Despite many claims of good wear properties following total knee replacement (TKR) with an oxidised zirconium (OxZr) femoral component, there are conflicting clinical results. We hypothesised that there would be no difference in either the mid-term clinical and radiological outcomes or the characteristics of the polyethylene wear particles (weight, size and shape) in patients using an OxZr or cobalt-chrome (CoCr) femoral component. In all 331 patients underwent bilateral TKR, receiving an OxZr femoral component in one knee and a CoCr femoral component in the other. The mean follow-up was 7.5 years (6 to 8). Following aspiration, polyethylene wear particles were analysed using thermogravimetric methods and scanning electron microscopy. At the most recent follow-up, the mean Knee Society score, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index score, range of movement and satisfaction score were not significantly different in the two groups. The mean weight, size, aspect ratio and roundness of the aspirated wear particles were similar for each femoral component. Survivorship of the femoral, tibial and patellar components was 100% in both groups. In the absence of evidence of an advantage in the medium term we cannot justify the additional expense of an OxZr femoral component.