Dragon Ball: 15 Highest Power Levels According To The Manga (2023)

The concept of power levels in Dragon Ball has long been a point of contention among manga readers and anime audiences alike. They don't seem to make a lot of sense, it's unclear how they're measured, and it seems that someone with a lower power level can still overwhelm someone with a higher power level. Then there is the idea of hiding one's power level, which adds another level of complication to the affair.

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The manga and accompanying guidebooks tried to explain power levels as best as they could, but this seemed to die off as the series went on and are virtually unmentioned in Dragon Ball Super. Regardless, it is still worth it to go back and look at who had the highest power levels according to the original Dragon Ballsource material--the manga.

Updated April 28, 2022 by Josh Davison: Despite the fact that the series abandoned it long ago in its own lore, the concept of power levels has remained a fascination for fans of the Dragon Ball franchise. It's an interesting concept on its own merit, as it's hard to imagine how one could measure strength on that level.

It's also something of an in-joke, as power levels seemed to mean nothing concrete not too long after their introduction. Regardless, they still introduced a loose metric by which Goku's strength could be measured against his peers and foes.

15 Tien Shenhan Was Likely The Strongest Human At The Time Of The Saiyan Invasion

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Tien Shenhan spent the year awaiting Nappa and Vegeta training as hard as any of the other Z-Fighters. Unfortunately, it still wasn't enough to stop Nappa, and Tien perished in his suicidal attempt at finally dropping Nappa.

At this point, Tien was actually stronger than Krillin, who is generally the strongest human on Earth throughout most of the series (depending on whether you count post-wish Android 18). According to Daizenshuu 7, a companion guide to the Dragon Ball series, Tien Shenhan had a power level of 1,830 when Nappa and Vegeta arrived on Earth to threaten the Z-Fighters.

14 Piccolo Was Nothing To Shrug Off When The Saiyans Arrived On Earth

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Until Goku arrived, Piccolo was the one who came the closest to giving Nappa an even match. The Namekian had spent the year since Raditz's arrival training both himself and Goku's son, Gohan. Piccolo was easily stronger than any human on Earth at that point--Tien and Krillin included. Unfortunately for Piccolo, even he couldn't quite measure up to the bulky bald Saiyan.

Piccolo has generally been the strongest non-Saiyan hero in the series (though that is somewhat complicated by the arrival of the Androids and Frieza's heroic turn in Dragon Ball Super). This might be the point in the series where the margin between the power of the likes of Tien and Krillin and the power of Piccolo was at its thinnest, as, according to Daizenshuu 7, Piccolo had a power level of 3,500 at this point.

13 Nappa Truly Outmatched Any Human And Namekian On Earth At The Time

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Piccolo's power level was close to Nappa's, but there was still a good bit of distance between them. Nappa was a trained Saiyan warrior charged with protecting Prince Vegeta. He was also an elite soldier in Frieza's army. Frieza has no shortage of cannon fodder, so it takes a particular strength to survive for very long in Frieza's army.

When Nappa arrived on Earth to battle the Z-Fighters, he had a power level of 4,000 according to Daizenshuu 7. Unfortunately for Nappa, this put him at half of Goku's power level when he came back from the dead. No wonder Goku made such short work of Nappa, prompting Vegeta to mercy kill his companion.

12 Cui Was Surprisingly Powerful For Such A Minor Character

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Few remember Cui from the Frieza Saga. Frieza had no small amount of colorful and memorable soldiers such as Zarbon, Dodoria, and the Ginyu Force. It's going to be fairly easy to fall through the cracks in such company. That said, Cui received a funny line or two in Team Four Star's Dragon Ball Z Abridged series.

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Cui receives a little more screen time in the anime than in the manga, as a filler episode shows Cui destroying an unknown planet. In the manga, he is introduced to the reader while mocking Vegeta after his defeat on Earth. This prompts Vegeta to challenge and kill Cui. According to Volume 21 of the manga, Cui's power level at this point was a shocking 18,000.

11 Dodoria Was Just A Notch Under His Combat Partner

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Dodoria was one of Frieza's elite soldiers and served as one of his bodyguards during the Namek invasion. Dodoria was partnered with Zarbon, and the two killed and intimidated every poor Namekian who had the displeasure of seeing them. These two were the cream of the crop in Frieza's army.

Dodoria was strong but not quite as strong as Zarbon. He also had the misfortune of challenging Vegeta after he killed Cui. This led to a brutal fight where Vegeta completely outmatches Dodoria, and Dodoria tries to bargain the true fate of Planet Vegeta for his life. In the end, Vegeta still kills Dodoria. At this point, Dodoria's power level was 22,000 according to Daizenshuu 7.

