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2015 Chromatography Columns Survey Results

Find out the most common phases used and more in our latest survey results. 

Trevor Henderson, PhD

Trevor Henderson BSc (HK), MSc, PhD (c), is the creative services director at Lab Manager.  He has more than two decades of experience in the fields of scientific...

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The wide spectrum of columns available makes selecting this most important component of an LC system extremely difficult. Column choices span normal phase, reverse phase, size exclusion, ion exchange, hydrophobic interaction, and affinity chromatography. One is hard-pressed to find a more innovative, self-reflective instrument market.

Top 7 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Chromatography Columns

  1. Based on your analyte(s), matrix, separation goals, and instrumentation, what column does the vendor recommend?
  2. What benefits does this column offer over your current column? Performance, lifetime, reproducibility, etc.
  3. How should you clean/prepare your sample prior to injection on the column?
  4. How do you care for the column? Conditioning, cleaning, storage, etc.
  5. What type of chromatographic media (fully porous, monolithic, core-shell) is going to provide the most benefit for your separation?
  6. Do you need a unique selectivity (HILIC, polar-end capped, etc.) to separate any very polar and/ or nonpolar components in your mixture?
  7. What column dimension is going to be most suitable for your loading requirement?

Separation modes used by survey respondents:

Reversed phase 58%
Normal phase 46%
Ion chromatography 38%
Ion exchange 31%
Affinity 17%
Hydrophilic interaction (HILIC) 15%
Gel filtration (GFC) 15%
Chiral 14%
Gel permeation (GPC) 13%
Ion exclusion 2%
Other 5%

Column phases used by survey respondents:

C18 62%
C18 (polar endcapped) 37%
C8 27%
Biphenyl 7%
Cyano 22%
Phenyl 18%
Silica 32%
IBD 1%
Amino 13%
C4 7%
PFP 8%
Cation exchange 30%
Anion exchange 40%

Nearly 55% of respondents are engaged in purchasing new chromatography columns. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Increase column life
Setting up a new lab / developing a brand new method
Trying to reduce operating costs
Working with more difficult samples that cause column clogging
Require higher quality data
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity
Reduce solvent usage and waste
We require more precise and accurate flow rates
Require shorter run times / increased lab throughput
Reduce sample prep steps and time
Require a special size of column

Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing chromatography columns

Technical Performance 74%
Ruggedness / Durability 71%
Lot to Lot Reproducibility 70%
Applications Support 43%
Reputation of column manufacturer 38%
Method Validation / Compliance Support 38%
Initial Purchase Price of Column 31%
Breadth of Column Offering 22%
Available Applications Literature 21%
Breadth of Other Consumables Offered 13%

For more information on chromatography columns, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See the most recent survey results here