The hydrogen response of gas-sensitive field-effect devices is mainly due to trapping of atomic hydrogen on the insulator side of the metal-insulator interface of the metal-insulator-semiconductor (MIS) structure. Therefore an influence of the choice of insulator on the hydrogen response properties is expected. We have investigated this influence by producing MIS capacitors with four different insulators; Si O2, Al2 O3, Si3 N4, and Ta2 O5. The results show that the choice of insulator influences the detection limit, the saturation concentration, and the saturation response. Furthermore, there is a strong correlation between the observed saturation response and the oxygen concentration of the insulator surface, as measured by Auger electron spectroscopy, which indicates that the trapping of hydrogen at the interface occurs at the oxygen atoms of the insulator surface. Finally, if the metal film is porous a catalytic oxidation of the insulator surface appears to be facilitated, which can increase the hydrogen response. © 2005 American Institute of Physics.