Top 15 Strongest Characters in Dragon Ball Z, Ranked!

A never-ending and fierce debate regarding the strongest characters in shounen anime is tradition.

Dragon Ball Z is rife with extremely powerful characters and god-tier action sequences which drives us to sink our teeth further into the debate of: who are the strongest characters in Dragon Ball Z?

The difficulty in ranking the strongest characters is comparable to finding a needle in the large-scale destruction they themselves create with their massive bouts of power but we’ve put together a list of the 15 strongest Dragon Ball Z fighters after careful consideration.

The list only includes characters from the original TV run of Dragon Ball Z with 291 episodes.

15. Krillin

Signature Move – Destructo Disc/Kienzan

Affiliation – Z Fighters

Krillin is a supporting protagonist. While his strength is not explored in Dragon Ball Z, he always served as a deterrence to distract the enemy before a more powerful character arrived. He is quite skilled at catching the enemy off guard and employing misdirection.

He does have vital moments in the battles against Saibamens, Frieza and the Saiyans. During the Namek Saga, Krillin’s strength is unlocked by the Elder Guru reaching the potential of 14,000.

In the fight against Frieza’s soldiers, it is implied that Krillin’s power rivaled Master Roshi’s making him one of the strongest Earthlings in the series.

14. Master Roshi

Strongest Form – Max Power

Signature Move – Max Power Kamehameha

Affiliation – Z Fighters, Turtle School

Master Roshi is one of the strongest Earthlings in the series. He is known as the ‘Turtle Hermit’ and the ‘God of Martial Arts’. Roshi has trained characters such as Gohan, Yamcha, Goku, Krillin, and Ox-King.

Top 15 Strongest Characters in Dragon Ball Z
Master Roshi | Source: Dragon Ball Wiki-Fandom

The scouter calculates his power level at 139 however his true power is not accounted for. His signature move, Max Power, allows him to execute ki attacks at maximum potential which are powerful enough to destroy the moon.

In Dragon Ball Z, he is overshadowed by his students but his 300 years of experience and ability to create some of the strongest fighters in the series cannot be overlooked.

13. Piccolo

Strongest Form – Fused Piccolo (with Kami)

Signature Move – Makankosappo/Special Beam Cannon

Affiliation – Z Fighters, King Piccolo’s Demon Clan

Piccolo is a Namekian and the final reincarnation of King Piccolo. Piccolo begins to shed his antagonistic traits in Dragon Ball Z as he forms a bond with Gohan. Previously, it was shown that Piccolo can beat Krillin with ease.

Top 15 Strongest Characters in Dragon Ball Z
Piccolo | Source: Dragon Ball Wiki-Fandom

Despite experiencing continuous defeat at the hands of Goku, he does manage to injure Goku. Under the training of King Kai, Piccolo’s power increases to the point it is lauded by Nail.

Piccolo is able to evenly fight against Frieza’s second form and is equal in strength to Android 17 however he lacks the infinite stamina of his enemies.

12. Frieza

Strongest Form – Final Form

Signature Move – Death Ball

Affiliation – Frieza Force, Ghost Warriors

Frieza is the emperor of Universe 7 and an antagonist of the series. He is responsible for destroying Planet Vegeta. In Dragon Ball Z, Frieza is shown to be extremely menacing and brutal.

His high speed and strength allow him to torture Vegeta, severely injure Nail, almost kill Gohan, murder Krillin and deflect Piccolo after ascending into his third form. In the Frieza Saga, he is able to overpower Vegeta and Goku using only 50% of his power.

Top 15 Strongest Characters in Dragon Ball Z
Golden Frieza | Source: Wiki-Fandom

Despite the flurry of attacks, Frieza still manages to withstand Goku’s Large Spirit Bomb which drew energy from Planet Namek’s solar system.

11. Android 18

Strongest Form – NA

Signature Move – Power Blitz/Infinity Bullet

Affiliation – Z Fighters, Red Ribbon Army (former)

Android 18 is Dr. Gero’s creation and the twin sister of Android 17. During the Cell Saga, Android 18 goes up against Vegeta and is able to keep up with his blows.

Top 15 Strongest Characters in Dragon Ball Z
Android 18 | Source: Dragon Ball Wiki-Fandom

She gains an upper hand in the battle as she is unable to lose any stamina and ends the battle by breaking Vegeta’s arm. The antagonist, Cell, manages to reach his final form – Perfect Cell – after absorbing Android 18.

