Transpiration efficiency (TE) is an important trait for drought tolerance in peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.). The variation in TE was assessed gravimetrically using a long time interval in nine peanut genotypes (Chico, ICGS 44, ICGV 00350, ICGV 86015, ICGV 86031, ICGV 91114, JL 24, TAG 24 and TMV 2) grown in lysimeters under well-watered or drought conditions. Transpiration was measured by regularly weighing the lysimeters, in which the soil surface was mulched with a 2-cm layer of polythene beads. TE in the nine genotypes used varied from 1.4 to 2.9 g kg?1 under well-watered and 1.7 to 2.9 g kg?1 under drought conditions, showing consistent variation in TE among genotypes. A higher TE was found in ICGV 86031 in both well-watered and drought conditions and lower TE was found in TAG-24 under both water regimes. Although total water extraction differed little across genotypes, the pattern of water extraction from the soil profile varied among genotypes. High water extraction within 24 days following stress imposition was negatively related to pod yield (r2 = 0.36), and negatively related to water extraction during a subsequent period of 32 days (r2 = 0.73). By contrast, the latter, i.e. water extraction during a period corresponding to grain filling (24 to 56 days after flowering) was positively related to pod yield (r2 = 0.36). TE was positively correlated with pod weight (r2 = 0.30) under drought condition. Our data show that under an intermittent drought regime, TE and water extraction from the soil profile during a period corresponding to pod filling were the most important components.