The laboratory diagnosis of urinary tract infection is described in detail. This is now a quantitative bacteriological exercise demanding reliable and accurate methods. There is a need for a cheap, simpls and convenient system and developments in this direction have culminated in the plane dipslide. This is the only apparatus which fulfils all necessary criteria. As with all other methods, it is at the mercy of the quality of the specimens but only the dipslide combines the accuracy of the pour-plate method with ease of transport. The clinician at the bedside is now able to perform a satisfactory bacterial count thus avoiding the transport delay which allows contamination to mask or mimic true infection. The plane dipslide is superior to semi-quantitative methods such as the standard loop or the dipspoon and gives results comparable in accuracy with the pour-plate method. In addition, it provides bacterial colonies suitable for further laboratory examination. We recommend that the plane dipslide is adopted as the method of choice for bacterial counting within laboratories. In clinical practice it is ideal for use in acute symptomatic cases, the follow-up of chronic bacteriurics and also in screening programmes. We conclude that the plane dipslide is a major advance in the field of urinary tract infection and make a plea for its free availability to general practitioners as well as the hospital service.