This paper presents an analysis of diffraction effects taking place at different Schlieren diffracting elements. Two types of diffraction effects are prominent in the Schlieren schemes. One is diffraction of direct light (source image) at the Schlieren element, which limits the sensitivity and resolution of Schlieren systems. The second type is the diffraction of light deflected from the test object at the Schlieren-diffracting element. This second type of diffraction degrades the quality of Schlieren results. Experimental results showing the effect of diffraction of light deflected from the test object at a phase knife-edge, corner of a square phase aperture and an optical fiber tip as Schlieren diffracting elements have been presented and discussed.