Viridans group streptococci (36 stock strains and 167 single patient blood culture isolates) were assessed using API Rapid Strep, Baxter MicroScan Rapid Pos ID Panel, BBL Minitek Differential Identification System, IDS RapID STR System, and Vitek GPI methods. Identification data obtained with these systems were compared with those indicated by conventional biochemical procedures. API, Baxter MicroScan, BBL, IDS, and Vitek corresponded with conventional biochemical identification in 74%, 66%, 65%, 50%, and 61% of the isolates, respectively; using recommended supplemental tests, agreement was augmented in 9%, 11%, 20%, 11%, and 21% of the isolates, respectively. Disagreement with conventional biochemical methods occurred in 14%, 17%, 14%, 32%, and 10% of the commercial techniques, respectively; no identification was possible in 2%, 5%, fewer than 1%, 6%, and 8% of specimens, respectively. BBL, API, and Baxter MicroScan systems provided the most reliable rapid identification, although supplemental testing often was required. Until a higher percentage of correct identification data can be obtained without supplemental procedures, conventional biochemical techniques will remain the methods of choice for identification of viridans streptococci.