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feather and plastic shuttlecock

After the badminton racket, for all, we know and you might also agree that the shuttlecock is the next important thing required to play in this sport called badminton. It is what the players hit alternatively in the game and without the perfect shuttle, the game will be less than interesting. You won’t even be able to perform well if the shuttlecock is not right. Therefore, choosing the best shuttlecock is just as important as finding the perfect racket

If you have played or play badminton, whether casually or professionally, you might have seen two different types of shuttlecocks used in the game- Feather, and Plastic shuttlecock. The question is, why there are two types of shuttles? Which one is better among the two? Which one to use when? Which one is right for you?

The quick answer to the above questions is professional players generally choose the feather shuttlecocks, which are made with different types of feathers, either goose or duck to maximize the trajectory of the shuttlecock.

On the other hand, newbies or people who play the game for fun or hard-hitting style game tend to go for shuttlecocks made up of Nylon or say Plastic.

In this piece, we have tried to answer the most common questions that go through the mind of every badminton player regardless of his/her playing level. So, let's sort out the most common confusion.

Also Read 5 pieces of equipment all serious badminton players need.

Why doesn't everyone use the Feather Shuttles?

Usually, trained professional uses the feather shuttle. On the other hand, casual player’s people love to employ plastic shuttlecock and not feather ones. People, especially new players, prefer plastic shuttlecocks because they are more durable as well, as they are more economical when compared to feather ones.

Moreover, the nylon shuttlecock has a flatter trajectory when compared to the feather shuttles. In other words, it can travel slightly further than the feather shuttles, which also turns out beneficial for casual players.

Feather shuttles offer more control, deep and high clears, and amazing sound but are not very durable in comparison to Plastic.


Is feather shuttlecock better than Plastic?

It is impossible to tell which one is better the feather shuttlecock or the plastic one; it all depends on the playing level. For instance, professional players use feather birdies as it has the tremendous initial speed for close net shots because of parachute-like trajectory. In addition to that, it is relatively easier to hit a feather shuttlecock properly because of its shape, they do not deform like a plastic shuttlecock.

Hence, it is a perfect choice for experienced players who loves placing the shots accurately.

Likewise, the plastic shuttle is a good choice for players that play badminton as a source of fun. Mainly because it is more durable, the price is less than the feathered one and eco friendly. Read – How Animals are the biggest sports fans.

What type of shuttlecock is used in the Olympics?

Generally, YONEX AEROSENSA is the badminton shuttlecock used in major international tournaments across the globe, including the Olympics. These are lightweight Goose feathered shuttles from YONEX developed with precisely engineered technology that guarantees consistent performance. 


Do different Speed Ratings affect the durability of the shuttle?

Yes, it is. If you are not using the below-mentioned shuttlecock speeds as per temperature in your playing area then durability will be affected.

75 - slow, used in high areas (mountains) 
76 - slow medium, used in warmer regions 
77 - medium, used in coastal areas 
78 - medium-fast, cool area 
79 - fast, cold area, below sea level 

How to check which speed is good for you?

The official way of testing the speed of a shuttlecock is to take a single shuttlecock behind the back boundary line of the court. Using a full underhand swing, a player should hit the shuttle straight in a manner where the shuttlecock flies parallel to the side boundary lines towards the other end of the court.

The visual cues indicated by the slight protrusions at the back of the court can be used to determine if a shuttlecock has the right speed. As long as it falls between the two ticks, the shuttlecock has the correct speed.

Visual cues to test shuttlecock speed

Is it feasible to increase the durability of a Feather Shuttlecock?

Yes, it is possible to increase the durability of feather shuttles. It is pretty straightforward to do so. There are two primary ways to improve the durability of the shuttlecock. All of which includes allowing the Feather birdie to sit in a proper, humid environment before game use.

It is worth mentioning that all of the methods mentioned below are to be applied overnight or maybe a few days before. Since it can take hours to a whole night before the shuttlecock is ready to use.

Anyways here are some ways that can help improve the durability of the Feather Shuttlecock:

1. Steaming the Shuttlecock

Steaming a badminton shuttlecock is a pretty straightforward task; you just have to place the shuttles that you want to use for the next day into a tube. Yes, you have to follow this process day before, so there is time for the shuttle to retain the moisture.

If you are done with putting the shuttles into the tube, you just have to ready your steaming apparatus. Once it is ready, you just need to place the entry end over the steaming instrument, with both ends of the tube open.

When the steam starts coming out of the top end of the tube, it is time to take it off the steamer. Along with that, you have to put the end caps back on quickly to prevent the stream from escaping. Now, just put the tube exit-end facing up and let it settle down for 12 hours.

Note: The above-mentioned process should take around 30 seconds to a maximum of one minute.

2. Using a humidifier

There is special equipment called Shuttlecock Humidifier used for humidifying shuttlecocks. These are simple devices that are pretty straightforward to use, and they fit a shuttlecock tube perfectly. These devices are generally used by professional players, but casual players can also use them as the chances of thermal burns are pretty less while using humidifiers.

On top of that, they are portable and can be used anywhere. Lastly, you might find it hard to believe, but these types of products are not very costly and save a lot of money spent on the shuttles in the long run and give you the ultimate experience but increase the durability.

Also Read: 6 badminton exercises that will improve your performance on the court.

Is Air Badminton as successful as traditional badminton?

BWF and HSBC together introduced Air Badminton to popularize the game of Air Badminton; along with that, they also launched the AirShuttle. In simple words, it can be described as outdoor badminton. 

It was introduced to increase the popularity of the game of badminton. The shuttle used in this game is newly designed to fulfil outdoor requirements but as per the customer reviews these are not very durable and flight is not as good as the current plastic shuttlecock. So, for now, you can avoid buying this product.


Why do people prefer Yellow Nylon shuttles over white? Is there some myth? Selecting the correct colour.

You might have noticed that Nylon shuttles come in two colors- Yellow and White. Though there is no major significance of these colors, Yellow is added just to improve the visibility, particularly against contrasting background colours.

What's more, besides the yellow and white colour, you might have also noticed that there are different colours used on the cork. These colours indicated the speed of the shuttle, with green being the slowest, blue being average, and red being the fastest. These speeds are similar to the speeds of the feather shuttles.

Also Read - 10 Myths of Badminton Game



You might have heard different names followed by a number if you have purchased a shuttlecock. You might have also noticed that they come in various materials, different colours, and more, but do you know the significance of other aspects of the shuttle. For instance, the colour used on the corks signifies the shuttle speeds, whereas the build material affects the durability as well as the flight of the birdie.

The Nylon shuttlecocks are durable, and they offer more speed. That's one of the reasons new players prefer them. Whereas professional players like using feathered shuttles as they provide better control to the players. In fact, feathered shuttles are the ones used in international events like the Olympics.

Moreover, shuttles come with different speeds; you have to choose the speeds according to your playing condition. The speeds are clearly mentioned on the tube.

 All-in-all, shuttlecocks have more than meets the eye; there is a lot of engineering that goes behind making each shuttlecock. And you need to be familiar with various aspects of the shuttles in order to find the right one.

 We hope that now you know or have an idea about what to look for while buying new badminton shuttlecocks and your search ends here.

 Keep visiting sportsuncle for more educational pieces about your favourite sports.

Also Read: How to choose the best grip for your badminton racket?

Comments: 1
Sports News Live 09-12-2022 11:06
Thank you for sharing with us,I too always learn something new from your post.
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