Shuttlecock Speed Ratings Demystified: How to Choose the Right Shuttle

bruised shuttlecock
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Last Updated on 04/11/2023 by Kriss

Have you ever had some shuttles that were particularly slow or maybe super fast? There can be multiple reasons for that behavior but the most obvious one is the shuttlecock speed rating.

Today we will explain the different speed ratings and also go over other factors that might affect the speed of your birdies.

Let’s dive right in!

Badminton Shuttlecock Speed Ratings

Different shuttles from different manufacturers all have their own speed ratings. This rating is done with numbers ranging from 75 to 79; lower numbers mean slower speeds, while higher ones indicate faster speeds. Yonex uses numbers ranging from 1-5.

Now why are these ratings important? Different conditions require different speed ratings. A warm environment like you find in Dubai for example requires slower shuttles because the hot air makes the shuttle faster. Colder environments like the one you would find in Norway with the Artic Open require faster shuttles.

Badminton Shuttlecock Speed Rating Chart
Speed rating for different temperatures and brands.

Speed Rating Example

The Victor Queen is a popular training shuttlecock that comes in two different speed ratings: 77 and 78. You can find the rating at the back cap. This is the case for most other tubes as well. Some use stickers, some have it engraved. But the speed rating is 9 out of 10 times on the bottom or front cap.

Speed Rating from Victor shuttles
Victor shuttlecocks speed rating on the cap.

Yonex uses a sticker – also at the bottom of the tube:

The Yonex AS20 have a speed rating of 3.

Impact of Temperature and Humidity on Shuttlecock Speed

There are multiple other factors that impact the real shuttlecock speed on court; environmental elements like temperature, altitude and humidity can play a role. These elements can alter air density, causing your shuttlecock to behave differently.

If you’ve ever played badminton in different climates or altitudes, you might have noticed how these conditions affect your game. A warmer environment makes the air less dense – this lets the shuttle travel faster than usual. On colder days however, denser air can slow down your birdie.

We already talked about this topic in our Plastic vs. Real Feather Shuttlecock article but we will get a little bit more in detail here.

Air Density Reduces With Heat

In hot weather conditions where temperature rises above average sea level norms, for instance during summer months or if playing at an area closer to the equator, shuttles tend to fly quicker due to lower resistance from thinning atmosphere. Altitude also plays a role here – the higher you get the lower the air pressure.

Humidity Adds Weight

Humidity’s impact on shuttlecock speed is interesting because moisture actually weighs down the birdie. When there’s high humidity around, like in rainy seasons or coastal regions, the feathers absorb water vapor making them heavier, thereby reducing its flight pace.

Ironically – humidty increases the durability of your shuttles. We’ve covered this topic in our post about how to increase the durability of your shuttlecocks here.

Sometimes, shuttles can still feel different, even when they come from the same tube. This can be a quality check issue, but remember that a lot of the process of making these shuttles is still done by hand. So a little bit margin for error is always there.

Also read: The Intricate Process of Crafting Feather Badminton Shuttlecocks

Plastic Shuttlecock Speed Ratings

Plastic or nylon shuttlecocks also have a speed rating. They don’t use numbers – but colors around the cork. The Yonex Mavis 300 is available in 3 colors: Green for slow shuttles, blue for medium-speed shuttles, and red for fast shuttles. You can see Yonex’s recommendation in the image below.

Yonex nylon shuttlecock speed ratings (source: Yonex)

Other manufacturers also use the same system, like Oliver, Li-Ning, or Victor.


Well, there you have it! We’ve covered everything you need to know about shuttlecock speed ratings. You now understand how factors like air density and temperature can alter a shuttle’s speed.

Faster isn’t always better – so choose the right shuttle for your environment.

Happy playing!

FAQs in Relation to Shuttlecock Speed Ratings

What are shuttlecock speeds?

Shuttlecock speed refers to how fast a badminton birdie flies. It’s influenced by factors like material, design, and air conditions.

How do I choose a shuttlecock speed?

Pick your shuttle based on the playing environment like humidity, altitude, and temperature.

What is the difference between shuttle speed 75 and 79?

A speed rating of 75 means it’s suitable for hotter environments or higher altitudes while 79 works better in cooler climates or higher altitudes.

What do the colors of the shuttlecock mean?

The color indicates its speed rating. Green is slow (speed 75), blue medium (76), red fast (78). These colors are usually used on plastic shuttlecocksnylong shuttlecock with red ring

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