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Table Tennis Rubbers
You should replace your table tennis rubbers at least once a year – and probably more often than that. That gives you plenty of opportunities to switch to a different rubber. So, what are the best table tennis rubbers for you to try? Here’s our expert equipment advice.
Tenergy 05 Alternatives
If you’ve ever played with Tenergy table tennis rubbers, you’ve probably wondered if there are any decent Tenergy 05 alternatives. Since its release in 2008, Tenergy 05 has been practically worshipped by table tennis players the world over!
Butterfly describes it as “the world’s best table tennis rubber”. It’s used by almost all of the world’s top players. Players even describe a feeling of “never being able to go back to another rubber” after playing with it. So what’s the problem? Well, it’s too damn expensive!
Tenergy 05 sells for $79.99 in the US and £59.99 in the UK. And that’s per sheet! You obviously need two sheets of rubber to play table tennis (one red and one black). So you’re looking at $160 (or £120) per change of rubbers. And you’ll probably need to change at least twice or three times a year. This is getting expensive!
So, are there any cheaper alternatives to Tenergy 05? Well, that is largely what we will be investigating in this post.
On this page, you’ll find:
- The five best table tennis rubbers in 2021
- Plenty of stats and graphs to help you choose between rubbers
- Links to all of our table tennis rubber reviews
The Best Table Tennis Rubbers
It’s time for our recommendations. These are, in our expert opinion, the five best table tennis rubbers. All of them are offensive rubbers for attacking play.
- Butterfly Tenergy 05
- DHS Hurricane 3 NEO
- Tibhar Evolution MX-P
- Butterfly Dignics 09C
- Eastfield A-Pro
If you’re looking for advice on pimpled, anti-spin or defensive table tennis rubbers, we’re afraid we can’t help very much. It’s not really our area of expertise.
#1: Butterfly Tenergy 05
- Probably the best selling table tennis rubber of all time
If you’re an attacking player, you can’t really go wrong with Tenergy 05. It has a great combination of high speed and high spin. On top of that, it’s not too difficult to control.
Everyone agrees that it’s a brilliant rubber that has stood out from all of the competitors for over a decade. It’s the definition of a 5-star rubber. The benchmark. The gold standard.
The only issue is if you can afford to use Tenergy rubbers. That will probably depend on how much you play and, therefore, how often you have to replace your rubbers. If you switch rubbers every six months, Tenergy 05 will cost you $320 per year. If you switch every three months, that doubles to $640!
Butterfly sponsored players are given a certain quantity of Tenergy rubbers each year for free. So they don’t have to worry about the price hikes. The rest of us do.
There isn’t another table tennis rubber that is identical in performance to Tenergy 05. So, if you’ve been using Tenergy 05, any rubber change will require you to make some level of adjustments to your technique and movements. It’s about deciding if the price saving is worth the difference. We say, if in doubt, just buy Tenergy 05.
Butterfly has recently released Dignics 05, which is sold as a better (and more expensive) version of Tenergy 05. But more on that later.
- The most popular rubber among professional players
- One of the spinniest non-tacky rubbers available
- The perfect table tennis rubber for attacking loopers
#2: DHS Hurricane 3 NEO
- A hugely popular tacky rubber used by many professionals
The Chinese table tennis rubber Hurricane 3 NEO (manufactured by DHS) isn’t a traditional Tenergy 05 alternative. However, we decided to list it at #2 due to its one big plus… price!
It is unbelievably cheap when compared to other offensive rubbers. In the US, you can get your hands on a sheet of Hurricane 3 NEO for just $22 and, unlike Tenergy, that price has remained unchanged for over five years! That means you can pretty much buy four sheets of Hurricane for the price of one sheet of Tenergy.
Hurricane 3 NEO has a very tacky topsheet and a hard sponge. This means it is ideal for creating maximum spin strokes but isn’t really suited for flat hitting. Players will often “boost” the sponge to soften it a little.
Many of the top Chinese players use Hurricane 3 NEO. They typically play with Hurricane on their forehand and then a softer rubber, such as Tenergy, on their backhand. They will be using a “national” version of the rubber, though. Not the basic $22 version.
If you’re looking for a spinny alternative to Tenergy, then perhaps consider putting Hurricane 3 NEO on your forehand and keeping Tenergy on your backhand. That would certainly save you some money and would also allow you to continue using your favourite Tenergy rubber on your backhand.
- Incredible value at just over $20
- Generate lots of spin with the tacky Hurricane 3 topsheet
- Used by loads of Chinese professionals
#3: Tibhar Evolution MX-P
- A great alternative to Butterfly’s Tenergy 05 rubber
There are seven versions of Tibhar’s Evolution table tennis rubber (MX-P, MX-S, FX-P, FX-S, EL-P, EL-S, and now MX-D). We are going to focus on MX-P as that is the fastest and the most similar to Tenergy 05.
