Transformations are a big part of anime, especially within Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball series. Transformations and power ups are used throughout the three anime series to raise the stakes of a fight, and to make things more exciting and insane. Before Goku's fight with Frieza on Namek, there were a few forms featured, the Great Ape form and The Kaio-Ken just to name a few. But, when Goku first turned into a Super Saiyan, a form thought to be nothing more than a legend, everything changed. Now, all the training the Saiyans did was to push the limits of this form and achieve the next levels of it.
Because of this, and because of Akira Toriyama's eccentric writing style, there have been tons of different forms of Super Saiyans. When you look at the larger picture, the addition of every new Super Saiyan form over the course of the franchise is almost always ridiculous, but it's also ridiculously awesome. It's something fans love about the series, with limits constantly being pushed and broken. A few of these Super Saiyan forms come from movies and parts of the franchise that aren't always considered canon, but they're still worth taking a look at when ranking every Super Saiyan form from weakest to strongest.
15 SUPER SAIYAN
Let's start with the most basic of them all, the Super Saiyan form. As far as we know, Goku was the first Saiyan to achieve this from in the last hundred years of Saiyan history. There's actually a reason for this as well: Goku's gentle soul. Because he fights for good and cares for his friends and family, Goku was able to produce the necessary S-Cells to trigger the transformation, with Krillin's death acting as the emotional catalyst.
Though it was a big deal when it first premiered, and it was strong enough to defeat Frieza, the first Super Saiyan form is still the lowest among them. This isn't to say it's weak, it's just at the bottom of the list. When a Saiyan goes Super Saiyan, it multiplies their power by 50. In other words, this form is is more effective the stronger a Saiyans base form is.
14 SUPER SAIYAN SECOND GRADE
Otherwise known as an Ascended Super Saiyan, this form is what happens when a Saiyan pushes the limits of the Super Saiyan transformation. It's not quite Super Saiyan 2, but it's definitely an upgrade. This is less of an official form, and more of a forced increase of power output, utilizing the Saiyan's ki to inflate their muscles, increasing their speed and strength significantly.
The form is somewhat useful in the Cell Saga, but it's nothing compared to an actual ascension to Super Saiyan 2. Not only does it burn through ki reserves quickly, it's also just a parlor trick at the end of the day, merely adding to the Saiyan's power rather than multiplying it like other Super Saiyan forms. It helped Vegeta and Trunks hold off Semi-Perfect Cell, but otherwise it's just a stepping stone to the next level.
13 SUPER SAIYAN THIRD GRADE
Moving up a level we have a Third Grade Super Saiyan, a form that is even more dangerous to use than the Second Grade ascension. Like the previous grade, the Super Saiyan Third Grade form further inflates the muscles to utilize 100 percent of the Saiyan's stamina and strength.
There is, however, a huge drawback to this form, a lesson that Trunks learned the hard way. Where Super Saiyan Second Grade had a good balance of speed and strength increase, the Third Grade form only increases strength, and the massive increase in muscle mass causes a huge drop in speed. In fact, while the form might technically be the "strongest" of the "in between" forms, it is actually far slower than the regular Super Saiyan form, the huge muscles weighing down the Saiyan and decreasing their maneuverability in a fight.
12 SUPER SAIYAN FULL POWER
Though it might not look much different from the regular Super Saiyan form, the Full Power Super Saiyan is actually much, much stronger. The Super Saiyan Full Power form is what occurs when a Saiyan completely masters the Super Saiyan form. Goku and Gohan managed to master this form by staying Super Saiyans for an extended period of time.
The advantage of the form is that all the negative effects are bypassed. A Full Power Super Saiyan does not feel fatigued while in the form, their uncontrollable emotions are much more in check and ki consumption is much less rapid, allowing them to utilize the strength and power of the form for longer and save their ki reserves for attacks and stamina. Mastering this form also helped Gohan to reach Super Saiyan 2.
