© 2018 The Authors. Published by Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.Ruthenium polypyridyl complexes have received widespread attention as potential chemotherapeutics in photodynamic therapy (PDT) and in photochemotherapy (PACT). Here, we investigate a series of sixteen ruthenium polypyridyl complexes with general formula [Ru(tpy)(N−N)(L)]+/2+ (tpy=2,2′:6′,2′′-terpyridine, N−N=bpy (2,2′-bipyridine), phen (1,10-phenanthroline), dpq (pyrazino[2,3-f][1,10]phenanthroline), dppz (dipyrido[3,2-a:2′,3′-c]phenazine, dppn (benzo[i]dipyrido[3,2-a:2′,3′-c]phenazine), pmip (2-(4-methylphenyl)-1H-imidazo[4,5-f][1,10]phenanthroline), pymi ((E)-N-phenyl-1-(pyridin-2-yl)methanimine), or azpy (2-(phenylazo)pyridine), L=Cl− or 2-(2-(2-(methylthio)ethoxy)ethoxy)ethyl-β-d-glucopyranoside) and their potential for either PDT or PACT. We demonstrate that although increased lipophilicity is generally related to increased uptake of these complexes, it does not necessarily lead to increased (photo)cytotoxicity. However, the non-toxic complexes are excellent candidates as PACT carriers.