The acute effects of mineralo- and glucocorticoids on urinary electrolyte excretion were studied in the conscious, acutely potassium deprived, adrenalectomized rat. Sodium, potassium, and creatinine were measured in the urine excreted from 2.5 to 5.5 h after injection of one or more of the following steroids: aldosterone (Aldo), 9-alpha fluorocortisol (FC), deoxycorticosterone (DOC), dexamethasone (Dex), and spironolactone (Spiro). The hierarchy (a) for increasing creatinine excretion was Dex greater than FC greater than Aldo greater than DOC greater than Spiro greater than none, a hierarchy consistent with glucocorticoid potency; and (b) for producing anti-natriuresis was Aldo greater than DOC greater than or equal to FC greater than or equal to none = Spiro greater than Dex, a hierarchy consistent with mineralocorticoid potency. In contrast, the kaliuresis produced by mineralo- and glucocorticoids appears different. A "mineralocorticoid" kaliuresis is 1) elicited by anti-natriuretic doses of Aldo and FC, 2) approximately twice control UKV, 3) unrelated to changes in glomerular filtration rate (GFR), and 4) inhibited by Spiro. A "glucocorticoid" kaliuresis is 1) elicited by Dex and high doses of Aldo and FC, 2) about seven to twenty-fold greater than control UKV, 3) possibly dependent, in part, on changes in GFR, and, 4) not inhibited by Spiro. DOC was not kaliuretic at anti-natriuretic doses. The urinary Na/K ratio was an unreliable index of mineralocorticoid action.