We evaluated the accuracy of periodic density functional calculations for adsorption enthalpies of water, alkanes, and alcohols in silicalite and HZSM-5 zeolites using a gradient-corrected density functional with empirical dispersion corrections (PBE-D) as well as a nonlocal correlation functional (vdW-DF2). Results of both approaches agree in acceptable fashion with experimental adsorption energies of alcohols in silicalite, but the adsorption energies for n-alkanes in both zeolite models are overestimated, by 21−46 kJ mol−1. For PBE-D calculations, the adsorption of alkanes is exclusively determined by the empirical dispersion term, while the generalized gradient approximation-DFT part is purely repulsive, preventing the molecule to come too close to the zeolite walls. The vdW-DF2 results are comparable to those of PBE-D calculations, but the latter values are slightly closer to the experiment in most cases. Thus, both computational approaches are unable to reproduce available experimental adsorption energies of alkanes in silicalite and HZSM-5 zeolite with chemical accuracy. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.