In the world of Dragon Ball, the Saiyans are depicted as being incredibly strong, some of the most powerful aliens in the entire universe. The fact that they get stronger with every battle might lead one to believe that they are potentially the strongest species in Dragon Ball. While that may very well be true, the universe is full of powerful species that have faced Saiyans in battle and bested them. What we're trying to say is that the Saiyans were a powerful warrior race, but they might not have been the strongest. In fact, there are 15 other species that can be considered stronger than the Saiyans in the Dragon Ball franchise.
Over the course of the franchise, Goku, Vegeta and the half-Saiyans have managed to best most foes that have come their way, save for a few deities and the like. This is to say that Saiyans appear to be the strongest of the mortal races, but that's not quite true. Of course, the Saiyans get stronger and stronger as time goes on, so for this list, we are going to present species in the Dragon Ball franchise that have, at some point, displayed power greater than a Saiyan's, even if they were later surpassed. We're going to throw a few curveballs too!
Starting off, we have Namekians, or more specifically, Piccolo, who's done an impressive job of keeping up with the ever-growing power of the likes of Goku and Vegeta. While he might not currently be stronger than Goku and Vegeta, there was a point when Piccolo surpassed the power of a Super Saiyan during the Android/Cell saga. Piccolo was already an extremely powerful Namekian prior to absorbing Nail, but afterwards, he had become a Super Namekian, one whose power was enough to take on Frieza in his second form.
Fast forward a bit, and Piccolo trained further with his new power to get even stronger, and a second Namekian fusion increased his power even more. During the Androids saga, Piccolo gained a massive power up when he combined with Kami. Well, combined might not be the right word, since the two were, more or less, originally one being, and when they were once again complete, Piccolo's power increased greatly. According to Krillin, Piccolo's power after fusing with Kami rivaled that of a Super Saiyan, and while Goku and Vegeta have long since surpassed this point, it still means that a Namekian was capable of surpassing a Saiyan, showing the species' potential power.
What exactly is Majin Buu? Well, we don't really know. Within the context of Dragon Ball Z, it is never quite revealed where Buu originates from, just that he has existed "since time immemorial." So, wether he is the very incarnation of evil, an alien from a long-dead race, or the creation of some ancient god, the answer is not clear. What we do know is that Buu, even in his most pure form — that is, his form without absorbing the bodies and power of others — he was so impossibly powerful that the only way he could be stopped was with the power of every person on Earth PLUS Goku's strength in Super Saiyan 3.
This alone is enough to tell us that Buu's species, whatever it was, is stronger than your average, and even above-average Saiyan, but there is another piece of evidence to analyze, the "Majin" species featured in some of the Dragon Ball video games. The Majins were created when Buu formed a female mate and bad a Majin child, sparking the creation of an entire race. These Majins have been shown to be incredibly powerful, but because most of their appearances come from video games, it is a bit hard to get a specific power reading out of them. That said, we can assume some are stronger than Saiyans by the fact that they originate from Buu, one of the strongest characters in Dragon Ball history.
This is a fairly easy one to argue, but for the sake of being thorough, let's take a look at what an Angel is in the world of Dragon Ball. In each universe of the Dragon Ball multiverse, there are gods of creation, the Supreme Kai, and the gods of destruction. Together they keep the balance of the universe, but there is one main difference aside from the nature of their powers. Where the Supreme Kai are born into divinity, the destruction gods are chosen to be given power, and in order for them to hone and use their power properly, they are assigned a teacher/attendant to more or less keep them in line.
These are the angels, beings of great power who serve the gods of destruction. The exact origin of their race is not exactly clear, but we do know that a large number of the Angels are related to each other, being the offspring of Grand Priest, the head of all the Angels and attendant to Zeno himself. So, what is their power? We know for a fact that it is greater than that of a god of destruction, which itself is immensely higher than that of even the strongest Saiyan. Knowing this, we can easily say that Angels are, without a doubt, much stronger than Saiyans.
12 BEERUS' RACE
As we just mentioned, the main difference between Gods of Destruction and Supreme Kai is the source of their divinity. Supreme Kai are born as gods, but Destroyers are chosen for the position. They get this position by proving their strength, and if they are powerful enough, they are given godly ki and the power of destruction. Beerus and his brother are both of the same alien species, a cat-like race that has potential for great power. Just by the fact that two different members of Beerus' race were chosen as gods of destruction is enough to tell us just how powerful their species can be.
