Gandalf or Dumbledore: Who is the Better Wizard?

Gandalf vs. Dumbledore: Wizard Smackdown!

In the past decade, the silver screen has brought some of the most epic wizards to life for millions of people throughout the world. Whether or not they have actually read Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings, there can’t be many people who can claim ignorance as to who Dumbledore and Gandalf are.

Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts School of Wizardry has dedicated his life to protecting the world from evil wizards. During the reign of Lord Voldemort, he established the Order of the Phoenix. He plays an integral role in protecting Harry Potter and training him to defeat the Dark Lord, and ultimately gives his life – an act which was essential in securing the final demise of Voldemort.

Gandalf the Grey was the last of the Istari wizards in Middle Earth. Entrusted by the Elf Círdan with the Ring of Fire to aid him in his labors and that he might “rekindle hearts to the valour of old in a world that grows chill.” Gandalf establishes the Fellowship of the Ring in order to defeat the evil Sauron and destroy the One Ring. Gandalf dies in a duel with a Balrog, protecting Frodo and other members of the Fellowship. Revealing his true identity as a Maiar, or demigod, he is sent back as Gandalf the White to lead the Fellowship to victory.




Albus Dumbledore


As a wizard, Dumbledore’s magical abilities are unrivalled by those of anyone else in his world. He is also a master alchemist and was the person who discovered twelve ways that dragon’s blood can be used. Rather than needing the invisibility cloak, he is able to become invisible using his own magic spell. Additionally, he can conjure Gubraithian Fire and do a number of other spells that not only serve to protect himself and others, but also that can inflict injury during a duel. Additionally, he can aparate from one place to another in a single instant, which is a big time-saver if he wants to travel anywhere or even go across the room.

Dumbledore’s wand is one of the most well-recognized wands in existence because of the power that it grants its owner. Having won it by defeating Grindlewald, one of the most dangerous dark wizards of all time (second only to Voldemort), this wand is said to make its wielder invincible during any duel.

Dumbledore’s wisdom also gives him a distinct edge. While he may not be all-powerful, he definitely has an acute intellect. He has vast experience with magic, which gives him knowledge of spells and enchantments. He is also well acquainted with human nature, which allows him to predict what his pupils, associates, and enemies will do. With his great understanding, he is able to tutor young wizards and help them achieve their highest potential. He also knows that the greatest power is love, which cannot be imitated by any spell or bit of magic. In the Harry Potter series, he is the embodiment of all that is good and true.





In the Lord of the Rings, Gandalf is the essence of power. Having originally been an immortal spirit, he takes the form of Gandalf the Grey when he is entrusted with an important mission. As an Istari, he is almost a god, which means that he is innately more powerful than any human or other mortal creature. While Gandalf did die in his fight with a Balrog, he comes back to life even more powerful so that he can finish his mission as Gandalf the White.

Although Gandalf is all powerful, he does not actually fight Sauron himself because his ultimate purpose is to assist the living in achieving their freedom. Through his wisdom, kindness, and power, he is able to help mortals reach their potential.

Gandalf has two main implements with which he fights: his staff, and the sword. He is able to use his power whether or not he has either of these tools. He can create and control fire, create magical objects, and control non-magic objects. His great mental powers allow him to know and alter the will of others.


While he is a great wizard, Dumbledore is far from perfect. He admits that he has, on occasion, allowed his emotions to get the best of him. Also, he is tempted by a great desire for power, which is evident in his desire for the Hallows. When he was young, he put his own education and other pursuits above his family, leaving his mother to care for his sister, Kendra. This ultimately caused the death of his mother.

Dumbledore’s penchant for keeping secrets may also be a hindrance to his own happiness and success. He displays a certain pride in the way that he dealt with Harry Potter, withholding information that could be quite useful, and insists on completing certain tasks on his own without accepting valuable help or advice from others.

