The efficacy of commonly used antistaphylococcal antimicrobials (clindamycin, linezolid and vancomycin) and recently developed antibiotics (daptomycin and tigecycline) was compared against clinical isolates of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs), minimum bactericidal concentrations, time–kill kinetics and biofilm-associated cell survival were examined for 12 clinical isolates of MRSA treated with each antibiotic. The MIC ranges for daptomycin, linezolid, tigecycline, clindamycin and vancomycin were 0.06–0.25, 1–2, 0.06, 0.125–1024 and 0.5–1 µg/mL, respectively. Daptomycin and vancomycin were bactericidal following 6 h of incubation with planktonic cells, whilst clindamycin, linezolid and tigecycline were bacteriostatic. None of the antibiotics killed 100% of biofilm-associated cells. Mean cell survival in biofilms treated with clindamycin, daptomycin, linezolid, tigecycline and vancomycin was 62%, 4%, 45%, 43% and 19%, respectively. Although all antibiotics were effective against planktonic staphylococcal populations, vancomycin and daptomycin possessed superior activity against biofilm-associated cells.