Unfortunately, there are a lot of fake table tennis products in the market right now. Especially, for one of the best brand in table tennis: Butterfly. This is true!
Please remember that: The more expensive the equipment you buy, the higher the risk that it is fake. Butterfly products are normally pricey, that’s the reason why fake products are almost everywhere.
Butterfly products that are subject to counterfeits. Fake products with lower quality can be found everywhere. And it’s difficult to spot these fake table tennis equipment. How to identify fake and genuine products marketed by Butterfly? Let’s take a look.
Last week, during the team competition in France, we have used the fake Butterfly 3 star balls without knowing it. The club didn’t know that they bought a fake ball. The real G40+ ITTF Approved Butterfly balls (check price/ read review) are totally different.
The ball is marked as 3-star ball, but it is too thin than usual. After some rallies, we have broken 3 balls. And it’s a very bad and strange feeling: Not the same bounce, not the same spin.
The club has bought the ball from the well-known distributor in France (I don’t want to mention their name here). However, the balls are clearly fake! After examining the ball, we decided to change to another ball box. It’s totally different.
So where comes these fake Butterfly products?
Where are the fake Butterfly products made?
There are many distributors of Sports equipment around the world. However, almost every fake Butterfly products are fabricated in China.
Some of these distributors (in the EU, in the USA, in Asia) just import the products from the Chinese online platform (Taobao, DHGate, Alibaba) and distribute it in their region. Because the price of these products is so cheap. By doing this, they get a lot of income revenue.
Recently, with the expansion of e-commerce (eBay, Taobao, Alibaba), FAKE products from China have started to come to serious table tennis players. The packaging is well-copied, but the product is of inferior quality. Here are some examples of fake Butterfly products at a very cheap price.
The problem is, many of these products are fake. And it’s very hard to check it. So I decide to make this article.
Note: It’s a similar problem happened to DHS Double Happiness products. There are currently many fake Hurricane rubbers on the market.
There may be fake Stiga, Joola, and Donic products, but I have not seen them often. It’s due to the price, and the popularity of the products. Butterfly and DHS are the most popular and higher prone to be fake products.
Where to buy legit Butterfly products?
Based on the recommendation of Official Butterfly (Tamasu Butterfly Europe GmbH), here is the place that you can buy the real products:
- 1. Go to Official Butterfly website: https://butterfly.tt/
- 2. Choose your country/ region
- 3. Go shopping in a specific country shopping website
Here are the address and the official social media profile of the official Butterfly dealer. Buying from these sources will ensure you receive genuine Butterfly rubbers and blades.
Tamasu Butterfly Europa GmbH
- Address: Kommunikationsstr. 8, 47807 Krefeld, Germany
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: +49-2151-93567-52
Butterfly North America – BOWMAR SPORTS
- Address: 4482 Technology Drive, Wilson NC 27896
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 800 611 7712
How to contact Butterfly Staff?
Here is the official social media profile of Butterfly Tamasu:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/butterflyttofficial/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/ButterflyEuropa
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TamasuBUTTERFLY
Verify real Butterfly blade with serial number
Many players asked me how to check for if a Butterfly blade is real or not?
“Butterflyonline.com will only accept responsibility for products bought from authorized dealers.”
They also print the serial number on each Butterfly blade. It’s for authenticity identification.
But we have good news. You can check your blade with a serial number. I will show you how to contact Butterfly about the serial number. The real Timo Boll ALC blade (check price/ read review) has serial numbers.
What is the Butterfly serial number?
Butterfly serial number is a series of 11 digits. It is used to verify the authenticity of each Butterfly table tennis blade. Here is an example of a Butterfly serial number of the Timo Boll ALC blade: S007873HYKS.
Here is another example of Butterfly Primorac Carbon blade: Q00735DI73. The serial code contains 11 digits of both letters and numbers.
Here is the explication about the Butterfly serial numbers. The first letter of the serial code will indicate the year of production. You can know the year of fabrication of each Butterfly blade. For example, the Primorac blade above is fabricated in 2016 because the first letter is “Q”.
Year of fabrication and the first letter of the serial number.
- before 1987: no tag, no serial
- 1987 – 1996: no serial, flattened lense, black tag
- 1997 – 2005: no serial, normal lens, black tag
- 2006: G, black tag
- 2007: H, black tag
- 2008: I, black tag
- 2009: J, silver tag
- 2010: K, silver tag
- 2011: L, silver tag
- 2012: M, silver tag
- 2013: N, silver tag
- 2014: O, silver tag
- 2015: P, silver tag (new logo)
- 2016: Q, silver tag (new logo)
- 2017: R, silver tag (new logo)
- 2018: S, silver tag (new logo)
- 2019: T, silver tag (new logo)
- 2020: U, silver tag (new logo)
- 2021: V
- 2022: W
- 2023: X
- 2024: Y
- 2025: Z
So the first letter indicates the fabrication year. Read below to know how to check the authenticity of the blade.