Finally, his carelessness in putting on a cursed ring would have ultimately proved his demise, even if he hadn’t asked Snape to use the Killing Curse on him. This moment shows that Dumbledore, while wise and analytical, is not all-knowing.


Gandalf also seems to have an overwhelming trust of others, which may be why he was fooled by Saruman and trapped in the tower of Orthanc. He also is tempted by a desire for power, which is why he asks Frodo not to give him the Ring.

And Finally…

Both of these wizards had great power in their realms. While each of them assisted in the defeat of their enemy, they played the role of wise confidants and guides. Which one is truly a better wizard? Opinions vary significantly from person to person, but one thing is for sure; they are both great characters who are vital to the plot and overall meaning of their stories.



  1. angel November 30, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Dumbledore for sure.

    • Jec frost December 31, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      That comment killed Paul walker. I guess you have not seen Gandalf fight.

    • Jamie has February 18, 2017 at 1:58 am

      Have you not watched lord of the rings?

    • Natalie Smith May 22, 2017 at 11:00 pm

      OMG yes Dumledore

  2. Leo December 9, 2014 at 8:10 am


  3. Dasamuac December 14, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Theres no doubt! Dumbledore is the greatest wizard!

    • Natalie Smith May 22, 2017 at 11:01 pm

      IKR Dumbledore!!

  4. SOMEONE December 31, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Dumbeldore is a better wizard!

    • MY PRECIOUS February 20, 2017 at 3:25 pm


  5. Tony January 22, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    I second that

  6. Michael January 31, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Gandalf hands down.. easy win for Gandalf

    • Booksy March 16, 2016 at 12:59 am

      Haha XD

    • Jamie has February 18, 2017 at 1:57 am

      For sure no contest

  7. Victor Chaves February 2, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    A no brainer. Gandalf is not even a mere mortal, he is a celestial being with powers far beyond those of Dumbledore. The

  8. Bibbedi February 28, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Gandalf if by far more powerful, but Dumbledore is the better wizard. Although He won’t be able to kill Gandalf he is still a more skilled wizard

  9. Nick March 4, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    Dumbledore is obviously much more powerful. Gandalf doesn’t even know how basic wizard abilities like travel with magic, he has to ride a horsey around haha. I never even seen gandalf conjure a decent fireball. Dumbledore conjured a massive fking FIRESTORM on top of water. Voldemort fears Dumbledore. Sauron thinks Gandalf is a joke. Dumbledore could vanish the Ringwraiths with a effortless patronus spell and Gandalf nearly dies to the Ringwraiths several times. Dumbledore is wise and meticulous and keeps a record of his memories. Gandalf is forgetful and has very lackluster knowledge consider his age is around two millennia. Dumbledore could beat two Dark Lords is magical combat. Gandalf couldn’t even beat one.

    • Cornelius April 17, 2015 at 2:47 am

      First of all, Gandalf has to hide his abilities, so if he didn’t he would be better. Also, the magic in the two worlds are very different, so in one world, teleportation is normal, while in another, it is impossible, but Dumbledore could not create a world, while Gandalf helped to make the world. Gandalf in the movie is dumb, but in the books, he created a huge stormy whirlwind that could be seen from very very far away. It is true that Dumbledore > Voldy, and Sauron>Gandalf, but Sauron is also vastly more powerful that Voldemort, so… that comparison doesn’t help very much.
      Ringwraiths =/= Dementors. At all.
      The fact that Gandalf is older than two millennia and has no cognitive decline means that he is wiser than Dumbledore.

    • Saruman April 28, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      you know nothing,gandalf holds the ring of flame of Anduin,he can fight with or without his staff summon lightning bolts break huge stones create magical shield and his wisdom and planning is much greater than of dumbledor who died for nothing but a fake hocrux and without wand dumbledor is useless,is sword battle there is no feats for dumbledor but gandalf can use it to kill hundreds of orcs.And about dumbledor vs sauron dumbledor would have eaten the shitt of the dark lord.

