The capabilities of a sensor network are strongly influenced by the operating system used on the sensor nodes. In general, two different sensor network operating system types are currently considered: event driven and multi-threaded. It is commonly assumed that event driven operating systems are more suited to sensor networks as they use less memory and processing resources. However, if factors other than resource usage are considered important, a multi-threaded system might be preferred. This paper compares the resource needs of multi-threaded and event driven sensor network operating systems. The resources considered are memory usage and power consumption. Additionally, the event handling capabilities of event driven and multi-threaded operating systems are analyzed and compared. The results presented in this paper show that for a number of application areas a thread-based sensor network operating system is feasible and preferable.