It’s funny to think that during the days of the original Dragon Ball series, the idea of Saiyans, hair-changing transformations, and aliens from other planets were not even on the show’s radar.
As both Goku and the Dragon Ball series continued to mature and evolve, they saw a number of new concepts become increasingly important. The series’ trademark humor was still present, but a slant towards action and the characters growing stronger and stronger was clearly Dragon Ball Z’s angle.
Dragon Ball Z’s advent of Super Saiyans once again opened the floodgates for the series in new and unexpected ways.
What started as a unique sign of accomplishment slowly started to become increasingly more commonplace and even expected by the time Dragon Ball Super rolls around.
Throughout the years, the Dragon Ball series experiments with the concept of Super Saiyans in creative ways, for both better and for worse. This means that there are many different tiers of Super Saiyan out there and plenty of people that can tap into that power.
Some of these characters and abilities stick around through the series, while others are more like rare anomalies.
As a result, it’s become a difficult task to keep track of the many different Super Saiyans out there and how they all stack up with each other.
Why do some characters prefer certain transformations over others? Why can some Saiyans skip transformation stages?
It's time to find out with Dragon Ball’s 17 Most Powerful (And 8 Weakest) Super Saiyans Of All Time, Officially Ranked.
25 Strongest: Super Saiyan Goten And Trunks
Goten and Trunks are still two incredibly strong fighters—they are the children of Goku and Vegeta, after all—but due to their young ages they’re definitely the weakest of the show’s most powerful characters.
The fact that Goten and Trunks both learn how to become Super Saiyans when they’re mere kids is a testament to their inherent strength, but they’ve still got a long ways to go.
Super Saiyan Goten and Trunks are solid back-support in a battle (and are arguably more of an asset than Krillin or Yamcha), but they’re never the ones defeating the ultimate evil.
The kids are typically given smaller fires to put out, like Bio-Broly or Copy Vegeta.
24 Strongest: Super Saiyan Vegeta
When Vegeta reveals that he’s pushed himself to obtain the powers of a Super Saiyan, it’s a particularly awesome moment that speaks to the determination of the character.
Super Saiyan Vegeta goes on to decimate Android 19 and make a very strong first impression.
There’s absolutely nothing weak about Super Saiyan Vegeta, but due to how he and the rest of the characters become so much more powerful, this transformation ultimately becomes redundant as the show continues.
Vegeta does a lot of damage in his Super Saiyan form, but once he reaches higher powers he begins to treat Super Saiyan 2 and Super Saiyan Blue as his standard transformations for battle.
23 Weakest: Super Saiyan Onio
It’s Onio! Everyone’s favorite Dragon Ball character! What’s that? You haven’t heard of him before? Don’t worry, you’re not alone here.
Onio is basically a parody character that pokes fun at the put together, attractive nature of Saiyans. He appears in Akira Toriyama’s gag manga, Neko Majin Z.
After Neko Majin Z harasses Onio’s wife, Onio becomes enraged and turns into a Super Saiyan for battle. In spite of the transformation, Onio is still more of a joke than a threat.
Furthermore, Onio’s Super Saiyan form is apparently weaker than base-level Vegeta, so it’s pretty clear where Onio stands on the power scale.
22 Strongest: Super Saiyan Goku
Goku’s first transformation into a Super Saiyan marks not only a pivotal point for the character, but Dragon Ball as a whole.
After Goku’s hair turned blonde there was no turning back. Goku gets a tremendous power boost when he becomes a Super Saiyan during his fight with Frieza on Namek.
If not for the new ability, Goku would have absolutely perished to Frieza.
Surprisingly, Goku doesn’t make that big of a dent as a Super Saiyan.
It’s certainly helpful for him throughout the Cell Saga, but after he masters the following levels, he’s much more prone to use Super Saiyan 3 strength or beyond to solve a problem.
21 Strongest: Super Saiyan 2 Cabba
One of the most enjoyable new characters to come along in Dragon Ball Super is Cabba, the impressionable Saiyan warrior from Universe 6.
It’s incredibly endearing to see how Vegeta takes the Saiyan under his wing and teaches him how to become a Super Saiyan and gain other valuable skills.
In Dragon Ball Super’s Tournament of Power, Vegeta gives Cabba a pep talk that pushes him to power through and become Super Saiyan 2 for the first time.