Comparing it to Tenergy…
- It has a similar sponge (look and feel)
- It has a similar amount of speed
- It has a similar high arc thrown angle
With plenty of control and at least as good speed and spin, if not better, Evolution MX-P is a genuine Tenergy 05 replacement. In our opinion, MX-P is pretty much identical to Tenergy 05 in every way. The only difference would be in durability. It seems like Tenergy 05 rubbers last slightly longer before needing to be replaced.
The fact that Tibhar hasn’t improved upon MX-P for almost a decade shows that they are very happy with its performance. It is, without a doubt, their flagship rubber.
Tibhar Evolution MX-P is famously used on both sides by English professional Paul Drinkhall (who played with Tenergy 05 for many years prior to switching). It is also used by Slovenian players Darko Jorgic and Bojan Tokic. Vladimir Samsonov plays with the slightly softer MX-S on both sides.
If you are looking for a Tenergy 05 alternative, we can highly recommend Evolution MX-P. And if you would like more information on Tibhar Evolution MX-P you can read our full review here.
- Virtually identical to Tenergy 05 in terms of performance
- Used by a number of big name players
- Slightly cheaper than Tenergy 05
#4: Butterfly Dignics 09C
- A brand new type of table tennis rubber from Butterfly
We’re really excited by Dignics 09C as this is the first rubber Butterfly have created since Tenergy 05 that can be labelled a breakthrough. After all, Dignics 05 was really just an upgrade to Tenergy 05.
Dignics 09C has a slightly sticky surface which enables it to have much greater spin than any of the other Butterfly rubbers. This makes it ideal for serve, return and short play, as well as looping.
It is right to say that Dignics 09C is a European (or Japanese) Butterfly rubber moving slightly towards the Chinese formula. This is clear from the tacky topsheet and harder sponge. However, this rubber is still clearly a Butterfly rubber and the performance is as you would expect from “Spring Sponge”.
You might expect Dignics 09C to receive a 5-star rating but the big problem (as with all Butterfly rubbers) is the price. If you thought Tenergy was expensive, Dignics is even more expensive. One sheet of Dignics 09C will cost you $93.99! It’s actually unbelievable how expensive table tennis rubbers have become over the past 10-15 years.
Here’s a helpful video where Dang Qiu breaks down why he chooses to play with Dignics 09C.
- A modern hybrid between European and Chinese rubbers
- Semi-tacky topsheet gives greater spin
- The most expensive table tennis rubber on the market
#5: Eastfield A-Pro
- A much cheaper alternative to Dignics 09C
Eastfield is a British table tennis brand that only has two rubbers. A-Soft is aimed at beginners and improvers. A-Pro is for players that require professional levels of speed and spin but still want a bat that is easy to control.
In many ways, Eastfield A-Pro is an easier to use version of Dignics 09C. It features a similar semi-tacky topsheet that is able to generate high levels of spin. But it has a softer 37-degree sponge that is much more forgiving.
That combination makes A-Pro a great all-rounder. The sponge is ideal for blocking and controlling a rally. But let the ball sink into it as you loop and you’ll discover an extra gear due to the catapult effect. The semi-tacky topsheet helps players to keep serves, returns of serves, and pushes short.
Overall, it’s a very special table tennis rubber that is made even better by its price. You can buy a sheet of A-Pro from Eastfield direct (cutting out the middleman) for just £40 – roughly $55.
Alternatively, you can buy Eastfield’s Offensive table tennis racket (made up of two sheets of A-Pro and their Ashwood blade) for £99.95 – roughly $140. That’s an even bigger saving. After deducting the price of the blade, you end up paying just £25 ($35) per sheet of A-Pro.
- A very affordable modern semi-tacky rubber
- Similar to Dignics 09C but with a softer, more forgiving sponge
- Generate speed and spin without sacrificing control
Dignics vs Tenergy
Dignics 09C is a very exciting rubber! But it’s difficult to compare Butterfly’s new Dignics series to their old Tenergy series using a rubber without a Tenergy equivalent. Therefore, we find this comparison between Dignics 05 and Tenergy 05 to be the most helpful. Check it out before choosing Tenergy or Dignics.
Here’s a helpful graphic from Butterfly comparing the speed and spin of some of their most popular attacking table tennis rubbers.
- Bryce Highspeed is the fastest but it isn’t very popular – probably due to its lack of spin.
- Dignics 05 is marketed as being a little bit faster and a little bit spinner than Tenergy 05.
- The same is true of Dignics 80 and Dignics 64 compared to their Tenergy counterparts.
Dignics 09C is different and doesn’t follow the same trend. It is the spinniest Butterfly rubber by far. You can see that it stands out compared to the others. This is because it has a semi-tacky topsheet.
It is edging towards a European/Chinese hybrid rubber and is the first of its kind to be released by Butterfly. It is our opinion that Dignics 09C will lead the future of table tennis rubbers in the same way that Tenergy 05 was pivotal to the direction of the equipment market back in 2008.
Table Tennis Rubber Reviews
We’ve tested and created detailed reviews on the following table tennis rubbers…