In the world of Dragon Ball it might feel like Goku and Vegeta are the only ones who matter in terms of strength, but so many of the fighters the two heroes have encountered have been capable of destroying a planet multiple times over. It's not that everyone else is weak, but rather that there are so many strong characters that it's easy to forget that almost any one of them could have ruled the Earth if Goku didn't happen to call the planet home.
Obviously if you have a problem in Dragon Ball, you turn to a Saiyan to solve it. The warrior race has proven to be one of the most powerful species in the universe. And yet, they're not untouchable. There are lots of imposing races in Dragon Ball that can hang with the Saiyans, or even surpass them. This is Dragon Ball: 15 Most Powerful Species In The Series.
15 FRIEZA’S RACE
For as many representatives as we've seen from Frieza and his kind in the show, you'd think they would have some official name for their race by now. Regardless, every representative of their species has been built up as a big deal when arriving in the show. For a very long time, Frieza was considered the top of the food chain among all of the fighters in the franchise. And even after being defeated, he's proven to be one of the few antagonists smart enough to train up and come back stronger.
Frieza's family are no slouches either. King Cold went down quickly against Trunks, but he was obviously powerful to earn the respect of his army and his sons. Cooler was also capable of beating Goku around, and might have even won if not for the arrogance that seems so prevalent in his people's race. Chilled and Frost also commanded such respect with their combat skills and leadership that it's clear this is a race never to be taken lightly.
Though we now think of Saiyans as heroes thanks to Goku, Vegeta, and their children being the primary defenders of Earth, their race was hardly innocent. In a way, King Vegeta was almost as much a tyrant as Frieza. Just as Frieza wiped out planet Vegeta and exterminated almost all of the Saiyans at the time, the Saiyans also practiced in genocide when they wiped out the Tuffle race and stole their planet and technology.
Though no traces of the Tuffles appear to have survived, some of their work has lived on to seek revenge against the Saiyans. The most significant Tuffle creation to show up was Baby in GT, who proved so powerful that he took over the mind of every single person on Earth except for Goku. Creating Baby certainly counts as producing a strong fighter, but even the actual Tuffle race was resilient enough to fend off the Saiyans until they all transformed into Great Apes.
As much as people make fun of Garlic Jr. and his rather short-lived stint in the franchise, there's no denying that he does have some power. The little antagonist was able to go up against Kami back when the old Namekian was still a pretty powerful guardian for Earth. Sure, Garlic Jr. was pointless and somewhat disjointed from the rest of the series as a character, but he was also clever enough to bring allies with him, save a transformation for when the battle got serious, and launch his attack when most of the Z Fighters had been debilitated.
The only other Makyans we see are the ones Garlic Jr. brings with him, who are obviously weaker since they serve as henchmen. But one impressive aspect to them was that even these less capable fighters had transformations at their disposal, making each of them a potential two-part fight. So the Makyans might have basically only existed as filler, but all things considered, they're pretty capable fighters all the same.
The Konatsians are a race that has really only existed in the movies of Dragon Ball, but were still able to make a pretty good impression even in that narrow window. Though people often think of Tapion as the guy who potentially gave Trunks his iconic sword, Tapion was no slouch as a warrior either. He's brave enough to repeatedly stand against the monster Hirudegarn on his own, and was devoted enough to that fight to even lock himself away if it meant Hirudegarn would be contained.
The rest of the Konatsions showed that same warrior spirit, including Tapion's own brother. Even as young as he was, Tapion's younger brother also agreed to imprison himself for the sake of guarding the world from Hirudegarn. The rest of the Konatsions may have been wiped out by the monster, but they died defending their planet, like several other warrior races on this list.
The androids obviously aren't a race in the same way as the other entries since their capabilities are determined by their creators. An android could be weak or strong for no other reason than because that's how their creator wanted their machine to turn out. Yet the androids and the Red Ribbon army have produced some of the most powerful opponents in the franchise going all the way back to the original Dragon Ball.
