- Aims We compare our experience with available circular multi-electrode catheters for atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation: PVAC®, a phased radiofrequency system, and nMARQ™, an irrigated tip-CARTO-based technology. Methods and results Prospective observational study of 175 consecutive patients with follow-up duration of at least 5 months who underwent pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) for symptomatic AF using PVAC® (n = 93, age 61.4 ± 9.8 years; 60% male, 13% persistent AF) vs. nMARQ™ (n = 82, age 63.2 ± 10.6 years; 67% male, 24% persistent AF). Procedure and radiation times were 94 ± 27 and 33 ± 13 min for PVAC® and 81 ± 18 and 30 ± 8.5 for nMARQ™ (P = 0.0008 and P = 0.18), respectively. The number of applications and the total burning time (min) were 20 ± 7 and 19 ± 6.7 for PVAC® and 16 ± 5.6 and 11 ± 4 for nMARQ™ (P < 0.0001 for both), respectively. In two nMARQ™ patients with small atria and pulmonary veins (PVs) and in two PVAC® patients with large PVs, the procedure failed; switching to the alternative technology was successful. Acute success rate was 97% for PVAC® and 95% for nMARQ™. There was one tamponade in nMARQ™ group and non-significant different minor complications for both techniques. One-year freedom from AF was 79 and 80.7% with PVAC® vs. nMARQ™, after one PVI, and 88 vs. 87.7% after two PVIs. Conclusion Both technologies have short procedure and fluoroscopy times, comparable complication rates, and comparable acute and 1-year success rates. The number of applications and total procedure and burning times were shorter with nMARQ™. nMARQ™ was more suitable for larger atria and PVs. Thus, a patient-based pre-ablation anatomy definition is probably warranted for appropriate selection of technology type.