Super Saiyan 2 Cabba is able to quickly defeat Universe 4’s Monna, but Golden Frieza ultimately eliminates him, which gives a fair idea of where Cabba’s power lies in the greater scheme of the series.
20 Weakest: Ultra Super Saiyan Future Trunks
What’s so interesting about the Ultra Super Saiyan form (or Super Saiyan Third Grade) plateau of power that’s achieved during Dragon Ball Z’s Cell Saga is that it initially seems like a great asset.
Ultra Super Saiyan gives the user a huge boost of power and their body gains an unseemly amount of muscles.
While this bulkier upgrade is a brief relief against Imperfect Cell, it’s ultimately too cumbersome and slow to actually be effective.
A well-trained normal Super Saiyan would still do better than someone who uses this form.
Future Trunks has a weird relationship with this transformation and even in Dragon Ball Super he turns to it, much to Vegeta’s aggravation.
19 Strongest: Super Saiyan 2 Gohan
The moment that Gohan turns Super Saiyan 2 for the first time is such a sweet spot for Dragon Ball Z.
The entire series had been charting Gohan’s development since he was a child and it all comes together in this incredible display where he surpasses his father as the strongest.
Goku almost always get to be the big hero, so it’s genuinely refreshing and suprising when the honor falls on Gohan during the fight against Perfect Cell.
Super Saiyan 2 Gohan is the only one who’s able to truly destroy Perfect Cell and even though Gohan’s powers cool off afterwards and others match his achievements, it’s still an incredibly powerful transformation.
18 Strongest: Legendary Super Saiyan 3 Broly
Dragon Ball has some fun with the different interpretations of who the “true” Super Saiyan is and it offers up a bunch of alternatives from Goku, to Broly, to Yamoshi.
Broly debuts in the eighth Dragon Ball Z film (although he’s set to invade Dragon Ball Super’s canon in December) and claims the title of the “Legendary Super Saiyan.”
This grants Broly berserker-like rage and this form is on par with Super Saiyan 2 Gohan in the Broly – Second Coming film.
However, Dragon Ball Heroes and Dragon Ball Fusions carry this Legendary Super Saiyan grade even further, and introduce a second and third tier to it.
17 Weakest: Super Saiyan Nappa
Nappa and Vegeta are partners in crime and they invade Earth as a package deal. Vegeta not only manages to stick around, but he becomes one of Dragon Ball’s most important and beloved characters.
Unfortunately, Nappa doesn’t remain as Vegeta’s partner and the character’s insolence eventually becomes too much for the Saiyan prince to bear.
Nappa’s inferior strength makes it seem like he’d never become a Super Saiyan, however some Dragon Ball video games attempt to right that wrong.
Both Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 and Super Dragon Ball Heroes take some liberties and allow Nappa to become a Super Saiyan (pay attention to the color of his goatee), but he’s still not scaring anyone.
16 Strongest: Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks
Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks is a bit of an anomaly in the Dragon Ball universe.
He’s a character that possesses immense strength (Gotenks and Goku are the only two characters to reach the level in the anime and manga), yet he’s ostensibly still a child and completely acts like one.
Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks wields a barrage of ridiculous attacks and fighting styles that reflect his immature nature, yet he’s the go-to defense against Buu and Beerus when Goku is occupied.
The lack of experience behind Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks ultimately holds him back, but if Goten and Trunks continue to train, Gotenks could easily turn into an even more powerful battle tool.
15 Strongest: Super Saiyan 3 Goku And Vegeta
If Gotenks is an example of a more unpolished take on Super Saiyan 3 power, then obviously Goku and Vegeta are going to have developed the transformation properly and can show what’s truly possible.
Super Saiyan 3 grants the user an incredible boost of power, but because it’s such a severe strain on the body, it can only be used for short periods of time.
This means that the user has to be smart with how they put Super Saiyan 3 to use, but it’s still often a hassle.
Goku ultimately doesn’t use Super Saiyan 3 powers to take out Kid Buu (although they’re helpful) and Vegeta only reaches the stage in the video games.
14 Weakest: Super Saiyan 3 Raditz
Raditz gets the honor to be Dragon Ball Z’s first real villain and he even technically defeats Goku in a twisted stalemate kind of way.
Raditz leaves the picture far before Super Saiyans are on the table, so unfortunately he doesn’t get to experience such wonders in the manga or anime. That being said, the video games just couldn’t resist indulging.
