In this study, the ion exchange membranes are proposed and tested in an electrolysis process for hydrogen production from acidic and alkaline solutions. The results of the experiments are then compared to evaluate the effect of ion exchange membranes on the performance of the electrolysis process. This study shows that the ion exchange membranes can improve the performance of the electrolysis reactor and supply high pH differences between compartments due to the membrane's feature of low electrical resistance and high resistance to pH changes. All anion exchange membrane, cation exchange membrane, and bipolar membrane are used individually as a separator between anode and cathode chamber of electrolysis reactor to evaluate the effect of these ion exchange membranes on system efficiency. Also, the comparison of using ion-exchange membranes to generate hydrogen in the acidic-alkaline electrolysis reactor is studied for the first time in this study. The electrolysis reactor is tested using various electrochemical techniques and analyzed thermodynamically. The maximum hydrogen production rate is determined with the bipolar membrane as 11.4 mmol/h, while the highest energy and exergy efficiencies are found for the reactor configuration with anion exchange membrane as 82% and 68%, respectively. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.