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JDBC Driver Type Comparison
CategoryType 1Type 2Type 3Type 4
Basic DescriptionJDBC to ODBC BridgeJDBC using Native MethodsMiddleware JDBC DriversPure Java Driver
Requires native install on clientYesYesNoNo
Cross platformNoMostlyYesYes
Supports specific DB features e.g. OracleBlobNoYesUsually NoYes
Requires additional serverNoNoYesNo

Sun has the following to say about driver types -

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