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Do You Really Know How Much Does An HPLC System Cost ?

How much does a HPLC System

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As someone who’s been working in the field of analytical chemistry for years, I’ve had my fair share of experiences with High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) systems. The versatility and precision of these systems have made them an integral part of many industries, from pharmaceuticals and food processing to environmental testing and forensics.

HPLC systems are critical to the work we do, allowing us to separate, identify, and quantify each component in a mixture. However, their efficiency and efficacy come at a price. In this article, we’ll dissect the cost of an HPLC system, giving you a clearer picture of what you’re paying for and why.

1. Understanding the Components of an HPLC System and Their Cost

Before we delve into the cost of an HPLC system, let’s break down its components. The primary parts of an HPLC system include the pump, auto-sampler, column oven, detector, and, of course, the column itself. Each of these elements plays a crucial role in the functionality of the system and adds to the overall cost.

Pump System

The pump is the heart of the HPLC system. Its job is to maintain a continuous and precise flow of the mobile phase through the column. Depending on whether it’s a binary, quaternary, isocratic, or preparative pump, the cost can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands.


The auto-sampler introduces the sample into the system. It must do so accurately and precisely to ensure reproducible results. This component can range from a few thousand dollars to around $10,000 depending on the model and its functionalities.

Column Oven/Compartment

The column oven or compartment maintains the temperature of the column during the chromatographic process. Its price can range from $2,000 to $5,000. This cost varies depending on whether it’s a basic oven or has advanced features such as programmable temperature gradients.


The detector records the signal of the separated components as they elute from the column. The cost of detectors can widely range from $5,000 to $20,000 or more, depending on the type and sensitivity.

HPLC Column and Guard Column Cartridge

The column is arguably the most important component of the HPLC system. It’s where the actual separation of the sample components occurs. Its price varies based on the type of the stationary phase, column dimensions, and brand. A common additional equipment to HPLC column is a guard column or guard cartridge. The guard column protects the analytical column from potential damage from the sample or the mobile phase, thus prolonging its lifespan. A guard column cartridge typically costs between $100-$500, which is a valuable investment considering it protects the more expensive analytical column.

In the next sections, we’ll explore the additional costs related to guard columns and cartridges, operational costs, and present a few case studies to provide a realistic picture of HPLC system costs.

2. Additional Equipment: Guard Columns and Cartridges

When I first started using HPLC systems, I quickly realized that one of the best ways to protect my investment was through the use of guard columns and cartridges. These relatively small and inexpensive additions to the HPLC setup can greatly extend the life of the main HPLC column, leading to significant savings over time.

What Are Guard Columns and Cartridges?

In essence, a guard column cartridge is a smaller version of an HPLC column that is attached to the front of the main analytical column. Its primary role is to protect the analytical column from potential damage due to contaminants in the sample or harsh mobile phase conditions.

Benefits and Cost Considerations

The main advantage of using a guard column is that it’s easier and cheaper to replace if it gets clogged or damaged, thus protecting the more expensive analytical column. Prices for guard column cartridges, such as those from Phenomenex or Agilent, can range between $100 and $500, depending on the cartridge material and size.

Investing in a guard column may seem like an unnecessary expense at first, but in my experience, the savings gained from extending the lifespan of the main column makes it well worth the cost.

3. Case Studies: Real-World Costs of HPLC Systems

To provide a realistic picture of the costs involved in purchasing and maintaining an HPLC system, let’s take a look at two case studies from my personal experience and from my colleagues in the field.

Case Study 1: Initial Setup for a Small Lab

For a small lab that’s just starting, a basic HPLC system with an isocratic pump, a manual sampler, UV detector, column oven, and a C18 column can cost around $20,000 to $25,000. Including some guard column cartridges and an Agilent guard column holder to protect the main column, the total cost can come close to $30,000.

Case Study 2: Upgrading an Existing System in a Large Lab

In a more extensive setup for a large lab needing to upgrade an existing HPLC system, the costs can escalate. For instance, a system with a binary pump, an autosampler, a diode array detector, a column oven, and a couple of high-quality analytical columns can easily reach $50,000. Adding guard columns and other maintenance supplies could raise the total cost to around $55,000 to $60,000.

While these figures might seem daunting, it’s important to remember that an HPLC system is a long-term investment. With proper care, maintenance, and the addition of guard columns to protect the more expensive main columns, an HPLC system can serve reliably for many years, making

4. Top10 and Popular HPLC System

Here, we List some top quality HPLC System, Hope It will be Help for Your HPLC System Option.

