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Readers' Favorite GC Features

Learn readers’ ten favorite GC features and more from our latest GC systems survey results

by Ryan Ackerman

Gas chromatography (GC) is a common technique used in analytical chemistry for separating and analyzing compounds that can be vaporized without decomposition. GC is typically used for separating the different components of a mixture, improving the purity of a particular substance, or identifying a particular compound. GC is a ubiquitous technique, and the various GC instruments available are designed to achieve every requirement of the technique.

Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a GC System

  1. What factors come into play when determining the GC system specifications you require in terms of cycle time, enhanced operator benefits, increased productivity, and flexibility for specific applications?
  2. What differentiates the vendor’s GC system from others offered, in terms of performance?
  3. How do you validate the specification claims presented by the vendor?
  4. Has the data processing software been designed for enhanced analytics, with workflow in mind and does it support critical compliance requirements?
  5. What are important price points to keep in mind when selecting a GC system?
  6. Laboratories need fast and effective services, including an effective distribution of instruments, spare parts, education, and service personnel. How does the company serve these needs worldwide?

Types of GC detectors used by survey respondents:

Flame ionization (FID) 67%
Mass spectrometer 58%
Thermal conductivity (TCD) 34%
Electron capture (ECD) 29%
Nitrogen-phosphorus 10%
Photo-ionization (PID) 10%
Flame photometric (FPD) 6%
Other 6%

GC-related components used by survey respondents:

Autosampler 77%
Regulators, valves, fittings 71%
Data system 70%
Gas generator 32%
Headspace sampler 32%
Purge & trap 30%
Other 1%

50% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new gas chromatography system. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Replacement of an aging system
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity
Setting up a new lab
First time purchase

Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing a GC system:

Accuracy 90%
Quality of data 86%
Ruggedness and reliability 76%
Resolution 70%
Ease of maintenance 66%
Sensitivity 66%
Precise and accurate flow rates 64%
Safety 63%
Price 58%
Service and support 57%

For more information on GC systems, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See the most recent survey results