Butterfly Tenergy 05 Review

Butterfly Tenergy 05 Review & Playtesting

The Butterfly Tenergy 05 marked a “before and after” in the history of table tennis.

After release, Tenergy 05 became the choice of countless professionals and it has been used by some of the most prodigious players to ever grab a table tennis racket. It’s still easily one of the best rubbers for your forehand.

Tenergy 05 is the spinniest and highest-throwing offering in the Tenergy line, making it an interesting option for players who love to attack with a loop.

We bought a sheet specifically for this Tenergy 05 review, testing it for 10+ hours to discover exactly how it behaves.

The Butterfly Tenergy 05 is the most popular offensive rubber, and it has been one of the best-selling rubbers ever since its release in 2008. Its sponge is medium-hard and has lots of inbuilt tension. The Tenergy 05 is a fast and spinny rubber, which combines a high arc with an extreme, pronounced parabola. The strongest attributes of this rubber are its spin, its safety when looping, and its power. It excels at all kinds of loops, whether that’s open-ups, counters close and away from the table, brushed loops, and power loops. The Tenergy 05 is unique for its consistency and safety when looping. All of these attributes make it a superb rubber not only for rally play but also for 3rd ball attacks. The only cons of the Tenergy 05 are its steep price and its sensitivity to incoming spin.

Perfect for: Intermediate and advanced attackers on the forehand side, advanced offensive players on the backhand side, intermediate and advanced defenders on the forehand side. 4-10+ years of playing.
Superb speed and spin.
Great control and safety when looping.
Excels at all kinds of loops.
Very confidence-inducing.
Its safe arc and pronounced parabola give a great margin for error.
Great for backhand exchanges.
Great for chopping.
Serves carry tons of spin.
Ball slippage is non-existent.
Spin sensitivity.
Hard to control the passive serve receive.
Unforgiving for players with timing issues or improper technique.


About the Reviewer

Alvaro Munno - Table Tennis Player & Author

Alvaro brings 7+ years of playing experience. He’s tested 20+ rubbers for Racket Insight and his style is The Controller.

About the Review

Blade Used: Stratus Power Wood
Rubber Thickness: 2.1mm
Hours Tested: 10+

Recommended Playstyles

We recommend the Butterfly Tenergy 05 to players who want to attack their opponents with spinny, powerful and consistent loops.

Recommended Playstyle -The-Agressor
Recommended Playstyle -The-Controller

Design of the Butterfly Tenergy 05

The Butterfly Tenergy 05 comes in a high-quality sealed package.

A picture of how the Butterfly Tenergy 05 Package

Upon opening the package, we find the rubber. The version we ordered is a shiny black 2.1mm sheet of Tenergy 05.

A picture of the Butterfly Tenergy 05 Inside Package

The topsheet of the Tenergy 05 is extremely grippy and slightly tacky.

The sponge on the Tenergy 05 is an intense orange color. Its hardness is medium-hard, around 48 degrees ESN. 

The Tenergy 05 incorporates two of Butterfly’s groundbreaking innovations: the High Tension technology and the Spring Sponge. These technologies allow for powerful, versatile offensive play.

The Tenergy 05 was first released with these two technologies in 2008. To this day, most manufacturers are still trying to recreate its playing characteristics, and they still haven’t been able to achieve them.

This explains the steep price of the Tenergy line. It’s just that there’s nothing out there quite like these rubbers, and this is especially true for the Tenergy 05.

The difference between the 5 models of Tenergy rubbers (05, 19, 25, 64, and 80), lies in their pimple structure.

The distance between the pimples makes a huge difference. The closer the pimples are, the more contact they will have with the ball, producing a harder feel and more rotation.

The more spread apart the pimples are, the more spin insensitivity, speed, and softer feel the rubber will have.

The Tenergy 05 has a structure in which the pimples are closer together than those in the Tenergy 64 and the Tenergy 80. This makes the Tenergy 05 the spinniest of all the Tenergies and also the slowest, hardest feeling, and most spin-sensitive.

A picture of the Butterfly Tenergy 05 Spin

Its arc is also the highest in the Tenergy series:

A picture of the Tenergy Series Arc

The Butterfly Tenergy 05 weighs in at 49 grams, a good weight for a rubber with these playing characteristics. 