Another member of this species is Dyspo, who is one of the Pride Troopers' strongest warriors. Fighting for justice in Universe 11, Dyspo has gained great power in the form of lightspeed, allowing him to move faster than pretty much any other character we've seen up until his debut in the franchise. Even if there is someone faster, the fact that a member of this cat-like species was able to get strong enough to last far into the Tournament of Power shows just how much potential Beerus' race has. There are three distinct members of this species, one has achieved lightspeed, and two were chosen as destruction gods, showing that their race is much stronger than the Saiyans, or, at least a handful of them are.
The Kais and The Supreme Kais have more in common then just their name, as they are also part of the same species, the Shinjin. The Shinjin are a race born into divinity and trained to act as a Kai or Supreme Kai. The Kai oversee their respective quadrants, which, in the case of King Kai, means training warriors to ensure the survival of the mortals of his quadrant. While it has been a long time since King Kai was stronger than Goku, we can count him in this entry.
However, the true Shinjin that we can consider stronger than Saiyans are the Supreme Kai. We know that when Shin saw Gohan's Super Saiyan 2 power, it impressed him, as it was beyond what he expected of a mortal. This, as well as the fact that the Supreme Kai themselves were not strong enough to defeat Majin Buu and thus had to enlist the help of mortals, tells us that the Supreme Kai are not stronger than Gohan, Goku, Vegeta, or most of the other Saiyans. However, Shin and the Supreme Kai were introduced in the final saga of Dragon Ball Z, which means Goku and the other Saiyans were at their strongest, so we can, at the very least, say that the Shinjin people were stronger than, say, Goku and Vegeta in the Androids saga, and perhaps a bit beyond.
Despite the fact that these characters were artificially created, they can still be considered a species within DBZ lore, and as a whole, they are far stronger than your average Saiyan, besting even the strongest of Saiyans like Goku and Vegeta. There have been quite a few androids featured throughout the Dragon Ball franchise, but most know those featured in Dragon Ball Z. Goku faced the likes of Android 8 and other Red Ribbon androids in his childhood days, but the more well-known androids of the franchise are Androids 16-20 and Cell, some of which have bested a Saiyan in some way.
Android 19 was able to best Goku in the early parts of the Androids saga, but that was only because he was affected by a heart virus, so maybe we can't count it, especially since Vegeta was able to easily defeat him. As for Androids 17 and 18, we know for a fact that they were too strong for Future Trunks and most of the Saiyans to handle prior to extensive training, their strength coming from their infinite internal energy source. Cell also proves that Androids are stronger than Saiyans by the fact that it took Gohan achieving a whole new Super Saiyan transformation to finally defeat Cell, showing that regular Super Saiyans were not enough to take on the most perfect of all the androids.
This is a bit of an interesting one to analyze, so stick with us. While they might not make that many appearances at this point in the franchise, Dragon Ball would not be complete without, well, Dragons. The Dragons are more or less a type of deity within the world of Dragon Ball, granting wishes to those who seek their power. There are three dragons we have seen in the main canon of the franchise, Shenron, Porunga and Super Shenron, each with increasing power and the latter being capable of granting wishes without rules.
It is the magical power of Super Shenron and even the lesser Dragons in the series that proves they are stronger than Saiyans in some way. While a Dragon might not have the fighting power to face the likes of Goku or Vegeta, they do have the magical power to, in some way, take out a Saiyan. Yes, there is the fact that a Dragon only has the power of its creator, and thus cannot grant a wish to kill a being stronger than its creator, but there was a time when Kami was stronger than Goku as a kid. However, Dragons are stronger than Saiyans thanks to the existence of Super Shenron, whose limitless wish-granting abilities tell us how great his power, or rather the power of his creator, is.
8 FRIEZA'S RACE
Planet Vegeta was destroyed by Frieza for one main reason -- Frieza feared the Saiyans. Or rather, Frieza feared their ability to get stronger with every fight, thinking that one day, a Saiyan with power greater than his might appear and knock him off of his throne. Add to this the legend of the Super Saiyan, and it was enough for Frieza to destroy the entire planet and prevent his power from being challenged. This tells us something about Frieza, and by extension, his species, and how their power stacks up against a Saiyan. For one thing, Frieza was strong enough to destroy an entire planet of Saiyans without much effort, which should be the end of the argument, were it not for his fight against Super Saiyan Goku.