10 Zarbon Was One Of Frieza's Elite For A Reason

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Power levels were on the decline of use by the time of the Cell Saga, so it's hard to find any characters that were in the manga whose power levels were outright stated by a manga-relevant source. Movie characters like Broly, Cooler, and Super Gogeta have been given power levels that would edge out the bottom three of this list easily, but none of these characters have been in a manga.

All these facts conspire to put one of Frieza's personal guards on this list: Zarbon. He is more powerful than Dodoria, but only by 1,000. Zarbon's power level comes out to 23,000 according to Daizenshuu 7 the Dragon Ball manga guidebook which Akira Toriyama himself had a hand in making.

9 Nail Was the Most Powerful Namekian Warrior In His Day

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Unfortunately for Piccolo, we never got a good read on his power level near his peak as a warrior. That means that Nail gets to be the only Namekian on this list. He was the personal guard of Guru and even made an attempt at fighting Frieza when he invaded Namek.

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Nail's power level comes from Vol. 24 of the manga, and it caps out at 42,000. Considering how high Frieza's power level turns out to be, poor Nail didn't stand a chance.

8 Krillin Was No Slouch When He Reached Namek

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People like to dunk on Krillin for his seeming inability to keep up with the likes of Piccolo and Goku. However, he is by far the strongest purely human warrior on Earth, and he did his best to be a useful asset to his friends and allies.

His power level grew immensely after having his potential unleashed by Guru on Namek and after his fight with Recoome of the Ginyu Force. According to the manga-focused magazine V-Jump, Krillin's power level reached 75,000 after his fight with Recoome.

7 Captain Ginyu Was The Most Powerful Of The Ginyu Force

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Captain Ginyu was the indisputable powerhouse of the Ginyu Force. He was a force to be reckoned with in his own body (assuming that was his body of course), but his trump card was the ability to swap bodies with a target such as Son Goku.

According to Volume 24 of the Dragon Ball Z manga, Captain Ginyu had a power level of 120,000 at the time of his arrival on Namek.

6 Kid Gohan Got More Powerful As He Got Angrier

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Unfortunately, there is not a reliable source for Gohan's power level as a teenager during the Cell Saga or in his Ultimate Form during the Buu Saga and beyond. The last power level measurement we got of Gohan was during the Frieza Saga as a child.

Then, his power level was reliably at 200,000 according to V-Jump magazine. However, it could go up as he got angrier.

5 Vegeta Could Back Up His Boasts On Namek

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We run into the same problem with Vegeta's power level. He achieved the Super Saiyan and Super Saiyan 2 forms during the Cell and Buu Sagas, but we only got a measurement of his power level on Namek before he reached those milestones.

In any case, the most recent estimate of Vegeta's power level came after his fight with Recoome. At this point, Vegeta's power level was 250,000. Admittedly, maybe he's not as powerful as he claims.

4 Goku In His Base Form Was Still Far More Powerful Than His Comrades

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Even before he unlocked his Super Saiyan form on Namek, Goku stood head and shoulders above even Vegeta, Krillin, Gohan, and Piccolo. At this point in time, Goku had already mastered the Kaioken and had come back from his fight with the Ginyu Force stronger than ever.

Even before unleashing the Super Saiyan form, Goku had a power level of 3,000,000.

3 Yakon Actually Had His Power Level Measured In The Manga

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Do you remember Yakon from the Babidi Saga? Few do, but he still received a power level estimation in Volume 38 of the Dragon Ball Z manga. He was a demonic creature who worked for Babidi whose mission was to unleash Majin Buu on the world.

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Yakon's power level was measured in "kili", which is equal to 50,000 of the traditional power level units or "BP." Yakon's power level came in at 800 kili, which adds up to 40,000,000.

2 Perfect Form Frieza Was Deadly At 100% Power

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Of course, Yakon was only a minion of Babidi and not the main villain even before Majin Buu arrived. Frieza was the star of his saga, and he was the most powerful enemy that Goku had faced up until that point.

Frieza, at 100% power of his Perfect Form came into a whopping 120,000,000. No wonder he could blow up a planet on a whim. This information comes from the Dragon Ballmanga guidebook Daizenshuu 7.

1 Super Saiyan Goku Was At A Peak As The Buu Saga Approached

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Once again, readers and viewers didn't get a good measurement of Goku's power level in his Super Saiyan 2, Super Saiyan 3, or Vegito forms. However, we did get an idea of just how powerful Goku was at his Super Saiyan peak as the Buu Saga approached.

Both Volume 38 of the manga and Daizenshuu 7 agree on the fact that Goku's power level in his initial Super Saiyan form tops out at 150,000,000.

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