One of the things that makes Dragon Ball a series with such longevity is the constant evolution and improvement of its characters. Going all the way back to the original series, Dragon Ball has always put strong emphasis on martial arts prowess and tournaments, where the fighters could show off their latest techniques and improvements.
As the series progressed, so too have the powers and abilities of the fighters. There is a lot of space between the first world martial arts tournament and the latest tournament of power in Super, and the ranking of the best fighters has changed many times.
Determining who is strongest is not always a simple as looking at their power levels. A fighter’s intelligence, adaptability, and self discipline all play a part in bringing out the best of their ability.
Sometimes, even self control beats raw power. Fighters who can outthink their opponents have proven that a higher ki level doesn’t guarantee a victory. Those who can assess their opponents' weakness have taken down enemies much stronger than themselves.
We’ve analyzed the strongest characters before, but this list is exclusively for the Z fighters, so no villains, fusions, or magic spells.
With that said, here is Every Dragon Ball Z Fighter Ranked Weakest To Strongest.
Starting our list off is the ever constant ally and best friend of Tien Shinhan, Chiaotzu. As human who more closely resembles a ghost or Chinese vampire, Chiaotzu has been around for the vast majority of the Dragon Ball canon.
Originally running a protection racket with Tien Shinhan, he is a martial artist trained under Master Shen, but stands out for his ability to use psychic powers. This gives him several unique abilities such as telekinesis, telepathy, and various psychic-based mental attacks.
Chiaotzu has a stout heart and is always willing to help his friends, but he doesn’t have the capacity for high power levels and is rendered obsolete as a fighter rather early on.
He is defeated by Krillin in Dragon Ball and after he and Tien Shinhan join the Z team, is relegated as a sideline character. His moment of glory came in a brave but ultimately futile suicide attack on Nappa, which the mighty Saiyan shrugged off, but it earned him the respect of the rest of the fighters and the fans as well.
It might surprise some people that Yajirobe, the gruff, overweight, samurai companion of the Z team, is actually one of the strongest humans on Earth. Yajirobe may be an asocial guy who doesn’t do much fighting, but he has quite a few heroic moments throughout the series.
There have been many time when he was there to give senzu beans to fallen fighters, as well as use his own strength to save them. His physical strength is beyond that of most humans, as he carried a fallen Goku on his back up Korin Tower.
He also was able to defeat Krillin when they were sparring with Kami, though all the Z fighters soon surpassed him in ability. Yajirobe is also an excellent swordsman, and his biggest moment is perhaps when he cut the tail off of Vegeta in great ape form, saving Goku.
Yajirobe is the only Z team member who never attains flight, but due to his cunning and opportunistic nature, he has had some success against fighters far stronger than himself.
Videl is the daughter of Mr. Satan and wife of Gohan. Much like her father, she has always had a great love for martial arts, though she is not a charlatan like he is. Videl stands out for a few reasons as a fighter.
For one, she doesn’t have the ability to generate much ki, only a marginal amount after Gohan trained her, so she relies on her physical ability almost exclusively. She is a smart fighter and uses her limits well, usually waiting for her opponent to move first and then countering.
She becomes quite strong for a human and deserves a lot of credit for being able to generate any ki at all, even though she can’t control it.
Videl trains hard but is unable to match lower ranked Z fighters like Krillin and even Yamcha, putting her near the bottom of the list. This doesn’t deter her from doing good, as she regularly helps the police fight crime as Great Saiyawoman, and is a loving mother and supportive wife.
Yamcha has been the butt of jokes among Dragon Ball fans for ages. Originally appearing as a mountain bandit in the original series, Yamcha went on to be become an ally who is a diligent if not very successful fighter.
He is a very talented martial artist and one of the strongest humans alive, but is always outclassed by both his allies and their enemies. Despite this, Yamcha does possess several good traits.
He is brave and dependable, knowing he is weaker than the others but will help anyway, and can be considered somewhat fearless unless you count his fear of women.
He also has a very cool signature power-- the Sokidan. Designed by Yamcha himself, it is a spirit ball that he can move in any direction even in mid flight, and has taken more than one enemy by surprise.