11 SUPER SAIYAN 2
Speaking of Super Saiyan 2, when the form first premiered, when Gohan transformed in his anger towards Cell, it recreated aspects of Goku's first Super Saiyan transformation. Gohan was the first to achieve the form (like his dad was the first to achieve Super Saiyan), fans were blow away and Gohan's power increase was enough to defeat the big bad of the Saga. Like father like son, eh?
But enough about story, let's analyze the power of Super Saiyan 2. Where the first Super Saiyan form acts as a x50 multiplier of a Saiyans base power, the Super Saiyan 2 form is a x100 multiplier. This power increase allowed Gohan to obliterated Cell twice and more recently it helped Future Trunks defeat Zamasu in Dragon Ball Super.
10 SUPER SAIYAN 3
Super Saiyan 3 was the trump card that Goku kept secret in the Buu saga, and though it is very powerful, it comes a great cost. The Super Saiyan 3 form, only canonically achieved by Goku and Gotenks, is a x400 multiplier of a Saiyan base power. The form also utilizes 100% of physical stamina, which is what causes the drawback of the form: massive fatigue.
Super Saiyan 3 is a massive power up, but it takes a physical toll on the user. For one thing, the form has only been achieved by those with, "altered" bodies — Goku was dead when he trained to Super Saiyan 3 and Gotenks had the combined power of two Saiyans to handle the physical stress — and even they had issues maintaining the form without getting fatigued. From this we can assume that the form may not be achievable by living or non-used Saiyans.
9 ANGRY SUPER SAIYAN
This one is a bit of a wild card so there's no true place to put it in a ranking of all the Super Saiyan forms. That said, we're going to place it above Super Saiyan 3 because it has the potential to surpass the form, as well as other forms. The reason being that the strength of this form depends on the situation, the Super Saiyan form it results from/in and the Saiyan themselves.
Super Saiyan is triggered by intense emotion, usually anger. Because of this, if a Saiyan that can already go Super Saiyan experiences anger, then they can get a massive increase in power. The most recent example of this was when Beerus slapped Bulma, resulting in Vegeta becoming enraged and angrily going Super Saiyan 2. His angry power allowed him to go toe to toe with Beerus at 10% power, temporarily surpassing Super Saiyan 3 Goku's power
8 GOLDEN GREAT APE
Now we start to get into the murky waters that is the canon of the Dragon Ball franchise, specifically Dragon Ball GT. Though it is generally disliked by fans and has since essentially become inapplicable to the canon of Dragon Ball, there were still a few cool things that resulted from the series. One of the coolest was the Golden Great Ape, a nod to the legend of the Super Saiyan, which was depicted as an ape in Saiyan lore.
This form is the result of a Great Ape going Super Saiyan, resulting in strength and power that is meant for pure destruction. However, its power is not clearly defined, the only idea of its strength being from its size and destruction potential. Because of this, its standing in the ranking of all Super Saiyan forms is a bit unclear, so take this rank with a grain of salt.
7 SUPER SAIYAN 4
We can easily rank Super Saiyan 4 above the Golden Great Ape since it can only be achieved by gaining control of the destructive form. That said, since it was introduced in GT, its ranking is still a bit unclear in the actual canon of all the Super Saiyan forms. Regardless, we still know a lot more about the power of the Super Saiyan 4 form, which acts as a x4,000 multiplier.
This is a MASSIVE increase from Super Saiyan 3, however the x4,000 multiplier is not definitively stated and is mostly speculated by fans. Thus, this form, like the Golden Great Ape, stands as one of the outliers of this list. The form is a Super Saiyan pushed to their very strongest, but its place in the canon is questionable, and it seems to have been replaced by forms introduced in Dragon Ball Super.
6 SUPER SAIYAN GOD
In the world of Dragon Ball, there are two types of ki, normal mortal ki, and godly ki. Both can be trained an utilized in similar ways, but godly ki is far more powerful, gifted to only the kais and gods of destruction. There is, however, one way that a mortal, specifically a Saiyan, can access this godly power. By performing a special ceremony, five Saiyans can infuse godly ki into a sixth, turning them into a Super Saiyan God.
