Which Brand of Shuttles ?

yonex badminton shuttle

I’m an avid tester of shuttles as I do a lot of coaching. I’ve been coaching for over 20 years and playing for over 30 years.

There’s no doubt that shuttles were better 30 years ago. Leading the pack then was RSL. In those days RSL were manufactured in UK. Sadly, RSL shuttles today are a poor imitation of their ancestors, although they still rank highly.

So what does that say? Most shuttles lack consistency in flight and speed and many just do not stand up to a good few rallies. It’s fair to say that it’s hard to compare like for like as we don’t play with the same racquets today. Racquet technology has moved significantly since 1980’s with Yonex leading the way in terms of introducing us to a new head shape and space-age super-strong and yet super-light materials.

In the race to keep prices reasonable (remember there was a shortage of feather s not too long ago because of the bird flu epidemic), some shuttle manufacturers have attempted to cut costs by introducing foreign materials to our shuttles. Many, such as Wilson now have a combination base comprising of part cork and part composite material. I salute them for trying something new. For me this combination doesn’t work and I can tell the difference on my racquet between an all cork or combination base.  Also remember that most shuttles are made by the same manufacturer and then branded so there’s actually no difference at all between many brands.

So, we’re left with the dilemma between paying for consistent flight and a degree of durability compared to inconsistent flight and who knows how long the shuttle will last. Generally I’ve found the cheaper shuttles to be a false economy usually using significantly more in matches. When monitored, these so called cheaper shuttles are certainly not the best value for money. Consistency in speed in one tube can sometimes be a joke.

By the way, look up cheap in the dictionary. Oxford English dictionary describes cheap as inferior and that is exactly what we are paying for.

Whilst I’m just like you and dissatisfied at the colossal increase in the price of feathers, there is one brand that has been consistent in its quality control above all the rest from the dozens of tests I’ve done. No surprises therefore when I name the brand as Yonex.

Usually I use Aerosensa 30 or 40 although I love the 50 best of all. I’ve been testing the new duck (yes you read right, duck feather, not goose) feathered Aeroclub 07 introduced in 2009. Yet again, and no surprises to note consistent in flight and speed which is rare to find these days. Will they take the pounding from a league match or heavy training session? Probably not, although I’ve not had enough time to measure how many I use compared to Aerosensa to provide this data.

I understand Yonex go to great lengths when shipping shuttles these days to package them properly, therefore virtually eliminating the “bad batch” syndrome.

Will we return to plastics because of the increased prices? Probably not. There’s not a single plastic on the market that can fly like a feather. Additionally, who wants to injure their shoulder or arm thumping these things compared to stroking a feather – no one.

Let’s face it, whether we like it or not, the cost of playing our beloved game is increasing. Fortunately, the costs aren’t so high as to make the game elitist because that would be the biggest shame of all.

My advice to all readers. Find the shuttle you’re happiest with and stick to it. For me it’s simple, I only choose Yonex. Occasionally test another brand if you really have to answer the cost/quality question. Best of all, get together with your badminton friends and buy in bulk to get the best prices.

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41 Comments

  1. Tom.g January 8, 2018 at 11:09 am

    Hi, you mention hurting your arm or shoulder while using plastic shuttlecocks, could you elaborate on that please? Thank you

  2. Calvin August 29, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Paul,

    Great page I just recently started reading your review and they are very Informative.

    Have you tried the VICTOR CHAMPION NO.1?.

    http://www.victor-international.com/index.php?id=78&page=product

    They are suppose to be the best shuttles made of Duck feathers by victor but when playing casual singles game yesterday the feathers broke just after a few points .

    I am quite disappointed as I tried the Victor Gold and they played well but the Cork would feel soft quite fast.

    Do you think this is because it was a very old stock or just a drop in quality ?.

    Thanks & Regards

    Calvin

    • Paul Stewart
      Paul Stewart August 31, 2016 at 10:08 am

      Calvin

      I have tried Champion number 1 and the ones I used were really good. from memory they are only available in speed 77 at the moment which is way too slow for the halls I use. Most of the time i need speed 79. So I use 78 speed Queen which are proving to be so reliable.

