Modeling transport of reacting solutes in porous media often requires a choice between models based on the local equilibrium assumption (LEA) and models involving reaction kinetics. Direct comparison of the mathematical formulations for these two types of transport models can aid in this choice. For cases of transport affected by surface reaction, such a comparison is made possible by a new derivation procedure. This procedure yields a kinetics-based formulation that is the sum of the LEA formulation and one or more kinetically influenced terms. The dimensionless form of the new kinetics-based formulation facilitates identification of critical parameter groupings which control the approach to transport behavior consistent with LEA model predictions. Results of numerical experiments demonstrate that criteria for LEA applicability can be expressed conveniently in terms of these parameter groupings. The derivation procedure is demonstrated for examples of surface reactions including first-order reversible sorption, Langmuir-type kinetics and binary, homovalent ion exchange.