The fact that Frieza's fears were confirmed after facing a Super Saiyan might lead us to believe that his race is not stronger than Saiyans, especially since he and his father were easily defeated by Super Saiyan Trunks. But, all this time, Frieza's power was the result of naturally high strength levels, and when he finally trained in Resurrection F and Dragon Ball Super, he gained a power that was greater than the power of a Super Saiyan using Godly Ki. In other words, Frieza's race is capable of surpassing a Saiyan in more ways than one, even when they have the power of a god.
7 UNIVERSE 6 SAIYANS
In the universe 6 arc of Dragon Ball Super, we were introduced to an alternate race of Saiyans, starting with Cabba. The Saiyans of universe 6 are quite different from the Saiyans of universe 7, starting with the fact that they were not aware of what a Super Saiyan was. While this might lead us to believe that the Universe 6 Saiyans are weaker than the Universe 7 Saiyans, there is another crucial point that turns the tables of this argument. The Saiyans of Universe 6 are not the battle-hungry, war-mongering, aggressive warriors, they are a kind-hearted people who use their great strength to defend and help others.
Because of this difference in personality and values, the Saiyans of Universe 6 did not have a need for the Super Saiyan form, but that doesn't mean they didn't have access to it. In fact, their ability to quickly grasp the Super Saiyan form tells us their potential, which we believe is far greater than that of a universe 7 Saiyan. Perhaps it is the gentle nature of Universe 6 Saiyans that makes it easier for them to go Super Saiyan — which checks out, according to Toriyama's explanation of how S-Cells work. Also, the fact that all the Saiyans on team Universe 6 were able to go Super Saiyan 2 in the Tournament of Power, only a short time after first learning about Super Saiyan 1, shows that their power could easily pass that of a Universe 7 Saiyan.
This one is kind of a technicality, since half-Saiyans are still Saiyans, but we can still consider them a subspecies of sorts. Even if this is a bit of a stretch, half-Saiyans have a few key differences that make them potentially stronger then full-blooded Saiyans, which is enough to judge them on their own. It is both their human halves and the very nature of them being hybrids that makes them stronger than pure-bloods. In fact, Vegeta himself said that a Half-Saiyan would be incredibly dangerous, as their power could be potentially uncontrollable.
All the half-Saiyans featured in Dragon Ball Z show that this is, in some way true, since there are various points in which the fate of the world is placed in the hands of the Saiyan hybrids. The reason that they have so much power could tie back to the idea of S-Cells we previously mentioned. Toriyama stated that the more gentle-natured a Saiyan is, the more S-Cells they produce, and the more S-Cells they have, the more likely they are able to transform into a Super Saiyan. Because humans are generally much gentler than Saiyans, Saiyan/Human hybrids potentially have a power boost from their human halves, which is why Gohan was the first to achieve Super Saiyan 2, and why Goten and Trunks were able to go Super at such young ages. Of course, if they are that strong that young, then they are potentially much stronger than Vegeta or Goku if they trained harder.
Now, this is one of the races we know the least about, with most information coming from Dabura. However, there are more examples of demons in the Dragon Ball video games, as well as a few background characters. But, let's start with Dabura. The only time we see Dabura in Dragon Ball Z is when he is under the control of Babidi, and we only got to see so much of his power. However, what we did see was enough to give Gohan a run for his money. Gohan had difficulty taking on Dabura, both because of his power and his magical spit, which can turn anything into stone. While he might not be stronger than every Saiyan, Dabura, and other Demons by extension, is shown to be stronger than some Saiyans, and would most likely have been able to take on Goku or Vegeta prior to the power level they were at in the Buu saga.
Aside from Dabura, the only other noteworthy Demon featured in the Dragon Ball franchise was his sister, Towa, whose power is equal and perhaps greater than that of her brother's. Towa has been depicted to be stronger than Xeno Trunks (the trunks featured in the Xenoverse games) and Goku during the Buu Saga. She has also taken on Majin Buu, which shows just how powerful she is, and how strong the demon race can be, surpassing some of the Saiyans in power and strength.
