Sets of electron‐molecule collision cross sections for H2O and NH3 have been determined from a classical technique of electron swarm parameter unfolding. This deconvolution method is based on a simplex algorithm using a powerful multiterm Boltzmann equation analysis established in the framework of the classical hydrodynamic approximation. It is well adapted for the simulation of the different classes of swarm experiments (i.e., time resolved, time of flight, and steady state experiments). The sets of collision cross sections that exist in the literature are reviewed and analyzed. Fitted sets of cross sections are determined for H2O and NH3 which exhibit features characteristic of polar molecules such as high rotational excitation collision cross sections. The hydrodynamic swarm parameters (i.e., drift velocity, longitudinal and transverse diffusion coefficients, ionization and attachment coefficients) calculated from the fitted sets are in excellent agreement with the measured ones. These sets are finally used to calculate the transport and reaction coefficients needed for discharge modeling in two cases of typical gas mixtures for which experimental swarm data are very sparse or nonexistent (i.e., flue gas mixtures and gas mixtures for rf plasma surface treatment). © 1996 American Institute of Physics.