Yamcha is mostly retired now, using his ability to play baseball, but still longs for the days if fighting. Yamcha wanted to be a member of Universe 7 in the tournament of power, but just isn’t strong enough to make the cut.
As the daughter of Gohan and Videl, Pan is one of the more difficult members to gauge due to her still being very young in the canon. However, we can ascertain several things about her.
Even at 4 years old, she was formidable and actually knocked a large competitor out of the world martial arts tournament. She is shown to have a fiery personality and a natural at everything related to training and fighting.
This is without a doubt due to her training under her grandfather, Goku. As a baby, she is able to power up, fly, and generate impressive ki, and is shown at the end of Z to fight on equal terms with Goten.
She is only ¼ Saiyan, but it seems as though the Saiyan blood is very strong in her. She is strong enough to give Trunks a hard enough time that he has difficulty restraining her. Pan is clearly stronger than Goku as a child and could very well go on to surpass other members of the Z team in the near future.
11 13. Master Roshi
Everyone’s favorite creepy hermit and martial arts master comes in at number 13, and he can still pack a mean punch as his advanced age. Master Roshi is in a way the most important character on the team because he trained many of them, most notably Goku and Krillin.
The most famous attack in all of Dragon Ball, the Kamehameha, is his move taught to his best students. Roshi is 300 hundred years old at the start of Dragon Ball, his extended life coming from drinking an elixir of immortality.
Master Roshi's fighting ability may not be quite a good as it once was, but he is still not to be taken lightly, not just because of his power, but his wisdom. Roshi is shown many times to be one of the best thinking fighters in the series, able to assess the strength and weaknesses of an enemy like no other and capitalize on mistakes in a flash.
He is involved in the Z team vs Frieza army in Resurrection of F, and is a member of the universe 7 team in the tournament of power. Despite falling due to his age, Roshi scores several eliminations before doing so.
Krillin is the most prominent human character throughout Dragon Ball and is the strongest human on Earth. Although sometimes thought of as a weakling next to the powerful Saiyans, Krillin is superhuman compared to other humans and is one of the bravest members of the Z team.
He has been Goku’s best friend for almost the entire series and never fully faded into the background like other secondary fighters. Yes, he has died a lot, but it’s easy to forget that he brings a lot to the table too.
Even though he isn’t as strong as Saiyans, he has a huge talent for ki manipulation, more so than many fighters stronger than him. He also has the ability to sense hidden powers, and has an exceptionally powerful special move, the Destructo Disk, which can cut through a mountain like a knife through butter.
Krillin is far from the strongest member of the group but is always reliable. Krillin is a funny character who is still going strong as an active member of the Z team.
11. Tien Shinhan
Tien Shinhan can be thought of as somewhat of a gatekeeper in the Z team power rankings because he is the last of the earthling fighters before we move onto Saiyans and other more powerful beings.
As a stoic, focused individual, Tien Shinhan is one of the most disciplined characters in the series who takes martial arts very seriously. He is not strong enough to be on the front lines, but is a very capable fighter who can still surprise friends and enemies alike.
Back during the Frieza saga, he was able to defeat Jeice and Burter simultaneously and later held off Imperfect Cell with his famous Neo Tri-Beam. Tien Shinhan’s incredible self discipline has lead to his constant improvement, as seen in the Golden Frieza Saga, where he defeats many of Frieza’s soldiers without having to use any special techniques.
He also impresses in Resurrection of F as part of the Z team when they defeated a thousand of Frieza’s soldiers in an epic brawl. Tien is a part of the universe 7 team in the tournament of power, where his bravery earns him the respect of the God of Destruction.
9 10. Uub
With the debut of Dragon Ball Super, we learned that the official timeline takes place 6 months after the defeat of Kid Buu, which puts Uub in a predicament similar to Pan.
Though GT is not canon, Uub still exists because his birth still happened before the end of Buu. For those not familiar, Uub was brought to life by the wish Goku made before he defeated Kid Buu with the spirit bomb.
Uub in the human reincarnation of Buu, making him the strongest human ever. Although he lost Buu’s biology and regenerative ability, he kept his power potential and lost many of the negative traits as well, like Buu’s extreme unpredictability and wild nature.
