Here's a fun fact that Dragon Ball fans might not know, Androids were first introduced in Dragon Ball, not Dragon Ball Z. Though Androids 17 and 18, as well as Cell, were big parts of the sequel series, the concept of Android warriors were first introduced in the Red Ribbon Army saga. After this saga, Androids were pretty much forgotten about until the Android saga of Dragon Ball Z, and by then they were much more powerful, which raises the question of which Android is the strongest of them all.
There have been plenty of Androids introduced in the Dragon Ball franchise over the course of multiple series and movies and countless video games, giving us a long list to look through to determine which are the strongest. Granted, some of these Androids might not be 100% canonical, but we wanted to take some of the most interesting artificial warriors that the franchise had to offer, so we pulled from multiple installments. We're going to be measuring the strength, power and battle experience of these characters to find out which is the strongest android of them all. Will it be the cyborg types? The bio androids? Or something entirely new? Check out our ranking of all the Dragon Ball androids, from weakest to strongest.
16 REJECTED RED RIBBON ANDROIDS
We all know about Androids 16 through 20, but did you ever wonder what happened to the numbers before them? Well, Dr. Gero went through quite the trial and error process when creating Androids for the Red Ribbon Army; most of the ones before 16 were considered failures and were destroyed. There were a few exceptions, we'll get to them later, but most of the early series Androids were unsuccessful.
Though we never actually saw these androids, the early numbered series were most likely humanoid in appearance, as the name "android" implies, and due to a low battle power or malfunctioning systems, they were considered to be failures. Because of this, we're gonna count all the failed androids as one entry and place them at the bottom of the ranking.
15 MAJOR METALLITRON
The very first Android introduced in the Dragon Ball franchise was Major Metallitron. Major Metallitron was an Android created by the Red Ribbon Army, though most likely not by Dr. Gero, as he wasn't part of the numbered series. Metallitron was presented as Goku's second challenge in Muscle Tower, proving to be a tough enemy to beat.
Even when Goku blew off Metallitron's head with a Kamehameha, the android kept going, not stopping even when he had a hole punctured through him. Metallitron was actually the first enemy that Goku faced that wasn't easily defeated by a Kamehameha. This proves how strong the android was, but that strength is dampened by the fact that Metallitron ran on batteries, and after losing power, he was easily defeated.
14 ANDROID 8
Not long after we met Major Metallitron, we met Android 8, the very first numbered series Android to be introduced into the world of Dragon Ball. He was apparently the first to be considered a success, though not for long. Android 8 refused to fight Goku due to his kind and caring nature, which is why Ninja Murasaki threatened to detonate the bomb inside of him unless he attacked.
Android 8 was saved from detonation by Goku, who took care of Ninja Murasaki and later the bomb inside Android 8. Android 8 in turn protected and helped Goku, showing his true strength. Android 8 is incredibly physically strong and durable, able to shield Goku from bullets and take on the likes of Major Metallitron, placing him higher in the power ranking.
13 ANDROID 19
When Future Trunks came to the past, it was with the warning that two Androids would soon show up and destroy everything. He expected Androids 17 and 18 to be these two androids, but the timeline he arrived in was slightly different. Instead, Dr. Gero himself shows up as a cybernetic android along with the completely artificial Android 19.
Both Androids were ki-absorption models, and Android 19 proved to be a particularly tough opponent, especially if he got close enough to absorb his target's energy. Android 19 might have been strong, so strong that it took a Super Saiyan Vegeta to defeat him, but due to the fact that he had to absorb ki from others in order to actually fight, his ranking comes down quite a bit.
12 ANDROID 20/DR. GERO
Like Android 19, Dr. Gero's cybernetic android form was of the ki-absorption model, meaning he was reliant on the energy of others for most of his attacks. However, this doesn't mean he was powerless on his own, and his strength and durability proved to be quite the challenge for Krillin, Tien and Yamcha. Android 20 even managed to take a direct hit from Goku in his base fom with little to no damage.
