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Ammonia Test Kits

Visual Kits

Range MDL Method Type Kit Cat. No. Refill
0 - 4.0 & 0 - 80 ppm 0.125 ppm Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol (HBA) CHEMets K-1420 R-1402
0 - 125 & 0 - 2,500 ppm 8 ppm Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol (HBA) VACUettes K-1420D R-1402D
0 - 500 & 0 - 10,000 ppm 30 ppm Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol (HBA) VACUettes K-1420B R-1402B
0.0 - 1.0 & 1 - 10 ppm 0.05 ppm Direct Nesslerisation CHEMets K-1510* R-1501*
0 - 30 & 30 - 300 ppm 5 ppm Direct Nesslerisation VACUettes K-1510D* R-1501D*
0 - 60 & 60 - 600 ppm 10 ppm Direct Nesslerisation VACUettes K-1510A* R-1501A*
0 - 120 & 120 - 1,200 ppm 20 ppm Direct Nesslerisation VACUettes K-1510B* R-1501B*
0 - 1,000 & 1,000 - 10,000 ppm 100 ppm Direct Nesslerisation VACUettes K-1510C* R-1501C*

Instrumental Kits

Range Method Type Kit Cat. No.
0 - 3.00 & 0 - 60.0 ppm Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol (HBA) Vacu-vials K-1413
0 - 7.00 ppm Direct Nesslerisation Vacu-vials K-1503*
0 - 14.0 ppm Direct Nesslerisation Vacu-vials K-1523*

Note: Click on the ‘Kit Cat. No.’ to view the test instructions. Click on the ‘Range’ value for Vacu-vials to view accuracy chart.

CHEMetrics offers test kits employing the well-known Nessler reagent to deliver sensitivity and accuracy within two minutes or less, as well as kits employing the salicylate method which offers similar sensitivity without generating any mercury-containing waste. Based on CHEMetrics patented Self-Filling Reagent Ampoule technology. Premixed. Premeasured. Precise. Each kit contains 30 tests. Ammonia concentrations are routinely measured in wastewater effluent, drinking water, surface water and sea-water.

The Direct Nesslerisation Method

The CHEMetrics Ammonia test kits employing the well-established Nessler reagent* to determine ammonia concentrations are applicable to drinking water, clean surface water, good-quality nitrified wastewater effluent, and sea-water testing. The supplied stabiliser solution is used with some waters where the calcium and magnesium concentrations causes cloudiness of the reagent. Adding a few drops of the stabiliser solution (Rochelle Salt) will prevent this cloudiness. References recommend distilling samples prior to analysis. Results are expressed as ppm (mg/l) ammonia-nitrogen, NH3-N.

Although the Nessler reagent is itself stable, its high alkalinity attacks the glass ampoule over time, resulting in a precipitate which interferes with colour comparison. If stored at room temperature, we suggest stocking up to a five month supply of CHEMets® and VACUettes® ampoules; and a two-month supply of Vacu-vials® ampoules. We recommend refrigerating these ampoules when not in use, which will dramatically extend their shelf life by 18 months.

ASTM D 1426-08, Ammonia Nitrogen in Water, Test Method A.
APHA Standard Methods, 18th ed., Method 4500-NH3 C - 1988.

The Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol (HBA) Method

In the ammonia test method that employs the Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol chemistry, free ammonia reacts with hypochlorite to form monochloramine. Monochloramine reacts with HBA, in the presence of sodium nitroferricyanide, to form a green coloured complex. This test method measures the sum of free ammonia and monochloramine. Results are expressed in ppm (mg/l) ammonia-nitrogen, NH3-N.

The Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol Method offers sensitivity similar to the Nesslerisation Method but with the added benefit of being Mercury-free, thus not generating any Mercury-containing waste.

Krom, Michael D., Spectrophotometric Determination of Ammonia: A Study of a Modified Berthelot Reduction Using Salicylate and Dichloroisocyanurate, The Analyst, v.105, pp. 305-316, 1980.


Low-level ammonia nitrogen may be naturally present in water as a result of the biological decay of plant or animal matter. Higher concentrations in surface waters can indicate contamination from waste treatment facilities, raw sewage, industrial effluents (particularly from petroleum refineries), or fertiliser runoff. Excessive ammonia concentrations are toxic to aquatic life. The Specified Concentration or Value (SCV) for ammonia in drinking water supplies in the UK is 0.50 mg/l (ppm), and in Ireland is 0.3 mg/l (ppm).

* Contains mercury. Dispose according to county, national or EU laws.

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