The Best Physical Chemistry Textbooks of 2021

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Are you feeling intimidated to learn about physical chemistry? Have you questioned which textbook could help you to master this material the best? Look no further because this guide will help you to sort through the multitude of textbooks to find which one is right for you!

Some textbooks are more picture-based while others focus on clear writing. Some are organized so that the material gets more complex as you read while others are segmented into different focus areas. While none of these strategies are wrong, you, as the reader, may have a preference of which one works best for you.

This guide highlights which strategies each book takes so that you can make your decision more easily. By thinking which textbook is right for you and taking the time to make this decision, you can rest assured that you started your learning process off on the right foot.

If you want to just get back to studying, get our top choice for Physical Chemistry textbooks here.
Our Top Favorite
Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach
Our Top Runner Up
Quanta, Matter and Change: A Molecular Approach to Physical Chemistry
Our Top Value Pick
Schaum's Outline of Physical Chemistry (2nd Edition)
Book Title
Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach
Quanta, Matter and Change: A Molecular Approach to Physical Chemistry
Schaum’s Outline of Physical Chemistry (2nd edition)
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Favorite
Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach
Book Title
Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Runner Up
Quanta, Matter and Change: A Molecular Approach to Physical Chemistry
Book Title
Quanta, Matter and Change: A Molecular Approach to Physical Chemistry
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Value Pick
Schaum's Outline of Physical Chemistry (2nd Edition)
Book Title
Schaum’s Outline of Physical Chemistry (2nd edition)
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-08-31

Our Favorites for Best Physical Chemistry Textbook

Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach by Donald A. McQuarrie

Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach is a classic but still relevant authority on physical chemistry. Although this book is much older than your average currently used textbook, it time and time again has been cited in reviews and recommends as a thorough and easy-to-read examination of physical chemistry. This is a well-known text which makes it ideal to read through. Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach is one of the best physical chemistry textbooks to get a comprehensive understanding of the subject material.

What Makes it Unique: 

  • It was one of the first modern physical chemistry textbooks.
  • It has 31 chapters that cover topics from the origins of the quantum theory to solids and surface chemistry.
  • It also includes special “Math Chapters” that go over concepts that are important to understand the material. These can refresh your memory on topics you may have learned about in the past but haven’t used recently.

Why Choose this Best Physical Chemistry Textbook: 

  • It supplies a comprehensive understanding of physical chemistry through step-by-step problems and clearly defined sections.
  • The concepts build on each other, and new equations flow into each other as they are introduced.
  • It is a well-known, foundational textbook and so it is a good one to be familiar with.
On Sale
Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Donald A. McQuarrie (Author)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Atkins’ Physical Chemistry 11th edition by Peter Atkins and Julio de Paula

Atkins’ Physical Chemistry is a very widely used textbook that was recently updated to enhance its readability. This physical chemistry textbook by Atkins is a very current approach to physical chemistry. It even looks appealing to read. Working through the problems alongside the solution manual provides a comprehensive understanding of physical chemistry.

What Makes it Unique: 

  • There are exciting visuals throughout the text, which can enhance your understanding of the material.
  • Compared to other editions, it has better-explained mathematics and a smoother organization with topics categorized into different focus areas.

Why Choose this Best Physical Chemistry Textbook: 

  • It is very appealing to read and has a common-sense flow which will make the learning process smoother.
  • It has comprehensive summaries through the text to help make sure you understand the different concepts as you read.
On Sale
Atkins' Physical Chemistry 11e
  • Atkins, Peter (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1040 Pages - 02/28/2018 (Publication Date) - Oxford University Press (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Runner Ups for Best Physical Chemistry Textbook

Quanta, Matter and Change: A Molecular Approach to Physical Chemistry Section Edition by Peter Atkins, Julio de Paula, and Ron Friedman

Quanta, Matter and Change: A Molecular Approach to Physical Chemistry is a different approach to the typical physical chemistry textbook. It first starts with quantum mechanics, followed by statistical mechanics and then thermodynamics. Similar to the other Atkins textbook, this textbook also has focus areas with topics in it.

What Makes it Unique: 

  • There is special attention paid to the math that can often be difficult and provides extra help to work through those problems.
  • By using a different pathway to this material, this physical chemistry textbook shows how the material fits together in a new way.

Why Choose this Best Physical Chemistry Textbook: 

  • If you have found other physical chemistry textbooks to be confusing, the new organization that this textbook uses could provide more insight into the material.
  • Atkin’s has a strong reputation for good physical chemistry textbooks, and this book is no different.
  • This book has engaging writing, which makes learning the material more accessible.
On Sale
Quanta, Matter and Change: A Molecular Approach to Physical Chemistry
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Atkins, Peter (Author)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Physical Chemistry by Robert Alberty and Robert Silbey

Physical Chemistry is an excellent textbook for those who are beginning to learn about physical chemistry. It has very clear explanations that efficiently provide an understanding of the various topics of physical chemistry. If you often feel overwhelmed by textbooks, especially physical chemistry textbooks, this one can be a good one to start with.

What Makes it Unique:

  • It has very clear and engaging writing which makes the text much more readable.
  • It supplies a comprehensive introduction to physical chemistry which is perfect for a college course.
  • There are lots of practical applications of the text which help connect these concepts to the real-world.

