Ceramic-on-metal (COM) hip replacements, where the head is BIOLOX® Delta ceramic and the liner is CoCrMo alloy, have demonstrated reduced wear under standard simulator conditions compared to metal-on-metal (MOM) bearings. COM hips are now being used clinically around the world. MOM hip resurfacings have raised concerns regarding poor clinical performance and increased in vivo wear was associated with steeply inclined acetabular components and translationally malpositioned components. The aim of this study was to compare the wear rates of MOM and COM total hip prostheses under adverse edge-loading conditions in a hip simulator test. COM and MOM 36 mm hip prostheses were tested in a hip simulator, with liners mounted to provide a clinical inclination angle of 55°. A simplified gait cycle and microseparation conditions were applied for two million cycles in 25% new born calf serum. The overall mean volumetric wear rate of COM bearings under adverse conditions was 0.36 ± 0.55 mm3/million cycles; this was significantly less than MOM wear (1.32 ± 0.91 mm3/million cycles). Under these adverse conditions; the contact zone on the head intersects the rim of the cup causing substantially elevated contact stresses, disrupting the protective boundary and mixed lubrication regime causing changes in types and severity of wear mechanisms. In COM bearings, the harder head does not become damaged when there is lubricant starvation and wear does not accelerate. In conclusion, COM bearings showed reduced wear compared to MOM bearings under standard and adverse clinically relevant simulator conditions and COM bearings may provide an advantage over MOM bearings under edge-loading conditions clinically. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 2013.