Best shuttlecocks for intermediates wanting value for money


Last Updated on January 24, 2024 by Aske

I looked at the shuttle again. 

My opponents had to think my partner and I were stalling. I couldn’t believe it was the third fresh one in just a set, but these weren’t exactly the best shuttlecocks.

I’ve often thought that it might be more expensive to buy cheap shuttles that break all the time as opposed to slightly pricier ones that are more durable. After this game, I got intrigued by the idea.

As I began comparing shuttles, I realized that there are as many options as there are rackets, or at least it feels that way. It’s overwhelming to weed through the sea of brands and there are a number of factors to consider that make your decision even more complex.

Besides price and durability, your elevation above sea level, the air temperature, speed of the shuttle, and its flight path quality are also items to take into account. If you accidentally get a shuttle you aren’t used to, you’ll be mistiming shots until you’re able to adjust.

To make your life easy, I’ll give you a brief overview of the essentials and a simple table to find one–just one–number to remember when you’re buying your shuttles whether online or at your local store. 

When I began looking into the best shuttlecocks for badminton, the first thing I wanted to know was which ones the pro players use in tournaments. It turns out that it differs by tournament but there are currently 30 approved shuttles by BWF.

But this isn’t about super expensive international tournament-grade shuttles. This mini-guide is intended specifically for beginner and intermediate players as we tend to care most about finding a reasonably good option and getting on with our lives.

Selecting the best birdies for badminton as a beginner or intermediate player

To me, the biggest difference is whether you play indoors or outdoors as the wind can have a huge impact on shuttles made from feathers, and even make the game nearly unplayable. 

I’ve found that plastic shuttles work better in the wind, although they can almost make it feel as if you’re a different game at times. They are sold with different speeds but overall tend to fly faster, last longer, and make it harder to perform soft touches with accuracy.

Feather shuttles have different speed levels too and you’ll instantly feel the difference between a fast and a slow one. I remember playing a tournament a few months back, being surprised at how slow and heavy the designated shuttles felt compared to those from my casual sessions, which translated into mistiming shots and the game feeling “off” at first.

The way you’re intended to select your speed is based on the weather conditions where you play. The simple thing to remember is to use a slower shuttle in hot weather and a faster shuttle when it’s cold.

I’ve prepared a table for your convenience so you’ll easily be able to tell which shuttle speed you should be using. The “General Shuttle Speed” in the first column is the number you’ll have to remember when you buy your shuttles. 

The rest, like the “General Temperature”, is a generalization suitable across Yonex, Li-Ning, and Victor’s shuttles as their recommended temperatures vary by a few degrees but overall fall within these same ranges.

General Shuttle SpeedSpeed ReferenceGeneral Temperature (Celcius)General Temperature (Fahrenheit)Yonex Temp. (C)Victor Temp. (C)Li-Ning Temp. (C)Example Countries Used In
75Slow33+911. 33+35+Thailand
76Below Average27-3380-912. 27-3332 ±3.528-35China (Summer), Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia
77Average Speed22-2771-803. 22-2825 ±3.521-28China (Winter), Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, USA
78Above Average16-2161-704. 17-2318 ±3.514-21USA, Finland, Canada, Korea and Japan
79Fast< 16< 605. < 1811 ±3.5Finland, Canada, Korea and Japan, Australia (Winter)

Interestingly, only Yonex seems to have designated shuttle categories (a 1-5 scale) to represent these speeds in order to make it easier for you to restock if you’re used to Yonex shuttles. 

I did look at several sites related to Victor and Li-Ning shuttles but similar categories were nowhere to be found, so you’re best off using the “General Shuttle Speed” as a reference point if you’re trying different brands.

It’s also worth considering a shuttle’s consistency, flight quality, and even sound and feel, but their quality heavily depends on your budget. As a beginner or intermediate player I’ve found that we often don’t appreciate the difference enough to pay, say, 5x more for it.

With those details out of the way, let’s look at the best shuttlecocks next. 

Towards the end of this mini-guide, you’ll find a discussion on the best shuttlecock brands if you’re feeling courageous to try lesser-known ones in the name of saving some of your hard-earned cash.

The best shuttlecocks for beginners and intermediate players

1. The best shuttlecocks for beginner and intermediate training drills

2. The best badminton shuttlecocks for beginner and intermediate social games

3. The best shuttlecocks for badminton tournaments

4. The best shuttlecocks for outdoor play with serious beginner or intermediate players

5. The most durable shuttlecocks

1. The best birdies for beginner and intermediate training drills

Specifically for training, I’ve found it handy to use many shuttles at once to keep a good flow going.

best shuttlecocks - row of shuttles

Getting tournament-grade shuttles for drills is nice as you’ll get used to how the shuttles fly in the air and you’ll be better prepared for upcoming tournaments. The downside is that it’ll be expensive as hell. For most of us, it isn’t worth the trade-off.

On the other hand, I’ve played with ultra-cheap shuttles from brands like Vinastar and Hai Yen for less than $10 a tube. As you’d expect, they often don’t even last one set.

I’ve also used Victor’s Lark 5 and Li-Ning AYQN 024, which cost about $12 where I live, and are both somewhat decent for the price. A step up from the dirt cheap ones despite just a small difference in price. I was looking them up online but they don’t seem that widely available. 

Alternatively, Perfly 560 has been decent for the price too, but requires a Decathlon store near you ($15-$23 for a tube depending on country).

In my opinion, you’ll get the best shuttlecocks for advanced beginners or intermediate players, in terms of value for money, by buying slightly pricier shuttles that last longer. 

