Non-cryptographic hash functions (NCHFs) have an immense number of applications, ranging from compilers and databases to videogames and computer networks. Some of the most important NCHF have been used by major corporations in commercial products. This practical success demonstrates the ability of hashing systems to provide extremely efficient searches over unsorted sets. However, very little research has been devoted to the experimental evaluation of these functions. Therefore, we evaluated the most widely used NCHF using four criteria as follows: collision resistance, distribution of outputs, avalanche effect, and speed. We identified their strengths and weaknesses and found significant flaws in some cases. We also discuss our conclusions regarding general hashing considerations such as selection of the compression map. Our results should assist practitioners and engineers in making more informed choices regarding which function to use for a particular problem. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.