Abstract In vitro vibrational wear tests were performed on 17 composites and one amalgam with human enamel as a reference. The specimens were fixed on a computer-controlled X-Y translation table that generated an oscillatory movement under small displacements. The dental material specimens were in permanent contact with an annealed chromium-steel counterbody. The tests were performed in ambient air of normal humidity at room temperature under non-lubricated sliding conditions. The friction between the counterbody and each of the various materials was measured on-line. After completion of the tests, the wear volumes were determined by contactless profilometry, and the wear pattern was studied with SEM. The simple vibrational test used in this study allowed a fast classification of different dental materials in terms of the relative wear on either the specimen or the counterbody material. The ratio of the wear volume of the counterbody versus the wear volume of the dental material specimen was used to accurately classify the materials according to their in vitro wear behavior, especially when this ratio was related to the total wear volume of the dental material specimen and the counterbody. From an analysis of the wear behavior of the both contacting materials, it became obvious that neither the wear of the dental materials nor of the chromium-steel counterbody appears to correlate with either the inorganic filler hardness, the intrinsic surface roughness, the surface hardness or the Young's modulus of the dental materials.