Similar medium-hard high-end rubbers such as the Tibhar Evolution MX-P (51 grams) and the Andro Rasanter R47 (49 grams) weigh the same or more than the Tenergy 05.

The Tenergy line is often compared with the Hurricane 3 given that professional players in Europe use Tenergy rubbers and professional players in China use Hurricane rubbers.

There is a substantial weight difference between the Tenergy 05 and the Hurricane 3 NEO (53 grams). This is one of the advantages European rubbers have over Chinese rubbers: their lower weight.

Butterfly Tenergy 05
  • Weight (Cut): 49g
  • Speed: High
  • Spin: Very High
  • Control: Medium
  • Tackiness: Slightly Tacky
  • Hardness: Medium-Hard
  • ITTF Approved: Yes
  • Sponge Thickness: 1.7mm, 1.9mm, or 2.1mm

Summary: Add tons of quality to your attacks by using the most legendary offensive rubber ever created.

Playtesting the Butterfly Tenergy 05

Before analyzing the rubber, I must mention that we tested the Tenergy 05 on a Tibhar Stratus Power Wood, a balanced, all-wood OFF- blade.

The Tenergy 05 can be paired with ALC blades for extreme power and spin (most professional players favor this combination), or it can be paired with defensive blades to perform vicious chops.

The Tenergy 05 is a medium-hard, fast rubber that’s known for its high arc, its pronounced parabola, and its unparalleled spin capabilities. 

As you can tell from my 4.8/5 rating, this is the closest rubber to perfection I’ve ever tried.

This is evident by the number of professional players who have used and still use the Tenergy 05.

What confused me the most was that, at some point, virtually every high-level player was using it, but not necessarily for the same purposes.

The amazing thing about the Tenergy 05 is that players with different, contrasting playing styles used it or continue to use it and it is the best rubber for them.

Timo Boll, the best German player of all time, used the Tenergy 05 on the forehand and the backhand to support his consistent, spinny attacks.

Timo Boll testing the Butterfly Tenergy 05
Source: Butterfly

Ma Long, the best player of all time, used the Tenergy 05 and the Tenergy 64 interchangeably on the backhand side to support his punches, quick counters, and open-ups.

Koki Niwa also used the Tenergy 05 and he played most of his incredible chop blocks with it.

But what’s even more incredible is that the best defender of all time, Joo Se Hyuk, chose the Tenergy 05 as his forehand rubber. 

Joo Se Hyuk chops, fishes, counterloops and opens up on his forehand side. 

Why does seemingly everyone benefit from using it? Why is it the best choice for spinners, power loopers, and even defenders?

After several hours of testing, I’m confident that I found the answer.

The Butterfly Tenergy 05 has a set of characteristics that no other rubber has.

1) It can generate tons of spin.

2) It’s medium hard, so it doesn’t bottom out easily.

3) It’s fast but not overly bouncy.

And, most importantly:

4) It has a unique arc that no other rubber can replicate.

All of these characteristics make for a very coherent, safe rubber. No other rubber that I have tried at this performance level is as spinny nor as consistent as the Tenergy 05.

As evidenced by the number of professional players using it on either side, it’s an amazing rubber on both wings. I’m currently using it on my forehand side.

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Driving and looping

The Tenergy line is made for aggressive looping. Driving with the Tenergy 05 is great, but the star of the show is its looping capabilities.

The Tenergy 05 delivers a lively feel in the hand, but it isn’t that bouncy. Drives travel with a high arc, feel stable, and have good speed.

The Tenergy 05 is made for looping. Loops travel with plenty of safety and instill a sense of confidence in the player from the word go.

I found that I could get more forehand loops on the table with the Tenergy 05 than with other rubbers in its speed range, and I could get more safety on my loops even when compared to slower, flatter-throwing rubbers such as the Hurricane 3 NEO.

The arc on the Tenergy 05 is very high, but its parabola is quite extreme. To illustrate what I mean, let’s take a look at the arc comparison diagram once again:

A picture of the Tenergy Series Arc

What’s evident at first sight is that the Tenergy 05 has a higher arc than the Tenergy 80, and so does the Tenergy 80 when compared to the Tenergy 64. However, this isn’t the main takeaway of the diagram. 