However, Android 20 was still not as strong as some of his other creations, especially not Androids 16, 17 and 18. After Piccolo removed his weighted clothing, he was easily able to take on this Android, leaving him a broken mess. Android 20 managed to get away long enough to activate his greatest creations, though they did destroy him immediately, the brilliant doctor standing no chance against Androids 17 and 18.
11 ARALE NORIKAMI
You might be asking, "who the heck is Arale Norikami?" and that's a fair question, since she's not technically from the Dragon Ball franchise. Before Akira Toriyama created Dragon Ball, he had a comedy manga called Dr. Slump, about the titular doctor and his android daughter, Arale. Arale is technically the world's first successful Android, and as Toriyama moved on to Dragon Ball, he found ways to include Arale in the series.
Arale is incredibly strong and has fought and held her own against both Vegeta and Goku, which tempted us to put her at the top of the list -- she did break the Earth in half with her fist after all. However, based on the fact that her dangerous strength is meant to be a gag, as is her ability to defeat enemies in adorably goofy ways, we're gonna put her before the main androids of the Dragon Ball franchise.
10 IMPERFECT CELL
Another android that Future Trunks had no idea was coming for the Z-fighters was Cell, Dr. Gero's greatest creation. Cell is the first Bio-android ever created and is the only Android in the anime that is capable of having ki, unlike the androids that came before him. Created from the cells of every powerful warrior in history, Cell proved to be incredibly powerful, even in his imperfect form.
That said, Cell's first form was around the same level as Android 16 and the two were evenly matched in a fight. It wasn't until Imperfect Cell absorbed Android 17 that he was able to defeat Android 16. Taking this into consideration, and the fact that Imperfect Cell had to use trickery to absorb 17, we're placing Cell's first form just before Android 16.
9 ANDROID 16
Now we start to get into some of the more interesting, and beloved Androids of the series. To start, we have Android 16, the gentle-natured, completely artificial robot who turned out to be more of a hero than a villain. Android 16 actually has a pretty interesting backstory, he was made in the image of Dr. Gero's son, a Red Ribbon Army Soldier who died from a gunshot. After losing his son, Gero made 16 and, out of guilt, he gave him non-hostile programming so he couldn't put himself in harms way.
As a fighter, Android 16 is incredibly strong, gifted with an artificial body that has an unlimited energy source. Because of this feature, like Androids 17 and 18, Android 16 will never lose his stamina, strength or power, though that doesn't mean he's invincible, as he was beaten twice by Cell in his semi-perfect and perfect forms.
8 ANDROID 17
In the Cell saga, it is stated that Android 16 was the strongest of the entire Red Ribbon series, as he was able to hold off Perfect Cell. However, we're inclined to disagree, not just because Androids 17 and 18's full potential was unseen before they were absorbed by Cell, but also because by the time Dragon Ball Super came around, the twin cybernetic Androids had unlocked the full usage of their internal power.
Like his sister and Android 16, Android 17 is the unlimited energy model, lacking a ki-signature because he is powered by an internal energy core. This power core, along with his enhanced cybernetic strength, durability and artificial flight makes Android 17 one of the strongest fighters in all of Dragon Ball. However, because his strength and energy comes from enhancements and a power core, this means that he has a limit that he cannot break past.
7 ANDROID 18
Android 18 is almost identical to her brother, and not just because they are twins. Both Androids are of the cybernetic variety build with infinite energy cores and immense strength, and both were built/modified at around the same time. So, what makes Android 18 stronger than 17? Well, it's not much, but 18 has a one thing going for her that her brother did not.
Akira Toriyama stated at one point that Android 17 had a programming flaw that prevented him from fully utilizing the energy of his power core. Android 18 did not have this flaw and though 17 might have overcome this programming error, putting them both on an even level by the time of Super, we're still gonna give 18 the top spot, if for no other reason than she is featured more in the series.
6 ANDROID 13/SUPER ANDROID 13
Before any fans get up in arms about this entry, we'll just say we know that Android 13 and his super form is from one of the many Dragon Ball Z movies and is therefore non-canon. But, because he's one of the few Red Ribbon Androids actually featured in the franchise, we thought it would be interesting to include him.