It’s almost as if you get a similar balance between how long they last and their price compared to the cheaper option, but with an extra boost in flight quality included in the price. Not to mention that you’ll save on the delivery fee as you don’t have to watch your stock like a hawk and restock all the time.

There’s also the added inconvenience of having to separate tubes for training drills with tubes for matches. For many of us, it’s just easier to buy one type of shuttle and use it for both drills and casual games.

If you fall in that boat as well, consider going with Yonex’s AS-30.

They don’t come cheap as it’s a medium-quality shuttle but offer better durability than most shuttles in the $15 range along with better quality flight and gameplay. The reason I’m suggesting those is that they seem to be widely available in most countries.

I recently got a tube of RSL Classic Tourney shuttles for Christmas and I decided to take them for a spin.

Their durability is decent and at the intermediate level, they tend to last for a game and a half or perhaps a full match (2 games/sets) compared to the typically cheap ones we use that tend to last, say, half a game.

That’s a 4x difference, but costing roughly 4x the price it tends to come out to the same in the long run.

Interestingly, I’ve noticed that these don’t tend to break in the same way as the cheaper shuttles. Instead, one bit of a feather breaks off compared to the whole shuttle falling apart and the shuttle still flies somewhat ok, so they tend to be fine for warm-up or practice sessions whereas the cheaper ones tend to degrade fast from that point.

Shuttle CategoryShuttle NameMaterial
The best shuttlecocks for beginner and intermediate training drillsVictor’s Lark 5Feather
Li-Ning AYQN 024Feather
Perfly 560Feather
Yonex AS-30Feather

2. The best birdies for beginner and intermediate social games

It’s a hassle to keep track of different types of shuttles for different purposes. Some players prefer to keep only one type of shuttle but use fresh ones for games and pre-used ones for drills.

If that’s you, you might find Yonex’s AS30 among the best shuttlecocks that are widely available. It’s not the cheapest shuttle out there but it’s good quality and has a good balance between price and durability.

If you aren’t sure, you might prefer buying one tube along with another, cheaper, option and take notes on durability as you play in order to calculate your real-world cost per shuttle or per game.

If you’re an entry-level player just learning the ropes, I’d consider investing in more affordable shuttles at first as there’s a higher chance you’ll break them until you improve your technique. For example, one of these options. Full disclosure, though – I haven’t tried the Eagle brand so I can’t say how good they are for the price.

Shuttle CategoryShuttle NameMaternial
The best badminton shuttlecocks for beginner and intermediate social gamesYonex AS-30Feather

3. The best birdies for badminton tournaments

Tournaments usually use specific pre-designated shuttles. If you’ve got an upcoming one you’ll be best off checking which shuttle is going to be used and play with it leading up to the tournament.

The crew and I played a tournament with the Hai Yen S70 shuttle a while back. It felt heavier, slower, and quite different overall from what we were used to. It made a meaningful difference to play with it before starting the tournament as we were able to adjust our technique in advance.

If that isn’t the case, I’d consider Yonex’s AS50 for its quality and durability.

Shuttle CategoryShuttle NameMaterial
The best shuttlecocks for badminton tournamentsYonex AS-50Feather

4. The best birdies for outdoor play with serious beginner or intermediate players

You can technically play with feathered shuttles outside, it’s just harder and more unpredictable due to the wind.

With the best shuttlecocks for outdoor play, you’re often better off with plastic-nylon shuttles as the path is more predictable since it doesn’t get swayed by the wind as much. That being said, they tend to be extremely fast and make the game totally different.

I’ve had a decent experience with the Decathlon’s Perfly PSC 900 costing like $15 for a tube of six.

Alternatively, Yonex Mavis 300 costs about the same and is a popular choice.

Shuttle CategoryShuttle NameMaterial
The best shuttlecocks for outdoor play with serious beginner or intermediate playersYonex Mavis 300Plastic-Nylon
Perfly PSC 900Plastic-Nylon

5. The most durable shuttlecocks

Some players ask about the most durable shuttlecocks, so I thought I’d include a section on that here.

If you only care about durability, look at the plastic section as plastic will probably outlast all of us. If you’re looking for the best feather shuttlecocks that are durable, I’ve found that price and quality tend to follow each other.

If you like Yonex, that means their AS-30, 40, or 50 will likely be your best choice.

Shuttle CategoryShuttle NameMaterial
The most durable shuttlecocksYonex AS-30, 40 or 50Feather

The best shuttlecock brands

When players are asked about the best shuttlecock brands, you’ll often hear Yonex, Li-Ning and Victor mentioned as they tend to get the certification allowing them to provide the shuttles for official tournaments.

It’s a shame as smaller brands seem to have a real opportunity to make a difference by offering good value for money on a product we have to buy regularly, and I’d like to support them.

So I took the liberty of looking up a number of brands to sell shuttles beyond the “big three” in case you feel courageous. I haven’t tested these, though, so try them at your own risk.

Shuttle Brands
FZ Forza
Hang Yan
Hai Yen
CM Sports


  • I’ve found the biggest difference between shuttlecock types to be between the plastic-nylon and the feather shuttles, where plastic is better suited for outdoor play and feather is better for indoor games
  • For entry-level beginners, you’re better off starting with cheap shuttles as you’ll likely break them quickly until you practice your technique
  • If you prefer the convenience of not having several different types of shuttles for different purposes, you’ll benefit from experimenting with a slightly more durable shuttle at a higher price to see if they last long enough to be worth the money for both drills and games
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