The composting industry has been growing rapidly in China because of a boom in the animal industry. Therefore, a rapid and accurate assessment of the quality of commercial organic fertilizers is of the utmost importance. In this study, a novel technique that combines near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy with partial least squares (PLS) analysis is developed for rapidly and accurately assessing commercial organic fertilizers quality. A total of 104 commercial organic fertilizers were collected from full-scale compost factories in Jiangsu Province, east China. In general, the NIR-PLS technique showed accurate predictions of the total organic matter, water soluble organic nitrogen, pH, and germination index; less accurate results of the moisture, total nitrogen, and electrical conductivity; and the least accurate results for water soluble organic carbon. Our results suggested the combined NIR-PLS technique could be applied as a valuable tool to rapidly and accurately assess the quality of commercial organic fertilizers. © 2014 Wang et al.