30 Strongest Dragon Ball Z Characters & Villains (Ranked)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Ever since Dragon Ball Super came out I have seen nothing but power scaling videos about the series. And since everyone is god-level in that season, our poor DBZ boys have fallen to the wayside (or gotten buffed).
So in the hopes of being a rebel, I’m going to look at the superior season and count down the strongest characters Dragon Ball Z history.
DBZ fans are sure to find something here they love (or heavily disagree with).
Nail was the strongest Namekian when Frieza and his goons first attacked.
And in all honesty, he was the only Namekian who wasn’t complete fodder.
Although his primary purpose in the show became to buff Piccolo, he still showed Frieza a good time. I can’t say it was very fun for him, but honestly just standing in the ring with Frieza was an accomplishment back in the day.
At this point it’s become a meme to clown on my boy Krillin. Even though he’s one of the most powerful anime characters as a whole.
He just doesn’t scale as well to his own show.
Nevertheless, he has his feats. And his destructo discs did cut off Frieza’s tail, which is quite something.
And since he stayed around for so long(I can’t really say “stayed alive”) I think he still scaled somewhat.
I want to put Tien on here strictly because he managed to piss Cell off to such a degree.
Sure, in actual combat he’s rather useless, as his scaling fell the second Raditz stepped onto Earth.
But being able to keep Imperfect Cell at bay for so long is nothing short of impressive. Honestly if he had actually done some noticeable damage as well, I probably would have placed him even higher.
If Guldo just did some breathing exercises from time to time, he would be at least a few spots higher than this.
His power allows him to stop time. But it is limited to how long he can hold his breath.
So theoretically, with enough practice and prep he could beat the next five to ten people on this list. Yet as far as the top tier characters go I don’t think it would matter all that much.
His name is Racoome, it rhymes with doom, and oh no don’t leave so soon.
Racoome’s biggest strength is probably his tenacity, as he really doesn’t know when to give up. You can knock his teeth out, destroy his armor, repeatedly blast him in the face, and he still won’t get the memo that he should stay down.
No wonder it took the entire squad plus a buffed Goku to finally put him to rest.
Zarbon might not be much of a looker when he’s at full power. But at least he has great strength and vigor.
The only real benchmark he has is his fight with Vegeta, given that his power level then wasn’t anything close to what it is now. But he destroyed Vegeta in round one, and the regretted not finishing the job properly.
24. Captain Ginyu
In all honesty, Ginyu had the potential to be an A-class fighter.
He’s the only character so far that has displayed such a unique ability like body possession.
Just imagine how powerful he would have eventually become if he just kept swapping bodies until he reached the very top.
He did manage to pull a sneaky on Goku and nearly beat him with this trick. So he is definitely a captain for a reason.
23. Cell Junior
I know the main gang was pretty worn out when these little creatures were introduced. But the fact still stands that they beat the hell out of the Z fighters.
They don’t have a lot going for them as far as perseverance is concerned. I mean, Gohan just one-shots them.
But their power and speed make up for it to an extent.
22. King Cold
King Cold was a fodder character, let’s be real here.
Since future Trunks had to flex on the entire past, King Cold was swiftly knocked out cold.
We can presume that he scales to Frieza, because genetics, but since he hasn’t done much I can’t really put him any higher than that.
Frieza was the first major big baddy of the show, and is quite the memorable character because of it. Unfortunately he would have to wait until Dragon Ball Super to really scale to the big boys.
Not to say that he isn’t powerful. He can still destroy a planet on a whim.
However, he lost to a normal Super Saiyan. And as we all know by now, the power cliffing is yet to come in that regard.
20. Dr. Gero
Although the doctor’s creations have caused a lot of damage to Earth, he isn’t super powerful himself.
Even when compared with the weakest of his Androids(next in the list) he can’t quite stand on his own.
He is smart, however, allowing for some pretty impressive maneuvers like his little hide and seek game against the Z warriors.
19. Android 19
Prepare for a lot of Android to come.
Android 19, although the most fitting to his name, was the weakest of Dr. Gero’s creations.
His ability to suck up power can be rather powerful. But as we have seen, it has its limits. Those limits being a screaming man in blue spandex.
If his power absorption capacity had a higher cap then maybe he could overtake a few spots. But for now, here he is.
18. Android 17
The only way I can truly see scaling 17 is through his fight with Piccolo.
In their first encounter, 17 was leagues above. And could have killed Gohan’s real dad.
However, after Piccolo had fused with Kami, the outcome was a bit different. As the two fighters fought to a draw.
Piccolo gets even stronger later on, which is why he’s further up on the list. But even going head-to-head with him at that time was really impressive.
17. Android 18
If it weren’t for Krillin’s hormones, judging which Android is stronger would have been a hassle.
The two ironically don’t have many feats in their own arc.
Okay, except when she totally destroyed Vegeta, that one was pretty brutal to watch. However, in the latter part of the series we’ve seen 18’s power increase slightly. And her waifu potential increase dramatically.
I doubt she can scale to Big Bro 16. But she definitely beats out her partner in crime.
16. Android 16
Of the three Androids, Android 16 was by far the strongest.
Although usually peaceful and nice, his programmed purpose of killing Goku was still very much present.
And one does not set off to kill Goku without packing some serious heat.
He doesn’t have many feats outside of his clash with Imperfect Cell. But considering how easily Cell beat the Samsung Siblings, I think it’s safe to say that Android 16 comes out on top.
Like father, like son, he just rises to the occasion.