  3. rakman_baba August 15, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Would you still recommend victor gold champions if the AS40 was were the same money and AS30 cheaper? I think having some intermediate players amongst is means a high no. of ‘feather’ smashes that kill the birds anyways. Thus I am leaning away from the AS50s

    • Paul Stewart
      Paul Stewart August 15, 2016 at 3:57 pm

      If you can get AS50 or AS40 at the right price then it would be foolish not to buy them. I consider Gold Champion to sit just under AS40 standard but better than AS30. Generally GC are considerably better value than AS30 and AS40 because of the price differential, but AS40 are a slightly better shuttle.

  4. rakman_baba August 10, 2016 at 7:59 am

    I ended up with a box of AS50s at under £20 after discounts from Millets online. However, find it hard to justify the the premium over the AS20 which are 2/3 the price and lasted almost as long if not more when played back to back. With discounts Millets are currently during the AS30 cheaper than I can get hold of Gold Champions for. Would you still recommend the Gold Champions even if they cost more than the AS30

    • Paul Stewart
      Paul Stewart August 10, 2016 at 9:16 am

      I honestly believe Gold Champion shuttles are better quality. It looks as though Millets must be selling old stock because prices were increased in March/April. These shuttles could be relatively fresh or over a year old – we’ll never know. In my opinion AS50 are far superior in feel and durability compared to As20 however, that makes wonder about the quality you received. Millets have a good reputation so it’s difficult to know what to do. I don’t want to sound as if my sponsor has indoctrinated me. I love Yonex shuttles although I always purchased AS40 and used them for my residential weekends.

      So I’ll suggest you make a decision on what your club will accept whilst the prices have been held. However, if the shuttles don’t last as long as expected, then you’ll know why.

      • rakman_baba August 15, 2016 at 12:08 pm

        Well, Millets are selling the AS range at the same price as other websites but I found a10% discount coupon online valid for all pruchased

      • Paul Stewart
        Paul Stewart August 15, 2016 at 3:55 pm

        I would check whether it is still valid. I suspect the shop will have to honour it but wouldn’t be surprised it they remove it. Unless of course there is small print which says it does not apply to shuttles.

  5. rakman_baba August 1, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Hi Paul,
    I was wondering what would be the right speed of shuttles for Victor gold champions/ Carlton GT1 / AS40 or 50 to buy for doubles game play for intermediate to advance level play in a high roof sports hall in Reading, UK. I am inclined towards speed 78 and Yonex 3 but am not sure. Most websites need £50 worth to get free shipping. Didn’t want to end up with 50 pounds (3 boxes) worth of shuttles that are the incorrect speed. Interestingly some websites are now doing AS50s @ 50p less than AS40s. Any reason you would know of for that?

    Carlton GT1s are in my list as they advertise a durability coating. Do you think it would make a difference or is it just marketing speak worth ignoring? Unfortunately, not too many places on the internet to get authentic reviews on shuttles.

    • Paul Stewart
      Paul Stewart August 2, 2016 at 10:04 am

      Hi and thanks for your questions.

      I tested all of the Carlton brand shuttles and found them to be very poor.

      In general a speed 78 should be fine. i tend to use speed 79 but there are some halls where 78 is required. This is because the air is more damp where I live in the north. All of my pals in London tend to use speed 77 or 78. It’s better to be slightly fast than slow so I would elect for speed 78 on your first batch. Also, you may find conditions change as winter approaches and a slightly quick speed 78 becomes a good speed.

      I think AS50 are selling for less than AS40 because they are old stock. When new stock is available, expect a prise rise to around £25 per tube. Adverse exchange rates have been causing shuttle price increases for some time and there is nothing we can do about it.

      If you get the chance and have the budget, I would consider Victor Gold Champion, Victor Master Ace, Yonex AS30,40 50 as the best shuttles on the market.

      Good luck

      • rakman_baba August 3, 2016 at 2:51 pm

        Paul, Thank you for the advice.
        Are the Victor champion Gold’s (Speed 78) @£17.99/box in your opinion a better value than AS30 (Speed 3) @ £19.48/box in terms of consistency and more importantly durability?

