Properties of acrylic bone cements during and after curing were determined for three brands of bone cement. Curing time and consistency were chosen for the characterization of the handling and working behavior of these materials. The performance of bone cements after curing may be related amongst other things to the following properties: water resorption, solubility/disintegration, flexural modulus of elasticity, yield stress, proportional limit, flexural strength and impact strength. Methods to determine these handling and material properties are described. The influence of radiopacifying and antibiotic additives on these properties is evaluated as well as the influence of porosity on flexural strength and impact strength. The results indicate that considerable differences in the handling properties occur. The material properties of the three brands tested do not show marked differences. Radiopacifying and antibiotic additives appear to have a negative effect on material properties; the effect of porosity as it develops during curing under simulated clinical conditions is more pronounced.