    • Deez Nuts March 20, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      Who gives a sh*t about magic? Gandalf travels over the vast land of Middle-Earth. He puts himself in front of others and eventually sacrifices himself in order to save the fellowship. Dinkledore can get one shotted by Voldemort and would die before he even reached the Black Gate.

      • James June 3, 2016 at 5:15 am

        This man knows what he’s talking about!

    • Harry Potter June 11, 2016 at 12:28 am

      I agree with Nick. Dumbledore is THE Boss!!

  10. Keiran March 20, 2015 at 2:15 am

    Gandalf is immortal so he can’t really lose. Gandalf wins for sure.

  11. Keiran March 20, 2015 at 2:15 am

    And Gandalf is better in general.

  12. tamroi March 22, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Actually, Obi-Wan Kenobi has them both beat.

    • Alana January 7, 2016 at 5:09 pm

      I’m with Obi-Wan Kenobi, too.

  13. Cornelius April 17, 2015 at 2:49 am

    In terms of magic, it’s not really clear. But if they were to fight, reflexes are basically all that matter, because they both can kill very quickly (Avada Kedavra and lightning). Since Gandalf can fight physically, he almost certainly has better reflexes, so he would win.

  14. Gandalf April 19, 2015 at 6:46 am

    Which Character survived the series??? Gandalf…

  15. Hermione April 20, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Dumbledore for sure

  16. Anon April 20, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    Gandalf for sure. Though his magic isn’t as flashy, he is much more powerful. His magic is intrinsic in nature, and he can keep extremely powerful foes at bay. I would like to see Dumbledore take on the Balrog.

  17. Ronan June 7, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    Absolutely no doubt about it dumbledoor is better though gandolf is immortal in a way dumbledoor is to. In the last movie dumbledoor even said that you are aloud to come back to life if you choose and hary potter did come back to life. So in a way every one can be immortal. And dumbledoor is a far more powerful and wiser wisard than gandalf

  18. AuthenticKiwi June 28, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Many people are saying that because Gandalf is immortal he is a better wizard, however Dumbledore has clearly stated several times that death isn’t something to be afraid of. He has also said and I quote “Do not pity the dead, Harry, pity the living…” which just goes to show how much he knows. Another thing I like about Dumbledore is that he is a lot more relatable. He has made many mistakes but he learns from them. He eventually realises power isn’t everything. Love is much, much more important. I wouldn’t think he would have realised this if he hadn’t made the mistake of putting the Hallows before the well-being of his family. Dumbledore teaches a huge life lesson, in a subtle way.

  19. guinevere cain July 8, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    I love dumbledore but gandalf died and came back to life while dumbledore stayed dead. And gandalf is just better. Gandalf for sure. And patronus spells are for dementors, not for ringwraiths which are actually ghosts. Voldemort would get crushed by sauron so obviously sauron wouldn’t fear anyone.

  20. Jeffrey July 26, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    This is not even a question. Dumbledore is way better than Gandalf. Everyone keeps expecting we have to bow for the Lord of the Rings and everything Tolkien has done. Truth is Harry Potter is better. Some people are not just ready for that.

    Dumbledore is able to do much more than Gandalf.

  21. Karol August 14, 2015 at 3:56 pm


    You’re obviously a fan of Harry Potter who is so deluded that you are talking out of your ass.

    You are also basing your points on films rather than actually what the books say (and prior history).

    How about you learn about Gandalf a little more on your own? Stop being so self reliant on others to help ignorant people like yourself.

    ‘Sauron laughs at Gandalf’. Lmfao. Talking out of your arse, do you even know who Sauron is, in relation to Gandalf? Ofc not.’Cant even conjure a decent fireball’. Talking out of your arse. Bet you don’t even know why Gandalf doesn’t use magic. Stop being so biased, if you want to favour Dumbledore then so be it, but don’t go round writing bullshit about shit you know fuck all about.