      • Paul Stewart
        Paul Stewart August 5, 2016 at 10:03 pm

        Yes, they are easily better value than AS30. I used to use AS40 for my courses. I use the same number Gold Champion shuttles. I’m not saying they are as good as AS40 but they are close

      • rakman_baba August 3, 2016 at 2:54 pm

        I forgot to mention AS20 (speed3) @16.90/box. Could you please make a recommendation between these three for the best value in consistency and durability?

      • Paul Stewart
        Paul Stewart August 5, 2016 at 10:03 pm

        easily Gold Champion. AS20 are far less durable. And for the record…I really like Yonex shuttles

  6. rykard April 11, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Hi Paul,
    we are looking for some feathers for our social club play. Now that you are not sponsored by Yonex what brand would you recommend or what should we be looking for? We are beginner/intermediate level.
    cheers
    Rich

    • Paul Stewart
      Paul Stewart April 17, 2014 at 7:23 pm

      Hi Rich

      Regardless of my sponsorship, a good feather is a good feather. Sadly there are not too many around. At your current level there’s a greater chance of mishit which can destroy the shuttle. Depending on prices Yonex has a new club shuttle which I think is the TR. It’s a duck feather but pretty good if you can get the right speed for your hall. I believe Victor Gold Champion is considerably better than AS30 and cheaper but possibly too much for your budget?

      All I can suggest is that you buy a tube and test them properly per my article. Make a note of your findings and then you will be in the position to find the best value for money shuttle for your players at the moment.

      Good luck

      Paul

  7. Pradeep January 20, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Any word on Mavis 2000???

    • Paul
      Paul January 22, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      Predeep

      I do not use nylon shuttles and therefore cannot comment.

      Paul

  8. cywong September 17, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Hi Paul,

    Just wondering if you have tried Hi-Qua shuttles. If yes, any comments?

    Cyrus

    • Paul
      Paul September 17, 2012 at 10:53 pm

      Cyrus

      Sorry to say I haven’t. If I am offered some, then I will test but as I haven’t heard of them it’s unlikely they will be in UK to review.

      Paul

  9. NeilPM July 9, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Paul, have you tested any more shuttles? that would be a good match to AS30’s but would be kind of cheaper.

    Thanks,
    Neil

    • Paul
      Paul July 10, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      Neil

      The best I’ve tried recently are Victor Champion although they were a touch slower.

      I haven’t tested many brands recently because there haven’t been many new releases. Also, it depends whether I am sent any to test.

      At the end of the day, Yonex shuttles are the best and I consider they are also the best value for money. But, they are not the cheapest. Some brands don’t always give you what you think you’re getting. You may find you get 9 good shuttles in a tube and 3 “b” grade. So, whilst you may be paying £3-4 less for the shuttles, you are paying for 9 pretty good ones and they’re still not as good as Yonex – a false economy. The problem is clubs and players don’t test the shuttles properly and keep records to know what they’re really getting and whether investment in Yonex shuttles would actually give them real value for money.

      Paul

  10. SHOU April 8, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Hello Paul,

    I’m curious if you’ve tried the Aeroplane Black Labels?

    It’s a brand from China (I’m from Hong Kong). And it’s very popular.

    If you’ve tried it, do you have any good comparisons with that and the Yonex Aerosensa’s?

    • Paul
      Paul April 8, 2011 at 11:30 pm

      Hi Shou

      Yes i have tested Aeroplane Black label shuttles which are reputed to be as good as Aerosensa 50. I beg to differ.

      I tested this shuttle at the same time as I tested Victor Champion shuttles. Basically I hit the full dozen from the back line for each tube, moving along the back line to keep the shuttles together. I had speed 78 for Aeroplane and Victor shuttles and speed 4 (my usualy speed) for Yonex aerosensa shuttles.

      Sadly, the Aeroplane shuttles were the slowest of the three being nearly 2 feet short of the service line. Victor were slightly better and Yonex were spot on.

      For consistency in flight they were as good as Aerosensa 30, maybe 40, but not 50. Victor were also good. We tested a few for durability which is difficult when they’re incorrect speed. However, they were pretty good, as were Victor although neither lasted as long as Aerosensa 30.

