Abstract Depth profiling of hydrogen in solids has been performed by Elastic Recoil Detection (ERD) with multicharged F ions at a 1.7 MV Tandem accelerator. Both experimental and theoretical analysis show the depth resolution of about 200-300 ? in the near-surface regions of solids. The optimization of the experimental conditions such as scattering geometry and incident beam energy are discussed. The comparison of ERD with multicharged F ions and 1H(19F,αγ)16O resonance reaction at 6.4 MeV for the same samples demonstrated that hydrogen profiling by ERD with F ions is a fast and economic method with low radiation damage and perfect depth resolution.