The most important characteristic of the Tenergy 05 isn’t necessarily its high throw, it’s its bounce. 

If we take a closer look at the diagram, we can see that the Tenergy 05 is not only the Tenergy rubber with the most clearance over the net, but it’s also the one that lands shorter on the table.

If we analyze the arc on the Tenergy 05 versus the arc on the Tenergy 64, the Tenergy 05 has plenty more clearance over the net, but it is also a lot less likely to overshoot the table.

This is, in my opinion, the special characteristic of the Tenergy 05. It’s arc.

Forehand loops with the Tenergy 05 carry great speed and superb spin, a lot more than conventional ESN rubbers. Loops hit with the Tenergy 05 had noticeably more speed and spin than those played with the Rasanter R47 or the Fastarc G-1.

In addition to this, I was able to land at least as many or even more loops on the table with the Tenergy 05 than with the rubbers mentioned beforehand. I can also land many more loops on the table with the Tenergy 05 than with the Tibhar Evolution MX-P.

Contrary to popular belief, I think that the Tenergy 05 is a very safe and controllable rubber when looping.

If your timing and technique are right, then you’ll have plenty more margin for error with the Tenergy 05 than with other rubbers because of its unique arc.

I feel that you just have to get your contact right. If you don’t contact the ball too thickly, the rubber is going to get the ball on the table.  

In the following clip, I’m performing one of my favorite irregular drills: hitting forehands from the backhand side ¾ of the table.

As you can see, I was extremely consistent with the Tenergy 05 and I can get as many loops on the table as I want.

If I got to the shot in the correct position and hit hard, my shots were traveling with immense power.

If I was not in the correct position to play the shot, I could simply brush the ball and go for spin. You can really feel the topsheet biting the ball and the ball sinking into the sponge when brushing the ball.

A trademark attribute of the Tenergy line is its high arc and bounce. Loops hit with the Tenergy 05 “kick” upwards after bouncing on the table.

This makes the opponent’s blocks return slightly higher, which gives the attacker more margin for error on the next shot (added to the already high safety the arc gives you).

Here’s another training video showcasing the uniquely high arc of the Tenergy 05:

Playing away from the table requires little effort and the arc is almost perfect. The Tenergy 05 is quite consistent and it’s also very good when picking up low balls. 

It has tons of grip, plenty of speed, and a safe, high arc, making it ideal for rallies at mid-distance and away from the table. 

However, I found that I would miss the table more when counterlooping away from the table than when looping the ball normally.

I found that to get the necessary speed on the ball, I had to impact the ball a bit more, and not brush it as much.

To play away from the table, I had to have good timing, or else I would constantly overshoot.

I had to pick my opportunities. I couldn’t just hit every ball hard, as I would with a tamer rubber.

Another attribute I love about the Tenergy 05 is its very satisfying “cracking” sound.

I liked counterlooping close to the table more than counterlooping away from the table. 

If you close the angle accordingly, you can play some very extreme angles. 

The spin capabilities and the arc of the Tenergy 05 enable you to play parallel counterloops and other harder variations of the counterloop a lot more easily:

The Tenergy 05 is not necessarily forgiving for counterlooping as it requires correct timing and technique, but if you know what you’re doing, it is indeed safer than most other offensive rubbers.

Open-ups were also an area of strength for the Tenergy 05. 

Open-ups carried great spin and speed and were overall very consistent. The grip levels of the Tenergy 05 helped in this regard, as you can pick up heavy backspin balls or low balls very easily. 

Backhand exchanges are also really good with the Tenergy 05 if you have good timing.

The Tenergy 05 excels at topspin shots. Safe topspins from mid-distance and short counters were its main strengths regarding the backhand wind.

Serve and receive

Serving and receiving are quite good with the Tenergy 05. The only caveat is that passive serve receives can be tricky. 

In terms of serving, the Tenergy 05 is excellent. Serves carry noticeably more spin than your average rubber.

In addition to this, open-ups and loops are great with the Tenergy 05, so it’s a very good 3rd-5th ball attack rubber.

You can serve backspin and open up, or serve long and loop-kill the following ball.

Active serve receives are great with the Tenergy 05. Passive serve receives, not so much.

