Abstract In this paper, the edge mode vibration is studied with three different methods: the reciprocal work method, already used by Torvik [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 41 (1967) 346] to model this phenomenon, the S-parameter method and a finite element model that are applied for the first time to the study of the edge resonance. Moreover, laser probe measurements of the edge mode have also been performed and compared to the numerical predictions. The good agreement between the numerical predictions and the experimental data allows full understanding of the resonant phenomenon. The edge resonance is linked to the strong increase in amplitude of two complex Lamb waves, and the edge mode is proved to radiate into the plate as the first symmetrical Lamb mode S 0. Displacements at the edge and away from the edge have been computed and measured to evaluate the spatial and temporal behaviour of the edge mode. The dependence of the edge resonance frequency and amplitude on the Poisson coefficient has also been studied.