Even Frieza hasn't been as persistent and powerful an enemy as Red Ribbon's androids have been. Androids 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20 were all created just to kill Goku for his attack against Red Ribbon when he was a child. Even some of the franchise's most powerful characters, like Cell and Super Android 17, were constructs of Dr. Gero made to defeat Goku. The android problem was so bad that it basically was the impetus for Goku deciding not to come back to life during the Cell saga, because he feared his existence would just attract more enemies to Earth.
Even though multiple characters got branded with the majin label during Babidi’s time on Dragon Ball Z, like Vegeta and Spopovich, the majin themselves actually are a race. Seeing how much trouble Majin Buu caused all on his own, it’s pretty incredible to think that there are others like him out there. But like Saiyans, humans, and all the other races, the majin have their strong members like Buu, as well as power levels among the rest of their race which vary drastically.
More representatives of the majin race have really only appeared in the Dragon Ball video games so far, but there is nothing that says they couldn’t show up in the TV series or a future movie too. Buu is able to create Miss Buu by simply splitting off part of his body, and they had children together by sculpting pieces of their bodies together to form a child. We saw this demonstrated with Fat Buu expelling the sentient Evil Buu from his own body, and then later on when Fat Buu was rescued from Kid Buu’s body and resulted in two unique majin.
9 LEDGIC’S RACE
Dragon Ball GT introduced a lot of new aspects into the franchise, including a fighter that Goku himself calls stronger than Majin Buu. It's unknown what his species is actually called, but Ledgic immediately demonstrated he was a threat to be taken seriously, basically becoming the first opponent Goku has to take seriously in GT. But Ledgic isn't some one-off alien who could be an anomaly in his species. It didn't happen in the anime, but we did see more of Ledgic's race later on.
In the live-action Dragon Ball GT stage show (yes, that's a thing), more of Ledgic's race show up looking for a fight against Goku. It shows that Ledgic isn't some rarity among his people, and gives us a bit of cultural information about them. Ledgic appeared as a mercenary in the series, and the other members of his race that we see also appear in this capacity. It suggests that Ledgic's people are powerful enough that others would seek them out as bodyguards.
8 THE KAIS
The kais definitely aren’t the most warlike people, as evidenced by the small handful of times they’ve ever been directly involved in battles despite how abundant the kais are. Starting with King Kai, we got the tone for their species and their preference to guide and train others. They’re one of several species in Dragon Ball’s world that are somewhat like stand-ins for religious figures of our world. The kais oversee the world and want to keep it balanced, which means minimizing their direct involvement.
That said, the kais aren’t afraid to fight when chaos is disrupting the world. Through flashbacks we saw how the kais fought against Majin Buu many years prior, only to be absorbed by the monster. The Supreme Kai in particular demonstrated his bravery by standing up against Fat Buu, despite already seeing even Gohan had no chance in the fight. The kais haven’t won many fights, but that’s more so because their intervention usually only comes when the enemy has risen to such unbelievable levels of power that no one can stop it alone.
The franchise has had just about every kind of mythological monster show up in it, including vampires, mummies, dragons, and many more than we could name here. So it honestly was not that surprising when demons appeared as well. You could maybe consider King Piccolo one of the first demons to show up, since he was repeatedly called the demon king, but he was later retconned to be a member of the Namekian race.
Someone like Dabura, on the other hand, was a demon through and through. For a time he was Babidi's top soldier, formidable enough to stand up against a (diminished) Super Saiyan 2 Gohan. And even if someone could overcome Dabura's strength, his ability to turn people to stone with his spit was something a warrior of any power level would have to fear. Though even the power of the strongest demons seemed to pale against the power of the afterlife's other supernatural denizens...
Though much of Dragon Ball Super is driven by the conflict between Beerus and Champa, we quickly learn that the apparent assistants to these gods are significantly more powerful than the gods themselves. This was already pretty plain to see in Battle of Gods when Whis revealed that he not only had time travel abilities, but could take down Beerus as easily as the god of destruction took down a Super Saiyan 3 Goku.
Whis’ sister Vados is likewise the stronger between herself and Champa. It is eventually revealed that Whis and Vados can be classified as angels, which explains a lot about their incredible capabilities. The angels might just be the strongest race currently in the franchise, though you wouldn’t know it from how little they seem to feel the need to demonstrate their power. Though who knows if that’ll last long since both Goku and Vegeta are training under Whis, and we’ve seen what quick studies the two Saiyans are.
