Soil contamination with lead is a worldwide problem. Pb can cause adverse effects, but its mobility and availability in the terrestrial environment are strongly controlled by soil properties. The present study investigated the influence of different soil properties on the solubility of lead in laboratory spiked soils, and its toxicity in three bioassays, including Lactuca sativa root elongation and Vibrio fischeri illumination tests applied to aqueous extracts and basal soil respiration assays. Final aim was to compare soil-dependent toxicity with guideline values. The L. sativa bioassay proved to be more sensitive to Pb toxicity than the V. fischeri and soil respiration tests. Toxicity was significantly correlated with soil properties, with soil pH, carbonate and organic carbon content being the most important factors. Therefore, these variables should be considered when defining guideline values.