It was with Goten and Trunks that going Super Saiyan lost all meaning, given that they were just kind of able to do it naturally.
This alone gives you a good idea of how powerful he is.
He might not be as battle crazy as his pops. But I am certain he could handle most fighters.
14. Trunks (current timeline)
Of the two little wiper snappers, I believe Trunks is just a bit stronger.
The mere fact that Vegeta gets all butthurt whenever Trunks scores a victory confirms that he’s a lot more powerful than Vegeta was as a child.
He even managed to graze his old man while they were both training. Which speaks volumes about how powerful he will become later on.
As a character, Piccolo always somewhat kept up with our boys in yellow, but not quite.
I think it’s safe to say that he could defeat any mid-tier character in the show, and go blow for blow with some of the higher ups.
He absolutely crushed Imperfect Cell. And was a threat to the Androids. So I think putting him here should offend the least amount of Piccolo fans.
12. Supreme Kai
It can be kind of easy to forget how powerful Supreme Kai is, as he’s definitely one of the more level-headed characters. And he admits when he’s outmatched, never going on any suicide missions.
But the fact is that he can go toe to toe with Super Saiyans… that is, unless they get too serious.
He has also stated that he’s weaker than our next pick, so this place suits him just fine.
For a man that looks like Satan(not that Satan) you would really think that he would be more powerful.
I mean, he definitely is strong. as he threw down with multiple Super Saiyans without taking any serious damage.
But then Buu comes around and absolutely manhandles him.
Their fight wasn’t even close. So even though he’s on par with Cell by raw strength and power, he doesn’t have the feats or longevity to back it up.
As they say, be careful who you call ugly In middle school. They might just consume an entire town and have the DNA of the world’s strongest fighters.
But then again, it’s probably his Saiyan DNA that lead to his downfall, as he just had to push Gohan to his limits in order to have a “worthy battle”.
I swear, if he just cut the fluff and snapped his neck at the beginning this series would have been over already.
Nevertheless, Gohan aside, Cell was quite the threat with his Saiyan near-death boost combined with ridiculous regeneration.
9. Fat Buu
I prefer to call him “Chungus Buu” but that’s just me.
Power-wise he’s far more formidable than he might initially seem.
His tenacity is nothing to joke about, and he did manage to swap hands with Super Saiyan Three Goku, which is a feat not many villains can claim.
Let’s also not forget that he can literally turn you into a piece of candy and eat you. Which is the weirdest intimidation tactic.
8. Kid Buu
If we’re talking base forms, Kid Buu is in a league of his own.
Which is extremely important as we’ve seen what low stamina can result in.
He can go blow for blow with Super Saiyan Three Goku, but with the added benefit of not tiring out, as well as having some crazy regen on his side.
This might be a personal thing, but the fact that he looks like a child and is also insane really adds to his whole scare factor.
It’s a shame that Gotenks didn’t see much use after his appearance in the Buu saga, where he was the MVP by the way.
I already mentioned how “kids these days just want to go Super Saiyan, back in my day you had to work for it!”
But Gotenks pushed the envelope even further by achieving Super Saiyan Three.
I mean, those are some crazy numbers right there. But unfortunately, at some point the writers remembered that they are actual children with no realistic battle training. So they tried out and took an L.
No one in the fanbase will disagree with the fact that Cell Saga Gohan was where it was at.
Although he had to be pushed to his very limit, he had the power to even surpass Goku and absolutely destroy his enemies.
But then he fell off completely and was a mid-tier at best.
However, he gets some hacks powers from Old Kai and becomes powerful again. This might be controversial, but I’m still putting him below the likes of Goku and Vegeta simply because post-Cell Saga he’s too inconsistent and has too few feats.
5. Super Buu
To be clear, this ranking is referring to Buu after he literally consumed half of his enemies and increased his power tenfold.
Just to name some of his appetizers: Piccolo, Gotenks and Gohan.
And he himself came to be when the scrawny evil Buu consumed the superior chubby Buu, so this man has a full squad in his belly and has access to all of their power.
No wonder he’s nearing the very top.
To his frustration, Vegeta is seemingly always second fiddle to Goku.
But honestly, keeping up with the G is rather impressive as it is.
Sure, he went evil that one time and nearly committed mass genocide. But his attitude does improve (slightly) later on.
But it remains a given that at any moment, he’s at best equal to Goku, or at worst far below him. And that’s the case in this list as well.
3. Trunks (from the future)
With his mother’s common sense and his father’s power, Trunks is a force to be reckoned with.
As with the other second-generation users, he learned how to go Super Saiyan rather quickly. And even learned how to add more bulk to it before his father.
The first time we see him, he kicks Terminator Frieza and his old man around like they were infants. So definitely high calibre.
No matter how you slice it, Goku is always the one who ends up saving the day one way or the other.
He was the first to go Super Saiyan, and through parental negligence both of his sons followed soon after.
And he has died and come back to life so many times that the concept is lost on him.
As far as the good guys are concerned, he’s their strongest player, at least before we start talking about fusions…
Considering that both Goku and Vegeta are upper bracket picks, it’s only reasonable that their combination is at the very top.
He absolutely clapped Super Buu around to the point where it was almost hilarious, as he couldn’t even lay a finger on him.
As far as the Dragon Ball Z universe is concerned, there’s no doubt that he’s the strongest character to appear.
Making it all the sadder that he’ll have to wait quite a bit before his next appearance, because Vegeta saw that one hot tub vine and got too self-conscious to do a fusion with a man.