Why Choose this Best Physical Chemistry Textbook: 

  • It is straight-forward and has been a highly recommended physical chemistry textbook for numerous years.
  • Many reviews have said this book is readable and easy to follow.
On Sale
Physical Chemistry
  • Hardcover Book
  • Silbey, Robert J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Value Pick for Best Physical Chemistry Textbook

Schaum’s Outline of Physical Chemistry (2nd edition) by Clyde Metz

Schaum’s Outline of Physical Chemistry is set up as a type of physical chemistry reference book. It contains physical chemistry problems and solutions that, when partnered with other texts, can bolster your learning and help to solidify concepts. Practice problems are critical with physical chemistry, and this text provides a way to get that extra help. At a fairly low cost, you can enhance your understanding of physical chemistry.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Rather than being a traditional textbook, Schaum’s Outline of Physical Chemistry gives additional practice problems and real-world applications.
  • It is easy to read and does an excellent job of breaking down the material.

Why Choose this Best Physical Chemistry Textbook: 

  • If you need to study for a test or review material, this outline can give a concise summary that can speed up your study time.
  • It can provide extra help and also a new way to see the material.
Schaum's Outline of Physical Chemistry (2nd Edition)
  • Metz, Clyde (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 512 Pages - 07/01/1988 (Publication Date) - McGraw-Hill Education (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


How to Choose the Best Physical Chemistry Textbook for You

Choosing the correct physical chemistry textbook can often be intimidating due to the variety and cost of textbooks. However, if you know what to look for and how to identify the correct book for you, the process can become straight-forward. When taking challenging courses, it’s crucial to have an excellent textbook to support you. Use the questions below to help guide this process:

What Areas of Emphasis Are You Considering? 

Some physical chemistry textbooks can emphasize specific parts of the field of physical chemistry. If you are aware of the particular material that you will cover, you can quickly examine the contents of the textbooks to determine if they will include this material.

How Much Background Information Do You Need? 

If you already have a background in physical chemistry, you could opt for a more advanced book. However, if this is your first introduction to the subject, you could look for textbooks that indicate they are for beginners.

What Do We Recommend for Beginners? 

A great textbook to start with is Physical Chemistry by Robert Alberty and Robert Silbey. The readability and comprehensiveness of this text makes it perfect to start with. By using a textbook that covers a wide range of topics, you can get a general sense of the subject material and identify any specific areas of interest. It also helps you see how different topics within physical chemistry fit together.

What Do We Recommend for University Courses? 

If you are looking for something a bit more advanced, the following two textbooks could be useful: Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach by Donald A. McQuarrie and Atkins’ Physical Chemistry 11th edition by Peter Atkins and Julio de Paula. They both are very thorough texts that have a strong reputation as foundational texts for physical chemistry. Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach is specifically well-noted as a good college textbook as it covers a wide variety of topics and also includes special math sections that review concepts that may have been forgotten since previous math courses.

Do You Want Additional Practice Problems? 

Practice problems can be a great way to study, and some textbooks may have more than others.  This should be a factor in your decision making process as some courses may recommends having these problems. In addition, some textbooks have answers in them, while others require an additional solution manual for the answers. This can add additional costs, so this should be factored into your decision process. It may not be clear initially if the textbooks has the answers or not, so make sure to check reviews and see if it clearly states that it supplies these or indicates that you need a solutions manual.

Wrapping Things Up: The Best Physical Chemistry Textbook

To sum up, here are the best physical chemistry textbook we looked at today:

Our Top Favorite
Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach
Our Top Runner Up
Quanta, Matter and Change: A Molecular Approach to Physical Chemistry
Our Top Value Pick
Schaum's Outline of Physical Chemistry (2nd Edition)
Book Title
Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach
Quanta, Matter and Change: A Molecular Approach to Physical Chemistry
Schaum’s Outline of Physical Chemistry (2nd edition)
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Favorite
Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach
Book Title
Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Runner Up
Quanta, Matter and Change: A Molecular Approach to Physical Chemistry
Book Title
Quanta, Matter and Change: A Molecular Approach to Physical Chemistry
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Value Pick
Schaum's Outline of Physical Chemistry (2nd Edition)
Book Title
Schaum’s Outline of Physical Chemistry (2nd edition)
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-08-31

These physical chemistry textbooks range in price, material organization, and ease of reading. Learning about this subject material can be crucial for a job, passing a course, or exploring a new area of interest. These textbooks are valuable sources of information that can be helpful years from now as references.

However, finding the right one for you can become a long process if you don’t know what to look for. There are numerous options to choose from, and some can become very expensive. If you don’t pick the right one, you could waste money on an unnecessary textbook. It is important to think through what you are looking for in a textbook. Once you do this, it will become much easier to find the textbook that is right for you.

Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach by Donald A. McQuarrie is a book that has stood the test of time. It was widely recommended as a great way to learn about physical chemistry and can give you a strong foundation in the subject matter. Another useful textbook is Atkins’ Physical Chemistry 11th edition by Peter Atkins and Julio de Paula. This physical chemistry textbook is another thorough reference point for an understanding of this subject material. This text is written in an engaging way with helpful illustrations.

While physical chemistry can be a difficult subject for many to master, having the right textbook can make this process much more manageable. This list of textbooks can provide you with a reference for some of the ways to learn this material.

If you found this post helpful, be sure to check out our other textbook reviews here.

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