The suitability of image analysis was studied to measure bulb characteristics for varietal testing of onions (Allium cepa L.). Eighteen genotypes were used, which covered a whole range of onion shapes, including some quite identical ones. The characteristic height and diameter were measured both by image analysis and by hand. The methods gave comparable results with regard to precision and discriminating power. The discriminating power of the image analysis method could be increased by adding a new characteristic: the relative position of the diameter. For determining the height of the bulb with image analysis two methods are described to locate the top of a bulb. One method is to use the location of the inflection point as the top of the bulb. For most bulb shapes, this point coincides with the top of the bulb as indicated by a crop expert. For ovate shaped onions, however, the inflection point is below the top of the bulb as indicated by the crop expert. The other method is to use the location of the intercept of the tangent at the inflection point with the length axis of the bulb as the top of the bulb. This point is always above the top as indicated by the crop expert. Moreover it seems to perform slightly worse for the discrimination of cultivars. Therefore the location of the inflection point as the top of the bulb is preferred.