Accurate determination of the water retention curve (WRC) of a soil is essential for the understanding and modelling of the subsurface hydrological, ecological, and biogeochemical processes. Volcanic ash soils with andic properties (Andosols) are recognized as important providers of ecological and hydrological services in mountainous regions worldwide due to their large fraction of small size particles (clay, silt, and organic matter) that gives them an outstanding water holding capacity. Previous comparative analyses of in situ (field) and standard laboratory methods for the determination of the WRC of Andosols showed contrasting results. Based on an extensive analysis of laboratory, experimental, and field measured WRCs of Andosols in combination with data extracted from the published literature we show that standard laboratory methods using small soil sample volumes (≤300 cm3) mimic the WRC of these soils only partially. The results obtained by the latter resemble only a small portion of the wet range of the Andosols' WRC (from saturation up to −5 kPa, or pF 1.7), but overestimate substantially their water content for higher matric potentials. This discrepancy occurs irrespective of site-specific land use and cover, soil properties, and applied method. The disagreement limits our capacity to infer correctly subsurface hydrological behaviour, as illustrated through the analysis of long-term soil moisture and matric potential data from an experimental site in the tropical Andes. These findings imply that results reported in past research should be used with caution and that future research should focus on determining laboratory methods that allow obtaining a correct characterization of the WRC of Andosols. For the latter, a set of recommendations and future directions to solve the identified methodological issues is proposed.