Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a class of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) once extensively used in the plastics of a wide range of consumer products. The listing of certain congeners that are constituents of commercial PBDE mixtures (including c-octaBDE) in the Stockholm Convention and tightening regulation of many other BFRs in recent years have created the need for a rapid and effective method of identifying BFR-containing plastics. A three-tiered testing strategy comparing results from non-destructive testing (X-ray fluorescence (XRF)) (n = 1714), a surface wipe test (n = 137) and destructive chemical analysis (n = 48) was undertaken to systematically identify BFRs in a wide range of consumer products. XRF rapidly identified bromine in 92% of products later confirmed to contain BFRs. Surface wipes of products identified tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), c-octaBDE congeners and BDE-209 with relatively high accuracy (>. 75%) when confirmed by destructive chemical analysis. A relationship between the amounts of BFRs detected in surface wipes and subsequent destructive testing shows promise in predicting not only the types of BFRs present but also estimating the concentrations present. Information about the types of products that may contain persistent BFRs will assist regulators in implementing policies to further reduce the occurrence of these chemicals in consumer products. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.