The purpose of this study was to compare the gradient spin-echo (GRASE) to the fast spin-echo (FSE) implementation of fast fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) sequences for brain imaging. Thirty patients with high signal intensity lesions on T2-weighted images were examined on a 1.5 T MR system. Scan time-minimized thin-section FLAIR-FSE and FLAIR-GRASE sequences were obtained and compared side by side. Image assessment criteria were lesion conspicuity, contrast between different types of normal tissue, image quality, and artifacts. In addition, contrast ratios and contrast-to-noise ratios were determined. Compared to FSF, the GRASE technique allowed a 17% reduction in scan time but conspicuity of small lesions in particular was significantly lower on FLAIR-GRASE images because of higher image noise and increased artifacts. Gray-white differentiation was slightly worse on FLAIR-GRASE. Physiological ferritin deposition appeared slightly darker on FLAIR-GRASE images and susceptibility artifacts were stronger. Fatty tissue was less bright with FLAIR-GRASE. With current standard hardware equipment, the GRASE technique is not an adequate alternative to FSE for the implementation of fast FLAIR sequences in routine clinical MR brain imaging.