Real Feather Shuttlecock: Weight And Dimensions

Shuttlecock lying on scale
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Last Updated on 07/11/2023 by Kriss

Badminton shuttlecocks are made from real feathers. Even though real feathers can differ in length and weight – a badminton shuttlecock is strictly monitored and stays within a tight range of weight and dimensions.

Today we will explore the exact dimensions and weight of a standard badminton shuttlecock and take a closer look at what makes a good birdie.

Let’s dive right in!

The Weight and Size of a Badminton Shuttlecock

Badminton is an old sport with roots dating back centuries. The shuttlecock that is made from real goose feathers has been there from the start. Today, the weight and dimensions are governed by the BWF. Back in 1988, they started a certification program that stated the rules for shuttlecocks. Some of these rules include things like the number of feathers, length, and materials used.

Let’s take a closer look!

Badminton Shuttlecock Dimensions

While you can technically go and read all the rules from the BWF – that is quite boring. We took all these rules and put them into a simple graphic that is easy to understand:

Detailed illustration of a real feather shuttlecock with its dimensions.
Detailed shuttlecock dimensions in mm and inches.

If you want a more structured view here are all the dimensions in a table:

ComponentDimension (mm)Dimension (inches)
Overall Length85-953.35″ – 3.75″
Diameter58-682.28″ – 2.68″
Circumference78-883.09″ – 3.46″
Length of Feather – Cork62-702.44″ – 2.76″
Individual Feather Length78-813.07″ – 3.18″
Cork Diameter25-280.98″ – 1.1″
Cork Length23-250.9″ – 0.99″

You notice that there is always a range. Just like all humans don’t have the same height, goose feathers also differ in shape, height, and size. The process of selecting these feathers is already very detailed since only special feathers under the wing are selected. Still – a margin always remains.

If you want to know how a birdie is made, you can read our post on the process of crafting a real feathered shuttlecock.

Badminton Shuttle Weight

The BWF rules state: “The shuttle shall weigh from 4.74 to 5.50 grams”. We tested this with our shuttles and each was 5 grams. A heavier shuttle would mean that it is faster and puts more stress on the racket. A lighter shuttle means that it is slower and has a more unstable flight path.

Shuttlecock that weights 5 grams.
Real feather shuttlecock weight

Did you know that shuttles have different speed ratings? You need to adjust your shuttlecocks to the environment you play in. We also covered this in a previous post that you can check out here.

How Many Feathers Does a Shuttlecock Have?

A typical shuttlecock used in badminton has 16 feathers plucked from the left or right wing of a goose. These feathers are fixed in a cork base, creating the typical shape we know. Each feather is unique – but all 16 feathers need to be the same height to ensure a consistent flight path.

A shuttlecock undergoes a balance test multiple times during its creation to ensure the final product flies perfectly. There is also a standardized testing process by the BWF which we will take a look at next.

Overview of Badminton Shuttlecock Standards and Testing

Shuttles need to have a license in order to be eligible for tournament play. The BWF requires the manufacturer to send 3 tubes of shuttles for testing purposes to them. Besides weight and the correct dimensions, the BWF also tests composition, performance, and durability.

Composition and Quality

Shuttlecocks are designed to emulate the flight pattern of traditional feathered shuttles, regardless of whether they are made from natural or synthetic materials. For synthetic shuttles, a skirt simulates the feathers, and slight variations in specifications are permissible due to material differences.

The shuttlecock needs to be rigid – the feathers / plastic cage need to sit tight in the cork.

Also read: Plastic Shuttlecock vs. Feather

Performance Testing

A shuttle’s speed is assessed by a stroke test, ensuring it lands within a specific range on the court. This test is also done by players before a match to see if all shuttles from the tube are consistent.

Other tests include flight consistency, stability, and durability. Stability is particularly crucial, with only shuttles exhibiting minimal wobble (grades A and B) being acceptable for professional play.

Durability Standards

Shuttles must also withstand the rigors of play, maintaining their shape and integrity after 5 repeated smashes. The BWF mandates that shuttles should not show significant deformation or feather damage post-testing, ensuring a high standard for competitive use.

If all of these criteria are met – the shuttle is ready for tournament play!


The weight and dimensions of a shuttlecock are not rocket science. They need to fit in tight standards to ensure perfect gameplay at all times – every detail plays an essential role in making a shuttle fly smoothly and consistently.

If you have any further questions – feel free to leave a comment.

Happy Playing!

FAQs in Relation to Weight and Dimensions of Feathered Shuttlecock

What is the total weight of the shuttlecock?

The weight of a badminton feathered shuttlecock sits between 4.74 grams and 5.50 grams, with an average of around 5.12 grams.

Is a feather shuttlecock heavier than plastic?

No, there’s no significant difference in weight between a feathered and a plastic shuttlecock. Due to the different material – a difference of 10% is allowed.

How many feathers does a shuttlecock have?

A standard badminton birdie has sixteen overlapping feathers attached to its cork base.

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