This article might ruffle a few feathers (pun intended) in the Badminton community, but I only recommend one kind of shuttlecock. I’ve played with a lot of different shuttlecock brands over the years and have found only a few that are worth what you pay for them, cheap or expensive. Unless you play only for leisure and have no interest in competitive play I wouldn’t even recommend plastic nylon shuttlecocks.
The reason why is that feather shuttlecocks have become a bit of a false economy. Some people buy the cheapest feather shuttlecocks they can get because that’s all they can afford. I guarantee that they’ll go through more of those cheaper shuttles and end up paying just as much as they would have for better quality shuttlecocks.
My recommendation for the best shuttlecocks that balance cost, quality of flight and durability are Yonex’s Aerosensa 30 and 40 shuttlecocks. They’re incredibly good quality in terms of a consistent flight and hitting. Yonex makes shuttlecocks as nobody else can. The durability of the Aerosensa 30s and 40s sets them apart. Treated right, one shuttle can last a couple of games.
Let’s have a closer look at what makes Yonex’s Aeronsensa 30s and 40s shuttlecocks so great.
Like a house, to build a quality shuttlecock you need a solid foundation. The base of the shuttlecock is the foundation. Yonex only uses 100% solid cork. Some other brands use composite cork or a combination of solid and composite cork, this leads to a lack of quality and stability.
I often see cheaper shuttles use composite cork for the base. What happens when the shuttle is used for a while is that the cork starts to concave. The shuttle base is made with cheap filler that can’t withstand the shock and power of being hit constantly. You get a drastically different feel when you hit the shuttle. It can make you shots feel less crisp and leads to inconsistent feedback from the shuttle. It’s hard to get a good feel for your shots as a result.
Yonex uses only 100% quality cork which makes them super durable. You get good consistent feedback from the shuttle even after using the same shuttle for a while.
Every shuttlecock has 16 feathers in it. The best shuttlecocks are made with goose feathers. Yonex go a step further and only select the longest feathers from only the left wing of a goose. There’s a good reason for this. The longer feathers are stronger than the shorter ones providing better durability. They also only choose them from the left wing so that all the feathers used have the same aerodynamic properties. This allows for a realisable, consistent flight path for the shuttle.
Cheaper shuttlecocks will either use duck feathers or goose feathers but not of the same wing or feather length. This leads to poor durability and inconsistent flight, not just for one shuttle, but between one and the rest. Quality feathers are so important that without them it’s impossible to make a good shuttlecock. Yonex never fails to deliver in this front.
Yonex doesn’t skimp on quality for anything. They take amazing attention to detail when creating Badminton equipment. Have a watch of this video below which shows how Yonex shuttlecocks are made. The attention to detail and level of craftsmanship is unparalleled.
Quality runs throughout every inch of a Yonex shuttlecock. They continually improve and innovate products. Aside from the feathers and cork they also have a special formula for the glue they use for shuttlecocks.
You can see from the video that Yonex employs highly precise machinery. They’re used to wash, cut and shape the feathers. They’re used to cut the cork and leather cover. They’re used to insert the feather and tie them together with string. This is important, these machines are so incredibly precise it provides consistency in the production line. Consistency which means a consistent experience for us Badminton players to enjoy.
Machines are great for speed, efficiency and precision but true craftsmanship requires a human touch. At every stage of the process of making Yonex shuttlecocks, there is quality control. You see people checking the shuttlecocks for shape, speed and packing. Making small adjustments or grouping shuttles into similar speeds. Yonex still has the human touch everyone wants.
There are plenty of places to buy Yonex shuttlecocks. Any Badminton retailer will stock them. You can find them at bigger sports stores in the UK and America but the easiest way to buy them is off Amazon. The Aerosensa 30s can be found here on Amazon as well as the Aerosensa 40s on Amazon here.
Written by Liam Walsh who lives in Manchester, England. Working as a Software Engineer but moonlighting as a dad, Badminton player/coach and creator of BadmintonsBest.