Silver Tag versus Black Tag (or Bronze Tag)
Before 2009, are Butterfly blades are labeled with Bronze Tag. While after 2009, Butterfly replaced the blade with the Silver Tag. That’s while there are 2 versions of Butterfly Viscaria: Old Viscaria with Bronze Tag, and New Viscaria with Silver Tag.
The blade with a Bronze tag, in general, has an older wood quality. That’s why the Bronze Tag Viscaria is a little faster than the Silver Tag. But Old Viscaria provides clearer vibration and better feeling.
Be careful with fake Butterfly products. Here are some Fake Silver Tag examples. The “Butterfly logos” is printed unevenly, bad quality printing. They all have bad “silver texture”.
There is one real Silver tag in this photo. Guess which one is real?
Requesting authenticity check
You could send an email to Butterfly America or Butterfly Europe (read above in the “Where to buy legit Butterfly products?”). Provide the serial number requesting an authenticity check. Or you could also message them on facebook. Some players verified their viscaria and Timo Boll Spirit that way.
Butterfly Europe has confirmed that:
Yes, you can send the serial number to email@example.com for checking. This can be tested in Japan and the number is safe because every butterfly wood has its own serial number.
Identify fake and genuine Butterfly blade
How to identify the fake and the genuine Butterfly blade? As I explained above, you should check for the “Serial Number” first. It’s the safest way to check if your blade is real or not.
Related: Check the ID Number of a rubber
In general, Butterfly blades are made of high-quality wood. The craftsmanship of the products is superior.
Here are some showcases that you can compare the real and the fake Butterfly table tennis blades.
Real versus fake Primorac
Primorac is a very Butterfly blade. It’s one of the top 10 blades of all time.
The fake one has a darker grip. And you can easily spot the miss-spelled printing “WORLD-LWADING QUALITY BLADES” on the right blade. It’s a typical mistake from China.
On the left blade, you should read “WORLD LEADING QUALITY BLADES” on the real Primorac blade.
Real versus fake Viscaria
Viscaria is one of the most successful blades of Butterfly. It’s in the top 10 list of the best table tennis blade of all time.
That’s why there are many fake Viscaria out there. Look at the picture below, the fake Viscaria is on the right.
You can see that the handle and the blade of the fake one are not symmetric. A flared handle is one of the best handles you can choose.
The fake Viscaria bought in China is the above. The fake one has a darker blue layer on the handle. While the real one has lighter blue. The ALC layers are also different. The real one has a clearer appearance of the ALC layer.
Faker handle always have darker color due to the cheap dye. These characters are similar in several other fake blades: Timo Boll Spirit, Viscaria, and Zhang Jike ZLC.
Focus on the tag. The fake Viscaria blade has a bigger silver tag. And it looks so cheap, unreal. The surface is rigorous.
The ALC layer of the fake one is also too thick. And the layer composition is wrong, compared to the real one.
The J.T.T.A.A of the fake viscaria is also printed off-center (too-much on the left).
The silver tag of the genuine Viscaria is matte. The print “Butterfly” has better quality.
Real versus fake Timo Boll Spirit
Look at the serial number. It’s printed unevenly. The force is not equal. Bad quality serial number printed is the first sign of a fake product.
The fake Timo Boll Spirit blade is the one on the top. The bottom is the real one.
As for the Viscaria, the handle of the fake one is darker, with the color blue-violet. So fake Butterfly blades have, in general, darker color due to the cheap dying process.
Let’s take a closer look at the blade’s composition. Timo Boll Spirit (China clone) is the fake blade. The ALC layer is thicker, and it goes outside of the core layer.
The silver tag has bad quality, with unpolished texture. The J.TT.A.A is printed off-center.
This is the real Timo Boll Spirit (made in Japan).
The ALC layer is thinner and has a discontinued pattern. The blue layer doesn’t go outside of the blade.
The silver tag is matte, higher quality material.
Let’s compare the handle of the real Timo Boll Spirit (on the right) and the fake one (one the left). The fake one has the worse silver tag material. The “Butterfly” is also thicker on the fake one.
Let’s take a closer look side-by-side of the blade composition. The real Butterfly TBS is on the left. The fake one is on the right.
The real Timo Boll Spirit has the ALC carbon layer regularly, seen as the blue dash. While the fake one has a larger ALC layer. The core thickness of the fake one is also thinner. And the wood pore direction is random.
The fake Timo Boll spirit has a darker, bluish handle. The handle size is also smaller than the real one.
The print (Acrylate carbon) of the fake Timo Boll spirit is blurred, unclear. They are clearly not drinking sake there in China. 😀
Real versus fake Zhang Jike ZLC
Zhang Jike ZLC and Zhang Jike Super ZLC are really hot right now. It’s the best blade for the new trend of table tennis. That’s why Zhang Jike ZLC is rather pricey (read review/ check price). It’s is highly prone to be fake.
