The efficiency of six aeolian dust samplers was tested via wind tunnel experiments and field measurements. In the wind tunnel, four samplers designed to measure the horizontal dust flux and one sampler designed to measure the vertical dust fur tin the downward direction, i.e., deposition) were calibrated against an isokinetic reference sampler. The horizontal dust flux samplers were: the big spring number eight sampler (BSNE), the modified Wilson and Cooke sampler (MWAC), the suspended sediment trap (SUSTRA), and the wedge dust flux gauge (WDFG). Vertical deposition flux was measured using a marble dust collector (MDCO). A modified Sartorius SM 16711 dust sampler with adjustable flow rate (SARTORIUS) was used as isokinetic reference sampler. In the field experiments, the WDFG was replaced by a Sierra ultra high volume dust sampler (SIERRA). Wind tunnel calibrations were carried out at five wind velocities ranging from 1 to 5 m s(-1). Field calibrations were conducted during seven periods of two weeks each. The most efficient samplers are the MWAC and the SIERRA, followed by the BSNE and the SUSTRA. The WDFG is more effective than the BSNE at velocities below 3 m s(-1), but its efficiency drops quickly at higher wind speeds. The most recommendable sampler for field measurements is the BSNE, because its efficiency varies only very slightly with wind speed. In the absence of horizontal flux samplers, the MDCO collector can be used as an alternative to assess horizontal dust flux and airborne dust concentration provided the appropriate calibrations are made. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.