It's the debate that's waged on for years: who is the strongest fighter in Dragon Ball Z? Throughout the 291 episode series, there certainly have been a considerable amount of contenders. The brawlers in the popular anime are able to decimate cities, level mountains, and even blow up entire planets. It seemed that with every new season, power levels would skyrocket to the point of absurdity, and whoever was the last strongest fighter would easily be trumped yet again. With the inclusion of new movies, and the new series Dragon Ball Super, the roster is ever increasing to include stronger, deadlier brawlers with each addition.
As it stands right now, this is our list of the top brawlers in the DBZ universe. For clarification, only characters from the Dragon Ball Z series and movies will be included here. Since Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama was not directly involved with GT, the characters from that series won't be up for consideration, so don't be disappointed to find that Omega Shenron isn't mentioned. This is for Z fighters only.
So get ready to power up, here are the 12 Most Powerful Characters in Dragon Ball Z.
12 Kid Buu
The epitome of total chaos, Kid Buu is a mad dog that will take a bite out of anything that moves in his direction. The original and most primal form of all the Buus is one of the last villains to appear in the anime, and unlike his other forms, his actions are completely spontaneous. With the rational thinking of a spoiled child, and a vocabulary that only spans phrases like "Buu squash you like a bug!" his sole purpose is to destroy anything in his path. And thanks to his enormously high power level, he manages to do that quite easily.
His climactic final battle with Vegeta and Goku is one of the best in the series, even earning a ranking on our Top DBZ Fights List. It's also certainly one of the most destructive, with all of planet Earth being destroyed in the process. It takes Goku to muster up the biggest spirit bomb he can to finally take out the little imp, who was the craziest sociopath that the DBZ canon had ever come across.
While the hot-headed Prince of Saiyans isn't the absolute most powerful in the series, he does make a strong argument that he should be considered. Vegeta has always been in the pursuit of ultimate power in DBZ, and if you'd like to brush up on his other lovely traits you can check out our Things You Need to Know About Vegeta List. Among one of his many character flaws is his jealousy of Goku's strength, which constantly pushes the Warrior Prince to train in an endless fit of rage.
It's that desire for power that made Vegeta the formidable fighter he is, reaching power levels that even rival Goku. He's constantly trying to keep up with his Saiyan rival, and while he never officially reaches Super Saiyan level 3, he is able to wield Super Saiyan God in Resurrection F, a far more powerful transformation.
Like Kid Buu, who was a mindless agent of chaos, Janemba isn't the smartest villain on the block, especially in his first form. A fighter more than a scholar, the super demon has his actions speak for him, and they speak volumes. The main baddie of Dragon Ball Z: Fushion Reborn, Janemba is pretty much the DBZ version of Satan, if Satan was a devastating martial arts champion. While his first form is easily defeated by Super Saiyan 3 Goku, his second incarnation is nothing to be scoffed at.
After easily defeating Goku, Super Janemba also makes short work of Vegeta. While the two Saiyans eventually team up to destroy the monster, they're still no match for the demon who trumps both of them without breaking a sweat. Out of options, Goku and Vegeta are forced to fuse into the super-being Gogeta in order to take out this juggernaut. Of course, like any other DBZ villain his power is eventually trumped, but Janemba remains a scary force in the franchise, with power great enough to make matter itself bend to his whim.
9 Ultimate Gohan
During the first few seasons of Dragon Ball Z, Gohan was the kid to keep your eye on. Goku claimed he had even greater strength than himself. Gohan's power finally culminated during his epic showdown with Perfect Cell. He was able to reach Super Saiyan level 2, a feat which no other Saiyan had achieved by that point. After the battle's end it seemed as if though Gohan would become the new strongest MVP of DBZ, but alas it wasn't so. After the events of the Cell Saga Gohan's fighting skills took a backseat to his studies, and even he admitted at the beginning of the Buu saga that his power wasn't close to what it once was.
That is until he taps into his full potential of a warrior that is. With the help of Old Kai, Gohan is able to unlock his dormant powers becoming a fighter that kicks his abilities into overdrive, easily trumping Super Saiyan 3 abilities in the process. Thanks to his crazy increase in power, Gohan doesn't even need to become Super Saiyan to achieve max strength. His Ultimate or "Mystic" form is scary enough to even overpower Super Buu, who was easily one of the strongest antagonists the series has ever seen.
8 Frieza (Golden Form)
The original big bad of Dragon Ball Z, Frieza finally made his long awaited comeback in the 2015 movie Resurrection F. After being sliced into a million pieces by Future Trunks, the evil Frieza is wished back to life by the dragon balls with the help of his last remaining cohorts. After being reassembled, he swears to get revenge on Goku and all the Saiyans that did him dirty. Upon learning that Goku has become even stronger than he was in their duel on Namek however, Frieza decides to do something that he's never attempted in his life before: train.
