The adsorption of NH3 and H2O in acidic chabazite has been studied with the B3LYP method within the cluster approach (5T, 48T clusters) and the periodic approach adopting a Si/Al = 11/1 chabazite and a basis set of polarized double-ζ quality. The 5T cluster has been treated fully ab initio at the B3LYP level whereas the 48T cluster has been treated with the ONIOM2 scheme using B3LYP as the high level of theory and the MNDO, AM1, and HF/3-21G methods as low levels of theory. Periodic calculations show that the adsorption of NH3 in acidic chabazite takes place through an ion pair (NH4+-CHA-) structure, the computed adsorption energy being -32 kcal/mol. The adsorption of H2O leads to a hydrogen bonded (H2O-HCHA) complex with the computed adsorption energy of -20 kcal/mol. All ONIOM combinations provide similar structures to those obtained with periodic calculations. Adsorption energies, however, are sensitive to the low level used, especially for NH3. The ONIOM B3LYP:HF/3-21G method is the one that provides more satisfactory results. Present results show that, for larger zeolites, the ONIOM scheme can be successfully applied while drastically reducing the cost of a fully ab initio treatment. © 2005 American Chemical Society.