A number of redox systems have been investigated in this work with the aim of identifying electrolytes suitable for testing redox flow battery cell designs. The criteria for the selection of suitable systems were fast electrochemical kinetics and minimal cross-contamination of active electrolytes. Possible electrolyte systems were initially selected based on cyclic voltammetry data. Selected systems were then compared by charge/discharge experiments using a simple H-type cell. The all-vanadium electrolyte system has been developed as a commercial system and was used as the starting point in this study. The performance of the all-vanadium system was significantly better than an all-chromium system which has recently been reported. Some metal-organic and organic redox systems have been reported as possible systems for redox flow batteries, with cyclic voltammetry data suggesting that they could offer near reversible kinetics. However, Ru(acac)3 in acetonitrile could only be charged efficiently to 9.5% of theoretical charge, after which irreversible side reactions occurred and [Fe(bpy)3](ClO4)2 in acetonitrile was found to exhibit poor charge/discharge performance. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.