Expandable stents have now become accepted for the relief of malignant obstruction throughout the GI tract and biliary system. Almost all expandable stents are composed of metal. More recently, an expandable plastic stent has been developed for the treatment of benign esophageal conditions. The clinical response to these devices is dependent on proper stent placement and anatomical location. Proper stent placement, in turn, is dependent on being familiar with the characteristics of the devices, having knowledge of the length of the stricture and anatomy, and the location of the obstruction within the GI tract. This review summarizes the available devices and techniques for optimal placement of expandable stents.