Let’s compared the real and the fake Zhang Jike ALC. The fake one is on the left. The real one is on the right.
Look at the silver tag, the real tag is polished. The fake one is rough.
The real blade has a clear and thin ZLC layer. The fake one has a thicker carbon layer. JTTAA is badly printed (off-center) on the fake blade.
Real Zhang Jike ZLC:
- The tag is integrated firmly into the handle
- The JTTAA is very net, printed correctly
- The ALC layer is thin and clean
- The silver tag is polished, the print “Butterfly” is finer
Fake Zhang Jike ZLC:
- the tag is glued only
- JTTAA is printed off-center
- ALC layer is thicker
- The silver tag is rough
Let look at the blade’s surface of the genuine blade.
The real Butterfly blade has:
- High-quality wood, harder outer-plie
- Clearer feeling
- Logo and graphics are printed onto the surface
The fake one has:
- Cheaper price
- Softer outer-plie
- The feeling is not sharp
Let’s compare side-by-side of the fake Zhang Jike Super ZLC and the real one:
The real butterfly blade has:
- Darker top plie (yellow). Better quality wood
- Heavier and faster
The fake one has:
- A darker shade of blue due to cheap printing
- The handle color is darker (very typical point of fake product)
The fake Zhang Jike Super ZLC has:
- The bad printing on the surface. The text is not clear and sharp
- The serial number is fake and is not clear. Can’t even read the digits.
- You should verify the number with Butterfly Staff (read above)
How to spot a fake Butterfly rubber
Recently, Butterfly announced the new Dignics rubber, which is very good rubber. Unfortunately, they are prone to be made in China due to its high price (check price).
Real versus fake Tenergy 05/ Dignics 05
This is the pimple structure of Dignics 05. The pimple dimension is 1.7mm, based on Butterfly Energeer staff.
Please take a look at the genuine Dignics 05 topsheet. The photo is provided by Butterfly. You can see that the color of the real Dignics 05 is bright. If you look carefully, you can easily see the pimple. The topsheet and the pimple are glued correctly and firmly. It’s the Japanese technology so that the Chinese fake rubber doesn’t have these characteristics.
Fake Chinese Tenergy 05
- Chinese style topsheet with a darker color
- Can’t see the “pimple out”. The pimple is similar to some cheap Chinese rubbers
- The logo is flatter
Real Tenergy 05 from Japan
- You can see the “pimple-out” effect.
- The logo is clear and net. It’s thicker
- The topsheet color is brighter
Let’s see the package of the real and the fake Tenergy.
You can see the hologram of the real Tenergy package. The fake one doesn’t have the hologram on the plastic.
The real Tenergy has the orange-red sponge color. While the fake one has a yellow sponge.
Original Tenergy 05 rubbers never come with a protective film. While the fake one fabricated in China comes with a protective film. And the protective film is not firmly attached to the topsheet.
If you don’t see the hologram on the package, it’s certainly fake. Look at this picture.
The left package is the original with the hologram. The right one is the fake rubber without hologram.
Here is the sponge color of the original Tenergy (orange) and the fake Tenergy (yellow).
Real vs fake Tenergy 64
Let’s compare the real and the fake Tenergy 64. The fake one fabricated in China is on the top. The topsheet color is darker. You can’t see the pimple. And the logo is taller, not the same size as the original one.
Indices to detect counterfeit shoes and textiles
Shoes are very important in table tennis. A good pair of shoe not only help you move faster but also can prevent ankle injuries. Here are some of the most popular shoes in table tennis that you can choose.
How to identify fake shoes and textiles. Here are some clues provided by Butterfly.
It’s harder to detect counterfeit shoes and textiles. Because the fake one is made nearly perfect and identical to the real one.
However, if you look carefully enough, you can match the differences.
And here are the fake Lezoline shoes.
At first look, they are quite similar. These counterfeit products are a bit difficult to spot at first.
Note the slight discoloration and slightly different use of the logo on the front.
Now let’s take a closer look at the side of the shoes.
The fake shoes have the logo tilted up. The tip of the shoes is curved upward.
The butterfly text is blurred and not clear.
So the best way to spot fake Butterfly shoes is to look at the Butterfly logo. The fake logo is unclean and inferior material.
Here is another example of fake Win-5 Butterfly shoes. Inferior quality can be easily observed.
Textile products can be falsified in many ways. A sure way to notice the interior design of microfibers, which never reach the standard of Butterfly Micro Material.
As a result, counterfeit textiles may look heavy and saggy and are not made from breathable and skin-friendly materials.
Please share this article to help your friend/ teammates to avoid buying Fake Butterfly products. As a serious player, every player wants real and high-quality products.
You should read more about these articles from Butterfly:
- COUNTERFEIT BUTTERFLY PRODUCTS: Guide 1 / Guide 2
- Fake Chinese products on Rama.hr / Guide 1
- Stumpof guide 1