  22. O August 31, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    They both come from two different. Dumbledore has more magical power but only because he comes from a world where there is more magical. Gandalf, on the other hand, has less magic but is almost unrivalled in it because Middle Earth only has four wizards. Gandalf, however, is a very skilled fighter and mighty protector so, personally, I prefer him due to his sheer badassery!

  23. Ed October 10, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Lots of explanation for Dumbledore very short for Gandalf which means “Gandalf does this then it’s done.”

  24. Person December 30, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Gandalf would win by a significant margin. I believe all the pro-Gandalf explanations above are sufficient enough to understand why. Plus, you do realize Dumbledore cannot even fight without his wand, right? Gandalf, on the other hand, does not rely solely on his magic (even if it’s less flashy, heck, it’s absurdly powerful) and is known for being quite the combatant with his sword Glamdring. Plus, being an Istari wizard, he’s essentially immortal, unlike Dumbledore, who is a mortal man. Gandalf takes the cake if they were to be matched up.

  25. Jose April 5, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Dumbledore hans down. Dumbledore is a way more powerful God than Gandalf. Like Dumbledore’s wand may look medium, but contains an infinite amount of powers. So came at me LOTR fanboys, like don’t argue with me LOTR fanboys until you get all your facts straightened out.

    • Klec May 2, 2017 at 5:14 am

      The ignorance and hypocrisy in this comment is overwhelming.

  26. bob May 28, 2016 at 8:39 am

    i don’t think any of you understand (you obviously haven’t read the books) but gandalf is forbidden (by Illuvatur) to use his full power on middle-earth. so if you compare the two based on middle earth gandalf vs dumbledore, Dumbledore wins. But compare them with no restraints and gandalf can basically do anything. in the history of middle-earth you figure out gandalf couldv’e destroyed souron with his pinky, souron was just a fool and that’s why he wasn’t afraid of gandalf. gandalf would be able to destroy hogwarts, change the wind, waves and the shape of the earth. this is why gandalf wins

  27. James June 3, 2016 at 5:06 am

    Gandalf would absolutely destroy that turd Dumbledore! In fact, he would probably decapitate him by the end just like many orcs! How is the view from down there Harry Potter turd!

  28. Noah July 27, 2016 at 3:20 am

    Dumbledore sacrificed himself to save the wizarding world. Gandalf may have saved the fellowship but it wasn’t a big act for him because he could come back. Also if dumbledore created a horcrux he could not be killed by Gandalf. Dumbledore is an amazing Occlumens and although he chooses not to could penetrate the mind of Gandalf.

  29. Gay August 9, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Gandalf killed a balrog.
    Dumblcunt died fighting snape.
    End of debate.

  30. lily potter August 15, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    East or west Dumbledore is the best. Gandalf I like a joke to him.

  31. Rob August 17, 2016 at 4:09 am

    I love both movies. Love the books too but have to admit bias toward LOTR. That being said, my opinion, and being as objective as possible, is that Gandalf is on an entirely different level than Dumbledore.
    Don’t bash the LOTR unless you have read the book, and everything else JR Tolkien wrote to support the story. He invented entire languages, a history, a bible, histories on all of the races, lineages of characters, etc. He backed up the entire story.
    But back to the question… neither would win because they wouldn’t fight eachother. It would be an insane fight unless gandalf was allowed to use his power without restraint. Then Gandolf would yawn and Dumbledore would just never have existed. But Dumbledore and Gandalf would be friends.

  32. Jeelani August 25, 2016 at 5:47 am

    Dumbledore, Your Wand is broken!!……….Gandalf wins

  33. ShaneODash August 29, 2016 at 2:26 am

    Ok. Lets all be realistic and straightforward. We as nerds are all gonna have our preference, BUT the facts are the facts! And they are:
    (In what is portrayed on film)
    Dumbledore is MUCH craftier. He is a 100% genius of wizardry, in a world fulllllll of wizards, renowned wdely as the best. He pursued power and disregarded much of the majority’s well being, as Abbaforth mentioned, in his pursuit of power. He is definitely a much better wizard than Gandalf in terms of skills, craft, and spell-casting.
    He is not more powerful. Gandalf has capabilities far exceding a Hogwarts-type Wizard. Gandalf is only one of 5 in his order during the Middle Earth age. Wizards aren’t a common thing in Gandalf’s world, but Gandalf the White, vs Albus Dumbledore would not be an easily interpretation of a fight. Though Dumbledore flicks his wand like no other, it would take an awful case of arthritis to put down the white wizard holding the staff.

