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If you’ve been playing table tennis for a while now, maybe it’s time for an upgrade in the paddle department.
But how would you know what racket goes best with your current skill set? This is a question that plagues many young and new table tennis enthusiasts and even those who’ve played the game for a while. Some end up buying a racket that is clearly too advanced for them to handle while others keep on procrastinating.
In comes the Butterfly 401, a shakehand style paddle that is a perfect match for beginners and intermediate ping pong players.
Featuring a 5-ply blade as we saw in our review of the STIGA Titan. The 5-ply blade is made up of Yuki tacky rubber that sits on top of a 2.0 mm thick foam. This makes a good base for the racket blade.
We say this because the overall thickness provides good power during hits, and the sticky rubber helps to generate a decent amount of spin.
Butterfly has been producing high-quality table tennis equipment since the 1950s. One of the reasons the company has become a prominent name is its dedication and attention to detail.
Let us take a more in-depth look into the features of the Butterfly 400.
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- Tacky rubber
- 2.0 mm thick sponge
- ITTF approved
- 5-ply blade
- Shorter handle
- Tacky rubber causes stickiness in summers
- Bad balance for beginners
The verdict for this racket is a simple one, especially when you consider the price and the offering, the decision becomes quite clear.
The 5-Ply wood gives a power boost to your shots while also maintaining the weight. We’ve seen some really powerful rackets with 7-ply blades that are just too heavy and difficult to handle.
The use of tacky rubbers on top of the 2.0 mm thick sponge adds to the shot’s overall quality. You get a good spin thanks to the rubbers’ sticky surface and some speed to go with it thanks to the thick sponge layer beneath the rubber.
However, there have been some complaints regarding the rubber wearing off over time.
This is crucial to understand that dust, heat, and moisture are the topmost enemies to a sticky rubber paddle. With proper care and management, you can prolong your paddle’s stickiness for a long time. This is precisely the reason why Butterfly also added a free paddle cover to contain your racket when you’re not playing.
To think you’ll get all of this in just $25 to $30 is really amazing and persuasive.
The butterfly 401 features a five-plywood blade that we briefly discussed earlier.
We saw a similar five-ply blade on the STIGA Titan. To examine which one performed better, we conducted a test of hitting 30 balls with each paddle.
Even though both paddles are five plywood, the Butterfly 401 beat the STIGA Titan as it produced more power when coming in contact with the ball. This is probably due to the quality of wood that was used to make the blade.
Here lies an important piece of information for young enthusiasts, if you’re someone who has been playing the game for a while now and wants to upgrade to a better racket to increase the quality of their strikes.
You should definitely go with the Butterfly 401 as opposed to the STIGA Titan as you have seen the difference between the power generated by each racket and the difference in spin due to the use of sticky rubbers that you’ll read in just a while.
On a scale of 1 to 10, we gave the Butterfly 401 a rating of 7.5/10 for its impressive performance.
A really interesting fact about the rubber quality is that the rubbers used on each side of the paddle are tacky rubbers, meaning that they will grip the ball a lot more when it comes in contact with the rubber.
As a result, you can generate a lot more spin than usual.
Keep in mind that many other higher-quality rackets use these tacky rubbers, which are of more top quality and thus generate a higher spin. Because of that, we gave the rubbers a score of 8/10 since which is good but definitely not the best.
Another point to note is that both sides of the racket do not have outward-facing pimples, meaning both the red and black side will generate the same response when in contact with the ball.
Coming on to the 2.0 mm sponge that lies beneath the layers of the Yuki tacky rubber, this essentially helps the ball to gain more momentum and spin during a hit.
This is because the sponge acts like a spring and pushes the ball outwards with a greater force.
This piece of information would be particularly interesting for you if you’re someone who likes to play on the offense and attacks more.
However, a paddle’s power is inversely proportional to its control.
So, you get the speed and spin from the Yuki tacky rubbers and the 2.0 mm sponge, but you also lose some control.
Specifically, for this reason, the Butterfly 401 is not recommended for amateurs who’ve just started playing the game.
A beginner would be more suited to choose a racket with a sponge thickness of around 1.5 mm.
The Butterfly 401 is best suited for intermediate players who have gotten a control on their strokes and know how to play on offense and still remain in control of the ball’s speed.
Another impressive feature or rather a fact about the butterfly 401 is that it is approved by the International Table tennis federation (ITTF), which means that you can officially play with this racket in a professional tournament.
This acceptance by the ITTF is a testament that the racket is of a good quality and will be your money’s worth.
Flared handle grip
As we discussed in the beginning, the Butterfly 401 is a shakehand paddle, and this essentially means that you’re supposed to hold the racket as if you’re shaking hands with someone.
The handle is flared shaped, this will give you more ease and comfort in gripping the paddle as the handle gets wider from the end, which means you don’t have to worry about slipperiness.
An important point to mention here is that the handle is a little shorter than some other ping pong paddles, so that it may cause a problem for someone with bigger hands.
The handle design is another plus point, but this is entirely subjective, the grey and blue design and the carving at the lower center of the racket just add to the aesthetic of the paddle overall.
The Butterfly 401 is a promising piece of table tennis equipment that provides excellent value for the price.
It comes with a 5-ply blade that helps boost your strokes’ power, and with the sticky rubbers on each side of the paddle, you can hit spin shots of your liking.
The racket is almost 165 grams in weight, so it isn’t that heavy to play with, you won’t be getting soar arms from lifting the racket for long periods, and with the flared handle grip, you also do not have to worry about slipperiness.
For a price of around $28, the Butterfly 401 offers a good deal as it also comes with a racket cover case that will protect your paddle for heat and sweat and thus would maintain the stickiness.
It is important to note that this racket is made specifically for more intermediate players who’ve played the game for a while and perfected their angels and positions.
This racket offers the player to hone their strokes even further while adding speed and spin to their shots.