This paper deals with the influence of different sets of edge boundary conditions on the dynamic characteristics of shear deformable, cross-ply laminated circular cylindrical panels. The analysis is based on the conjunction of the Ritz method with an appropriate, complete functional basis and its subsequent application on the energy functional of the Love-type version of a unified shear-deformable shell theory [T. Timarci and K. P. Soldatos, J. Sound Vib. 187, 609–624 (1995); J. Eng. Math (to appear January 2000)]. As a result, two different kinds of shear deformable Love-type shell theories are employed and tested, including versions that either fulfill or violate the continuity of the interlaminar stresses along the shell thickness. Although the main theoretical model employed makes use of a certain type of continuous interlaminar stress, the results of the present analysis are initially tested and validated through appropriate comparisons with corresponding numerical results obtained in the relevant literature, mostly on the basis of discontinuous interlaminar plate and shell models. The present approach and analysis are then used for a more thorough investigation of the influence of the edge boundary conditions on the dynamic characteristics of circular cylindrical panels.© 1999 Acoustical Society of America.