For a specific group of heroes and villains in the DC Comics Universe, knowledge truly is power! When others might employ brute strength or chaotic magic to solve their problems, DC's inventors synthesize solutions that are unorthodox but effective. We've already ranked the Marvel Universe's greatest inventors, so now it's time to give props to some of Detective Comics' smartest characters.
There are hundreds of heroes and villains that could theoretically make it on this list; even characters like Superman and the Flash created tons of whacky inventions back in the Golden Age of comics. So we're basing this ranking on how significant a characters' contributions to the DCU have been as well as what kinds of inventions said character uses regularly.
10 Ted Kord
The second Blue Beetle is also one of the most prolific inventors in DC's entire stable. In many ways, Kord inspired Nite Owl from The Watchmen, alongside a certain Caped Crusader. Back on New Earth, numerous heroes suggested that Kord was smarter than Batman. Then Flashpoint, the New 52, and Rebirth happened - casting a shadow of doubt over that claim for the time being.
Regardless of continuity, Kord's greatest invention is The Bug - a solar-powered all-purpose aircraft that the Blue Beetle uses in all of his adventures. Kord's BB Gun also serves as his primary offensive weapon - capable of dismantling technology that hails from Apokolips!
9 John Henry Irons
During the 1990s, Superman died while fighting the monster known as Doomsday to a stalemate. The DC Universe collectively mourned his loss, holding a massive funeral for one of Earth's greatest champions. In his absence, four Super-beings stepped up to fill his shoes; the Eradicator, Superboy, Hank Henshaw, and John Henry Irons.
Out of those four Supermen, Irons proved to be the most just reliable - fashioning an advanced suit of armor for himself and taking up the name Steel. The Steel power armor is an incredibly advanced piece of technology that Irons designed firsthand. John also created the Kinetic Hammer - a weapon that deals more damage the further it's thrown.
8 T.O. Morrow
Most of the other inventors on this list probably wish that their inventions could speak on their behalf and attest to their brilliance. Conversely, Thomas Oscar Morrow doesn't have that problem; he's a revered roboticist who creates highly-intelligent AIs and Androids for fun! Morrow also creates zany inventions like "4-D Grapple Beams" on a whim.
Undoubtedly, Morrow's greatest inventions are his Red Androids - the Red Torpedo, Red Volcano, Red Inferno, and Red Tornado respectively. Each of these androids has developed complex thoughts and emotions, growing beyond their initial programming and using their powers to fight for causes they believe in.
7 Mister Terrific
Michael Holt spent years working as an inventor and business to provide for his wife and child. Then one fateful day, Holt watched his family lose their lives in the middle of a disaster - powerless to intervene. Michael was initially catatonic, but eventually regained his resolved and vowed to save others using his intellect and technological prowess.
Holt took up the Mister Terrific moniker from Terry Sloane and became one of the greatest inventors in the Justice League! Michael's miraculous T-Spheres stand as his most groundbreaking inventions; these technological marvels can essentially grant Michael superpowers and can process data at insanely high speeds!
6 Barbara Gordon
Bruce Wayne isn't the only genius inventor in the Bat Family - all of his proteges display varying levels of technological expertise from time to time. However, Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl) stands above the rest for her accomplishments as Batman's apprentice as well as her achievements on her own.
You see, Babs created all of the gadgets that she used as Batgirl on her own! Later on in life, after a life-altering accident prompted her to become the Oracle, Babs put her technological expertise to good use. She creates and refines complex computer systems, allowing her to hack into high-security data banks and satellite arrays!
5 Brainiac 5
Querl Dox hails from the technologically advanced world of Colu. There, the average citizen is an "eighth level intellect." For context, the average 21st-century human being possesses an intellect level of six. Querl Dox, on the other hand, is a twelfth level intellect - one of the smartest individuals in the DC Universe!
The Legion Flight Ring is a creation of Querl's, aka Brainiac 5's, and proof of his ingenious; anyone who wears one of Brainiac 5's rings can fly through atmospheres as well as outer space! Invisible Boy helped Brainiac 5 improve his design until they eventually created the iteration of the rings that the Legion currently uses.
4 Ted Knight
Ted Knight is a brilliant scientist that created not one, but two of the DCU's most potent devices; the Gravity Rod and the Cosmic Staff respectively. Back in the 1940s, Knight fought crime under the alias Starman! Biologically a normal human, Ted's powers stemmed from the Gravity Rod - which let Knight manipulate gravitational forces using the power of stars!
Later on, Knight would eventually create the Cosmic Staff (also known as the Cosmic Rod.) Much like its predecessor, the Staff could manipulate gravity at the behest of its wielder. However, the Staff could also create energy constructs and receive mental commands. Numerous heroes used the Cosmic Staff - from Ted Knight to Jack Knight to Will Payton - before Courtney Whitmore earned the Staff and the tile of Stargirl.
3 Bruce Wayne
Speaking of the World's Greatest Detective, we couldn't make a list about DC's greatest inventors without shouting out the Dark Knight! Yes, Batman relies on Wayne Enterprises to create a lot of sophisticated gadgets for him to use. But Wayne's best inventions are made by his own hands - including the bulk of his standard arsenal, a la his Batarangs, and Grapnel Gun.
Bruce Wayne also personally designed his heaviest hitting inventions, like the various iterations of the Batmobile and the Justice Buster! Bruce also served as the lead designer for the Hellbat armor - a suit that allows Wayne to trade blows with the likes of Darkseid!
2 Lex Luthor
Without a doubt, Lex Luthor is one of the greatest inventors in the DC Universe. Lex tangles with Superman regularly and lives to tell the tale! He's even got the better of the Man of Steel on several occasions using weapons he created. Perhaps the most iconic of Lex's inventions is his warsuit - a sophisticated set of armor that rivals Tony Stark's Iron Man armors!
In times of desperation, Lex also used super-steroids derived from Venom and liquid Kryptonite to enhance his power. Remember how we mentioned that Brainiac 5 is a twelfth level intellect? Well, Lex is an eleventh level genius - outscoring the likes of Batman and Mr. Terrific by miles. Lex even cured cancer on a dare, then hid his secrets to monetize them later!
1 Rami The Guardian
Billions of years ago, Rami the Malthusian pioneered the first Green Lantern Power Ring to stop the villainous Volthoom. Eons after that incident, Rami invented another weapon that is more powerful than any of the individual Power Rings in the DC Universe - the Phantom Ring. Able to tap into the whole Emotional Spectrum, the Phantom Ring is a galactic weapon of mass destruction!
Rami is undoubtedly one of the greatest inventors in the DC Universe, but he's also mentally unstable. Even the Guardians of Oa consider him to be an immense threat. Case in point, they exiled Rami for even creating the Phantom Ring in the first place!