4 BABIDI'S RACE
This is another one we don't know all that much about, but what we do know provides us with the information needed to argue that Bibidi and Babidi's species are, in some way, stronger than Saiyans. As it was with the Dragons, this race is not all that strong in terms of fighting power, something that can be assumed by their small, frail-looking stature. However, what they lack in raw strength, they more than make up for in magical power. But, how exactly do we measure this power? Well, the best way to look at the power of Bibidi and Babidi is to look at the people they have managed to control using their magic.
While Bibidi might not have been able to best Majin Buu in combat, he was definitely able to take over his mind and make him do his evil bidding. With how strong Majin Buu was, we could end the argument right there by stating the magic power of Bibidi was enough to overpower the raw power of Buu and thus strong enough to control (and thus outclass) a Saiyan, but there is still further proof in the form of Vegeta, who was taken over by Babidi for a brief time, causing him to go back to his evil ways. Both Bibidi and Babidi were able to control powerful beings, which puts their magical power above the power of some of the strongest Saiyans.
The Metalmen race was introduced to us through the Universe 6 saga, which featured Auta Magetta as a member. Auta Magetta is the only Metalmen featured in the series, but we know that others exist and that they share some traits with the character. These traits included immense strength, speed and durability, all of which were more than enough to push Super Saiyan Vegeta to his absolute limits. In fact, Auta Magetta only lost his fight against Vegeta because he had been pushed out of bounds, which means we have yet to see his full power, even in the Tournament of Power.
Auta Magetta is essentially a robot built for fighting; he has a metal body that grants him strength superior to that of a Saiyan. The only reason he was defeated was because of the strange weakness of his people, their sensitivity and mental fragility. Because Metalmen are sensitive, they lose the will to fight if someone insults them, but aside from this weakness, we have enough evidence to consider them much stronger than an average and even above average Saiyan. Add to this his ability to spit lava and the fact that Auta Magetta's weakness is overcome with the help of someone covering his ears, and the Metalmen shape up to be some of the strongest aliens in their universe.
2 NEO MACHINE MUTANT TUFFLE (BABY)
Before we get into this one, we'd like to say that we know that Dragon Ball GT is no longer canon. That said, the idea of Baby was actually pretty cool, and as such, some cool things went into his origins and motivations. See, before Planet Vegeta belonged to the Saiyans, it was inhabited by the Tuffles, a highly advanced race who, as they dwindled in numbers, put the last of their efforts into an invention that could get revenge on the Saiyans. This invention eventually resulted in Baby, a villain in GT who had the ability to take over others, including Vegeta, who was used as a host to gain power and go on a destructive rampage.
While Baby was technically one of a kind, he is still, in some form, a Tuffle, and thus we can consider him, and any host he took over, as part of the Tuffle race, or at the very least as part of the "species" that resulted from the Tuffles' experiments. Regardless, Baby is of some kind of species that, all things considered, did exactly what they were meant to do and become stronger than the Saiyans to enact their revenge. It is also worth noting that Baby's ability to take over bodies as host is enough to consider him stronger than a Saiyan, since he was able to overpower several Saiyans by doing this.
1 JIREN'S RACE
Last, but certainly not least, is Jiren the Gray, whose species may or may not actually be the Grays, we're not exactly sure. There is not much known about Jiren aside from his tragic past and the power he gained as a means of overcoming his trauma. We also know that he is a legendary warrior who was believed to surpass the power of a god, but we are not sure if this power is something everyone in his species has the capability of reaching or if it is just something he achieved himself. Some evidence of the latter is the fact that his entire village was killed when he was very young, meaning they are not all as strong as he currently is.
But, this doesn't exactly matter in our argument, since we only need one member of each species to be stronger than a Saiyan to argue that their entire species is stronger. With that in mind, we know for a fact that Jiren is the strongest foe that Goku has ever faced. Jiren has a ridiculous amount of physical and psychic power that puts him at the same level as the gods, perhaps even beyond it. In fact, Jiren is so strong that Goku had to develop a new form/technique just to keep up with Jiren, which is a testament to how strong Jiren, and by extension, the Grays can be.