Aims: To compare the performance of a new chromogenic medium, Uriselect 4, with cystine lactose electrolyte deficient (CLED) agar and an established chromogenic agar, CPS ID 2 medium, for detection of urinary tract pathogens. Methods: Using a semiquantitative culture method, 777 samples were inoculated on to the three test media in duplicate. All bacterial strains that yielded a potentially significant growth were observed for colony colour and identified using standard methods. Results: Of the 777 samples tested, 589 urine samples yielded potentially significant growth of at least one strain. A total of 811 strains were isolated on at least one of the three media. A total of 168 urine samples yielded a mixture of at least two strains. Uriselect 4 medium showed the best sensitivity of the three media and only failed to recover 14 strains (1.7%). CPS ID 2 medium failed to recover 22 strains (2.7%). CLED medium showed the worst recovery and failed to recover 74 strains (9.1%). Both chromogenic media allowed for identification of Escherichia coli with a high degree of specificity (98% for Uriselect 4, 99.7% for CPS ID 2). Inclusion of a spot indole test increased the specificity of both chromogenic media to 100% for E coli. Conclusions: Uriselect 4 and CPS ID 2 were superior to CLED medium for the isolation of urinary tract pathogens mainly because of their ability to discriminate mixed cultures. Both chromogenic media were also useful for the preliminary identification of the most common urinary tract pathogens.