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2014 Chromatography Columns Survey Results

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, & affinity chromatography. One is hard-pressed to find a more innovative, self-reflective instrument market.

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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Top 7 Questions You Should Ask When Buying HPLC 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?

HPLC column sizes used by survey respondents

Large ID (> 10 mm dia) 4%
Analytical scale (~4.6 mm dia) 66%
Narrow-bore (1 to 2 mm dia) 21%
Capillary columns (< 0.3 mm dia) 9%

According to survey respondents, performance verification tests for wavelength accuracy, stray light, resolution etc. are performed…

Reversed phase 24%
Normal phase 19%
Ion exchange 12%
Ion chromatography 9%
Hydrophilic interaction (HILIC) 9%
Gel permeation (GPC) 6%
Gel filtration (GFC) 6%
Chiral 4%
Ion exclusion 4%
Affinity 4%

Reported HPLC column usage by survey respondents

0 - 1 per month
2-5 per month
6-10 per month
10-50 per month
50+ per month
Don’t know

Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing HPLC columns.

Technical performance of HPLC columns (e.g. peak shape) 93%
Ruggedness / Durability of HPLC columns 90%
Lot-to-lot reproducibility of HPLC columns 83%
Initial purchase price of column 70%
Reputation of column manufacturer 70%
Applications support 65%
Column discount program 61%
Breadth of HPLC column offering (selectivity) 58%
Method validation / compliance support 57%
Specials and promotions 55%

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

See the most recent survey results here