N-(2-hydroxyethyl)-piperazine-N'-2-ethanesulfonic acid, known as HEPES buffer, with p K in the physiological range was studied for use as an alternative to conventional phosphate buffer for the calibration of pH in modern clinical analyzers. In different series of aqueous equimolar HEPES buffer, pH was measured at 37 °C with a capillary glass electrode standardized previously using phosphate, and variations due to changes in total HEPES buffer concentration (0.025 to 0.320 mol/l), and NaCl (0 to 0.250 mol/l) were monitored. For 0.05 equimolar HEPES buffer without NaCl, the pH of 7.362 ± 0.003 (n = 15) obtained coincided well with the reference pH (7.364) from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In particular, in the preferred 0.05 equimolar HEPES buffer/0.110 mol/l NaCl, which is isotonic to human plasma (0.160 mol/l), and termed physiological HEPES buffer (PHB), the pH of 7.346 ± 0.003 (n = 84) can be related to the calculated corresponding reference pH from NIST without liquid junction (7.374), and is also compatible with the pH measured in normal arterial blood, pH = 7.403 ± 0.003 (n = 20). Hence, in the two-point calibration of clinical analyzers, PHB, which is defined operationally with respect to the glass electrode and to phosphate buffer, may be useful as a calibrator in the range of buffer adjustment control to meet the correct values for pH when measuring in blood. Whereas Na-HEPES salt is hygroscopic and does not meet the declared purity grade (> 99 %), pure HEPES acid is non-hygroscopic and conforms to the manufacturer's purity grade (≥ 99 %). Therefore, for easy preparation of PHB, HEPES acid is the preferred starting material.