Super Dragon Ball Heroes introduces Super Saiyan 3 Raditz (that’s right, he skips the first two levels) and even though it doesn’t make a lot of sense, it’s mostly just an excuse to make the character’s absurdly long hair even longer.
Raditz is still Raditz, but Super Saiyan 3 strength is no joke.
13 Strongest: Super Saiyan God Goku And Vegeta
Super Saiyan God is the fancy new transformation that kicks off Dragon Ball Super. The series introduces literal Gods of Destruction into the series. New enemies with such inconceivable power require new transformations to handle them.
Goku has to go through an arduous ceremony to unlock his Super Saiyan God powers, but after that point he can finally hold his own against Beerus in battle.
Vegeta’s experience with Super Saiyan God status isn’t explicitly shown in the anime, but it’s looked at in detail within the manga (where Goku is also more prone to use this form).
Super Saiyan Blue kind of renders this ability irrelevant, but they each have their own benefits and detractors.
12 Strongest: Super Saiyan 2 Kefla
Caulifla and Kale are two very exciting characters in Dragon Ball Super because they’re female Saiyans that can genuinely defend themselves. Caulifla and Kale both come from Universe 6 along with Cabba, but the female Saiyans turn to Goku as a mentor of sorts.
Goku is able to very quickly get Caulifla and Kale to Super Saiyan 2 status and they do exceptional work, but then the two decide to throw fusion into the equation.
The product of their fusion, Super Saiyan 2 Kefla, turns into one of the strongest fighters in the Tournament of Power and they stick it out for as long as most of Universe 7’s fighters.
11 Weakest: Super Saiyan Bardock
Super Saiyan Bardock feels like a bit of a cheat on some levels, but it’s a decision that was deemed important enough to warrant its own anime special, so it deserves some coverage.
Bardock – Father of Goku introduces Goku’s father and his army during the height of Frieza’s power.
The special poignantly ends with the destruction of Planet Vegeta, with Bardock along with it, but then Episode of Bardock decides to get a little creative.
Episode of Bardock sends Bardock back in time, sees him face off against an ancestor of Frieza, and even turn Super Saiyan in the process. It’s all pretty gratuitous and it’s more for style than substance.
10 Strongest: Rage Super Saiyan Future Trunks
There are a number of unusual outlier Super Saiyan transformations that aren’t conventional new stages, but they still bestow their users with crazy power.
Some of these transformations are character-specific or one-time deals, but they tend to make an impression.
Such a scene takes place during the fight against Fused Zamasu. Future Trunks hits his breaking point and unlocks Rage Super Saiyan status.
Rage Super Saiyan Future Trunks gains a blue aura, much like Super Saiyan Blue and it even appears to be comparable in strength.
He’s finally able to defeat Zamasu with this boost, even though he’s still technically only at the plateau of Super Saiyan 2, which is pretty incredible.
9 Strongest: Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta
Dragon Ball GT is a big area of debate for many Dragon Ball fans and whether people want to regard it as canon or not, there’s no denying that many of the elements from the series have made it over into other Dragon Ball materials, like the video games.
The controversial, hairy Super Saiyan 4 doesn’t appear in Dragon Ball Super, but that hasn’t stopped titles like Super Dragon Ball Heroes orchestrating battles like Super Saiyan 4 Goku versus Super Saiyan Blue Goku.
Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta is already incredibly strong due to the fusion of Goku and Vegeta, but with this level of power he’s practically unstoppable in Dragon Ball GT.
8 Weakest: Super Saiyan Pinich And Tekka
Pinich and Tekka may not be the most memorable of Dragon Ball characters, but they likely stand out to anyone that’s a fan of the game Dragon Ball Fusions.
Dragon Ball Fusions attempts an original approach by letting the player control original Saiyan characters instead of the usual bunch.
It’s a novel idea, but Pinich and Tekka are basically just surrogates for Goku and Vegeta.
Pinich was trained under Vegeta and resembles him more, whereas Tekka is more of a parallel for Goku.
The training of these Saiyan legends does allow them to become Super Saiyans, but they fail to make a big splash and require further tactics, like fusion, to be truly dangerous.
7 Strongest: Super Saiyan Rosé Goku Black
Goku Black is arguably Dragon Ball Super’s best villain. He truly makes Goku and company feel weak at times and he also allows for Future Trunks to rejoin the team.
Part of the novelty in Goku Black’s character is that he’s an evil version of Goku.
