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Which badminton shuttlecock is best?

Badminton has been around for centuries. You can find the game being played at an outdoor party and even on the Olympic stage. All you need is an inexpensive set of rackets, a tall net and a shuttlecock. The shuttlecock is just as essential as the rest of the equipment. 

Picking the right shuttlecock depends on your level of gameplay. The best set is the Kevenz Goose Feather Shuttlecocks, which use real feathers and high-quality cork tips.

What to know before you buy a badminton shuttlecock

Badminton rules

Badminton’s rules are fairly simple to understand. This is especially true for casual play. The net, which is about 20 feet wide and 5 feet tall, can be played basically anywhere in an open area including a gym, parking lot or grass field. The game requires two individuals, or two teams of two, on either side of the net. The idea is simple, hit your shuttlecock to the other side and try to make your opponent miss. If your shuttle makes it across the net and hits the ground you’re awarded one point. Each serve starts a rally and the first team to let the shuttlecock drop earns a point for the other side. Whoever reaches 21 points first wins the game. 

Shuttlecock features

Shuttlecocks are projectiles that players hit back and forth across the net. They are made with a cork tip or synthetic foam that gives the object more bounce and speed off your racket. The backside of the shuttle is traditionally made with 16 goose feathers lined up in a circular pattern. Each shuttle ways around a tenth of an ounce with a cork that’s around 1 inch in diameter. Shuttlecocks can also be called birdies or shuttles.

Shuttlecock types

There are three distinct types of shuttlecocks that are mostly distinguished by their feathers or webbing. Feather shuttlecocks are used by professional players and do contain actual goose feathers. They’re easier to control and can travel longer distances than alternative versions. Today many manufacturers use nylon webbing or faux feathers made of nylon. Casual players can more easily use the nylon versions because they don’t travel as far and they decelerate quicker. This makes them easier to find in the air even after a very hard hit from your opponents. There are also hybrid shuttles that use goose feather tips and nylon ribs.

What to look for in a quality badminton shuttlecock

Carrying case

Shuttlecocks can be very delicate depending on the type you opt for. In the case of both feather and plastic shuttles, you’ll want to make sure they are properly stored so the ends don’t bend. Bent or damaged ends can disrupt the flight patterns of the shuttle making them harder to control. Much like tennis balls, which come in containers that look like a Pringles can, most shuttlecocks also have similar carrying cases. Be sure to check the description of the product beforehand to make sure it comes with a case that’s not just for shipping. 

LED lights 

If you’re throwing a party and you want a fun game for your guests to play, look no further than badminton. It’s a great choice for casual yet competitive fun much like cornhole or beer pong. If you want to up the entertainment factor for your shuttlecock set, look for one that features embedded LED lights. These unique devices have built-in color-changing LED lights within each shuttle. They can be turned on by pressing the backside of the cork. Watch them glow as they fly through the air and change colors. Keep in mind you will only be able to see the lights when playing at night.

Colorful webbing

Shuttlecocks can be difficult to see even in the daytime. If you’re playing outdoors with a bright blue sky and the sun shining overhead, you may find it hard to see this small object flying through the air. For this reason, some manufacturers have added coloring to their webbing. This addition is specific to nylon webbed shuttles, not the traditional goose feather versions. For the best color shuttles, look for ones with neon green or yellow webbing. This will increase visibility for the object making your gameplay even more enjoyable. 

How much you can expect to spend on a badminton shuttlecock

Badminton shuttlecocks cost between $12-$14.

Badminton shuttlecock FAQ

How much does a badminton net cost?

A. Fortunately, badminton is a relatively cheap sport to get into. This includes the net that’s required to play the game which can cost as low as $25. They often come with stakes to stick into a lawn or a stand to set up on a flat surface.

How much does it cost for a good badminton racket?

A. At the lower end, badminton rackets can cost as little as $10. If you want something of higher quality, look for a racket around the $40-$50 range. Professional-level badminton rackets cost over $100.

What’s the best badminton shuttlecock to buy?

Top badminton shuttlecock

Kevenz Goose Feather Shuttlecocks

Kevenz Goose Feather Shuttlecocks

What you need to know: These shuttlecocks are as authentic as it gets with traditional goose feathers lining the cork.

What you’ll love: Each shuttlecock has high-quality feathers that have been tested for quality including strength, straight lines and thick feathers. The feathers have also been treated with a formula to ensure a smooth glide through the air. This set comes with 12 pieces total alongside a sturdy carrying case. 

What you should consider: This product is not considered vegan, as it uses real goose feathers.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top badminton shuttlecock for the money

Mavis 2000 Nylon Shuttlecocks

Mavis 2000 Nylon Shuttlecocks

What you need to know: This set of six shuttlecocks is made with high-quality nylon making them an excellent alternative to feathers.

What you’ll love: These shuttlecocks use an intricate wing rib weave to mimic the structure of a real feather. This allows them to have a similar flight pattern so you can ensure consistent hits. The six shuttlecocks come in a convenient carrying case with a bright yellow nylon weave.

What you should consider: There are no color options for this particular set. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Sportneer LED Shuttlecock Set

Sportneer LED Shuttlecock Set

What you need to know: Sportneer has developed a shuttlecock set ideal for casual play, family BBQs and outdoor parties.

What you’ll love: Every shuttlecock in this set utilizes nylon feathers which make them an ideal cross between nylon webbing and real feathers. To add to the fun, they use transparent tips and LED lights inside to light up the entire shuttlecock making nighttime play very entertaining. 

What you should consider: The small batteries only last 24 hours before they need replacing.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Jordan Beliles writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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