In this article, performances of linear and quadratic hexahedral edge elements are compared in the context of electromagnetic scattering problems. The de-facto standard of 0.1 lambda element size for linear elements is taken as a basis; and 0.3 to 0.4 lambda-size quadratic element usage is proposed for a better accuracy level with dramatic reduction in computation time and 7 memory. The proposed scheme is applied to some well-known practical problems. (c) 2007 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.