The Best Analytical Chemistry Book S, Analytical Chemistry 2 –

I always found analytical chemistry quite fascinating, even when I was a college student doing my first steps into the world of chemistry. It might not be the most exciting subject, but the concepts attached to it (such as error, accuracy, etc.) are basic for the education of any chemist (or any scientist, for that matter).

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Perhaps some would argue that this Chemistry area is not as “cool” as others, but I am sure that those who agree with me will find plenty of reasons to support the beauty of analytical chemistry.

But in any case, it’s something really necessary, and for making the process of learning it easier, getting your hands on the best analytical chemistry textbook that you can find its key.

Table of Contents hide
1 But… What Do Analytical Chemists Do?
2 What is the Best Analytical Chemistry Textbook?
2.1 Quick Reference Table: Top 5 Analytical Chemistry Books
3 Complete Review of All Books
3.1 Harris Quantitative Chemical Analysis
3.2 Skoog Fundamentals of Analytical Chemistry
4 Analytical Chemistry (Christian)
4.1 Analytical Chemistry and Quantitative Analysis
4.2 Principles and Practice of Analytical Chemistry
5 Closing Up and Final Thoughts

But… What Do Analytical Chemists Do?

Now I might have caught a bit your attention on the subject, but, what is exactly analytical chemistry? A dictionary definition would say:

“Analytical chemistry is a scientific discipline which develops and applies methods, instruments, and strategies to obtain information on the composition and nature of matter in space and time”.

Kellner, R. Analytical Chemistry 1994, 66, 99A–101A

Fancy, but maybe not very insightful for a beginner. Analytical chemistry deals essentially with three aspects: measurement, analysis, and information. That’s it! In analytical chemistry you measure (quantity, concentration, etc.) a chemical/biochemical substance, you analyze the results, and then you obtain useful information that can be used to solve a technical (or social) problem.

This process seems simple, but the importance can be huge. A good example is residual pesticides found in food, which must comply with stringent regulations that define acceptable limits (although some substances are totally forbidden) for their presence in food. Analytical chemists work all the time on problems like this, and we are grateful for that!

Not only that, chemist from other disciplines (physical, organic, inorganic) base their daily research and rely on results obtained from analytical techniques (such as GCMS or LCMS analysis).

More interested in analytical chemistry now? Great! the next step is to open a book and start reading. As in all fields of science, we always start from the basics before achieving mastery. Of course, with a good analytical chemistry book, the path is going to be even better, particularly if some of you have already experienced some problems learning analytical chemistry.

Furthermore, if you are a professor looking to find the very best book to base your lectures on, we’ve got you covered too.

What is the Best Analytical Chemistry Textbook?

But, which book do we choose? What is the best analytical chemistry textbook? Don’t worry, in this review, we will help you to find exactly the textbook you need.

For starters, we are going to make it easy for you and disclose our preference as top pick, which is Quantitative Chemical Analysis by Daniel C. Harris. Even thought Skoog’s comes as second runner up, Harris’ is simply as good as it gets regarding analytical chemistry texts for college.


Harris Quantitative Chemical Analysis

We will now quickly summarize all the reviewed texts, and then go deep exploring the pros and cons of each of then on the specific reviews.

Quick Reference Table: Top 5 Analytical Chemistry Books

Complete Review of All Books

Harris Quantitative Chemical Analysis

Considered the gold standard for analytical chemistry, the Quantitative Chemical Analysis book by Daniel C. Harris (and Charles A. Lucy in the latest version) has been in the bookstores since 1982.


Harris Quantitative Chemical Analysis

A must-to-read book for anyone interested (grad or undergrad) in analytical chemistry, this book is easy to understand and contains several examples and problems that will make learning analytical chemistry a much friendlier experience.

It will provide you with sound principlesof analytical chemistry and will teach “How” and “Why” analyticalchemistry should be applied in real-life situations. You will also find this book very useful for learninginstrumental analysis, being a great balance between readability fornon-Chemistry majors and in-depth content for more advanced readers.

Being a very comprehensive book, youwill find information from the basic statistics, through acid-base equilibria, titrations,to electrochemistry, spectroscopy, and chromatography. The use of suitablesoftware is also encouraged and exemplified in most, if not all, topics.