Though it might irritate fans to have to admit it, this is one area where we have Dragon Ball GT to thank for fleshing out the power of the dragons. Before GT, we had dragons like Shenron and Porunga who, while clearly powerful with their ability to grant wishes, weren't fighters. And Icarus might have been involved in a few scuffles in the movies, but the less said about Gohan's pet, the better.
GT gave us dragons ready for a battle courtesy of the dark energy that had been building up in the Dragon Balls for years. The seven dragons challenged Goku and Pan in various ways, and admittedly most of them went down pretty quickly. But several proved to be a challenge even for a Super Saiyan 4 Goku, namely Nuova Shenron, Ice Shenron, and Omega. Before Beerus came around in Battle of Gods, Omega could actually have been considered the most powerful character to appear in the franchise.
Oddly enough, while demons and angels seem to more a part of the living world in Dragon Ball, ogres are the race that have taken that more traditional spot in the afterlife. The ogres are led by King Yemma, whose role is like that of a god, judging who will go where in the afterlife. While Yemma isn’t quite a fighter, he does have considerable strength that he demonstrates in his ability to overpower villains who become unruly when standing in his judgment.
Most of the ogres become outclassed as DBZ progresses, despite formerly being able to keep villains who got sent to hell in line. But one ogre who still showed the potential of his race was Saike, who appeared in Fusion Reborn. The young ogre was carless in his work and wound up being corrupted and turned into Janemba, a villain whose power seemed about on par with Majin Buu. So while ogres don’t appear often in the franchise anymore, they’ve definitely shown the potential to be a threat.
They might just be the weakest race in the franchise, but you can't ignore the humans. Most of you reading this article presumable are humans, after all, so you should know not to count us out. Looking at Dragon Ball Super, yeah, humans aren't who you want to go turning to in a fight nowadays. But in the original Dragon Ball, humans stood as good a chance as anyone else to win a fight, and several were even able to defeat Goku.
By Dragon Ball Z the human race obviously was getting rapidly outclassed in their power, but characters like Krillin and Yamcha did their best to keep up with the other races. And as much as people might joke about how weak those guys are, they still would rank among the most powerful characters of their race. Krillin in particular has helped turn the tide in some tough fights, so if nothing else, you have to admire the determination of humans for refusing to give up against overwhelming odds.
In a way you could argue that the Namekian race might just be the most powerful race in the franchise. Sure, Frieza killed them in droves on Namek, just like he did with the Saiyans on planet Vegeta. But then they have also had some of the strongest representatives rise up in spite of their oppression. There have been impressive antagonists like King Piccolo and Lord Slug, and also mighty heroes like Piccolo Jr. and Nail. And we can't discount the fact that, for a while, Kami was basically the Dragon Ball equivalent of Earth's god.
Leaving aside fighting prowess, what really sets the Namekians apart is their power over the Dragon Balls. The entire Namek story arc took place because the planet provided the only way for the Z Fighters to ever revive their friends at the time. No Namekians means no Shenron or Porunga, which means no wishes. With Namekians like Dende around, characters have the extraordinary power to undo death, or even become immortal.
Though they might not technically be the most powerful race yet, the Saiyans are always going to leap out to people as the strongest due to their potential to improve. After all, in the span of the Battle of Gods movie alone Goku went from his full power being flicked away by a god to being able to go toe to toe with that very same god. Time and time again, the Saiyans have encountered a force stronger than themselves only for their determination to lead them to overcome the odds and rise to new heights of power.
Like every other race in the show, the Saiyans are by no means unbeatable. Frieza did wipe out the majority of them with ease, and many of the younger Saiyans have lost their interest in fighting and allowed their strength to dwindle. But Goku, Vegeta, and Future Trunks are all testaments to the seemingly unending depths of power that warriors of the Saiyan race have available to them.
Are there any other races in Dragon Ball you think deserve a mention? Share your thoughts on who you think the best fighters are in the comments!