The Tenergy 05 is a superb flicking rubber. Its high arc helps when clearing the net and its spin generation and explosiveness make it a great rubber for the banana flick (or strawberry flick).

The grip levels on the Tenergy 05 are superb, so opening up play against short backspin serves is easier than with most other rubbers we’ve tried.

However, the passive serve receive with the Tenergy 05 is one of its weakest points.

The Tenergy 05 is a very spin-sensitive rubber, so you have to pay close attention to the spin on your opponent’s serves to return them correctly.

If you slightly misjudge the spin on the ball, you’re going to give your opponent an easy chance to win the point.

It did help, however, that it isn’t as bouncy as the other Tenergies or the Tibhar Evolution MX-P, for example. It is more bouncy than most average rubbers, but the effect is not as extreme as other high-level rubbers.

Blocking and chopping

I liked blocking with the Tenergy 05.

The Tenergy 05 has great stability due to its hardness. 

Active blocks also work wonderfully with the Tenergy 05. With a slight flick of the wrist, you can add speed to your opponent’s shots, making your blocks very dangerous. 

The only time when the Tenergy 05 was hard to control is when trying to block very spinny shots.

You really have to close the angle of your racket with the Tenergy 05 to return the ball properly. 

I found it hard to block safely and consistently but if you block the ball correctly your return will be very dangerous.

As we said before, most high-level players used this rubber at some point or another and they blocked the loops of the best players in the world with it. Koki Niwa even chop blocked with it.

In short, blocking requires great touch and a good ability to read spin.

Chopping is great with the Tenergy 05.

You get quite a bit of sink on the rubber and it also feels firm and stable enough. 

The Tenergy 05’s potential for chopping is through the roof. The Tenergy 05 generates spin like no other rubber.

Lots of high-level defenders are using it, and the best defender of all time used it for years. 

In this clip, we can see the great touch and safety the Tenergy 05 has. 

In the first clip, I was trying to show its looping capabilities, but I instinctively went for a chop block because I felt that it’d go in, and it did. Again, the Tenergy 05 is a very safe rubber with an excellent touch for the ball.

It must be noted that we reviewed a 2.1mm sheet of Tenergy. Thinner variants of the Tenergy 05 would be much better for chopping, especially when paired with a defensive blade.

Alternatives to the Butterfly Tenergy 05

Nittaku Fastarc G-1 Cover

The Nittaku Fastarc G-1 is a more affordable alternative rubbber to the Tenergy 05. Their throw is similar, but the Fastarc is slightly slower and less spinny.

Butterfly Dignics 09C

The rubber that most professional players moved to from the Tenergy 05. It’s not necessarily a similar rubber, but it’s now the high-performance rubber of choice as the Tenergy 05 was years ago.

Tibhar Evolution MX-P

The only rubber at its price point with similar characteristics to the Tenergy 05. It has slightly less spin than the Tenergy 05 but it’s faster and lower throwing. However, it doesn’t last nearly as long as the Tenergy 05.

Overall reflections on the Butterfly Tenergy 05

The Butterfly Tenergy 05 is a superb rubber, not only for offensive players but for everyone that can make use of its unique characteristics.

What surprised me the most about the Tenergy 05 was its consistency.

I thought that I’d try a super fast, hard-to-control rubber. This wasn’t the case at all.

The main attribute of the Tenergy 05 is, in my opinion, the safety it has when playing high-quality loops.

Landing spinny loops in succession feels effortless with the Tenergy 05.

If I had to give a direct comparison, I’d say that the Tenergy 05 is like a slightly harder Donic Baracuda with 2 layers of booster or like an improved version of the Fastarc G-1.

The Tenergy 05 is a superb offensive rubber on both wings. I’d encourage you to try it if you’re confident in your timing and your serve-receive abilities.

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The Controller

Alvaro’s been playing Table Tennis since he was 15 and is now ranked within the top 100 in his native Argentina. He loves to compete in provincial tournaments and is always looking for ways to improve. Alvaro made his favourite memories with a racket in hand, and he joined the RacketInsight team to share his passion with other players!

Blade: Butterfly Fan Zhendong ALC | Forehand: Butterfly Dignics 09c | Backhand: Butterfly Rozena
Playstyle: The Controller

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