Are you a table tennis enthusiast looking for a lightweight blade that provides you with great control and is consistent? If the answer to that question is yes then look no further because this is the blade for you! With its great looping abilities, it will not let you down.
I bought this racket a few months ago as my old one was going back and I have to say that I do not regret this purchase at all. In this article, I’m gonna be reviewing the Butterfly Timo Boll ZLF and share my experience with it.
My previous blade was pretty heavy and I wanted to switch to a lighter one for more control over power and that is when I came across this one. My very first thought was “This is the most expensive blade I have ever seen!”
I didn’t think it would be worth my money but I have purchased from Butterfly before and the reviews on it looked pretty good, so I bought it regardless. This blade is pretty thin and is faster than Korbel and slower than Timo Boll ALC.
It has a great spin and it launches the ball creating beautiful arcs with a sudden drop of the ball for a bounce with a strong topspin kick. This blade has a soft touch when playing in general but a crisp feel when blocking or hitting, this is the perfect balance in my opinion.
I found that it goes better with medium to harder rubbers, I will talk more about this later in the article. Overall, I would say that Butterfly was right to label this as a looping blade.
Characteristics of the blade:
PROS and CONS of the Butterfly Timo Boll ZLF:
|1. Uses a harder ZL fiber which is more flexible and lighter than carbon fiber.||1. Isn’t built for killing shots|
|2. Produces maximum amount of topspin with maximum control.||2. Pretty expensive|
|3. Perfect blade for the all-round looping style|
|4. Pretty consistent performance|
|5. Minimal vibration|
Specs/Pros of Butterfly Timo Boll ZLF
Butterfly labels this as an attack-style blade and I would totally agree, it puts you in charge of the game with its good control which of course increases your chance of winning.
If you want this blade to play more offensively I would recommend using the Butterfly Tenergy 05 Hard rubber sheet, I find that this rubber is much harder than standard ones, and it makes up for the lightweight nature of the table and provides us with more offensive gameplay, it works great mid-distance.
Do not use soft rubbers as the flexibility of the blade paired with the softness of some of the rubbers made the ball hit the net when looped.
The 5.4mm thickness gives you some good flex but not too much which creates the perfect balance between control and speed.
The harder ZL fiber helps this as it isn’t as heavy as carbon fiber and makes controlling the ball even easier. Overall, the thin nature of the blade provides good control at high speed.
Because this is a looping blade it is more offensive and has a higher reaction time, it is an OFF- blade which is why the lower dwell time makes sense. I am impressed with the 105 reaction time of this blade as it allows for quick and ruthless gameplay.
All table tennis enthusiasts know that the lower the weight of the blade the higher the control. It is very hard to find a blade that weighs below 85g nowadays so this one was a blessing.
It has made my blocking and topspin shots so much better. Keep in mind that buying this blade won’t take your game from a 10 to a 100 overnight, your technique is what matters.
I believe that this racket is good for beginners as it has great control and is pretty forgivable but they should be using the right technique when playing.
The lower vibration is great as it reduces dwell time. I however would have preferred a higher vibration when looping as it has a good feel and makes you feel like you’re playing at a professional level but that is just my opinion.
You can pick between one of the three types of handles, flared, straight or anatomical. If you are new to table tennis and don’t know what these handles do, let me explain.
Flared handle: Flared handles are thicker at the bottom and thinner at the top preventing the blade from slipping out of your hand. The flared handle on this blade is 100x24mm.
Straight handle: Straight handles can be either rounded, flat, or square. They are better for defensive play and engage your wrist more. This straight handle on this blade is 100x22mm.
Anatomic handle: These take the shape of your hand, they are relatively thick and allow a firm grip. The anatomic handle on this blade is 100x24mm.
I find that the flared handle is the perfect one for me due to it not slipping out of my hand mid-match when my palms start getting very sweaty. You should always choose the handle that makes playing comfortably for you.
7. Shots you can use this blade for:
This blade being labeled as a looping blade isn’t wrong at all, the looping shots on this blade are awesome, the only recommendation I have is to avoid hitting the ball flat, use good technique and flat hitters should avoid this blade.
It plays well on my backhand and the block shots are perfectly consistent every time. Topspin shots are perfect as well. A review stated that chopping with this blade is great but I have to disagree I had to cut almost all of chopping out of my game as this blade does not cope well with it.
It is pretty forgiving but I wouldn’t recommend you use it for chopping or play with bad technique, your score will suffer.
We talked about the PROS of the blade now it’s time to talk about the CONS. My first issue is that however this blade is pretty offensive it is not made for killing shots, it isn’t as powerful.
If you want a blade with more power and are willing to sacrifice a little bit of control for it I would recommend the STIGA Clipper Classic Blade. The second issue is something I have with almost all Butterfly products, it is too expensive!
A friend of mine that owns this blade as well told me to not worry about the price tag because this product has value for money.
I don’t agree with that statement completely. Sure this blade is pretty high quality and uses premium material but I feel like for a price that is as high as $214 it should’ve had more features.
FAQs about the Butterfly Timo Boll ZLF:
Is this good for European-style table tennis?
Yes, people seem to have a misconception that Asian-made blades can only be played by Chinese-style table tennis players, this is not true at all! I play European-style table tennis and I have to say that I love the feeling of it more than most of the blades I have owned.
Does the blade weigh precisely 83g?
The blade’s weight might vary up to 8g and it might also fluctuate by 2-3g depending on the humidity, etc. Mine was 82g. This is a minor difference and won’t affect your gameplay at all.
Is this good on backhand?
I’ve been using this blade on my front and backhand and it plays well on both. Both looping and blocking on it are great. I would say your gameplay also depends on your technique, the rubber I use, etc.
Would I recommend the Butterfly Timo Boll ZLF?
This is a lightweight, flexible blade that is pretty high-quality and provides us with good control. Mine has stayed in top-notch condition since it was purchased, this is due to its durable wood and the fact that I took good care of it.
I put it away in a cool and dry place after I was done playing. I do believe that the price is a little too much but regardless I would recommend this blade to everyone.
In this article, I reviewed the Butterfly Timo Boll ZLF Table Tennis Blade. Writing this review took me a lot of time and money and therefore I would appreciate it if you could share it with your friends and family. Feel free to comment on any of your doubts and queries down below. Thank you!