Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is the best index for kidney function in health and disease. Knowledge of the GFR is essential for the detection (diagnosis) and monitoring of renal function during disease progression and for ensuring correct medication doses. Inulin clearance (plasma or urine) is currently considered to be the gold standard for measuring GFR, but in clinical practice the measurement of other exogenous filtration markers from the plasma often replaces that of inulin clearance. Different protocols can be used to determine the area under the plasma disappearance curve, and an understanding of these methods is important. GFR can also be estimated by GFR equations (eGFR), which are most often used in clinical practice because they only require a knowledge of the serum creatinine or cystatin C level and demographic information. eGFR equations are easy to use but they do have their limitations, and it is important to know how these equations were derived and in which circumstances they can be used most accurately. The aim of this review is to explain how GFR can be measured using the renal clearance and the plasma clearance method and which eGFR equations can be applied to children, as well as how and when these equations can be used in clinical practice.