Supernatural has been carried on the backs of its two main characters since it began way back in 2005, which is an incredible accomplishment (especially considering there have been hardly any other regular characters on the show). The two brothers are enormously popular, and fans often argue over who is the “better” Winchester.
By the end of Season 14, we feel that Sam has shown he’s gotten more quality traits than Dean, and we’re out to prove that by presenting some reasons why Sam is the better character. However, there are also some areas in which Dean has the edge over his sibling.
10 Better: His Compassion
Whatever the problem might be, you can count on Sam to be there to lend support. For Sam, it barely ever matters who is in need of help, because he’s going to be there for them them. The characters who go through grief from losing someone (or if they’re victims themselves) can rely on Sam to be there for comfort.
Dean, although he does show compassion in his way, never goes in first to console someone. It’s always Sam who fills this role initially, and Dean only shows his softer side when he makes a bond with a character; Sam’s there whether he’s close to the person or not.
9 Better: Research Ability
We’ve lost count of the number of times Sam has said “get this” or “according to the Lore,” as he’s the one doing the research before, during and even after a case. Dean’s the one who goes in for execution of plans, but these wouldn’t come into fruition if Sam wasn’t there to go through hours of research.
The Winchesters have won most of their cases because Sam has done his scouting work well, and he’s evolved further by learning how to hack into systems, which contributes to making hunting a seamless process.
8 Better: Willing To Forgive
Time and again we’ve seen Dean be murderously angry at someone for deceiving him, and Supernatural uses these moments to show Dean at his worst rather than Sam at his best. This is why it slips under fans’ notice that Sam is easily forgiving.
Even after Castiel broke the mental barrier in Sam’s mind that contained Lucifer’s hallucination, Sam was quick to forgive him. Sam also overlooked Jack killing Mary – Sam’s own mother – and looked into reasons why things had unraveled that way rather than wanting revenge. Whenever Sam’s been done wrong, he forgives the person who’s caused him grief. Dean has never been the forgiving kind, nor does he even apologize.
7 Not Better: Dean Makes More Friends
Strangely, it's Dean who tends to develop better relationships with every one of the Winchesters’ friends. Dean is best friends with Castiel, he was closer with Mary and John, he’s actually got friends of his own that he doesn’t share with Sam, and he was Bobby’s favorite.
Sam’s relationships play second fiddle to Dean’s, and he’s only the latter’s first choice while being everybody else’s second choice. If you remove Dean from the equation, it’s unlikely Sam will continue to be very close to any of their friends and allies.
6 Better: Wanting To Help
Dean keeps people at arm’s length and only allows them into his “family” when they’ve proven themselves to him. When it comes to strangers, Dean generally ignores them. Dean’s also very willing to kill innocents being possessed, and has no compassion for those who might be infected and be beyond help.
Meanwhile, Sam doesn’t judge people by their chances of survival and is willing to go out of his way to help them. He admitted he was disturbed by Nick’s face, since it had been possessed by Lucifer while he’d tortured Sam, but still gave Nick a place to stay and provided protection – although the ungrateful guy turned out to be a backstabber. In the case of monsters, Sam doesn’t consider them less than human, either.
5 Better: Embracing Love
Dean has only ever been intrigued by the concept of love, and even when he seemingly settled down with Lisa, he looked more bored than happy. Sam was shown to have ditched his family to shack up with Jessica, but he was the Winchester brother who wanted to be loved.
Sam has been given chances to finding that special someone, be it Jessica, Sarah, Madison, or Amelia. He doesn’t consider love as something weak; rather, he views it as something people deserve. The Winchesters know there’s no higher meaning in the universe, but Sam continues placing love in high esteem because, to him, it means something.
4 Not Better: Dean's Funnier
Had Dean not been a character on the show, Supernatural would’ve felt all grit and no fun. Sam has never been one for the jokes, and his comedic side has been cut down to pretty much being non-existent; however, Dean’s comedy has been upped to infinite levels, and he’s easily the funniest guy on the show.
In recent seasons, all the hilarious aspects of the series have involved Dean – he even ended ScoobyNatural by going “Scooby-Dooby-Doo” at the screen. If you were to watch a highlight reel of Supernatural’s funniest moments, it would be all Dean and hardly any Sam.
3 Better: Not Letting Hardships Break Him
Yes, Dean spent 40 years in Hell and that was sad, but Sam spent 120 years in Hell with Michael and Lucifer, yet we’ve never heard him cry about it. Dean’s time in Hell was passed off as something that mentally broke him, and he still talks about it.
Sam, on the other hand, was tortured by two of the most powerful beings in creation, but he hasn’t let that make him into someone else. If anything, Sam has become even softer in personality due to the many tragedies that have befallen him. He’s lost love interests regularly, never knew his mother and saw his father die after an argument, but he’s still retained his psyche.
2 Better: For Trying To Help Jack
In the latest season, Dean became insufferable when he went totally out of character and tried to kill Jack on multiple occasions for accidentally taking Mary’s life. It got to the point where we started disliking Dean greatly, and the saving grace of this angle was that Sam, at least, didn’t turn on Jack like Dean did.
While Sam initially went along with Dean’s intentions, he saw reason and Jack’s motivations, and shot down Dean’s offer in joining him to seek vengeance. Sam even tried to kill God (along with himself) for taking Jack’s life, which at least solidified the fact that Sam was the faithful Winchester, while Dean couldn’t really be trusted so deeply. Sam was fully aware Jack was the son of Lucifer (the guy who tortured Sam for a century), but became a father figure for the boy, at a time when Dean was ready to kill him.
1 Not Better: The Strength Of Dean's Love For Sam
For all Dean’s faults, the one thing that can never be questioned about him is his love for Sam. There’s probably never been a love so deep and pure in the history of TV and cinema than the one Dean possesses for his little brother.
It’s very apparent that Sam can never match the level of love Dean has for him, no matter how much the show would want us to believe otherwise. Dean’s purity in this matter makes him someone you can’t help but respect, as there’s no ounce of doubt that he’d rather be tortured for all eternity than let Sam be in any kind of danger.