As all us badminton players know, there are two types of shuttles; plastic and feather. But what are the are the real advantages and drawbacks between them?
Most beginners and casual players use plastic shuttles. They're cheap, durable and widely available. Go to a local sports shop and you most likely to find a tube of plastics. But also to a casual player, the lower price of the plastics will be more appealing, because to them, they might find all shuttles the same or similar. Plastics are durable and easy to hit, which means newer players can mishit it and it won't suffer much damage at all and you dont have to have precise technique to hit it.
But as you become a better player, you start to feel that feathers are the way to go. Feather shuttles are seen as the more 'superior' type of shuttle, because of the quality of the flight and the preferred feel when it is hit. Once you hit a plastic shuttle afterwards, it feels rather 'dead' or 'numb' and it seems you dont get the same control on certain shots such as drops and nets. The sound a quality feather shuttle makes is sometimes really second to none.
Where the extra quality comes in, there obviously has to be a price to pay. First, the durability is ususally dramatically less. Feather shuttles can still be played if it has suffered a little damage, but once several feather has broken off, the flight becomes inconsistent and it renders it unplayable. Secondly, there's th increased price. Premium feather shuttles such as the Yonex Aerosensa 40/50's, can cost anywhere up to £20, even £25 a dozen in some places. Ridiculous prices many would say. Whereas a dozen of high standard plastics such as the Yonex Mavis 300's, only cost around £10 a dozen. Unless you're a serious, competitive badminton player, you'd never really consider paying that kind of money to play high end plastics.
Although if you play in tournaments, you will have to play and train using feathers, because arguably, plastics will ruin your game and technique. But when all is said and done, there is no better feeling than hitting a clean, game-winning jump smash with a speedy, quality feather shuttle.