That's right, the Frieza from Seasons 2 and 3, the one who could blow up planets with his fingertips, did that all on raw natural talent. This time, he takes his fight with Goku seriously, and goes through grueling training exercises for four long months. All juiced up, Frieza makes his way to earth to do battle with his arch-nemesis, revealing his new golden form which gives him unbelievable abilities. The only downside is that this new ability quickly drains his power, a fact that Goku uses to his advantage. While Frieza does manage to blow earth to smithereens at the end of the climactic battle, Whis turns back time to have Goku decimate Frieza with a Kamehameha wave, sending the tyrant back to Hell where he belongs.
Although he may look like a pipsqueak with a purple and black skunk hairdo, Gotenks is unquestionably one of the strongest fighters in Dragon Ball Z history. He's the result of a fusion between Goten, the second son of Goku, and Trunks, the son of Vegeta, who are already insanely strong scrappers for their age. When they come together to make Gotenks using the mystical fusion dance however, the result is an especially strong, and rather vain, warrior that can decimate almost any opponent. He's freakishly muscular for his age, making it an odd sight to see a boy as tiny as him obliterate a mountain with a single punch.
Still, with all his power, Gotenks is still just a kid, and since his two counterparts are already cocky, Gotenks can be especially arrogant and immature. That much ego with that much power can be dangerous; it's like a toddler wielding a machine gun. It's this blind arrogance that allows him to be overpowered by Buu, but not before he can get a couple of well timed attacks off showcasing his strength. Gotenks' powered attacks are some of the deadliest in the lore, and they're also some of the coolest sounding thanks to his childish behavior, with names like "Galactic Donut," "Continuous Die Die Missle" and "Super Ghost Kamikaze Attack." Now those are some cool attack names.
6 Super Buu
The great thing about Dragon Ball Z is that every major villain introduced is unique or diferent in some way. Vegeta is a Saiyan Prince with serious ego issues, Frieza is a power-hungry tyrant, Cell is the self proclaimed perfect fighter, and Majin Buu is mystical life form created millions of years ago with incarnations based on emotions. One of the toughest acts the Z fighters have come across, Buu is one seriously tough cookie to crack.
Kid Buu may be the most dangerously unstable version of the pink gelatinous creature, but his most powerful form is without a doubt Super Buu. He's the result of the skinny Evil Buu eating his fatter incarnation, appropriately titled Good Buu, after turning the latter into a chocolate bar. Smarter than his previous incarnations, Super Buu is evil of the worst kind. He's immoral and completely devoid of a conscience, making him quite the deadly threat towards earth and all of the Z fighters. Perhaps his most dangerous trait is his ability to absorb his opponents while gaining their powers in the process.
During his bout with the Z fighters Super Buu is able to absorb Piccolo, Gotenks and Ultimate Gohan becoming one overstuffed fighting machine. He continues to unleash an almost unstoppable killing spree to the people of earth before meeting his match in Vegito, the fused character of both Goku and Vegeta. While he reverts to his childlike form who is also quite a handful, Super Buu still remains the toughest of all the Buus.
Like Gotenks, Gogeta is the fusion form of two already unstoppable fighters by way of Goku and Vegeta. He has the best traits and abilities of both rivals, combining both Goku's natural talent and Vegeta's commanding presence. Intense rivals for the entire series, the two Saiyans agree to come together to face the sinister demon Janemba who makes short work of them both. While still under attack, the two warriors make a mad dash to perform the fusion dance as a last ditched effort to stop the madness. While the plan looks good on paper, it doesn't come together in the smoothest of ways. Someone should have told Vegeta that you can't mess up any of the steps to the fushion dance, because after he accidentally bends his index finger at the last minute, the two fighters fuse into Veku, a obese, slow and weak excuse for a fighter who gets demolished in seconds.
After their ally Pikkon buys them some time, Vegeta and Goku try the dance once more and nail it, resulting in the hybrid warrior known as Gogeta. Backed up by a thumping theme reminiscent of Mortal Kombat and a seriously deadly demeanor, the viewer knows right away that Gogeta means business. In a mater of seconds Gogeta pummels Janemba with a series of punches leaving craters all over the demon's body. As Janemba makes one last effort to trump the fused Super Saiyan, Gogeta easily powers up an attack that blows a massive hole through his opponent's sternum. Ouch.
