Seventeen commercially available jet nebulizers from 15 commercial sources were studied (Acorn-I, Acorn-II, AquaTower, AVA-NEB, Cirrhus, Dart, DeVilbiss 646, Downdraft, Fan Jet, MB-5, Misty Neb, PARI LC JET, PARI-JET, Salter 8900, Sidestream, Updraft-II, Whisper Jet). All nebulizers were filled with 2 ml of saline solution plus 0.5 ml of albuterol and powered with the same source (DeVilbiss PulmoAide). We compared total output (TO), time for total output (TTO), and percent output in respirable range (PORR). The TO was obtained by weighing before nebulization and at the point of eight-fold decline in output. The TTO was calculated from initiation of nebulization to the point of eightfold decline in output. The PORR was measured by a laser particle analyzer in continuous nebulization to the same point of abrupt drop in output. The TO varied from 0.98 To 1.86 ml (p < 0.0001) with the Acorn-I, Acorn-II, Updraft-II, and Sidestream, significantly greater than the others (p < 0.05). The TTO varied from 2.28 to 20.95 min (p < 0.0001). The AquaTower, PARI LC JET and PARI-JET, DeVilbiss, and Dart were significantly shorter than the others (p < 0.05). The PORR varied from 21.89 to 71.95 percent (p < 0.0001). The Sidestream was significantly greater than all others (p < 0.05). The PARI LC JET and PARI-JET were, in turn, significantly greater than the remaining models (p < 0.05). To combine these characteristics, we calculated respirable particle delivery rate (RPDR) by dividing TO by TTO and multiplying by PORR. The RPDR varied from 0.03 ml/min to 0.26 ml/min (p < 0.0001). The PARI LC JET (0.24 ml/min) and the PARI-JET (0.26 mg/min) had a RPDR that was significantly greater than the other models except the AquaTower, which, however, had a markedly variable performance. The Sidestream (0.19 mg/ml) did not differ significantly from the above group, nor from the DeVilbiss and Downdraft. All other models had significantly lower outputs (p < 0.05). We conclude that the output characteristics of commercial nebulizers vary greatly and will impact on the time required for treatment as well as the total amount of drug delivered to the lungs.