Like the other Red Ribbon Androids featured in Dragon Ball Z, Android 13 was programmed to hate and destroy Goku, a motive ingrained in them by Dr. Gero. However, despite this shared vendetta, Android 13 actually has more in common with Cell than any other Android, seeing as he was able to get stronger by absorbing other Androids to gain a more powerful form. Android 13's Super form is said to be stronger than Meta Cooler, most likely making him stronger than Androids 17 and 18.
5 SEMI-PERFECT CELL
Once Cell absorbed Android 17, his power level immediately doubled, making him much stronger than Android 16 and 18. With this power, Cell was much more of a threat than in his imperfect form, able to easily beat opponents that once gave him trouble. However, this form is called "semi-perfect" for a reason, as he was easily defeated by Vegeta in his Super Saiyan second grade form.
That said, Semi-Perfect Cell was able to use his incredible power to easily apprehend and absorb Android 18, which he was given the chance to do by Vegeta, who wanted to see his true power. Absorbing Android 18 of course gave him another power upgrade, but the fact that he was able to overpower her shows he was already incredibly powerful without his perfect form.
4 PERFECT CELL
Finally we come to the strongest canonical Android in the entire franchise, Perfect Cell. After absorbing Androids 17 and 18, Cell got a massive power up, making him the strongest fighter that anyone had ever faced at the time. Add to this the fact that he was created using the cells of all the strongest warriors, giving him a wide variety of their abilities, and you've got one of the most powerful villains in the franchise.
But that's not all, Cell also had the ability to regenerate as long as a single cell of him remained; he could learn and adapt in the middle of a fight and, oh yeah, he could go Super Saiyan thanks to Goku and Vegeta's cells within him. If that wasn't enough, then let's not forget it took a whole new level of Super Saiyan to defeat Perfect Cell, Super Saiyan 2.
3 GOOD ANDROID 21
But what... what's this? There's another Android? Actually, there are three.... sort of. Before we get into the specific origins of Android 21, a character created for Dragon Ball FighterZ, let's talk about the two forms she splits into in the game, her good side and her evil side. Good 21 is, as one might expect, much more kind-hearted than her evil counterpart, but she is also much weaker.
When Android 21 revealed her true appearance (which resembles Buu, we'll get into why in a second) and splits into good and evil forms, the evil form took most of the power. As a result, Good 21 might be on the side of the angels, but she does not quite have the power to back it up. She's strong, but her counterpart is much stronger.
2 ANDROID 21
You might be asking who this Android 21 is and why she's so strong. In the very recently released video game, Dragon Ball FighterZ, the story mode reveals there was one more Android that Dr. Gero was developing aside from Cell, Android 21. Like Cell, Android 21 is a bio-android built from the cells of the universe's strongest warriors, including the cells of Majin Buu.
How Dr. Gero got the cells of Majin Buu is a bit of mystery, but he used these warrior cells to modify and enhance the mother of his child, aka Android 16. Yes, you read that right, Android 21 was once the lover of Dr. Gero and the mother of the son they both lost, the basis for Android 16. An interesting backstory isn't all there is to this bespectacled scientist cybernetic bio-android, as she's pretty powerful to boot.
1 EVIL ANDROID 21
When Android 21 split into her two halves, the evil side took a majority of the power they once had as a single person. She was much stronger than her good half as well as most, if not all of the Z-Fighters. This version of 21 wasn't as strong as her original form, since she was split in two, but after absorbing Cell, she got a serious upgrade.
With Cell absorbed, Evil 21 is far more powerful than any of the Z-Fighters, and even the combined efforts of nearly every character in the game were not enough to destroy her. In fact, 21 is even able to hold off Goku's spirt bomb. You know, the deus ex machina that almost always defeats the bad guy? Yeah, even that wasn't enough to take out Evil 21 without the help of Good 21 holding her down. This is enough to consider her the strongest Android in the Dragon Ball franchise.