      I made enquiries regarding Aeroplane and Victor in higher speeds but they weren’t available.

      If you can get the right speed of shuttle, then I suspect Aeroplane are very good – however, the important aspect for me is the correct speed. Sadly they were way too short of the legal limit to be of any use. I still have the shuttle but obviously can’t use them.

      Paul

      • SHOU April 9, 2011 at 4:40 am

        I see.. I’ve read somewhere that people who bring over Aeroplane’s in Canada usually take back in a speed higher. And I think it even says on their site that 50 would be equivalent to 76, though I’m not sure.

        For a economical Practice feather shuttle, what would you recommend?

        Happened to see your post on Badmintoncentral.com about ordering Aeroplane’s too!

      • Paul
        Paul April 9, 2011 at 8:30 am

        Shou

        Now you understand the problem. If 50 = speed 76 then I don’t know whether they make shuttles fast enough for UK market.

        If you can afford Aeroplane Black Label and they are the right speed for you then why not use them. Personally I don’t rate Yonex Aeroclub shuttles or Aerosensa 10 or 20 very much. They are either lower grade or duck feather which doesn’t seem to last as long. The important thing to remember here is that there are a lot of poor quality shuttles which you need to avoid. They don’t last as long and therefore they are a false economy.

        Paul

      • SHOU April 10, 2011 at 8:03 am

        That’s good to know. So your suggestions would still be the Aerosensa 30’s/40’s?

        On that note, have you ever heard of Kason KS 99’s? They seem to be IBF approved as well and are a bit cheaper than Aeroplane’s. I was considering this brand as well to test out, however, I haven’t heard much about it yet.

      • Paul
        Paul April 11, 2011 at 11:10 am

        Yes, i would recommend Aerosensa 30 or 40. I’ve used them for years and NEVER had a bad shuttle out of the tube.

        I know Kason make shuttles although haven’t seen any in UK or tested them. I’m always happy to test shuttles when I get the chance because it good to be a ble to recommend a decent budget shuttle when I find one.

        Paul

      • willnz July 9, 2012 at 6:02 am

        If the Aeroplane shuttles you were using were that far short of the testing mark, then I’d say you were testing the wrong speed! By the way the figures 76,77,78 etc. refer to the number of grains weight and the speeds 50,51,52 etc. refer to grams. Under that conversion, speed 50 (5.0 grams) is equivalent to speed 77 (or 77.16 grains to be specific).
        It would be useful if Yonex declared their speeds in either grains or grams – it would make selecting the correct speed much easier.

      • Paul
        Paul July 9, 2012 at 11:15 am

        Willnz

        The fastest speed shuttle in Aeroplane Black I can get hold of is 78. I therefore tested the right speed and they were too slow.

        Considering Aeorplane Black is a good shuttle it was disappointing that they were slow. In certain areas of UK different speeds are required. Some clubs do not pay any attention to getting the right speed of shuttle, which is rediculous. However, where I am coaching I know we need speed 79 or Yonex equivalent which is speed 4. Sadly, I cannot purchase speed 79 Aeroplace black shuttles, or Victor Champion or many other brands for testing. And, there is no point testing a shuttle when i know what speed I require in the halls I coach in.

        Paul

  11. Ed July 4, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Hmm, seems to be a lot more to know about shuttles than I was aware of. I once played Queens in a competition. If I test a shuttle, I do what Paul is demonstrating in the video, but I drive close over the net. And the Queen looked good. But when I served, all my high serves were absolutely not far enough. I lost the game while I should have won. I seemed the shuttles were okay if they didn’t have to travel high ( clear or lob) through the air. You can’t imagine how mad I was afterwords. Indeed, a lot of variables in the game of badminton.

  12. Lukasy June 2, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Hi,

    You don’t need to do that because I would play with the Victor Queen. I don’t know if you have them in the UK. But thanks for the reply!

    Greets

    • Paul June 2, 2010 at 11:37 pm

      I have only played with Victor Champion Shuttle. It’s very good but I found it a lot slower than Yonex in speed. Victor 78 was equivalent to Yonex 3 with the shuttles I tested.

      I am going to test Victor Champion 79 and see if they are a better speed. Then I can properly test for durability.

