The recently developed static mercury drop electrode (SMDE) provides a fundamentally new approach to electrodes for polarography. An analytical evaluation of the electrode is presented. For a range of electrode processes, current-sampled d.c. polarography at the SMDE is useful down to at least the 10-7 M concentration level when short drop times and fast potential scan rates are used. The improvement in the limit of detection for d.c. polarography is therefore very substantial. Improvements in sensitivity associated with normal pulse and differential pulse polarography at the SMDE compared with the dropping mercury electrode (DME) are marginal. It is concluded that at the SMDE, the analytical performance and response characteristics of d.c., normal pulse and differential pulse polarography tend to converge.