Aim. To compare two multi-dimensional questionnaires to measure cravings and urges for alcohol: the Alcohol Craving Questionnaire (ACQ: Singleton, Henningfield & Tiffany, 1994a) and the Desires for Alcohol Questionnaire (DAQ: Clark et al. , 1996). Design, setting and participants. Both questionnaires were administered, in a counterbalanced order, to a total of 380 recreational drinkers. In a further study, a shortened version of the DAQ was administered to a sample of 131 drinkers attending AA or a treatment centre. Exploratory factor analyses were carried out on the data and relationships between questionnaire score and other variables were assessed. Findings. In recreational drinkers both instruments appeared to have a three-factor structure. The DAQ appeared superior to the ACQ in a number of respects: it produced more reliable factors; its structure accounted for a higher proportion of the variance; the factor inter-correlations were somewhat lower; in a combined analysis of both instruments most of the factors retained came from the DAQ; and the DAQ discriminated better between binge and non-binge drinkers and excessive and moderate drinkers. A similar factor structure was found for the DAQ in the alcoholic subjects with addition of a factor of "controllability". Conclusions. The results support a multifactorial account of alcohol craving, and indicate that the DAQ has some advantages over the ACQ as a research tool.