This book is written in a quitestraightforward style that makes its content easy to follow and understand.Concepts are presented right away and succinctly explained. If you want directanswers to your questions, this is the book of choice.

Skoog Fundamentals of Analytical Chemistry

A book with a good price/quality ratio, although it is more suitable for readers already familiar with analytical chemistry topics. Written by Douglas A. Skoog, Donald M. West, F. James Holler, and Stanley R. Crouch, it is a readable and engaging book with well-explained examples that is a safe bet to learn the principles of analytical chemistry and much more.

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Skoog Fundamentals of Analytical Chemistry

Being a very comprehensive book, it is also reinforced by multiple high-quality images and case studies that properly demonstrate the principles, importance, and applicability of analytical chemistry. Several questions and problems are also presented for readers to practice.

Interesting topics such as kineticsmethods of analysis and supercritical fluid separations, which are not commonamong analytical chemistry textbooks, are also covered in this book. This isone of my favorite books in analytical chemistry, and for sure, the book Irecommend on every chemist shelf.

Analytical Chemistry (Christian)

This book, authored by Gary D. Christian, Purnendu K. Dasgupta, and Kevin A. Schug, is already in the 7th edition.


Analytical Chemistry (Christian)

Particularly designed for undergraduate students in fields related to chemistry, it contains the necessary techniques and principles related to quantitative and instrumental analysis. The book has a modern approach with a clear methodology and explanations. It is also very versatile, being useful as an introductory text for first courses in analytical chemistry or as a reference guide for practicing analytical chemists.

Nevertheless, the style of this bookmight result more difficult to follow, so some base of chemistry is advisablebefore start reading and practicing. Not a first-choice book for people fromother fields adventuring into analytical chemistry for the first time.

Worth to mention: an entire sectionof the book is devoted to genomics and proteomics, making it very useful foranalytical chemistry in biological applications.

Analytical Chemistry and Quantitative Analysis

David Hage and James Carr created a book with a contemporary approach, presenting practice and applications of today’s analytical chemistry.


Analytical Chemistry and Quantitative Analysis

Applications span from forensics to environmental analysis and pharmaceutical sciences, although other interesting topics are also approached. Ideal as an undergraduate quantitative analysis book, as well as an introductory book to the area.

Easy to follow, this book somewhat combines the material from the more comprehensive “Quantitative Chemical Analysis” and “Fundamentals of Analytical Chemistry” and put it in a clearer version.

Principles and Practice of Analytical Chemistry

The book, created by F.W. Fifieldand David Kealey, is already in the 5th edition. Recognized as a completeand useful reference manual, is another example of a particularly valuable analyticalchemistry book for undergraduate students.


Principles and Practice of Analytical Chemistry

Coming at a much more affordableprice is also very encouraging, particularly if you are seeking a quickreference book of principles and techniques for practical applications. Not ascomprehensive as other books, it is a concise presentation of up-to-dateinformation regarding modern molecular spectrometry, atomic spectrometry, andseparation techniques.

The focus is more practical in comparison to other books, including chapters devoted to automation as well as the role of computers and microprocessors in analytical chemistry. Thermal and radiochemical techniques are also included in this book, reinforcing its value as a reference book for analytical chemists that are already working in the area.

Closing Up and Final Thoughts

There are different great books to learn analytical chemistry from out there. There are many different options for each taste. Here we presented the best five in our opinion.

However, if you want a safe choice with which you can never go wrong, don’t think twice a go for Harris’ Quantitative Chemical Analysis. The second runner up would be Skoog’s.

No matter which one you choose, always keep in mind that with a good textbook and with a touch of perseverance, you will find yourself mastering analytical chemistry faster than you think.

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Finally, I would like to remind you that if you are going through the awesome process of learning chemistry, we have you covered with reviews for the best textbook on the other major subjects of this science: Check them here for organic, inorganic, physical and general chemistry!

As always, please, let us know in the comments if you find any discrepancy, or if you want to suggest an alternative textbook for discussion. (Since we only include here the books that we have available for review ourselves).

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