The performance of electrothermal vaporization (ETV) and laser ablation (LA) of dry aerosols as sample introduction systems for microwave induced plasma optical emission spectrometry (MIP OES) are compared and evaluated in terms of detection limits, precision and accuracy for the determination of trace elements (Ca, Cd, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, Sr, Zn) in the same solid micro samples. In MIP OES both radiation sources can be independently adjusted to optimize the sampling process and then its subsequent excitation. A univariate approach and simplex optimization procedure were used to obtain the best signal/noise (S/N) ratio and derive analytical figures of merit. A comparison using a Student’s t-test between the results obtained by both ETV/LA-MIP OES methods for trace elements, and concentrations in standard reference material (SRM) and certified reference materials (CRMs) showed that there was no significant differences on a 95 % confidence level. The detection limits of the tested elements in solid samples by ETV/LA-MIP OES were in the range of 0.1 to 11 µg g−1 for all elements determined, while the corresponding absolute values in the range of ng. The precision of the results for ETV-MIP OES and LA-MIP OES varied between 2 and 4 % and 3 and 7 %, respectively. The linear dynamic ranges in the ETV/LA-MIP OES are extend over three decades of concentration. The methods were validated by the analysis of NIST SRM 2711Montana Soil, NRCC CRM PACS-2 Marine Sediment and NRCC CRM TORT-2 Lobster Hepatopancreas of different matrix composition and by the standard addition technique.