For most of Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta was obsessed with beating Goku. Here was this gentle-natured Saiyan from a low power, low class family that had bested him in combat and beaten him to achieving the Super Saiyan form, a transformation thought to only be a legend. How could the prince of all Saiyans stand to be surpassed by the lowly Kakarot? For the rest of the series, Vegeta dedicated most of his time to beating Goku, be it in a fight or in power. But, was this really all necessary? Did Vegeta need to prove that he's better than Goku? Not really.
See, Vegeta is already better than Goku in a lot of ways. Sure, Goku got to certain warrior milestones before Vegeta did, but Vegeta still got there eventually, polishing his battle skills along the way. But, it's not just fighting that Vegeta is better at, he outmatches Goku in a lot of other categories. Vegeta is also much more interesting as a character than Goku, his dynamic development and backstory being part of the reason for his popularity among fans. But in what ways is Vegeta better than Dragon Ball's main character?
15 HE'S A PRINCE/KING
Technically, both Goku and Vegeta are royalty in some way, but Vegeta was born into it. Goku might be married to the daughter of the Ox King, but he only ruled over a village. Vegeta, on the other hand, is the son of King Vegeta, the ruler over the entire Saiyan race... after Frieza, of course. Now, this royalty doesn't just come with a fancy title and a big castle; among the Saiyans, it marks Vegeta's family line as the strongest of them all.
We've seen just how strong Vegeta himself can be, and his father's power, though weaker than his own, far surpassed that of any common Saiyan. On top of this, Vegeta was trained under harsh conditions from a young age, raising his strength and power to be worthy of the royal family name. Vegeta also married Bulma, heiress to the Capsule Corp. fortune, so he's two kinds of royalty!
14 INTERESTING CHARACTER ARC
Akira Toriyama loves writing dynamic characters. Over the many years of the Dragon Ball franchise, nearly every character has grown and changed, especially the villains. Yamcha and Piccolo started out as villains, but are now beloved members of the Z-crew (though, perhaps Yamcha less so). Perhaps the most interesting character arc of all is Vegeta's.
Vegeta started out as a ruthless murderer, killing off entire alien races to conquer planets. He planned on conquering Earth but eventually came to care for the planet and its people, thinking of it as his adopted home. He pretended not to care about his family but has shown time and again that he loves them very dearly. Vegeta's shift from killer to caring family man is such an interesting character arc, much more interesting than Goku, who has changed very little over the franchise.
13 HE'S A BETTER FIGHTER
As of right now, Goku and Vegeta seem to be about even with their power levels, but Goku usually comes out on top when it comes to technique, transformations or boosts in power. Despite this, Vegeta has still technically won every fight the two have had, Goku only beating him with outside help in some form or another. Vegeta has never truly lost to Goku, yet he is always striving to surpass his rival. So what's the reason for this?
Well, the simple answer is that power can only do so much. Though they are clearly close in power level, Vegeta and Goku are on different levels when it comes to fighting skill. Goku was trained by old men who practiced basic martial arts (with some ki training) where Vegeta was trained by Saiyan warriors. Vegeta is also a smarter and more skilled fighter, attacking with precision and calculation in battle.
12 HE'S GOT THE LOOK
Though many will try to argue that nothing beats Goku's classic orange and blue gi, it got kind of stale after a while. Goku has had a few outfit changes throughout his life, but he's mostly kept the same look while Vegeta has had quite the variety. His original armor is, of course the coolest of them all, the wrapped tail completing the whole look.
His other battle outfits are great too, all of them including his famous white gloves, and boy can he pull them off! His smaller, more compact, Capsule Corp armor is now his classic look, but he's had a few other great outfits over the course of Dragon Ball, especially his grey suit seen in Dragon Ball Super. Though, the best outfit of all is his infamous pink, "Bad Man" shirt.
11 STRONGER GENES
Gohan is a pretty great fighter, and though he was the youngest Super Saiyan of his time, Trunks surpassed his power at a younger age. The same could be said of Goten, who is slightly less powerful than Trunks. It's possible that this could be chalked up to the fact that Trunks is older, but the fact still remains, he comes from good stock.
It's even theorized that the reason Goten is able to go Super Saiyan is because he was conceived when Goku was a Super Saiyan. Trunks, on the other hand, was most likely conceived when Vegeta was in his base form, meaning his power comes from Vegeta's genes alone, and not some sort of power boost. These are just theories, however, but Trunks has still shown immense power, something that comes from being the son of the Saiyan prince.
10 HE'S EDUCATED
There's a common misconception that Goku is dumb, and though this might be true to a certain extent, he's actually pretty smart in ways that are harder to measure. Vegeta, however, is smart in quite a few categories. Vegeta is as smart as, if not smarter than Goku in battle, strategizing and planning where he can. But Vegeta is also a prince, meaning he's received some form of education, even if it was all warrior-based, while Goku has received none.
Vegeta is also very well educated in the history and biology of his people, often spouting facts about Saiyans to Goku as though he should know them, like when he revealed how a Saiyans' hair is the same from birth and how Saiyan men are only attracted to strong-willed women. To top it all off, Vegeta is well-versed in advanced technology such as space ships and medical science.
9 HE MAKES HIS OWN ATTACKS
If there's one thing that Saiyans are clearly very good at, it's learning and copying the moves of others. Goku learned the Kamehameha after seeing it performed once, and his sons seemed to pick it up just as fast. But, Vegeta isn't like the other Saiyans, most of his signature moves are of his own creation.
Though it shares similarities with the Kamehameha, Vegeta's Galick Gun is a powerful move of his own creation. Vegeta also created the Big Bang Attack and the Final Flash, both of which have been used to obliterate enemies. Pretty much all of Goku's attacks are learned from his allies, carbon copies of other warriors, but Vegeta takes the time to craft his own specialty attacks, meaning he's much more creative with his power.
