Our aim was to establish whether differences in clotting times for recalcified blood and plasma samples might be explained by the use of different blood collection tubes. Samples obtained from different plastic vacuum tubes were recalcified and clotting times determined by free oscillation rheometry. The clotting times for blood collected in Vacutainer (Becton Dickinson, Rutherford, New Jersey, USA) or Vacuette (Greiner Bio-One, Kremsmünster, Austria) tubes decreased with time, with maximal effect after 30 min. Blood from Monovette (Sarstedt, Nümbrecht, Germany) tubes displayed longer clotting times, which did not decrease with time. Clotting times for plasma prepared after 1 h storage in Vacutainer or Vacuette tubes were unaffected by subsequent addition of corn trypsin inhibitor to inhibit factor XIIa, although an antibody against factor XI prolonged the clotting time markedly. In Monovette plasma, both corn trypsin inhibitor and anti-factor XI effectively prolonged the clotting time. When corn trypsin inhibitor or anti-factor XI was added to the tubes before blood collection, but both additions clearly prolonged the clotting times in all types of tubes, even though corn trypsin inhibitor was less effective in whole blood. Antibodies against human tissue factor did not affect the clotting times. The amounts of platelet or leukocyte microparticles in plasma were low and similar in all tubes. This indicates that blood collection in Vacutainer or Vacuette tubes induces a rapid activation of factor XII and factor XI.