In this prospective study techniques for the subcutaneous ring block of the penis and subpubic block of the penis for analgesia after circumcision were compared. Forty-five boys having circumcision as day-case patients were allocated randomly to have either a subcutaneous ring block or a subpubic penile block. The blocks were inserted after induction of anaesthesia but before surgery. Pain scores at 15, 30, 45 and 60 min post-operatively were recorded. Side effects and analgesic requirements in hospital were recorded post-operatively. Analgesia (morphine, paracetamol or diclofenac) was given depending on the pain score. One patient was withdrawn from the study. Four of the 24 boys who had subpubic penile blocks and nine of the 16 boys who had subcutaneous ring blocks were given morphine for post-operative pain (P = 0.015). The surgeons complained about oedematous tissues in three patients, all of whom had had subcutaneous ring blocks. The subpubic penile block provided significantly better analgesia than the subcutaneous ring block of the penis.