This form might not look like much, since it makes Goku appear much younger and leaner, but it is actually far beyond any other form before it. Previously, Goku was unable to take on Beerus in his Super Saiyan 3 form, but in the Super Saiyn God form, he forced the god of destruction to use 70% of his power. Clearly, godly ki is a massive upgrade from regular ki.
5 SUPER SAIYAN BLUE
The Super Saiyan God form ended up unlocking an even more powerful form, Super Saiyan Blue. By going Super Saiyan using the godly ki acquired from the Super Saiyan God form, a Saiyan can go Super Saiyan Blue. Both Vegeta and Goku have achieved this form, which is easily more powerful than the Super Saiyan God form.
Super Saiyan Blue acts a lot like regular Super Saiyan, it is a x50 power multiplier, but instead of increasing regular power, it instead multiplies godly ki in the Saiyan. Thus, the already powerful Super Saiyan God form is made even more powerful. Toriyama has stated that this form was the most powerful of all Super Saiyan transformations. This might be true to an extent, but there are still a few other forms to look at.
4 SUPER SAIYAN ROSE
When a Saiyan obtains godly ki, it turns into the blue aura and hair of Super Saiyan blue. This is because it is being filtered through a mortal body. It is also because Goku and Vegeta obtained godly ki and were not born with it. But if a god were to switch bodies with a Saiyan, their natural godly ki would result in a Super Saiyan transformation similar to, but slightly different from Super Saiyan Blue.
This is exactly what happens with Goku Black. After Zamasu wished to switch bodies with Goku, his godly ki was transferred as well, and when he goes Super Saiyan in Goku's body, the godly ki is filtered through it, creating the Super Saiyan Rose form. This form is much more powerful than Super Saiyan Blue as it has a more refined influx of godly ki.
3 BERSERKER SUPER SAIYAN
One of the only two female Super Saiyans introduced in the world of Dragon Ball is Kale, a meek and gentle Saiyan who has a surprising amount of power lying within her. Kale's Super Saiyan form is similar to Broly's, her muscle mass is increased, her eyes turn white, her hair turns a green-tinted gold and she is overcome by an uncontrollable rage.
This form is as powerful as it is hard to control, which is probably why it is known as the Berserker Super Saiyan. When Kale goes Super Saiyan, this is the natural state she turns into, possessing power on par with Super Saiyan Blue. Even with the increased muscle mass, Kale is not slowed down by the weight. However, when not properly controlled, the form turns Kale into a killing rage machine.
2 TRUE LEGENDARY SUPER SAIYAN
Despite her natural Super Saiyan state being an uncontrollable rage machine, Kale manages to gain control over her Berserker form twice over. First, Kale gains her composure and sanity, pushing back the berserker form. This results in her standard Super Saiyan form, which is still heavily muscled and far more powerful than a standard Super Saiyan. This form is known as Super Saiyan (perfect energy control).
But Kale improves in the middle of battle once again, resulting in a form known as True Legendary Super Saiyan. This is similar to the perfect energy control form, but with the added power of the Berserker Legendary form, which results in the return of the green-tinted hair. We know this sounds confusing, but the points is that in this form, Kale is a Legendary Super Saiyan with full control of her emotions, composure and power.
1 LEGENDARY SUPER SAIYAN
A Legendary Super Saiyan is essentially the form that comes from a mutation in a Saiyan, a fluke of sorts that results in a different evolutionary path of the Saiyan's transformations. This form and its subsequent upgrades are only seen in Broly, a character canonical only in a few Dragon Ball Z films. The Legendary Super Saiyan is much like the Berserker, displaying all-white eyes and green-tinted hair.
The power of a Legendary Super Saiyan isn't super clear in the films that Broly has appeared in, but we can gather some facts that place it above other Super Saiyans. We know that Legendary Super Saiyans have healing factors and can upgrade the form to Legendary Super Saiyan 2 and 3. Who's to say if this makes it the strongest Super Saiyan form of them all, especially since it's not canon, so it may be another outlier on this list.