Rapid expansion in the field of fluorescence guided surgery (FGS) has yielded a wide range of contrast agent types under development with diverse characteristics. Currently, 105 active or completed clinical trials are registered in clinicaltrials.gov studying 39 unique novel FGS contrast agents. For these 39 contrast agents, there exists 6 distinct classes or types of probes: nanoparticle, antibody, protein, affibody, peptide, and small molecule. This diversity yields unique advantages and disadvantages among each type of contrast agent, which change throughout the various stages of development and clinical translation. In this review, we outline the relevant advantages and disadvantages for each type of FGS contrast agent at each stage of development. As the field continues to progress and expand, this diversity in FGS contrast agent type and their respective unique characteristics will enable broad applicability to shift the surgical paradigm and improve outcomes for patients across all surgical specialties.