The suitability of [3H]-2-deoxyglucose from measuring initial rates of glucose uptake in isolated rat adipocytes was assessed using three approaches. Basal and insulin-stimulated rates of glucose uptake were directly compared in 2 sec and 5 min assays using [14C]-3-O-methylglucose, [3H]-2-deoxyglucose, and [3H]-D-glucose. Equilibrium kinetics of 2-deoxyglucose uptake were compared with those of 3-O-methylglucose through impairment of hexokinase activity by depleting cellular energy with 2,4-dinitrophenol. The equivalence of these glucose analogues in a dynamic system was assessed by measuring the lag time preceding insulin stimulation of glucose uptake, insulin activation rates, and the T 1/2 of insulin activation. Our results demonstrate that no fundamental difference exists in the initial transport of 3-O-methylglucose, 2-deoxyglucose, and D-glucose.