She is extremely powerful and is able to easily overpower a Super Saiyan. Her raw strength and infinite stamina make her powerful without training however she is also able to improve her skills further.

Goku saves Android 18

10. Android 17

Strongest Form – NA

Signature Move – Android Barrier

Affiliation – Red Ribbon Army

Android 17 is the twin brother of Android 18 and hence, Dr. Gero’s creation. In the Cell Saga, it is shown that Android 17 can take on Tien, Piccolo and Trunks simultaneously.

Top 15 Strongest Characters in Dragon Ball Z
Android 17 | Source: Dragon Ball Wiki-Fandom

Android 17 is equal in strength to Piccolo but he is able to effortlessly defeat him due to his vast reserves of stamina and speed. However, just like his sister, Android 17 was not able to keep up with Semi-Perfect Cell and is absorbed by him in the end.

Android 17 has great potential due to his cybernetic enhancements however he still lacked experience and training which lead to his defeat by Imperfect Cell.

9. Pikkon

Strongest Form – NA (Full Power Level : 300,000,000,000)

Signature Move – Thunder Flash Attack

Affiliation – West Kai

Pikkon is a non-canon (manga) character who first appears during the Other World Saga in Dragon Ball Z. Under the orders of Grand Kai, Pikkon easily defeats Frieza, Perfect Cell, and King Cold in Hell.

Pikkon vs Olibu

He spars with Goku during the final battle and is shown to have an upper hand until Goku finds the weakness to his ultimate technique – Thunder Flash Attack. Even Goku notes that Pikkon is a highly efficient fighter with virtually no blind-spots.

He is considered to be the strongest fighter in Universe 7’s West Galaxy and manages to withstand Goku’s Super Saiyan Kaio-ken.

8. Future Trunks

Strongest Form – Super Saiyan Future Trunks

Signature Move – Burning Attack

Affiliation – Z Fighters

Future Trunks is the Saiyan-Earthling hybrid son of Bulma and Vegeta from an alternate future. Under the guidance of Future Gohan, Future Trunks develops into an extremely skilled fighter, swordsman, and Super Saiyan.

Top 15 Strongest Characters in Dragon Ball Z
Future Trunks | Source: Dragon Ball Wiki-Fandom

In Super Saiyan Third Grade Trunks form is able to keep up with Perfect Cell and inflict significant damage on him despite being defeated.

Future Trunks is shown to easily deflect attacks from Frieza’s and King Cold’s soldiers. He can also overpower Frieza and emerge unscathed from the encounter. He is also able to deter King Cold’s attacks.

7. Cell

Strongest Form – Super Perfect Cell

Signature Move – Absorption

Affiliation – Red Ribbon Army

Cell is the ultimate creation of Dr. Gero. He was created using the genetics of highly skilled fighters such as Goku, Frieza, Vegeta, Piccolo and King Cold. Unlike Android 17 and 18, Cell could increase his power exponentially by absorbing life-forms.

Top 15 Strongest Characters in Dragon Ball Z
Cell | Source: Dragon Ball Wiki-Fandom

He possesses traits from the Saiyan race, the Namekians and Frieza’s race making him a formidable enemy. Upon his arrival, only few characters including Goku could keep up with his Perfect Cell form.

In his Super Perfect Cell form, he is comparable to Super Saiyan 2 Gohan in terms of strength however his lack of endurance and speed lead to his defeat.

6. Good Buu

Strongest Form – Good Buu

Signature Move – Chocolate Beam, Vanishing Beam

Affiliation – Z Fighters

Majin Buu/ Good Buu came as a result of Innocent Buu splitting into good and evil halves using fission. Despite his inferiority against his counterpart in terms of power, Good Buu is still considered to be one of the strongest fighters in the universe.

Good Buu vs Basil

In his battle against Kid Buu, it is shown that Good Buu is able to hold off Kid Buu’s attacks for a long period of time thereby performing better than Super Saiyan 2 Vegeta. After splitting from Kid Buu, Good Buu is able to power up using his rage much like Super Buu.

5. Son Gohan

Strongest Form – Ultimate/Mystic Gohan

Signature Move – Masenko

Affiliation – Z Fighters

Gohan is the son of Goku and his wife Chi-Chi. Gohan’s transformation as a fighter is one of the central themes of Dragon Ball Z with the climax of Cell Saga leaving Goku dead and Gohan as the Earth’s protector.

