This study investigated the heavy metal adsorption of the carbon nanotubes (CNTs) oxidized different methods. Besides the conventional ultrasonication method, the UV-light used as an oxidation agent. The two oxidation methods compared with each other by Pb(II) adsorption. The characterizations of oxidized CNTs were analyzed by FTIR, XRD, DTG, SEM and total acidity capacity analysis. The adsorption capacities of carbon nanotubes were compared with using Langmuir and Freundlich isotherms. Two different kinetic theories were applied to experimental data. These theories are pseudo-second order and intraparticle diffusion models. The adsorption results can be compared using non-linear Langmuir isotherm parameters. For single wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), theoretical adsorption capacity value (Qin) of UV-light method is 511.99 mg/g and ultrasonication method is 342.36 mg/g. The UV-light increased the surface acidity of the carbon nanotubes more than ultrasonication. After the adsorption experiments, it is apparently seen that the UV-light oxidation method is a useful method for heavy metal adsorption. (C) 2013 The Korean Society of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.