Although a large body of evidence indicates that metal toxicity to soil organisms is affected by physicochemical soil properties, use of this knowledge in ecological risk assessments is limited because of the lack of a model applicable to a wide range of soils. To study the effect of soil characteristics on the toxicity of copper to terrestrial invertebrates, chronic toxicity tests with Eisenia fetida and Folsomia candida were performed in 19 European field soils. These soils were carefully selected to cover the range of toxicity-influencing parameters encountered in the European Union. Toxicity values varied greatly among soils, with 28-d median effect concentrations ranging from 72.0 to 781 mg Cu/kg dry weight for E. fetida and from 45.4 to 2,270 mg Cu/kg dry weight for F. candida. For both species, variation in copper toxicity values was best explained by differences in the actual cation-exchange capacity (CEC) at soil pH. Using the obtained regression algorithms, the observed toxicity could, in most cases, be predicted within a factor of two for E. fetida and within a factor of three for F. candida. The developed models were validated in three additional European field soils, a standard artificial soil and a standard field soil. The presented regression equations, based on the actual CEC, offer an easy-to-apply method for taking the influence of soil properties on metal toxicity into account.