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Last updated: November 25, 2021

Butterfly 401 Review – the Best Paddle for Enthusiasts

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By
Reviewed by
Reviewed by
Last updated: November 25, 2021
PingPongAcademy is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Ideal for:
  • Intermediate players looking to upgrade
  • Gift for ping pong enthusiasts
  • Players wanting more spin and power
Main features:
  • Butterfly tacky Yuki rubber
  • Flared short handle
  • 2.1mm thick sponge
Editor's Rating
9.4
out of 10
  • Control 9.6
  • Speed 9.3
  • Spin 9.2
  • Durability 9.5
  • Overall 9.4
Users’ Rating
4.4
out of 5
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    141 Users’ Ratings
    • 5 stars
      45%
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      47%
    • 3 stars
      7%
    • 2 stars
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    • 1 stars
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PingPongAcademy is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

The Butterfly 401 table tennis racket is an attractive gift-boxed professional table tennis racket set designed to help you play with superior skill and comfort.

If you’re on the lookout for the best table tennis rackets, our Butterfly 401 review will help you get all the info you need to consider whether this is the right product for you.

Read on to find out about these highly recommended paddles and their key features:

Specifications

Level
Professional
Style
Shakehand
Piles
5 Ply Wood Blade
ITTF Approved
Yes
Handle
Flared
Rubber
Yuko Inverted
Sponge
0.082 in. (2.1mm)
Dimensions
7 x 12 x 1.75 in.
Weight
13.62 oz.

Butterfly 401 Review

Butterfly has been making exceptional table tennis paddles since the 1950s and remains a leading Japan-based ping pong brand that you can trust.

The Butterfly 401 Table Tennis Racket Set we are reviewing today is certainly no less well made than any of the products made by this well-respected brand. The product is designed to optimize speed and spin for effective and precise ping pong play whilst supporting individual style with ergonomic handle design. With its shake-hand style paddle and thick rubber, which encourages more speed, the paddle is definitely an upgrade on beginner or even intermediate ping pong paddles.

Let’s take a closer look at the specifications and detail of the Butterfly 401 Table Tennis Racket Set so that you can get to know its design and build:

Construction

The paddles are constructed using a shake-hand flared paddle grip design and are approved by the ITTF ( International Table Tennis Federation Trusted Source Home of Table Tennis | ITTF Welcome to the home of the International Table Tennis Federation! The latest Table Tennis news and results can be found here on the official ITTF website. www.ittf.com ) for use at official tournaments – great news if you intend to enter. The ITTF was formed in 1926 and is the official governing body for all national table tennis associations. They organize various international competitions, including the World Table Tennis Championships, held somewhere different annually, with Houston hosting the 2021 event. Trusted Source 2021 World Table Tennis Championships Finals | WTT George R. Brown Convention Center. Houston, USA. 2021 World Table Tennis championships finals. worldtabletennis.com

They are made using a 5 plywood blade which is strong and produces plenty of power and 8 out of 10 in the standard speed rating of products like this. This means it isn’t the fastest construction out there, but it is powerful enough for professionals to use and for experienced players looking to upgrade their paddles to gain enough extra power to develop their game.

Rubber Quality

The rubber quality of the Butterfly 401 paddles is exceptional. They use Butterfly Yuki tacky rubbers, which generate a really good spin, useful if that is part of your playing style. This spin, caused by the ball sticking to the paddle, can be lost with this kind of sticky rubber unless the rubber is cleaned efficiently, so if you don’t regularly clean your kit, that could be a big downside to these paddles. It happens because dust gets stuck to the tacky surface, but it can be avoided altogether to some degree by keeping the paddles in a case between play, which the 401 comes with. You can also try cleaning them using a method like the one shown on this handy Youtube video.

Many people consider the Butterfly 401 to be beginner suitable because both sides of the paddle are covered in rubber, which has dimples, ensuring the same shot ability with both sides of the paddle (one is black, one is red). However, that wouldn’t necessarily prevent a professional from using the product. With this kind of rubber, it is also important to note that you are also highly likely to notice a strong smell at first, which can be off-putting for some sensitive players.

Sponge

The sponge on the Butterfly 401 is around 2.1mm thick, which means that the tacky rubber sits on top of this spongy layer, which is adhered to the wooden paddle itself. This thick level is fantastic for powerful offensive moves, but the control is lost to some degree. If you’re newer to ping pong, it might be that a sponge of this thickness isn’t suitable for you while you’re still learning. You can get more control with a sponge around 1.5mm, give or take a few millimeters.

If you’re a professional player, which is who the paddles are designed for, you’ll enjoy the extra power and spin possibilities of the sponge thickness featured on the Butterfly 401 paddles.

Handle Grip

The product has a shakehand paddle style. The shakehand paddle-style gets its name from the way you hold it as if you are shaking a person’s hand. The handle you hold this way also has a rounded tip that becomes thicker towards the end, avoiding paddle slip. This makes the hold more secure, and we also really liked the blue/ grey coloring, which is aesthetically pleasing.

Butterfly 401 Review - the Best Paddle for Enthusiasts

The Butterfly 401 paddle is designed with an ergonomic handle grip which provides comfort and control during play.

The only downside to the Butterfly 401 grip & handle is that it is short compared to similar paddles within this category. That could mean that anybody with large hands of wide palms might struggle to get a comfortable grip of the Butterfly 401 paddle.

Level

As the paddles have ITTF approval, it is a good sign of their build, quality, and ability to be used by professional players in games.

As their speed rating isn’t too high, the paddles are certainly a good choice for skilled beginners looking to upgrade, although as we mentioned above, a thinner sponge is usually better when you’re still in the early stages of developing your game which is why these aren’t the best beginner paddles.

Case

The paddles come with a helpful and attractive case which is extremely handy considering the tacky rubber. It helps to protect the rubber from degrading whilst also making it easier to transport the product to tournaments and practice sessions with ease.

Speed, Spring & Control

The Butterfly 401 paddles have a great level of speed and spin because of the rubber on both sides, the tacky rubber, and the thick sponge. The only criticism is that the sponge thickness reduces the amount of control that you have during play.

Players with enough experience could balance this out to enjoy the speed, spin, and power. However, the control is lacking for very new players, and there are better paddles out there for those completely new to the game.

Presentation

The Butterfly 401 paddles come in a beautiful gift box which makes them ideal for anybody who is interested in ping pong or even as a lovely gift to yourself as an upgrade.

Pros & Cons

To give you a quick-to-view look at what this product is excellent for and not so great for, here are their pros and cons:

Pros Cons
  • Thick sponge for more power
  • Tacky rubber for great spin
  • Flared handle for better grip
  • Nippy, but not so fast intermediate players will struggle
  • ITTF approved
  • Comes in a beautiful gift box
  • Comes complete with a paddle case
  • 5 Ply for plenty of power
  • 2.1 mm sponge is thick enough to make control tricky for beginners
  • Handle is short for ruling players with big hands out
  • Tacky rubber can quickly degrade without proper care

 

Conclusion

If you’re shopping for a new table tennis paddle set, this Butterfly 401 set could be exactly what you’re looking for. Hopefully, our Butterfly 401 review has helped you feel a little closer to choosing the best ping pong paddles for your budget and playing style. With the right kit, you’ll be winning game after game in no time!

References

1.
Home of Table Tennis | ITTF
Welcome to the home of the International Table Tennis Federation! The latest Table Tennis news and results can be found here on the official ITTF website.
2.
2021 World Table Tennis Championships Finals | WTT
George R. Brown Convention Center. Houston, USA. 2021 World Table Tennis championships finals.
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