Common Grades for Chemicals and Reagents

Chemicals and reagents are utilized in countless industries for a wide variety of reasons. While some of these ingredients come into close contact with foods and beverages, others are strictly industrial. Bell Chem, the USP ingredient supplier, presents the following information on seven various grades of chemicals and reagents, how they differ and the uses of each.

 Technical Grade
Used for commercial and industrial purposes, technical grade chemicals and reagents do not meet standards designated for food and drink or pharmaceuticals.  

Purified Grade
Commonly called “pure” or “practical” grade, purified grade has no standard distinction of percent pure. Because of the fluctuation in purity, it is not intended for food, drink, or pharmaceutical industries.

Laboratory Grade
As with purified grade, laboratory grade does not have a stringent percentage of purity. Because of its low cost and solid chemical purity, laboratory grade is the most common grade for experimentation in secondary- and post-secondary science classrooms.  

NF Grade
National Formulary (NF) grade meets or exceeds specific demands of pharmaceutical standards for chemical and biological drug substances. Along with product standards, the manner in which products may be consumed (tablet, liquid, gelcap), compound preparations, excipients, dietary supplements, and medical devices are all aligned under NF grade standards.

USP Grade
Together with NF grade, United States Pharmacopeia (USP) publishes a book of pharmacopeial standards. USP grade meets or exceeds standards for pharmaceuticals, foods, and beverages and is used in top-ranking laboratories worldwide.

Reagent Grade
With a purity rating of ≥95%, reagent grade may be used in food, beverage, pharmaceutical, and medical industries, in both analytical applications and laboratory experimentation. 

ACS Grade
Meeting or exceeding American Chemical Society (ACS) purity standards of ≥95%, ACS grade is regularly used with foods and beverages, pharmaceutical and medical industries, and in any instance where high purity is necessitated. While USP-NF, Reagent, and ACS grades are oftentimes considered interchangeable, regulatory requirements must be followed precisely prior to application of any of these grades. 

Generally speaking, the lower-quality grades, such as Technical and Purified, are more cost-effective but lack the purity of ACS and Reagent grades. Be sure to understand the specific application of each product before you purchase one or more of these seven grades. For more information on choosing the correct chemical or reagent for your intended use, contact Bell Chem, the USP ingredient supplier. Bell Chem is based in Longwood (just north of Orlando) with hundreds of products stocked in their 50,000+ square-foot warehouse. You can expect the highest quality products, expedited shipping options for maximum efficiency, and unrivaled personalized customer service. Let our knowledgeable and friendly customer service representatives and accounting staff personalize all your needs by either calling 407-339-BELL (2355) or by sending us an online message.