The development of secure diagnostic immunoassays requires, among others, rigorous characterisation of potential antibody reagents. The reactivity profiles of seven antibodies (six monoclonal [MAb] and one polyclonal [PAb]) with putative specificity for tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) and/or osteoclasts were evaluated in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and/or immunocytochemistry. MAbs 2H1, 4E6 and 5Cl demonstrated assay restriction: exhibiting reactivity only in ELISA. The remaining three MAbs (G211D, G312G and V35B) and the PAb 8023 recognised recombinant TRAP (rTRAP) in ELISA and native acid phosphatases in selected tissues and cell lines. The latter were cytochemically assessed for both tartrate-sensitive acid phosphatase (TSAP) and TRAP. V35B showed reactivity against the monocytic leukaemia cell line U937 and guinea pig kidney tissue (both TSAP+ and TRAP+) and ECV304 (TSAP+) cells. Interestingly, the reactivity of MAb G211D co-localised with TRAP activity in the membrane of osteoclasts but also detected cytoplasmic components in U937 cells and human embryonic lung fibroblasts (TRAP+ and TRAP+). G211D exhibited immunoreactivity against placental trophoblasts (positive for total AP). Intriguingly, MAbs 2H1, 4E6, 5Cl and PAb 8023 cross-reacted with potato acid phosphatase in ELISA, suggesting reactivity to conformationally similar epitopes. Thus, some of these reagents could be used in the development of standardised diagnostic immunoassays or as drug-targeting agents for conditions in which the pathological process involves bone resorption, the MAbs G211D, 2H1, 4E6, 5Cl and PAb 8023 being useful in ELISA but not immunocytochemical detection of TRAP.