The effect of measuring bite force with different patterns of transducer on different occasions was studied. Maximum voluntary bite force was measured in eight volunteers. Three transducer positions, each with a different pattern of transducer, were used; between the anterior teeth, between the second premolar and the first molar on one side and between the second premolars and first molars on both sides. Visual feedback of force was provided. Two sets of five maximum clenches were recorded with a rest period in between. This sequence was repeated for each transducer and the experiment was repeated on three different days. The highest forces were measured with the bilateral posterior transducer (mean 580 N, s.d. 235) and the lowest on the anterior transducer (mean 286 N, s.d. 164). The standard deviations of the bite force mean values were used as an indication of the variability and were subjected to a non-parametric anova (Kruskal-Wallis). The forces recorded with each transducer position were significantly different between the transducers (P < 0.01) and the maximum bite force showed least variability when measured between the posterior teeth on one side only. There was little difference in bite force between the three different sessions (P greater than or equal to 0.05) when measured in the same position within the dental arch, whichever of the three positions that may be.