In this study, we have investigated which strategies were optimal in different haptic search tasks, where items were held in the hand. Blindfolded participants had to detect the presence of a target among distractors while using predetermined strategies. The optimal strategy was determined by considering reaction time and error data. In the search for salient targets, a rough sphere among smooth or a cube among spheres, parallel strategies were optimal. With non-salient targets, the results were different. In the search for a sphere among cubes, a parallel strategy was effective, but only if the fingers could be used. In the search for a smooth sphere among rough, only a serial strategy was successful. Thus, the optimal strategy depended on the required perceptual information.