The efficiency of five aeolian sand samplers was tested via wind tunnel experiments and field measurements. The samplers were: the Big Spring Number Eight (BSNE) sampler, the Modified Wilson and Cooke (MWAC) sampler, the Suspended Sediment Trap (SUSTRA), the Pellet catcher (POLCA), and the saltiphone. In the wind tunnel, the samplers were calibrated against an isokinetic sampler (a modified Sartorius SM 16711 sampler with adjustable flow rate), and this for three sand types (median diameter: 132, 194 and 287 mum) and live wind speeds (ranging from 6.6 to 14.4 m s(-1)). In the field, seven calibration tests of two weeks each were conducted. The absolute efficiencies of the BSNE, MWAC and POLCA are more or less comparable and vary between 70% and 120%, depending on sediment size and wind speed. For the SUSTRA, the efficiency is somewhat lower for fine sands and for wind speeds above 11 m s(-1). Finally, the saltiphone can accurately detect the periods of saltation transport, but in its current version, the instrument is not accurate when measuring the absolute saltation flux. The most recommendable sampler in the test is the MWAC, not only because of its high efficiency, but also because its efficiency is independent of wind speed. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.