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2016 Chromatography Columns Survey Results

Find out which separation modes are most popular, and more in the results of our 2016 survey

by Lab Manager

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 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 endcapped, 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:

Reverse phase 60%
Normal phase 49%
Ion exchange 34%
Ion chromatography 28%
Affinity 20%
Chiral 17%
Gel filtration (GFC) 15%
Gel permeation (GPC) 11%
Hydrophilic interaction (HILIC) 8%
Ion exclusion 8%
Other 8%

Column phases used by survey respondents:

C18 61%
Anion exchange 35%
C18 (polar endcapped) 30%
Silica 31%
Cation exchange 26%
Amino 22%
Phenyl 22%
C8 20%
Biphenyl 13%
Cyano 10%
C4 9%
PFP 6%
Other 6%

Nearly 64% of respondents are engaged in purchasing new chromatography columns. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

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

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

Technical performance 83%
Lot to lot reproducibility 75%
Ruggedness / durability 67%
Initial purchase price of column 45%
Applications support 37%
Reputation of column manufacturer 35%
Method variation / compliance support 34%
Column discount program 29%
Available applications literature 25%
Specials and promotions 21%

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

See the most recent survey results here