We discuss physicochemical determinants of electrochemical polyelectrolyte multilayer swelling that are relevant to actuator usage. We used electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (EC-QCM-D) and cyclic voltammetry to compare the electrochemical swelling of two types of ferrocyanide-containing polyelectrolyte multilayers, poly(l-glutamic acid)/poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PGA/PAH), and carboxymethyl cellulose/poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (CMC/PDDA). We showed that ferrocyanide oxidation causes the swelling of PGA/PAH multilayers whereas it results in the contraction of CMC/PDDA multilayers. This behavior can be attributed to the presence of a positive and a negative Donnan potential in the case of PGA/PAH and CMC/PDDA multilayers, respectively. Using multilayers consisting of PGA and poly(allylamine) ferrocene (PGA/PAH-FC), we applied EC-QCM-D and demonstrated potentiostatic thickness control with nanometer precision and showed that the multilayer’s thickness depends linearly on the applied potential within a certain potential range.