The purpose of this study was to compare the value of low- vs high-field MR systems in the detection of focal liver lesions after IV administration of iron oxide particles. A prospective study was undertaken which included 20 patients with focal liver lesions on CT or US, or strong clinical suspicion of focal liver disease. Iron oxide particles were administered in an IV drip infusion over 30 min. Magnetic resonance imaging was subsequently performed on a 0.2 and a 1.5-T system. Both examinations, were performed in one session. Turbo spin-echo T2-weighted sequences were used for further analysis (at 0.2 T: TR 4050 ms, TE 96 ms; 1.5 T: TR 3000 ms, TE 103 ms). After randomisation, images were analysed by two blinded readers. The evaluation included lesion counts, determination of lesion conspicuity and overall image quality (both graded on a scale 1-5). Quantitative analysis was performed on 29 lesions. Lesion-to-liver signal intensity and contrast-to-noise ratios (CNRs) were calculated. The total lesion count (cumulative counts for two observers) was 59 on the high-field system and 63 on the low-field system. Statistical analysis showed no significant difference. On both systems median value for lesion conspicuity was 3. No statistically significant difference was found. Global image quality was rated higher on the high-field system: 3 vs 2 for the low-field system (p = 0.0017). Quantitative analysis showed no significant difference for lesion-to-liver signal intensity ratios or CNRs. Although subjective image quality is significantly better on the high-field system, this does not result in better lesion detection or better lesion conspicuity. No significant difference in objective quantitative parameters was found in our series.