Various formulations of polymeric hydrogels were synthesized and evaluated with the goal of developing a novel skin-surface biopotential electrode. Materials explored within the study included poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (polyHEMA) in pure form or impregnated with the conducting polymers polypyrrole or poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT), as well as polyacrylate. The drying dynamics, ionic conductivity, and impedance of the prototype materials were characterized when applied to porcine and human skin, in order to determine their utility for a minimum preparation and low specific impedance surface electrode. The addition of a fraction of PEDOT or polypyrrole within a polyHEMA gel was found to decrease hydrogel impedance when tested within PBS, as well as on non-abraded porcine skin. A polyacrylate component added to polyHEMA had no significant effect on hydrogel impedance in PBS, but significantly reduced impedance on the porcine skin surface. Although having much lower specific impedance (impedance normalized by the contact area) than the commercial skin surface electrode (3M Red Dot), polyHEMA based electrodes require skin abrasion. Pure cross-linked polyacrylate gel was found to provide the most attractive option, and yielded competitive low-impedance performance on non-abraded human skin.