CW laser operation of Nd:YLF is reported for the first time and, in a comparison to Nd:YAG, exhibits a lower threshold and higher single-mode average power. The TEM00mode volume of Nd: YLF was observed to be a factor of four larger than Nd:YAG, resulting in twice the TEM00mode average power. This result is attributed to the substantially lower thermal lensing of YLF with respect to YAG. In comparative measurements the stimulated emission cross section of Nd:YLF was found to be cm2for the π oscillation and cm2for the σ oscillation, as compared to cm2for Nd:YAG. The spectroscopic and lasing parameters of Nd:YLF indicate a potential for this material in high peak and average power -switched applications.