Purpose: Foreign body (FB) ingestion is a common and potentially serious problem in children. Both rigid (RE) and flexible (FE) endoscopic techniques are used for removal of esophageal FBs; however, there is no consensus amongst pediatric surgeons regarding the best method. This study reviewed our experience managing esophageal FBs using both techniques. Methods: A 12-year retrospective review of children admitted with an esophageal FB between 1999 and 2012 was undertaken. Clinical data, management techniques, and complications were abstracted. Differences between these two groups were compared with standard statistical methods. Results: 657 children were treated for esophageal FB ingestion, of which 366 (56 %) were treated with FE. The most frequently ingested item was a coin (84 %), and FBs were most commonly lodged in the upper third of the esophagus (78 %). There was a slightly younger population in the FE group (4.0 vs. 3.3 years, p < 0.01), but otherwise no significant differences were found between the groups. The FB was successfully removed with the initially chosen technique in 97 % of patients. Conclusions: Esophageal FBs may be successfully removed with either RE or FE. Since treatment failures were managed with conversion to the other technique, both procedures should be included in the training curriculum. © 2014 Springer-Verlag.