For many years, the German ESN factory had been leading the battle of the so-called 'glue effect' rubbers with their range of Tensor which was growing in popularity and taking away Butterfly's market share. When Butterfly first brought out Tenergy 05 in 2008, they tipped the scales back in their favour, and there was a surge of popularity despite the unprecedented high price tag of around AUD$100! Although Butterfly deserves credit for what appeared to be a breakthrough in technology, many cried foul, by the outrageously high prices, setting a new benchmark for table tennis rubbers.
There is no question that Tenergy is a good rubber (and that's why we do sell them in OOAK Shop!), but they are certainly not suitable for everyone, and many players struggle to afford them, as they don't get them for free, unlike the sponsored players that Butterfly is so keen to promote.
Although Butterfly continues to bring out new rubbers with the Tenergy name-tag, they are merely tweaking the same technology, cashing in on the popularity of the name, while not progressing the technology, nor adjusting for the new requirements of the plastic balls.
Luckily other manufacturers have not been idle, and have progressed their own technology to match, or arguably exceed, that of Butterfly, and there are now many excellent alternatives to the Tenergy range. Although none of these rubbers will play identical to Tenergy, they match or (arguable) exceed their performance, as well as their quality and durability.
Let's face it, there is no ideal rubber that does it all, and this includes the Tenergy family which offers both pros and cons, so as long as you're willing to make some minor tweaks to your strokes to adjust to slight differences in characteristics, these Tenergy alternatives can progress your game just as far or even further, and you'll be saving some hard earned $$$ along the way.
Below is a list of viable alternatives (in no particular order), which are not identical, but close enough so that most people would adjust very quickly. This list is based on popular alternatives and that of our own experiences. These rubbers are just as good in their own right, and may be slightly better in some aspects, and slightly worse in others. We'll continue to add more options as new rubbers are released.
Note1: Although some Chinese-made rubbers may match the performance of Tenergy in some characteristics, they are too different in overall characteristics to be considered as a viable option.
Note2: Your experience of these rubbers can vary, depending on your technique and skill level.
These new (2015) rubbers from Victas have quickly gained popularity as viable alternatives to Tenergy. A series of 'Blind Test' comparisons to Tenergy were carried out by players for a large Japanese Magazine, and Victas V>15 come top for the highest number of catagories. These rubbers have also gained high popularity in Japan, Korea and Singapore as alternatives to Tenergy. for their performance, price and durability. The extreme grip makes then highly suitable for the plastic balls. The Victas V>15 Extra is similar in hardness to Tenergy 05, the Limber similar to Tenergy 05 FX. Since the start of 2016 the Victas V>15 Extra has become our best selling alternative for Tenergy 05/80!
Spin: Spin of the Victas V>15 is high, but not quite as high as Tenergy 05, close to Tenergy 64. More powerful loops produce more spin. The Victas rubber is significantly less senstive to incoming though, making blocking/hitting/counter-looping much more forgiving.
Speed: The speed of the V>15 Extra is slightly higher than Tenerg 05, the Limber similar the 05 FX.
Trajectory: Trajectory (throw) of the Victas is lower than Tenergy 05, closer to Tenergy 64. The Limber has slightly higher trajectory than the Extra.
Spin: Tenergy 05 has a little more bite on light contact, but as soon as you dig in the ball slightly, both the MX-P and EL-P easily match the high spin performance of Tenergy 05. Spin on service is similar for all. For blocking and counter-looping the Evolution rubbers are clearly less sensitive to incoming spin.
Speed: Both the Evolution rubbers are slightly faster than Tenergy 05, the MX-P a little faster than the EL-P.
Trajectory: The Tenergy 05 has the highest trajectory when looping. The EL-P is closest, probably closer to Tenergy 80, and the MX-P is next closest, closer to Tenergy 64.
Conclusion: The EL-P has a slightly softer feel than the Tenergy 05, the MX-P slightly harder. The MX-P feels a little more powerful, the EL-P lifts backspin balls more easily. The higher trajectory of the Tenergy 05 lifts backspin a little more easily, but the lower trajectory of the MX-P to a lesser extent the EL-P makes blocking & counter-looping more easy. Either rubbers are excellent alternatives to Tenergy 05, and require little adjustment in strokes. The FX-P would make a suitable alternative to the Tenergy FX rubbers, probably closest to the Tenergy 64 FX.
Spin: The Omega series have extremely high grip on the surface, at least as much as Tenergy 05, and matches Tenergy 05 in terms of spin. The Euro spin (on loops) is a little lower, similar to Tenergy 64.
Speed: The Omega V Pro is similar in speed to Tenergy 05, the Tour a little faster. The Euro has a softer feel yet has similar speed to Tenergy 64.
Trajectory: Trajectory (throw) of both Pro and Tour is similar to Tenergy 05 and relatively high. Euro is lower and similar to Tenergy 64.
Conclusion: The Omega V Pro and Tour are closest to Tenergy 05, the Pro similar in speed, the Tour a little faster and slightly harder feel. Both are great in the short game and not bouncy at all, similar to Tenergy 05/80. The Euro is closests to Tenergy 64 is almost every aspect.
Although some of these Donic rubbers have been around a little while (not as long as Tenergy thouygh), they are still viable alternatives to Tenergy, and are good rubbers in their own right. The Baracuda was one of the earliest Tenergy 05 contender, and although it could match the Tenergy 05 in spin and has a similar high trajectory, it’s a little softer and more bouncy, and does not have the same top speed. The Bluefire M2 is another contender, which can match the Tenergy 05 in spin and speed, but feels a little softer and does not have the same ‘dead feel that tenergy has in the short game. It’s still one of the closets matches though, and a good rubber in its own right. The Bluefire M1 is the beast of the Bluefire series, having a harder sponge and considerably more speed than any of the Tenergy series. Although the M1 is very spinny, the speed/spin ratio is higher than any of the Tenergy rubbers, which may or may not suit people. The more recent Bluefire JP 02 is closer to the Tenergy 64, as it has a similar (lower) trajectory, and still plenty of speed and spin. It does not quite have the top-sheet bite that the M-series has, but is also less sensitive to incoming spin.
Spin: The barracuda & bluefire series matches the Tenergy rubbers in term of spin, although the technique to get the same spin is slightly different, which takes some minor adjustment.
Speed: The Baracuda is a little slower than Tenergy 05. The Bluefire M2 is very close to Tnergy 05. The Bluefire JP 02 is a little faster and similar to Tenergy 64. The Bluefire M1 is considerably faster than even the Tenergy 64.
Trajectory: The barracuda has a the highest trajectory, even a little higher than Tenergy 05. The M1 and M2 is similar to Tenergy 05. The JP 02 is similar to Tenergy 64.
Comparison to come shortly