This study was performed to compare the patient acceptability and the efficacy of two different agents for bowel preparation prior to double contrast barium enema. One-hundred and ninety-four outpatients were randomized to have either two sachets of Picolax or two bottles of Fleet Phospho-soda and restricted to clear fluids on the day prior to their examination. Patients answered a short questionnaire before their enema. The decubitus films were assessed for faecal residue and bowel coating by three observers blinded to the type of preparation used. There was no significant difference in faecal residue nor in the bowel coating between the preparations. However patients found Picolax significantly easier to take, being better tasting and provoking less nausea and vomiting than Fleet Phospho-soda.