As the main protagonist of the series, one would expect Goku, aka Kakarot, to rank high on this list. His natural ability for fighting and his clairvoyance to think through situations make him one of the most powerful forces the series has ever seen. Goku doesn't fight for power, money or control, his motivations are way beyond that. He does so for the pure love of increasing his strength, and to protect Earth from whatever threat may come its way. He spends hours, days, years, and decades under grueling training conditions for the pure love of martial arts, whenever he's not stuffing his face full of food, that is.
He's the character that's constantly setting the bar for everyone else. He was the first fighter to reach Super Saiyan status, a trademark of the series that's almost synonymous with the name Dragon Ball Z. Grasping all kinds of new transformations, he now reaches his peak physical level by transforming into Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan, an ability he is now able to control on his own after having his fellow Saiyans give him the boost needed. He can go toe to toe with almost anyone else in the Dragon Ball Z canon, not an easy feat to say the least. His signature move is the kamehameha wave which has the potential to level entire planets, and the spirit bomb which is basically a giant nuke of energy. While he may be overpowered by a select few, Goku is a warrior that is still both noble and mind-boggling powerful.
As of now, Goku and Vegeta are two of the strongest Saiyans left in existence, so it would only make sense that if they fused to make one being, it would certainly be a powerhouse of a fighter. That powerhouse is named Vegito, and even though he's only breifly seen during the Buu saga, his footprint on Dragon Ball Z has not been forgotten. Like Gogeta, Vegito comes to fruition when Goku and Vegeta fuse together, this time with the help of the Porta earrings which meld any two fighters who are wearing them. He's such a formidable opponent because of his combination of both Goku, who is easy going and a superb tactical fighter, and Vegeta, who is both dominant and confident. The mishmash of their two personalities spawns a Sasiyan who is arguably the most well-rounded fighter in the entire series.
It's tough to nail down whether Vegito is more powerful than his fusion dance counterpart Gogeta. The comparisons between the two are hard to pinpoint, mostly because Gogeta was only featured in a DBZ movie. However, when Vegito shows up he never reveals his true potential before diving into Super Buu to rescue his friends. He barely breaks a sweat when battling the pink demon, who was shown to be crazy strong, especially after absorbing some pretty powerful fighters. If Vegito could easily dominate an opponent like Super Buu, there's no telling how strong he could become, and he's certainly worthy of nabbing a ranking as high as he does on this list.
One of the newest additions to the Dragon Ball Z lore, Lord Beerus is the Anubis death machine of outer space, and the most feared creature in the entire universe. Crowned the God of Destruction, the fighter has a power level that's almost incomprehensible when stacked up against other opponents. His introduction comes in the 18th movie in the series, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods. He awakens from his years long slumber and is told that a warrior had bested the mighty Frieza in a bout, and naturally Beerus is eager to seek out this opponent and test his fighting skills. He finds Goku on King Kai's planet and challenges him to a sparring match, if you can call it that. It's a scary thing to see Super Saiyan level 3 Goku get bested so quickly in a fight, especially when that fight lasts only two strikes.
After easily trumping Goku, Beerus makes his way to earth to challenge other Z fighters. With the help of six other Saiyans of pure heart, Goku is able to achieve Super Saiyan God status to challenge Beerus once more. While the fight lasts considerably longer than two strikes this time, Goku's new ability is still no match for the God of Destruction. Thankfully the purple doglike Egyptian God spares Earth after his satisfying bout with Goku. It's a victory that should be relished, considering Beerus destroys entire planets on a whim. While he states Goku was a worthy opponent, the Saiyan is still only the second strongest he has ever come across, the first being our number one pick for this list.
It's only revealed in the last final minutes of Battle of the Gods, but after his fight with Goku, Beerus finally states that the toughest opponent he has ever encountered is his mentor and martial arts master, Whis. A tall human like character with light blue skin and effeminate features, Whis is the toughest fighter yet featured in the Dragon Ball Z canon. His power is absolute and unmatched, possessing strength that has yet to be fully seen. He is said to be the fastest being alive, even capable of the ability to turn back time as much as 3 minutes. If it wasn't for Whis and his time traveling ability, earth would have been toast at the hands of Frieza at the end of Resurrection F.
While his fighting skills are only seen briefly during his time in movies and Dragon Ball Super, he is unquestionably in a league of his own. While training for their upcoming fight with Frieza, Goku and Vegeta are seen training with Whis, who is able to block each Saiyan's blows without even trying. With power like that, we can't wait to see what happens when Whis showcases his true strength in the future.
In the words of Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama himself, Whis is the current strongest fighter in Dragon Ball Z. In order to put it into terms us fans can understand, Toriyama has stated that, power wise, Goku is a 6, Beerus is a 10, and Whis is a 15. Wow.