      Consistency wise, the Victor shuttle was very good. There were no duff shuttles in my tube and every shuttle flew as I would have liked.

      The Queen shuttle is available in UK. It’s a training shuttle and only available in speed 77 which is way too slow here.
      Paul

  13. Lukasy May 27, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Hi,

    Anybody tried Victor Shuttles?

    Greets

    Lukas

    • Paul June 1, 2010 at 10:54 pm

      Hi Lukas

      Yes, I’ve tested Victor Champion shuttles. I haven’t written a review on them. What do you want to know?

      Paul

  14. sam February 8, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    G’day to you Paul and Tie,

    I’ve been using ProTech shuttles for over a year, but soaring prices have made me change to another brand which is Fleet. The durability isn’t as good as ProTech shuttles but the consistency of flight and speed is the same, 11/12 shuttles are perfect and have no defaults. Paul, i tried playing with AS30 yonex, AS40 yonex, the speed and durability of the shuttles aren’t as good compared to victor/RSL/Protech/Fleet, we normally train with Yonex AS30.
    I almost forgot, there is another brand in the market, I’m not sure if they have it in the UK, its called Ozone and the company behind this brand is Prince, pretty good quality shuttles, very durable, nice speed (77), the only downside of it is that 3-4/ 12 shuttles have defaults, the shuttle will wobble in mid flight.

    • Paul February 9, 2010 at 2:53 pm

      Hi Sam

      Thanks for your comments.

      I just proves that you need always need to test for yourself. Like you say, some brands have issues with quality and consistency. It’s pretty costly when 3/4 shuttles per tube are faulty. In other words, the true price of the shuttles are 20-25% more than what you paid. Does this make them expensive.

      I tested Victor, RSL, Fleet and many others. None of these were particularly good although Victor were best for consistency. They made a strange sound when hit compared to other shuttles. They are on my list to test again.

      Sorry you feel Yonex 30/40 aren’t as good in terms of speed etc. We find them the best on the market here. If I had the choice, I would play and coach with Aerosensa 50 all the time, they are really superb. But, the cost is just too expensive for now.

      I do use Aerosensa 30 for my coaching and find them really good. There are no issues with consistency and speed, although we use speed 4 here and 78/79 in other brands when playing league matches.

      I test all my shuttles before coaching and I’ve not had a bad Yonex shuttle in any batch ever. It’s the only brand I can confidently say this about.

      I haven’t tested Prince shuttles or Protech and don’t even know whether they’re available in UK.

      Please feel free to comment any time, it’s always good to have feedback – that’s what a blog is for. Also, if you have ideas or thoughts about a particular video you would like me to film, then please email me.

      To your success.

      Paul

  15. Tie January 31, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Hi paul,
    My club uses the ashway quill
    http://www.sweatbandbadminton.co.uk/shop/detail.asp?ProductGroupID=17597&c=2644&d=569
    Do you think they are up to the standard of the yonex aerosenea?

    • Paul January 31, 2010 at 12:35 pm

      Hi Tie

      I’ve used Ashaway shuttles. They’re not bad although consistency and quality were questionable.

      They may be equal to lower grade Aerosensa shuttles such as 10 or 20 but they’re not as good as Aerosensa 30, 40 or 50.

      Whether you’re playing club badminton, league badminton, tournament badminton or booking a court with friends, you have to play with the best shuttle for your budget. As Yonex are probably the most expensive brand, this may mean you won’t use them, but they are the best.

      The difficulty here is that many clubs do not actually track shuttle usage properly and therefore they could actually be wasting a lot of money by purchasing cheaper brands.

      You would be amazed how many times I’ve tested a complete tube of a brand and found anywhere between 1-4 shuttles unfit for the game with either poor flight characteristics or huge variances in speed. It’s almost as if somebody is picking so many good ones and then filling the tube up with seconds.

      At the end of the day, choose what’s right for you. If you haven’t tested Aerosensa shuttles then they are worth a try. Personally, I only use Aerosensa 30, 40 or 50. I’m currently trying some of the Aeroclub 07 which are pretty good although not as resilient as Aerosensa range.

      Hope this helps.

      Paul

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