8 HIS MARRIAGE
Goku almost had a cushy life where he wouldn't have to farm to supply for his family, were it not for the fact that all of his father-in-law's treasures were lost in a fire. Vegeta, on the other hand, marries into the richest family in the world. That's not even an exaggeration, the Briefs family is the richest family in the world due to the fact that their company seems to have a patent on most of the world's technology.
Though Vegeta isn't exactly the kind of person who cares about money, he sure seems to enjoy Bulma's wealth from time to time, including the use of high-tech training facilities and being able to rack up massive food bills with his Saiyan appetite. Another thing Vegeta has over Goku is that his wife actually works for a living, constantly inventing new things for Capsule Corp.
7 DOESN'T SHOW MERCY
It can easily be argued that Goku sparing with his enemies is actually a good thing, since, if he didn't, characters like Piccolo and Vegeta himself would not still be part of the series' main cast. That said, there are other times when Goku's mercy has had some pretty disastrous effects. For example, when he left Frieza alive and gave him some energy so he could escape Namek, or that time he gave Cell a senzu bean so he could fight Gohan at full strength. Vegeta, however, does not have this problem.
This possibly stems from his upbringing and past as a planet conquerer, since he had no need for mercy, but later in his life it managed to save the world a couple of times. Vegeta doesn't give his enemies the chance to rest or recover, he simply ends them, a trait that has protected himself and others.
6 HE'S LEARNED AND GROWN
We've already talked about how Vegeta has the most interesting character arc of anyone in the franchise, but how he got there is one of the things that makes him better than Goku. Heck, even the English voice actors of Goku and Vegeta agree that he's had the most interesting changes over time. Where Goku is only kind and gentle because of a childhood head injury, Vegeta learned that there was another way and chose to work hard at becoming a better person.
Not only has he become a good person, something he still struggles with (a great conflict for a character to have), but he is always working to better himself in some way. Be it surpassing Goku or going on vacation with his family, Vegeta is a dynamic character, always learning and always pushing for the best in both his family life and his status as a warrior.
5 A BETTER BROTHER
Toriyama has claimed that Vegeta's brother, Tarble, is canon, but he's yet to be seen outside of the TV special he debuted in. Regardless, from what we've seen of Vegeta's interaction with Tarble, we can easily say he's a much better brother than Goku. Vegeta was a bit distant to Tarble, but is shown to genuinely care about him, showing respect to his alien wife. Goku on the other hand, helped kill his brother.
Sure, Raditz was a psychopathic killer, and thus Goku had no choice, but Vegeta also faced a brother with a different perspective than his and found a way to communicate and relate to him. Alright, that might be a bit of a stretch, but still, Goku didn't even try to give Raditz the same second chance he gave Vegeta or even Frieza. Vegeta on the other hand was very helpful to Tarble.
4 BETTER FAMILY MAN
Goku was barely there for his two sons' lives and continues to be a bit of an absent father because of his constant training. Even worse, Goku seems to do everything in his power to piss off Chi-Chi, constantly undermining her wishes and opinions. Vegeta, by comparison, is a much better family man.
For one thing, Vegeta actually respects his wife, both in the way he talks to her and in the way he listens to her. Furthermore, Vegeta also respects his wife's brilliance and her work as a scientist. Sure, they bicker, but that's mostly because of their mutual stubbornness. As for the rest of his family, Vegeta eventually becomes an attentive and caring father, keeping promises to his son and taking very good care of his infant daughter. He even refused to fight while Bulma while she was on the verge of giving birth to their second child -- talk about commitment!
3 FIRST TO THE FIGHT
Can we talk about one of Goku's biggest faults for a second? He's always late to the fight. Be it because he's coming back from the afterlife or because he's just watching the fight from afar, Goku is never the first to take action. Vegeta on the other hand is all about action, jumping into the fight to take on an enemy.
This isn't to say that Vegeta rushes in without a plan, in fact he strategizes a lot more than Goku, but he's definitely not afraid to fight first. Be it because of his ego, his need to prove himself or even a desire to help others, Vegeta is quick to attack. Wether or not this is a good thing is up to you, but we can say that Vegeta's quick acting makes him much cooler than Goku at times.
2 DIDN'T NEED SUPER SAIYAN GOD
When Goku faced Beerus for the first time, even Super Saiyan 3 wasn't enough to face the god of destruction. Beerus was easily able to dominate Goku by using very little of his power. It wasn't until Goku gained the Super Saiyan God form that he was able to fight Beerus at 70% power. But, Vegeta didn't need this artificial boost to make Beerus break a sweat in a fight.
After Beerus slapped Bulma, Vegeta got so angry that he went Super Saiyan 2, his rage increasing his power to new levels. With this power up, Vegeta was able to take on Beerus, who was using 10% of his power. This is to say that Vegeta didn't need Super Saiyan God to make Beerus fight him semi-seriously. Maybe if Goku cared enough about Chi-Chi, he could have done the same...
1 COOLER SELF SACRIFICE
Goku has died twice over the course of the series, both times being a from of self-sacrifice. The first time was to give Piccolo a good shot at Raditz as he held him down, getting hit by the attack as well. The second time was bringing a self-destructing Cell away from Earth. As selfless and cool as these sacrifices were, they don't compare to how Vegeta went out in the Majin Buu saga.
Instead of taking an attack, Vegeta dishes out his own self-destruction, exploding his body in a huge burst of energy. After getting his son and Goten out of the way, Vegeta confronted Buu and charged up his body's ki, releasing it all at once to turn himself into a living bomb. The attack might not have been successful in defeating Majin Buu, but the explosion and gesture were still awesome.