    There is none. Its apples and oranges.

  34. Trismegist August 29, 2016 at 7:39 am

    Well Gandalf will say: Your wand is broken..Like he did whit Saruman… Battle is over.

    • Trismegist August 29, 2016 at 7:40 am

      “But not Gandalf. Bilbo’s yell had done that much good. It had wakened him up wide in a splintered second, and when the goblins came to grab him, there was a terrific flash like lightning in the cave, a smell like gunpowder, and several of them fell dead.” – Over Hill And Under Hill
      “Come back Saruman!” said Gandalf in a commanding voice. To the amazement of the others, Saruman turned again, and as if dragged against his will, he slowly came back to the iron rail, leaning on it, breathing hard. His face was lined and shrunken. his hand clutched on his heavy black staff like a claw.” – The Voice of Saruman
      If Gandalf chose to perform a lightning attack on Dumbledore there wouldn’t be any time to counter it. Not even Dumbledore can react at the speed of light. Secondly Gandalf wouldn’t even have to attack him, his sheer will power would be more than enough to control Dumbledore. He’s seen a few times being able to control lesser beings and even Saruman.
      Being able to mutter death curses is great if they would even affect Gandalf. He is able to easily resist Saruman’s words (which he is known for). Words from a lesser being using “mortal magic” would have no affect so any death curses would be useless. Only physical spells could hurt him but he can he is able to use telekinesis to push them away since they move at a slower pace. The fight would be over whenever Gandalf chooses to tell Dumbledore to “Stop!” and he would freeze up and submit. It’d be like Krillin trying to fight Goku not even a challenge.

  35. WH September 26, 2016 at 2:14 am

    Dude Gandalf is immortal and basically has all the power in the world. How are Dumbledore’s fire spells supposed to defeat a being who’s almost at the level of a god?

  36. Someone December 21, 2016 at 1:29 am

    Let’s be real people who say Albus is better just like Harry Potter more than LOTR

  37. Apurbo December 24, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Dumbledore never uses his powers. But his powers are unmatched. In ‘Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince’,he uses his powers to make a firestorm.Gandalf fans but please see the firestorm he created (in youtube,chrome or browser). He gives good advise. Dumbledore is better.

    • Klec May 2, 2017 at 5:10 am

      You sound so biased.

  38. Jing Ying April 22, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Bah, not either, yoda’s wut I’M talkin’ about. has the force, nothing ELSE. Just a nice flick of his hand, and KNOCKDOWN for BOTH gandalf and dumbledore.

    • Jing Ying April 22, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      but anyway it’ll be a

  39. Klec May 1, 2017 at 2:07 am

    Jeez – most of the people on this site sound like biased idiots who have either not read LOTR and make plain stupid assertions on how Dumbledore is greater, or are self-righteous LOTR fans. Either way, why can’t we just respect both characters?

    I truly love both series, so this coming from someone whose heart lies with both: Gandalf is much more powerful. It’s simply written as such. Long (seriously long) story short, he’s basically a second-tier angel who helped craft the world. Dumbledore is impressive in his own right, but his fault lies outside of his control – they are different beings, and the power level in both worlds is vastly different.

    Seriously fans, read up on both stories’ lore before commenting – you would not believe how completely ignorant you sound.

  40. Albus May 10, 2017 at 6:45 am

    ( sets elder wand on the ground )

    I got no beef Gandalf, no beef yo….

  41. Natalie Smith May 22, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Dumbledore for SURE!!