That alone is a powerful image, but Dragon Ball also understands that something as exciting as this also deserves its own transformation!
Goku Black’s big transformation is into Super Saiyan Rosé, which is essentially this evil character’s equivalent to Super Saiyan Blue.
It gives both Goku and Vegeta an immense struggle and the two need to resort to fusion to survive. Plus, that energy scythe is super intimidating.
6 Strongest: Vegito Blue
Super Saiyan Blue largely becomes synonymous with Dragon Ball Super. Most marketing for the series features Goku and Vegeta with blue hairdos and this transformation has become the series’ new normal.
Super Saiyan Blue puts more strain on the body than Super Saiyan God does, but its strength and speed are unreal.
When this ability fails to be enough to take down the threat of Zamasu and Goku Black, Goku and Vegeta reluctantly turn to fusion.
The strain of Super Saiyan Blue doesn’t allow Vegito Blue to exist for that long, but it makes for a strong, pivotal fight for the series.
5 Weakest: Super Mira And Super Fu
Mira and his successor, Fu, may seem like odd selections here, but they contain a unique genealogy that makes them especially suited for this list.
Mira and Fu are both artificial beings from the future who are Demon and Saiyan hybrids, with this combination a real rarity for Dragon Ball.
Mira and Fu are crucial antagonists in Dragon Ball Xenoverse and its sequel, but they also appear in Dragon Ball Heroes.
They can reach a "Super" form that may not look identical to the Super Saiyan transformation, but it's stated to be the equivalent of their first grade of power.
It distributes a similar power through them, thanks to the Saiyan DNA in their bodies.
4 Strongest: Berserker Super Saiyan Kale
Kale still stirs up a lot of debate in the Dragon Ball community. She learns how to become a Super Saiyan with very little effort and she’s introduced in Super as basically a canonical female equivalent to Broly.
Kale is a meek Saiyan who’s hesitant to fight without the encouragement of Caulifla.
In spite of Kale’s timid demeanor, she sometimes snaps and enters Berserker mode where her body bulks up and she becomes an unstoppable force.
Berserker Super Saiyan Kale has a hard time controlling her actions, which is a definite setback, but she’s able to hold her own against Ultra Instinct Goku.
In fact, she’s probably on par with Advanced Super Saiyan Blue skills.
3 Strongest: Super Saiyan Cumber
Cumber is a slave of Fu that’s kept locked away on the Prison Planet. The brainwashed Saiyan resembles Broly in a lot of ways and he even has so much raw power that Fu has to restrain his strength with a dampening jacket.
Cumber not only appears in Dragon Ball Heroes and its accompanying manga, but also the recent Super Dragon Ball Heroes anime adaptation. ‘He’s clearly gaining popularity.
Cumber’s Super Saiyan form is so powerful that Goku needs to resort to Kaio-Ken Blue, while other fighters like Rage Super Saiyan Trunks and Golden Cooler still struggle against him.
It seems like he may also hold a grudge against Super Saiyan Gods in general, too.
2 Weakest: Super Saiyan Goku Jr. And Vegeta Jr.
These descendants are meant to hint at the cyclical nature of the series and how there will always be just fighters out there to defend the universe.
It’s all too fitting that generations down the line, a new version of Goku and Vegeta would face each other in battle and keep this legacy alive.
These touching characters are shown in Dragon Ball GT’s epilogue and the Hero’s Journey special.
Goku Jr. and Vegeta Jr. don’t get to leave a big impression, but it stands to reason that they’re still probably the strongest of the weaker Super Saiyans due to their respective bloodlines and how they’re already Super Saiyans at a young age.
1 Strongest: 1. Advanced Super Saiyan Blue Vegeta
Dragon Ball Super concludes with Ultra Instinct and Advanced Super Saiyan Blue as the big transformations that come out of Goku and Vegeta, respectively.
The two transformations are far from mastered and the two fighters both have much to learn, but Vegeta’s new power at least seems familiar to a conventional Super Saiyan stage.
Ultra Instinct relies on different dormant skills, but Advanced Super Saiyan Blue just looks like a stronger upgrade to the previous form.
Additionally, if this is essentially on par with Ultra Instinct, then it stands to reason that Advanced Super Saiyan Blue would be stronger than Super Saiyan Rosé Goku Black, since Vegito Blue couldn’t defeat him.
Who do you think is the most powerful Super Saiyan in Dragon Ball? Let us know in the comments!