Cell-free expression has become a highly promising tool for the fast and efficient production of integral membrane proteins. The proteins can be produced as precipitates that solubilize in mild detergents usually without any prior denaturation sttif. Alternatively, membrane proteins can be synthesized in a soluble form by adding detergents to the cell-free system. However, the effects of a representative variety of detergents on the production, solubility and activity of a wider range of membrane proteins upon cell-free expression are currently unknown. We therefore analyzed the cell-free expression of three structurally very different membrane proteins, namely the bacterial α-helical multidrug transporter, EmrE, the β-barrel nucleoside transporter, Tsx, and the porcine vasopressin receptor of the eukaryotic superfamily of G-protein coupled receptors. All three membrane proteins could be produced in amounts of several mg per one ml of reaction mixture. In general, the detergent 1-myristoyl-2-hydroxy-sn-glycero-3-[phospho-rac-(1-glycerol)] was found to be most effective for the resolubilization of membrane protein precipitates, while long chain polyoxyethylene-alkyl-ethers proved to be most suitable for the soluble expression of all three types of membrane proteins. The yield of soluble expressed membrane protein remained relatively stable above a certain threshold concentration of the detergents. We report, for the first time, the high-level cell-free expression of a β-barrel type membrane protein in a functional form. Structural and functional variations of the analyzed membrane proteins are evident that correspond with the mode of expression and that depend on the supplied detergent.