Best Physical Chemistry Textbook Best Physical Chemistry Textbook

Best Physical Chemistry Textbook: Top Reviews of 2020

Chemistry is a vast subject and unlike other courses, it has several branches such as biochemistry, physical chemistry, organic chemistry, etc. Although some people find organic chemistry challenging, most of the students find physical chemistry courses more challenging. As the name suggests, physical chemistry is the field of study that uses the concepts of physics to understand the phenomenon in chemical systems. People with mathematics or physics background can find this study easy, but for the people with no such knowledge, it can be tough to understand the concepts thoroughly. 

Physical chemistry covers many topics such as quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, chemical equilibrium and much more. To understand these concepts, one needs to invest in a good physical chemistry textbook for learning the basics. Students opting for this book often complain about the lack of reading or study material to understand the subject better. But you would be surprised to know that there are many textbooks available today that explain the topics of physical chemistry brilliantly. 

Best Physical Chemistry Textbook

 So to make it easy for the students as well as the people who want to learn this subject, I have curated a list of best physical chemistry textbooks that can be helpful for the aspiring chemists. Check out these options given below and choose according to the topics you want to learn in physical chemistry.

1. Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach 

Physical Chemistry

The number one choice for the students looking for a physical chemistry textbook is this one that has a molecular approach of making things easy to understand. It covers major topics of physical chemistry such as thermodynamics, quantum mechanics and kinetics. The book efficiently uses the basics of these subjects to help the students learn. The new edition of this book also features the recent research topics done in physical chemistry, along with several problems and solutions. It helps in quick learning as it focuses on knowing and getting the basics correctly before jumping into the advanced courses. If you are someone who wants to learn quantum mechanics and thermodynamics thoroughly, then this book by McQuarrie is worth the money. The striking feature of this book is that it doesn’t assume that students know the basics and uses an atomic approach to teach the concepts.


  • The textbook includes a special set of MathChapters to help in understanding and to summarize the mathematical tools used in Thermodynamics.
  • The book has been organized and arranged very logically to maintain the flow of concepts.
  • It introduced quantum mechanics with a detailed explanation that makes it easy for the students to learn.
  • The approach of this book is unique and perfectly fits the title of the molecular approach as it helps in studying the fundamental principles of physical chemistry.
  • It can be helpful to people with no chemistry background also as it is quite easy to follow.
  • This textbook is suitable for chemistry students as well as professors. [/i2pros]


  • As mentioned, the book focuses on three major topics of physical chemistry and doesn’t cover any other topics of physical chemistry. [/i2cons][/i2pc]

By from Amazon

2. Atkins’ Physical Chemistry Textbook

Atkins’ Physical

Another excellent option that one can consider for getting a physical chemistry textbook that can help you with understanding the basics with ease is this one by Atkins. This edition of the book focuses on the concepts of thermodynamics and kinetics. Many reviewers have said that the book is smartly divided into smaller sections for a better and quick understanding. The discrete sectioning used in the book can help the professors as well as students to learn the physical chemistry concepts. The book explains the core of physical chemistry using a simple yet interesting approach. There are several other editions available for this book, so make sure to check other ones if you are interested in learning the courses other than kinetics and thermodynamics.


  • This edition of the book has been reorganized for making it easily understandable for the teachers and students.
  • The book also has additional math support and other learning features for the students to learn the basics with ease.
  • One can easily read and understand the concepts with the help of this book due to the well-illustrated figures.
  • This textbook got its latest edition recently and is also used in universities for chemistry courses.
  • Students also liked this textbook due to the solution manual that comes with it. [/i2pros]


  • Some students might find this book pricey. [/i2cons][/i2pc]

By from Amazon

3. Physical Chemistry by Ira Levine

Physical Chemistry by Ira Levine

The next popular option among the students for understanding the fundamentals of physical chemistry is this textbook by Ira Levine.  It is designed to make the learning process easy for the students as it is written in an organized manner. This physical-chemistry textbook is suitable for undergraduate students to learn the basics and to get a clear idea about the fundamentals of physical chemistry.


  • The book is easy-to-follow and can be beneficial for students to obtain in-depth knowledge of the subject.
  • There are clear step-by-step derivations and explanations provided for making the students familiar with the mathematics involved.
  • The latest edition of this textbook also features a review section for both maths and physics.
  • The students can learn quickly with the help of worked examples provided in the book, along with a practice exercise. [/i2pros]


  • Few students found this book difficult to understand because of the formal language used in the book. [/i2cons][/i2pc]

By from Amazon

4. Physical Chemistry Textbook by David W. Ball

Physical Chemistry by David W. Ball

While there are many textbooks available for Physical chemistry, this second edition by David W. Ball is a value for money purchase. A chemistry researcher and educator himself has written it, and that is reflected in the book too. There are two editions for this book that can be helpful for the students to understand the core physical chemistry. The textbook is made to provide the students with concise yet thorough knowledge of physical chemistry and its concepts. This alternative can be a good alternative for the undergrad students taking up physical chemistry courses.


  • The book has quite an easy to read approach and also focuses on the core topics of physical chemistry.
  • It has been traditionally organized for quick learning and for using it for
  • This textbook can help students with knowing the basics of quantum along with thermochemistry
  • This edition of the book also features new problems, examples and dynamic design for using it as a quick learning tool for the students.
  • The book is affordable and also includes a review section of the calculus that can be applied to physical chemistry. [/i2pros]


  • Some buyers recommend buying either the first edition or the second one, as the book might have some overlapping topics. [/i2cons][/i2pc]

By from Amazon

5. Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics, Statistical Mechanics, and Kinetics

Physical Chemistry Thermodynamics

The last physical chemistry textbook on this list is this one by Andrew Cooksy. He has made sure to use the engaging presentation style and precise explanations to make the concepts clear. It can help the students learn the mathematical concepts of the subject with ease as compared to the other options on this list. The textbook also features a review of Calculus in the first chapter that can be beneficial for the students with no math background. The students praised the book for its review section in each chapter regarding the topics that are previously covered.


  • The textbook can be helpful for the students who want to understand the basics of thermodynamics with the help of statistical mechanics.
  • The author uses a brilliant narrative and explanations of the mathematical derivations to make the learning process easy.
  • Many students found this book engaging due to the approach used by the author in writing and organizing the chapters in the book.
  • It uses the interrelationship between theoretical and mathematical reasoning to understand physical chemistry concepts.
  • The book also has several worked examples and sample experiments in every chapter to aid the students in understanding the concepts clearly. [/i2pros]


  • There are some typos and errors in this textbook.  [/i2cons][/i2pc]

By from Amazon

Closing Thoughts

Physical Chemistry is a subject that needs a clear idea about the fundamentals. Using a mathematical approach, one can learn these concepts with ease. All the books mentioned above are rated as the best physical chemistry textbooks due to the novel approach used by the authors for making the learning easy. Most of these books concentrate on Thermodynamics and Quantum mechanics, which are the basics of physical chemistry. Choosing any one of the books will be helpful for the undergrad students in their first year for the physical chemistry credits. Professors also use these books in many universities.

 However, the option number one Physical Chemistry: A molecular approach by McQuarrie would be my top pick due to its overall organization and the writing style. The book covers all the topics and is also easy to follow. I hope this blog helps you to find the suitable physical chemistry textbook for your course.

Leave a Reply