Polymers and copolymers of different methacrylates were synthesized and coated on glass slides. The surfaces of the polymer films were characterized by their water contact angles and potentials using the Wilhelmy plate technique and streaming potential measurements, respectively. From contact-angle measurements information was also obtained about mobility of surface polymer chains. Receding contact angles of methyl methacrylate (MMA) copolymers containing hydrophilic or charged units were decreased as compared to the MMA homopolymer. When charged hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) copolymers were compared with the HEMA homopolymer, the advancing contact angles increased, probably due to reorientation of surface polymer chains. The receding contact angles of poly(alkyl methacrylates) first increased and then decreased with increasing side-chain lengths. These changes were related to the mobility of the different polymers. Incorporation of positively or negatively charged groups in MMA or HEMA polymers accordingly changed the potential of the polymers.