This review addresses metal uptake specifically by yeast. Metal uptake may be passive, active or both, depending on the viability of the biomass, and is influenced by a number of environmental and experimental factors. Uptake is typically accompanied by a degree of ion exchange and, under certain conditions, may be enhanced by the addition of an energy source. Intracellularly accumulated metal is most readily associated with the cell wall and vacuole but may also be bound by other cellular organelles and biomolecules. The intrinsic biochemical, structural and genetic properties of the yeast cell along with environmental conditions are crucial for its survival when exposed to toxic metals. Conditions of pH, temperature and the presence of additional ions, amongst others, have varying effects on the metal uptake process. We conclude that yeasts have contributed significantly to our understanding of the metal uptake process and suggest directions for future work.