Two models of synaptic vesicle recycling have been intensely debated for decades: kiss-and-run, in which the vesicle opens and closes transiently, presumably through a small fusion pore, and full fusion, in which the vesicle collapses into the plasma membrane and is retrieved by clathrin-coat-dependent processes. Conceptually, it seems that kiss-and-run would be faster and would retrieve vesicles with greater fidelity. Is this the case? This review discusses recent evidence for both models. We conclude that both mechanisms allow for high fidelity of vesicle recycling. Also, the presence in the plasma membrane of a depot of previously fused vesicles that are already interacting with the endocytotic machinery (the ‘readily retrievable’ vesicles) allows full fusion to trigger quite fast endocytosis, further blurring the efficiency differences between the two models.