This study presents a literature review, especially in recent years, on the absorption refrigeration systems (ARSs), the currently used refrigerant-absorbent pairs and their alternatives. Additionally, in this study, the thermodynamic analysis of ARS using commonly encountered solution pairs in the literature was carried out, and a user-friendly software package including visual components was developed. The effects of operating temperatures, the effectivenesses of solution, refrigerant and solution-refrigerant heat exchangers (SHE, RHE, SRHE), and selection of working fluid pair on the system performance were examined by using the developed package. It was concluded that performances of the cycles improve with increasing generator and evaporator temperatures, but reduce with increasing condenser and absorber temperatures. The performance of system was affected from the SHE more than the RHE and SRHE. While the use of SHE improves the system COP up to 66%, RHE and SRHE have an effect of only 14% and 6%, respectively. For that reason, the SRHE may not be considered practically significant. Suitable solutions depending on operating conditions showed variations with respect to generator and evaporator temperatures. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.