The lasing output characteristics of two different types of photonic band edge liquid crystal lasers have been investigated. The required helical structure or periodic change in the refractive index was realised by using either a chiral nematic or a chiral smectic C as the liquid crystal host. The fluorescent dye doped photonic band edge lasers exhibited very different emission characteristics. A Q-switched Nd:YAG pulsed laser, frequency doubled to 532nm with pulse lengths of 5ns was used to excite the samples. Typical laser parameters such as slope efficiency and input energy threshold values were examined for each laser and results indicated that the chiral smectic C laser was more efficient. We believe that the higher performance of the chiral smectic C laser is attributed to the increase in the degree of order of the host.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.