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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? Don't panic, here at Badminton HQ, we've outlined everything you need to know in order make the correct choice.

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 to be replaced.
  4. Playing Level: Recreational, Training, Club, Match, Tournament or Senior Tournament.

 

Types of Shuttlecocks:

There are 3 types of Badminton Shuttlecocks:

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

Feather Shuttlecocks - key considerations:

  • Generally used by intermediate to professional level players.
  • Easier to control than nylon shuttles - net spin and slice can also be achieved
  • Made from duck or goose feathers, with goose favoured by elite players.
  • Good to excellent shuttle flight.
  • Not recommended for beginners as poor technique and timing can break the feathers quickly.
  • Low durability in comparison to nylon shuttles
  • In order to help durability it's 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:

  • Used mainly by beginner, recreational and lower-level club players.
  • Plastic shuttlecocks are made from nylon material
  • Fast flight - plastic shuttles generally decelerate slower than feathers, usually resulting in a faster paced game with less control or touch play.
  • Fantastic durability. Plastic shuttles last for a long time, sometimes up to 100 games before wearing out 

Hybrid Shuttlecocks:

  • A combination of plastic and feather.
  • As a more recent development there very few currently available in the UK. The most established hybrid is the Kawasaki King Kong 500 Hybrid
  • The end feathers are duck/goose feathers, whilst the frame of the shuttle is synthetic.
  • Longer durability than conventional feathers.
  • Cheaper than most full feather shuttlecocks due to lower manufacturing costs.
  • Inferior flight path and control when compared to a high grade full-feather shuttlecock

 

 

Badminton Shuttle Flight

Badminton Shuttlecock Speeds:

If you're based in the UK, it's likely that speed 78 (Yonex speed 3) will be the best choice for you. Speed 78 is by far the most popular shuttlecock speed in this region; however, if you're unsure, read on and we'll explain shuttle speeds in more detail.

Choosing the correct speed of shuttle is crucial so that the shuttlecock flies the appropriate length of the court from a standard degree of force.

In regular conditions a slow shuttle speed will mean the shuttle will fall short of a standard length and decelerate more quickly. As you may expect, a fast shuttle speed will travel further and at a faster speed.

Badminton shuttlecocks are classified into speed categories of 75-79. The smaller the number, the slower the shuttlecock flies. Speeds 75 are 76 are less common, especially in the UK and the rest of Europe.

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 to be 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 designed for.

The most popular badminton shuttlecock in the UK is the Yonex Aerosena AS30 Speed 78. These are used by higher level clubs, in tournaments and for matches, due to it's well known quality. Another very popular shuttle is the Victor Gold Champion, which is similar to the Yonex AS30 or AS40 in terms of consistency and durability.

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

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 high quantities of feather shuttles. 

Our advice is to take a look at the key graph features we show on the individual product pages, and in particular - Shuttlecock Durability.

Other Tips to help the shuttle last longer:

  • Purchase a Humidome. This fits at the end of a shuttle tub and humidifies the shuttles
  • Store 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 an environment where the temperature is kept relatively low, so as to avoid moisture leaving the shuttles due to higher temperatures

Badmintom Shuttle