This paper reports on experimental results of aqueous heterophase polymerizations with monomers of quite different solubility in water ranging from the water-soluble 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate to lauryl methacrylate with solubility in water of only about 10(-4) mm. A calorimetric study revealed the strong influence of both the hydrophilicity of the monomer and the stirrer speed on the rate of polymerization in the absence of surfactants. In order to obtain maximum latex yield and high efficiency (which is a measure considering colloidal properties, polymerization recipe, and polymerization parameters) the initiator-surfactant combination must be properly chosen in dependence on the hydrophilicity of the monomer. Results are presented for sodium alkyl sulfates or disodium-N-stearoyi-L-glutamate as surfactant and potassium peroxodisulfate, or poly(ethylene glycol)-azo- compounds, or 2,2'-azobis(N-2'-methylpropanoyl-2-amino-alkyl-1)-sulfonates as initiators. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.