During his fight against Super Perfect Cell, Gohan’s power ascends into Super Saiyan 2 – something no other Saiyan had achieved till this point.

Birth of Ultimate Gohan

After Old Kai unlocks his ability, Gohan reaches Ultimate Gohan which is able to overpower Super Buu without transforming into Super Saiyan. This implies that Gohan’s new base form – Ultimate Gohan – has access to tremendous amounts of power.

4. Uub

Strongest Form – NA (Base Power Level rivals Goku’s Base Form)

Signature Move – Kamehameha

Affiliation – Z Fighters

Uub appears briefly in the final saga of Dragon Ball Z yet proves himself to be the strongest Earthling.

After the death of Kid Buu, Goku wished to spar with such a strong fighter once again but not to save Earth – hence Uub (Buu spelled out right-to-left) Uub was born with the latent strength of Kid Buu and goodness in heart.

Top 15 Strongest Characters in Dragon Ball Z
Uub | Source: Dragon Ball Wiki-Fandom

Despite not being trained, Uub is able to fight evenly with Goku and respond to each one of his attacks. While Goku does not go Super Saiyan, the fact that Uub manages to injure Goku in his base form without prior training is commendable.

The fight does not conclude as Goku sees vast potential in him and instead, decides to train him.

3. Vegeta

Strongest Form – Majin Vegita

Signature Move – Galick Gun,Final Flash, Big Bang Attack

Affiliation – Z Fighters, Frieza Force (former)

Vegeta is known as Prince Vegeta to the fallen Saiyan race. Vegeta’s transformation not only as a powerful being but also from a villain to a hero is attributed to Dragon Ball Z’s impeccable storytelling.

Top 15 Strongest Characters in Dragon Ball Z
Vegeta vs Semi Perfect Cell | Source: Dragon Ball Wiki – Fandom

Vegeta is able to put up a good fight against Perfect Cell despite Cell being stronger than him. He is also able to resist Babidi’s mind control as Majin Vegeta – exemplifying mental fortitude.

While Majin Vegeta and Super Saiyan 2 Vegeta are unable to keep up with Super Buu, it is Vegito (fusion with Goku) that finally brings down one of the strongest antagonist of the series.

2. Son Goku

Strongest Form – Super Saiyan 3

Signature Move – Kamehameha, Spirit Bomb

Affiliation – Z Fighters

Son Goku or Kakarot is, hands down, a force to be reckoned with in Dragon Ball Z. Goku is the strongest Saiyan in the universe by the end of Z. He possesses an exceptional natural ability for fighting and his acute battle senses help him persevere through tough battles.

He serves as a facilitator for the development of some of the characters on the list. Goku is an extremely powerful and well-balanced fighter who is able to fight head to head with almost anyone in canon DBZ.

Strongest Characters in Dragon Ball Z
Goku turns SSJ3 | Source: Dragon Ball Wiki – Fandom

Goku is the first to go Super Saiyan 1 in the series creating a benchmark for others and the one to reach the level of Super Saiyan 3. His fusion with Vegeta – Vegito – rivals Super Buu.

1. Super Buu

Strongest Form – Super Buu (Piccolo & Gotenks Absorbed)

Signature Move – Chocolate Beam

Affiliation – NA

Super Buu, the result of Evil Buu consuming Good Buu in chocolate form, is the strongest character in Dragon Ball Z series. He possesses a tremendous amount of power which is unleashed due to his uncontrollable fits of anger.

Top 15 Strongest Characters in Dragon Ball Z
Super Buu | Source: Dragon Ball Wiki-Fandom

Super Buu is more evolved than his previous incarnation as he possesses more power and an increased mental capacity than the former forms.

Super Buu after absorbing Piccolo and Gotenks is able to easily overpower Gohan in a fight. Super Buu’s powers provoke Goku and Vegeta to fuse as Vegito and defeat him in an almost evenly matched battle.

Super Buu vs Mystic Gohan

Honorary Mentions:

There are three characters from Dragon Ball Z who hold a vast amount of potential in terms of strength however, they are not able to fight evenly against the characters listed.

They grow to become powerful fighters further into the franchise. These characters are Goten, Kid Trunks, and Tien Shinhan.


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