Here is a list of rackets I would suggest. Like you, I have been searching for that extra edge to my game over the years and found these to suit. That aside, I find that going with a lighter racket generally detracts from power output and the distance of your shots, which is the exact opposite of what you wanted to achieve here. For example, I struggle with using anything lighter than a 3U in both singles and doubles for both offensive play and deep defensive play. The only scenario I would use a 4U is for fast defense up to midcourt. I can’t imagine anyone using a 5U-7U for anything half serious for that matter.
1. Voltric Z-Force 2 3U
This is difficult to use, and hitting feedback is lacking, but if you are strong and fit on a regular basis, this is the ultimate “A” option for producing massive hits and 10m+ punch clears to the ceiling. Don’t be frightened off by reviews which say the racket is stiff ; the shaft is actually thin and somewhat flexible unlike some of the others mentioned below.
2. Victor Thruster TK-9000 3U
Easy power generation and very comfortable, the shaft on these is great, however obtaining one today might be difficult. The newer TK-9900 might be a similar alternative. Another “A” option.
3. Voltric DG10
A more backhand friendly, but similar alternative to the ZF2
4. Apacs Virtuoso Performance (labelled as a 3U but in reality this weighs like a 3.5U @ 89-92.Xg with grip).
If you want a conventional 4U thats somewhat easy to use, I would recommend this, but I find it lacking in the smash-kill department, though you could sustain consecutive smashes without much exertion if that is what your game plan is.
5. Yonex Nanoray Z Speed 2U
This is arguably, the stiffest shaft among Yonex rackets, and the racket is not head heavy, but even balanced. It is not easy to generate power, but can produce some of the biggest hits with a perfect string and tension setup. Note, v.stiff shaft but flexible head portion, great for stick smashes or snappy whippy shots.
6. Yonex Duora Strike 2U
Same as #5 except that the shaft is shorter, but thicker, and the forehand side hits noticably differently and the head shape is not a compact quad, but a regular isometric.
*note: #5 & 6 I do not recommend, but are included for the sake of comparison, or if your insanely fit (semi-athlete level).
If I were to hit a punch clear or a baseline smash, end to end from the same spot cycling across these rackets, the difference from best racket to worst is as follows:
-Distance wise, the hardest hitting options land clears about +3m outside the court ; +1.5 – 2m for the “A options” and around the second baseline for #3 & #4.
-For baseline smashes end to end, both the hardest hitting and “A” options tend to land between the first baseline and second with the difference being that it in actual games, it is noticiably easier to land 1 hit smash kills with #5 and #6 than say #1 and #2. #3 and #4 don’t have any much threat or weight in the smash department unfortunately….