The main object of this paper is to find a criterion for comparison of two tests for non-parametric hypotheses, taking advantage of the qualitative information that may exist. After a detailed analysis of the problem and some earlier suggestins for its solution (sections 2–4), a criterion is suggested in section 5. In order to apply it to a concrete case, a location problem is specified in section 6. The rank tests to be compared are analyzed in section 7, and the comparison by way of the criterion is carried out in section 8. It turns out that sign tests, sometimes slightly modified, are very often optimal according to the criterion used.