He is still a baby in the canon, but his potential is almost limitless. He is certainly stronger than any human fighter and at least is stronger than SS3 Goku, who could not defeat Kid Buu.
Uub hasn’t been shown yet, but he is out there, and when he does show up it will a major event. Much like Pan, Uub has been set up to be a serious player in the future of Dragon Ball.
8 9. Goten
As the youngest child of Goku and Chi Chi, Goten looks and acts a lot like his dad did when he was a kid, albeit with more restraint thanks to Chi Chi’s parenting.
Generally fun loving and somewhat mischievous, Goten actually shows more potential at his age than his father or older brother did. He mastered the Super Saiyan form before even learning to fly, and shocks the veteran fighter Piccolo with his natural aptitude.
Goten is still very young and his powers have not even come close to peaking yet, so the fact that he isn’t strong enough to face true major threats at this time is not a bad thing. He is still headstrong and needs to learn discipline before making it to that next level.
His most famous moments are when he fuses with Trunks to become Gotenks, one of the strongest and most popular characters on the Z team side. He and Trunks are mostly used as comedy right now, but his toughness and willingness to fight are unquestioned.
Goten’s life is just getting started, but his Saiyan blood and teammates mean he’ll one day take his place alongside his father and brother as one of the most powerful protectors of Earth.
As Goten’s partner in crime and the son of Vegeta and Bulma, Trunks is a bit stronger than Goten. Trunk’s personality is a lot like his father-- proud and arrogant. He also has a penchant for not showing respect to people he doesn’t personally like.
He shows a love of technology like his mother and grandfather, making him much smarter than most kids his age. Trunks is still a young kid but boasts impressive power.
He turned Super Saiyan at age 8, much earlier than his father managed, and constantly trains with Vegeta in the gravity room. He is shown to move easily at 100x gravity in Super Saiyan form. Even though he can’t directly confront world-ending villains like Majin Buu, just about any other villain will find him to be a challenge.
Trunks is said to be about as strong as Goku was during the Frieza arc, which is amazing for a pre-teen. He and Goten easily handled two remnant of Frieza’s old army as well. Trunks at this time is lower than Piccolo and the Androids, but stronger than many of his teammates, and without a doubt will move far up the rankings as he gets older.
One of the most recognizable members of the Z team is the tenured Super Namekian, Piccolo. Another of the oldest characters in the series, he has long been a gatekeeper of power levels in the series.
Not only is he a trainer and disciplinarian for young team members, he has always stood as a test to see if a threat needs the attention of the powerful Saiyan fighters. Piccolo can be thought of as the weakest member of the frontline squad of the Z team, always there to give a challenge but never the one to eliminate the biggest threats.
Piccolo is a warrior through and through; strong, driven, and fully capable as a trainer and fighter. He’s one of the few team members to rack up several kills in Z and the movies, and has an arsenal of powers at his disposal.
Perhaps his best fight to date was when he fought the powerful Android 17 to a draw back during the Android saga, but he has had many battles besides that. He’s been a prominent member of every major conflict the Z team faced in the series and continues to be a core member today.
5 Android 18
The Androids mark a serious upgrade in power from the previous entries. From here on, if another fighter can handle any of the rest there might be a problem. 18 was at one time stronger than her younger brother, but the latter has grown by leaps since his last appearance in Z.
Still, 18 remains one of the strongest fighters on the team. In fact, only the Saiyans can beat them in the power department. Android 18 has been a force to reckoned with for her entire time in the series, besting every Z fighter at some point and famously breaking Vegeta’s arm in their first encounter.
The Androids have unlimited energy and stamina, a trait that makes them nearly impossible to stop by anyone but the strongest fighters. She now has scaled back a bit since the defeat of Buu and focused on her role as a wife and mother, but she never stopped training completely.
She is a member of the universe 7 team in the tournament of power and scored eliminations alongside her brother, and occasionally against members of the powerful universe 2.
4 Android 17
Android 17 is the latest member to join the Z team, much later than his sister, but is a very welcome addition. Everyone remembers the Android saga and the bleak timeline where they destroyed all life on Earth, but it’s good to know that power is now on the right side.
