Throughout almost the entire series, all characters in the Dragon Ball series keep on talking about sensing each other's powers from great distances and all. They even compare each other's power levels just by observing each other.

So my questions are:

  1. What is the unit of power level? For example, weight is measured in the unit kilogram.

  2. How is each unit of such a power measured?

  3. Since the story revolves around Earthlings, is it possible (in the wildest of dreams) for humans to devise a way to measure power levels?

  • 1
    with the third one i thought Bulma already made something based off the Scouters
    – Memor-X
    Jul 16, 2014 at 6:00
  • would be great if i get a feedback or a vote. thx
    – Kjenos
    Aug 4, 2014 at 5:59
  • @BBallBoy Sorry for my delayed response as I got caught up with work.
    – SoundStage
    Aug 11, 2014 at 14:16
  • I'm sure a Geiger Counter will explode.. Ooopss.
    – maseru
    Mar 3, 2015 at 4:43
  • There are actually two measurements, the one from scouters and the one Babadi uses. The second one seems to be a higher scale. Jan 16, 2020 at 5:13

5 Answers 5

  1. I think the unit of the Power Level is Ki. I would like to give you the link to the wiki:

    The Power Level (戦闘力, Sentō Ryoku; literally "combat power" or "fighting strength"), referred to as Battle Point/Battle Power (BP) in video games, is a concept found in the Dragon Ball franchise created by Akira Toriyama. It is first introduced in Dragon Ball, where Goku as a kid learns to sense ki after drinking the Ultra Divine Water, although the Z Fighters are able to detect power levels via the ki sensing ability eventually.

  2. It's not clear how they measure the power, or at least I couldn't find something...

  3. That's right, Bulma got one of the scouters, so I think it shouldn't be a problem for her to copy it.

And if you want to know which character has which Power Level, see this list of Power Levels.

  • it's over 9000 Ki ? Jul 25, 2014 at 7:04
  • @SeptianPrimadewa watch the second Link ;)
    – Kjenos
    Jul 25, 2014 at 7:12

Units of power are somewhat of a rough indicator of how strong a person is in that point in time. Although at the beginning of Dragon Ball Z, in the Vegeta and Frieza arcs, power level is considered the only thing that matters. We later see in the Cell arc with Vegeta and Trunks with their alternate SSJ 2 form (The really buff one) that power level only measures strength and not speed.

So later on in the series power level just becomes somewhat of a joke when Goku and all the others have power levels of 100 000+ that it really just doesn't matter what your power level is.

Also, the creator of DBZ says that power levels often lie, because they don't show hidden power or potential.

Like in the fist couple episodes where Gohan has a super pathetic power level that just skyrockets when he gets mad.


This isn't official, but I looked into this, and this was the most reasonable conclusion I could make:

The Equation for Power Output f(x) with Power Level x is:

f(x) = 0.25x^2 * (x+1)^2

f(x) = The Power Output in PLU x = The Power Level

To find the value of 1 PLU (Power Level Unit), we can use the fact that Freeza destroyed Namek, and if we assume Namek's binding energy is the same as Earth's, we get about 224 x 10^30 Joules. Freeza powered up for 6813 to 6846 frames, and since the framerate is 30 fps, the time is anywhere from 227.1 seconds to 228.2 seconds. Based on the equation presented, a power level of 60,000,000 comes to 3.24 x 10^30. This means the value of 1 Power Level Unit is 12357457/40659859 Watts, or about 0.304 Watts.

This equation makes the farmer's power level of 5 equal to 68.4 Watts, and also gives the following Power Levels:

GE90 Jet Engine = 177

Space Shuttle = 626

Saturn V Rocket = 1,215

Strongest Laser Ever Built (ELI) = 40,276

The Sun = 8,420,000

Keep in mind that these do not increase linearly, so 50% of a power level of 100 is not 50, its about 84.

Also, I found Mr. Satan's Power Level:

Mr. Satan pulls buses in the cell saga. In my research, I found a similar bus with a mass 12000 kg and a length of 772 cm. There are 4 buses, so he pulled a mass of 48000 kg a distance of 3088 cm. He did this in 1129 frames, or about 37.6 seconds, and as the total work done is 14,535,808.896 Joules, the average power was about 387 kW. This puts Mr. Satan's power level at 43.


Calculator Used: https://web2.0calc.com/

Bus: https://www.siemens.com/press/pool/de/events/2013/infrastructure-cities/2013-05-uitp/background-ebus-wiener-linien-e.pdf

Episode 97, in which Freeza destroys Namek


Considering that Vegeta didn't sense the genkidama hold by Kuririn, we can assume that Ki is not necessarily Battle Power. Gohan also only noticed the Genkidama after seeing how huge it was in the sky.


There is a second unit of power in Dragon Ball which is "kili". Only 3 power levels in that unit are given,

Yakon: 800 kili

Goku Super Saiyan: 3000 kili

Dabura: 4000 kili

List of power levels

After a second thought I have to disagree now that the main unit of power in Dragon Ball is ki. Ki roughly translates to a type of energy. So that would be like saying "energy" is an unit of energy, when Joule for example is, but energy isnt. I would say the unit of power they read in scouters is unknown, and it's an unit to measure ki, but it isnt ki, just as joule is an unit to measure energy, but the unit isnt "energy". Also the definition of an unit of energy is a fixed amount of energy that is needed to perform certain task, in the case of the real joule for example, is the amount of work done by a force of a newton per meter in the same direction, when calory is the amount of heat needed to elevate the temperature of one gram of water in one degree Celsius, so, in other words, an unit of ki would have to be a fixed amount of ki with a particular different name to ki.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .