Abstract Certain types of the new generation superplasticizers (SP) cause the rise of excessive air content in self-compacting concrete (SCC). The influence of different type of SP on air-content in cement paste and fresh SCC are tested in the paper. The qualitative methods (foam ability and stability index), which serves the best choice of SP not showing the side-effect in the form of an excessive SCC air-entrainment are presented. The surface tension of SP solutions is also analyzed. The results of tests show that we can predict the influence of SP on air-content of SCC by measuring the surface tension of SP solution, foam ability and stability index of cement paste.