After being resurrected after Cell’s defeat, he spent years off screen to make a life for himself away from his past. Android 17 is now much more mature since living away for some years and has developed into his own person.
This time and growth led to him realizing the ability Dr Gero always said he had, and he is now much stronger than he used to be. He’s so strong now that Dende even stats that, if he were still a villain, he would be terrifying.
Luckily, he has developed into a good person who accepts Goku’s invitation to be a member of the team in the tournament of power. He is now the strongest Android in the universe, able to beat SS2 Goku and nearly on par with SS3 form.
3 4, Future Trunks
Future Trunks could not be more different than his present time counterpart. While kid Trunks grew up with a family and stable life, developing a headstrong personality and fun nature, Future Trunks lived a life of tragedy.
His personality was forged in a world where he was prey for relentless predators, and that’s why he’s more cautious than young Trunks. This also made him into an exceptional fighter whose potential is still not fully realized.
Having Saiyan blood means he is capable of all SS transformations, and even manages to attain the strong yet ultimately futile SS Third Grade. His time training with Supreme Kai gave him even more power as well as the Z Sword.
Trunks has one of the highest kill counts on the team, dispatching Mecha Frieza, the future versions of the Androids, and even the powerful Zamasu in Dragon Ball Super to name a few.
Unfortunately, Trunks returns to his timeline, which was restored after Zamasu’s death, so he cannot be a part of the team in the tournament. Nonetheless, Future Trunks remains one of the most popular characters and is one of the strongest members of the Z team.
There was a time when Gohan was the strongest character in the universe. His annihilation of Cell is one of the most iconic moments in the series. His personality is not that of his father, however, and he was never interested in the life of a fighter.
He always dreamed of being a great scholar instead, and is one of the only characters to actually revert in power after they peaked. Settling down as a family man is the life he wants, but when called on, Gohan still has the strength to be a threat to just about anyone.
It fell to Piccolo to retrain him for the tournament of power and “reawaken his warrior’s heart” as the Namekian put it. Gohan quickly gains a good measure of strength and easily beats Piccolo and his clones.
In the tournament, Gohan has shown most of his old form and even developed new techniques along with an improved base state that can best Final Form Frieza.
Gohan has grown a ton in his short time back and Vegeta and Piccolo both believe he has the power in him to become stronger than everyone. Whether or not he chooses to remains to be seen, however.
The Saiyan prince has changed perhaps more than any other character in the series over time. Spending most of it playing second fiddle to Goku, something that still drives him to get stronger, Vegeta has always been one of the strongest in the universe.
He was born to be one of the strongest, showing great strength at a young age even for a first-class Saiyan. His time in the series is filled with epic battles and transformations, and many foes have lost their lives facing him.
Vegeta is considered one of the 3 trump cards of universe 7, along with Goku and Frieza. In the tournament of power he has shown thus far to be the only fighter able to legitimately hit Jiren, the strongest fighter in the multiverse.
He achieved SS Blue form along with Goku, elevating himself to the greatest power level he has achieved so far. Vegeta has never slowed down and never stopped training, only grown more determined.
Vegeta has maintained his position as second best for a long time and now, for the first time, is possibly in position to surpass Goku for the number one spot.
1 1. Goku
No surprise here-- protagonist Goku is a prodigy of fighting, as seen from the very first episodes of Dragon Ball. In a series where power levels are in a state on constant flux, Goku has managed to hold onto his position as top dog through most of the series.
He has a seemingly limitless potential for improvement, and specializes in developing new techniques and transformations, often mid-fight. In Dragon Ball Super, Goku has achieved a feat that only a handful of beings in the multiverse have-- he became strong enough to rival a God of Destruction.
Even in his base form now, his strength and endurance are unreal. Some of the lower level fighters can’t even see his movements when he really turns it up. He achieved Super Saiyan Blue, the strongest transformation ever seen, and even augmented it with his Kaioken technique.
Goku continues to impress many times over in the tournament, with several notable eliminations including Kefla. Vegeta is only a small step behind now, but Goku is still the man to beat in Universe 7. Jiren now considers Goku one of the only fighters who he will have to eliminate personally.
What do you think? Who is the strongest Z Fighter in Dragon Ball? Have your say in the comment section!