A randomized, prospective, blind trial was conducted comparing caudal epidural blockade (caudal block) with subcutaneous ring block of the penis (penile ring block) in fifty healthy boys between two and twelve years of age undergoing elective circumcision. Subjects receiving caudal block had a longer duration of analgesia (P = 0.003), and took longer to first micturition (P = 0.04) but there was no difference in time taken to awaken from anaesthesia or spontaneously walk unaided. There was an 8% failure rate with the penile ring block but no local or systemic complications related to either block and a very low incidence of vomiting. It is concluded that both techniques are effective. Caudal block is more reliable and produces a longer duration of analgesia but penile ring block is inherently safer and has a lower incidence of adverse effects.