How to Buy a Badminton Shuttlecock

How to Buy a Badminton Shuttlecock

The badminton shuttlecock also called the birdie is the projectile that is hit by the players during play.  Birdies come in basically two types; those using natural materials i.e. leather and natural feathers and those made of synthetic material i.e. plastic cork and nylon feathers.   When buying a shuttlecock you have to consider what type of shuttlecock and where you will be playing badminton.

Types of badminton shuttlecock

The make of a shuttle will determine how well it can fly and its durability. Shuttlecocks come in 2 types:

  • Feather shuttlecock

This shuttlecock has a cork covered by genuine leather. The feathers on the other end are from a goose or duck. The feathers must always come from the left wing. Badminton players claim that the genuine feather shuttlecock flies better and achieves better speed.

The biggest disadvantage of this type of shuttlecock is poor durability. The genuine feathers get brittle very fast and breakdown. For repeated play, the feathers have to be moistened.

  • Nylon shuttlecocks

This type of shuttlecock has a plastic cork and the feathers are made of synthetic nylon. These shuttlecocks are more durable. Their misgiving is that they fly poorly and don’t make a good sound against the racquet.

Shuttle speed

This is the feel of a shuttlecock, how far and fast it can fly. A fast shuttle can fly a long distance while a slow shuttle flies a short distance. Shuttle speed depends on 3 things;

  • Temperature – A shuttlecock flies slower in colder temperatures
  • Altitude – A shuttle flies better in higher areas

Shuttles are classified by numbers to show how well it will fly in different weather and altitude.

  • 75- A slow shuttle for use in very hot areas
  • 76- A slightly slow shuttle for use in hot areas at high altitudes
  • 77 – A moderate speed shuttle for use at sea level in fine weather
  • 78- A quite fast shuttle for use in cold countries below sea level
  • 79- A fast shuttle for use in very cold countries below sea level

Skill level

If you are starting out in badminton, it is better to use fast shuttles in the beginning as they will go further and help you master the correct strokes.  If you are an experienced badminton player and you are playing with a skilled group, use a standard speed shuttle.


Like all other items, pricier shuttles are more durable and of higher quality than low priced shuttles. Strike a balance between price and quality by going for relatively unknown brands that are trying to make a name in the market with good quality shuttles.