What are HPLC Guard Columns and Guard Cartridges?

HPLC guard columns and guard cartridges protect analytical, semi-prep and preparative HPLC columns. They help by removing particulate contaminants and highly absorptive compounds from samples, prolonging column life.

Ideally, guard columns should contain the same stationary phase as the analytical column. Guard column internal IDs should also be similar to the main column to mitigate any back-pressure. Smaller is typically better, but they should be large enough to effectively prevent strongly retained compounds from negatively affecting the primary column. Cartridge-type guard columns are also an easy and cost-effective alternative to refillable guard columns.

Hplc Guard Column Family Closeup Img 5481

Understand HPLC Guard Column vs. HPLC Guard Cartridge Hardware Design

There are two basic hardware designs: column style, and cartridge style.

Guard Column style

The guard column style is just like its description, a mini column. It looks just like an HPLC column, only much shorter and packed with a larger resin particle size. The larger resin particle size does the job of trapping particulates in the sample and mobile phase without negatively affecting chromatography nor adding any significant back pressure to the system. The guard column housing is 316 stainless steel.


  • Analytical: 114 µL
  • Prep: 548 µL

Guard Cartridge style

This design is modular for both stainless steel and PEEK housings and cartridge replacement is easy and tool-free. The cartridge style kit comes with a holder and replaceable cartridges, with additional replacement cartridges available for purchase. The cartridge holder is optimized to reduce dead volume and prevent extra column band broadening. Cartridge holders are reusable.


  • Analytical (PEEK): 57 µL
  • Analytical (ss): 80 µL
  • Prep (ss): 321 µL

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