1. Agilent 1290 Infinity II LC:

Agilent is a well-respected name in the HPLC world. The 1290 Infinity II is a high-end, ultra-high performance liquid chromatography system (UHPLC). It offers superior flexibility and excellent performance, including fast, efficient separations. Approximate price: $60,000 – $100,000.

2.Shimadzu Nexera X2

Shimadzu’s Nexera X2 is a UHPLC system that provides high-speed, high-resolution analysis. It has a reputation for robustness and reliability. Approximate price: $50,000 – $80,000.

3.Thermo Fisher Scientific Vanquish

The Vanquish UHPLC system delivers excellent performance with the ability to handle a wide range of sample types. It’s known for its high throughput and sensitivity. Approximate price: $60,000 – $90,000.

4.Waters Acquity UPLC H-Class

The Waters Acquity UPLC H-Class system is designed to provide high resolution and high speed for complex sample analyses. It’s versatile and reliable. Approximate price: $50,000 – $80,000.

5.Agilent 1260 Infinity II LC

A more budget-friendly option from Agilent, the 1260 Infinity II still offers good performance and is a reliable choice for many labs. Approximate price: $30,000 – $50,000.

6. Shimadzu Prominence

The Shimadzu Prominence is a reliable HPLC system with a good performance to price ratio. It’s a solid choice for routine analysis. Approximate price: $20,000 – $40,000.

7. PerkinElmer Flexar LC

The Flexar LC is designed for high-throughput labs and offers a good balance between performance and price. Approximate price: $20,000 – $40,000.

8. Thermo Fisher Scientific Ultimate 3000

The Ultimate 3000 is a versatile system that can handle a wide range of applications. It’s a good choice for labs needing flexibility. Approximate price: $30,000 – $60,000.

9. Bio-Rad NGC Medium-Pressure Chromatography Systems

Bio-Rad’s NGC is a modular system designed specifically for medium-pressure chromatography. It’s a good choice for protein purification applications. Approximate price: $15,000 – $30,000.

10. Hitachi Chromaster

The Hitachi Chromaster is a reliable, high-quality HPLC system. It’s easy to use and is known for its robustness and reliability. Approximate price: $20,000 – $40,000.

Just Please Note, these are approximate prices and can vary greatly based on options, accessories, and discounts available from the manufacturer or dealer. Always get a formal quote when planning your purchase.

5. Maintenance and Upkeep: Ongoing Costs of an HPLC System

When you’re considering the price of an HPLC system, it’s crucial to look beyond the initial purchase cost. There are ongoing costs associated with maintaining your system, and these can add up over time.

Regular Replacement of Consumables

The most frequent costs you’ll encounter are the regular replacement of consumables. This includes guard column cartridges, vials, septa, and tubing. For a busy lab, these costs can run into several thousand dollars per year.

Column Replacement and Maintenance

Even with the use of guard columns to protect your main HPLC column, it will still eventually wear out and require replacement. Depending on the specifics of your system and the type of analyses you’re running, this could be as often as once per year, or as infrequently as once every several years.

Preventive Maintenance and Repairs

Most manufacturers recommend periodic preventive maintenance on their HPLC systems. This usually includes tasks like replacing seals and pistons in the pumps and servicing the detector and autosampler. The costs for this can vary widely, but expect to spend a few thousand dollars per year.

6. Conclusion: Understanding the Total Cost of an HPLC System

If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this article, it’s that the cost of an HPLC system is more than just the price of the machine itself. When planning your lab budget, you’ll also need to account for the cost of additional equipment like a guard column and cartridges, regular maintenance, and the replacement of consumables.

Though an HPLC system might be a significant investment, it’s a powerful tool that can provide your lab with accurate, reliable results for many years. With proper care, maintenance, and a bit of foresight, it can offer an excellent return on your investment.

If you’re interested in learning more about HPLC systems or need assistance in deciding the best setup for your lab, please feel free to get in touch with us at sales@uhplcs.com. Our knowledgeable team is ready and willing to help you make the most informed decision possible.

About uHPLCs

UHPLCs is a leading manufacturer of HPLC columns and consumables for liquid chromatography. The company offers a wide range of products, including empty HPLC columns, solvent filters, guard columns, inline HPLC columns, and PEEK consumables. uHPLCs’ products are used in a variety of applications, including pharmaceutical, biotechnology, environmental, and food safety analysis.

UHPLCs is committed to providing high-quality products and services to its customers. The company has a strong team of engineers and scientists who are dedicated to developing innovative products and solutions. uHPLCs also has a global network of distributors and sales representatives who can provide support to customers around the world.

If you are looking for a reliable supplier of HPLC columns and consumables, uHPLCs is the perfect choice. The company’s products are of the highest quality and its services are unmatched in the industry.

HPLC System Connect Diagram by uHPLCs



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