Dynamic compression and buckling are critical issues in the viability analysis of rigid and flexible risers developed for offshore applications, especially concerning deep-water operations. Those subjects have been addressed both numerically and analytically. However, few experimental data for validation purposes is found in literature. This paper presents a set of experimental results on the dynamic compression of rigid and flexible risers in catenary configurations, obtained by means of towing-tank tests. Two small-scale models have been built, the first one emulating the dynamic behavior of a steel catenary riser (SCR) and the other representing a much more flexible line. Uniform circular motion has been applied to the top of the models, emulating the floating system first-order oscillations. Different amplitudes of top motion have been considered, each one of them imposed with different frequencies of oscillation. Tension has been measured at the top of the models. The influence of current velocity has also been evaluated. Dynamic tension estimations obtained through finite element analysis are compared to the experimental results. Tension amplitude and critical compression load values are evaluated and compared for both, the steel catenary (SCR) and the flexible models. Comparisons show, in general, a fair agreement between simulations and experiments, reassuring the reliability of numerical models. Results also demonstrate that finite element code provides good predictions of maximum tension loads even when the risers are subjected to high levels of dynamic compression and buckle. Nevertheless, it is clearly noted that difficulties arise in the treatment of flexible structures under severe buckling and torsion. The accuracy of analytical methods proposed for the estimation of critical compression loads is also discussed, based on the experimental results.