Although there are numerous adsorption studies performed by using various adsorbents, there is no deterministic knowledge about selection of appropriate adsorbent type from present alternatives. In order to evaluate the advantages of the selected adsorbent species mathematically, researchers may use economical models such as cash flow diagrams, cost-benefit analyses, and alternative selection methods. In spite of the fact that these models have been used in many other engineering branches they are rarely applied in environmental research. In this study we have aimed to investigate usability of the mentioned economical models in adsorption of reactive azo dyes from aqueous solutions. Activated ash, a waste material, and commercial granular activated carbon were decided to be adsorbent alternatives. By applying economical models appropriate adsorbent type was selected considering both adsorption efficiencies and economical conditions. Although similar tendencies were monitored in cash flow diagrams; considering the amount of expenses activated ash exhibited remarkable advantages compared to granular activated carbon. Furthermore, results of cost-benefit analyses showed that activated ash has been advantageous when total costs and profits were evaluated together. Results of this study suggest usage of these economical models even in adsorption studies in order to provide accurate information on the selection of appropriate adsorbent type. These methods enable evaluation of economical conditions, which is generally neglected, together with the obtained removal efficiencies.