A subset of potassium channels is regulated primarily by changes in the cytoplasmic concentration of ions, including calcium, sodium, chloride, and protons. The eight members of this subfamily were originally all designated as calcium-activated channels. More recent studies have clarified the gating mechanisms for these channels and have documented that not all members are sensitive to calcium. This article describes the molecular relationships between these channels and provides an introduction to their functional properties. It also introduces a new nomenclature that differentiates between calcium- and sodium-activated potassium channels.