games of play, resulting in poor durability, and sometimes costly replacement, depending upon the grade of shuttles being used
  • In order to help durability it's generally recommended they're stored in a generally humid environment, so that the feather don't get brittle and dry, leading to quicker breakage 

Plastic Shuttlecocks, these feature

  • Generally used by Beginner and Recreational Level players.
  • Plastic Shuttlecocks are made from Nylon material
  • They tend to not fly as well as feathers by not slowing down as much at the end of their flight path
  • Their big strength is durability. Plastic Shuttles last for a long time, sometimes up to 100 games before wearing out 

Hybrid Shuttlecocks, these feature:

  • As the name suggests, they're a combination of Plastic and Feather
  • Currently there's only very few models out of these, the most established being the Kawasaki King Kong Hybrid Shuttles
  • The end feathers are try duck/goose feathers, whilst the frame of the shuttle is nylon
  • Their big benefit is that they have significantly longer durability than feathers, on average lasting 3-4 games
  • Their drawback is their flight although better than plastics, still isn't as good as a complete feather shuttlecock
Badminton Shuttle Flight

Badminton Shuttlecock Speeds:

If you're UK based, it's simple, go for 78 – Quite Fast Speed. It's by far and away the most popular speed shuttlecock in this region. However if you're unsure, read on and we'll dive into the detail to help you out.

You'll need to make sure you choose the correct speed of shuttle so that the shuttlecock flies the appropriate length of the court for an effective match.

A slow shuttle speed will mean the shuttle will not fly far, whilst a high shuttle speed will, with badminton shuttlecocks being classified into speed categories of 75-79, you can tell on the shuttle itself what speed it is via the round sticker on the bottom of the shuttlecock tube of shuttles. 

So the speed of a Badminton Shuttlecock is affected by 3 factors:

  1. Temperature
  2. Altitude
  3. Humidity of the Environment 

The result of this means that depending upon where you are in the world, the speed of the shuttle is significantly affected.

So how can I choose?

well for a basic guide see the below table:

Shuttle Speed

Altitude

Temperature

Popularity for UK & Europe

75 – Slow

Above Sea Level

Very Hot (30+ Degrees)

Never Used

76 – Quite Slow

Sea Level

Hot (25-30 Degrees)

Used Rarely

77 - Average Speed

Sea Level

Average Temp (15-25 Degrees)

Used Sometimes

78 – Quite Fast

Below Sea Level

Cold (0 – 15 Degrees)

By Far the Most Popular

79 - Fast

Below Sea Level

Very Cold (Below Freezing)

Used Rarely

  

Standard and Level of Badminton Play:

As a general rule there's considered 6 levels of badminton play:

  1. Recreational
  2. Training
  3. Club
  4. Match
  5. Tournament
  6. Professional Senior Tournament

We've listed each Badminton shuttle on our site to state what preferred level of play the shuttle is design for, look out for this as it'll be a bit help.

The most popular badminton shuttlecock in the UK is the Yonex Aerosena AS30 Shuttle Speed 78, these are used by higher level clubs, tournaments and for matches, due to it's well known quality. Another very popular Badminton Shuttle are the Victor Gold Champion Shuttles, which match up to a very similar level as the Yonex AS30 Shuttlecocks.

Here's some of our Badminton HQ recommendations based upon your playing level:

  • Recreational – VICTOR 2000 Nylon Shuttlecock, Yonex Mavis 600 Shuttlecocks, Babolat Cup Shuttles
  • Training - Kawasaki King Kong Hybrid Badminton Shuttlecocks, Ashaway Match, VICTOR Gold Maxima Feather Shuttlecocks, VICTOR 3000 Nylon White Badminton Shuttlecocks, Yonex Mavis 2000 Shuttlecocks, Babolat 4 Shuttlecocks, Yonex AS10 Shuttles
  • Club – Ashaway Match, VICTOR Service Badminton Feather Shuttlecocks, Babolat 2 Shuttlecocks, Yonex AS30 for top level clubs
  • Match – Yonex AS30, Ashaway Premier, VICTOR Gold Champion Badminton Feather Shuttlecocks, Babolat 1 Shuttl ecocks 
  • Tournament – Yonex AS40, Ashaway Premier, VICTOR Gold Champion Badminton Feather Shuttlecocks, Babolat 1+ Shuttlecocks
  • Professional Senior Tournament – Yonex AS50, Ashaway International , VICTOR Master Ace Badminton Feather Shuttlecocks, Babolat 1+ Shuttlecocks 

Price and Durability, leading to overall value for money:
This is the final and often most important deciding factor, particularly if you're a club or a coach, using load of feather shuttles week to week. 

Our key advice is to take a look at the key graph features we show on the individual product pages, and in particular - Shuttlecock Durability. This is because many people want a quality shuttlecock but find it won't last.

Other Tips to help the shuttle last longer:

  • Purchase a Humidome, this fits at the end of a shuttle tub and humidifies the shuttles
  • Storing the shuttles within a humid environment, above a water tray
  • If the above isn't possible, make sure you seal the shuttle tubes immediately after use, and store in a garage environment where the temperature is kept relatively low, so as to avoid moisture leaving the shuttles due to higher temperatures
  • Finally one other simple way to add moisture to the shuttlecocks is to do the following:

a) Open both ends of the tube and push all the shuttles out.
b) Cover one end of the tube and pour about 1/4 of a cup of water into it.
c) Close both ends and give the tube a good shake.
d) Pour the water out, push all the shuttles back in and close both ends

Badmintom Shuttle