RNA reactions being pipetted into multiple 8-strip PCR tubes

Multiple extraction methods for total RNA isolation

Thermo Scientific offers a wide portfolio of extraction kits and products for total RNA. Some research studies require the capture of transfer RNA (tRNA), ribosomal RNA (rRNA), micro RNA (miRNA or microRNA), and messenger RNA (mRNA), and our kits are designed to isolate broader RNA—not just mRNA.

View selection guide Learn about mRNA kits

What is total RNA?

Preparation of total RNA isolates all the RNA in a cell including transfer RNA (tRNA), ribosomal RNA (rRNA), messenger RNA (mRNA), and micro RNA (miRNA or microRNA). Starting with high-quality, pure, and intact total RNA is critical to many experiments (e.g., RT-PCR, qRT-PCR, array analysis, northern blots, nuclease protection assays, and RNA-seq).

Choosing the RNA isolation kit that best fits your research workflow starts with what purification method you want to use on your samples. Common methods include organic reagent lysis, magnetic bead separation, and silica column filtration.

Comparing total RNA purification kits

Serving the need to isolate total RNA from a variety of sample types and to different purity levels, there are several Invitrogen total RNA extraction kit options. Different purification methods vary for sample type, as well as the types of downstream experiments in which the total RNA will be used.

Organic total RNA extraction and purification kits

Organic solvents for RNA extraction offer proven performance (used in thousands of peer-reviewed studies), a simple method requiring no extra devices, and good value for the laboratory. 

TRIzol reagents are monophasic solutions containing phenol and guanidine thiocyanate that offer:

  • Broadest sample type compatibility
  • Robust method
  • Excellent performance for difficult samples (e.g., high-lipid tissue) and scalable sample input

Explore TRIzol reagents

RiboPure kits are designed for rapid purification of high-quality RNA from tissue samples or cultured cells. The kit combines TRIzol reagent with glass-fiber filter purification to yield pure RNA, free of residual proteins and lipids.

  • Ideal for the most stringent downstream applications
  • Handles problematic samples with ease—also available for yeast cells and human and mouse blood cells
  • Fast and easy procedure

Learn more about RiboPure RNA purification kits

Magnetic bead RNA purification kits

Magnetic particles offer solution-phase binding and washing kinetics to facilitate RNA purification and improved sample handling, including automation, ideal for higher throughput processing. 

MagMAX mirVana Total RNA Isolation Kit utilizes magnetic beads to purify high yields of total RNA using silica-magnetic particle technology. MagMAX magnetic bead kits offer:

  • Flexible and scalable throughput
  • Automation-friendly design
  • Better removal of inhibitors and low elution volume resulting in more concentrated RNA

Explore MagMAX magnetic beads


Silica column RNA purification kits

Silica membrane filter columns allow fast and easy RNA extraction resulting in pure total RNA that can be used in most applications. Silica columns employ an easy bind-wash-elute process for the extraction of RNA that is cost-efficient.

Invitrogen PureLink purification columns offer:

  • A fast and easy method suitable for most downstream uses
  • Wide sample type compatibility
  • Familiar spin column format commonly used for low-medium throughput

Learn about PureLink purification columns

Selection guide: which total RNA purification kit meets your needs?

Best forGold standard for highly pure, intact RNAHigh-quality RNA in less than 30 minutesHigh-quality RNA in less than 20 minutesHigh-throughput purification of RNA and DNANo-purification system for qPCR results
ProductTRIzol reagentsRiboPure kitsPureLink kitsMagMAX kitsCells to CT
Isolation methodOrganic extractionOrganic extraction and silica columnSilica columnMagnetic beadsChemical lysis and enzymes
Prep time~1 hr

<30 minutes

20 minutes~45 minutes10 minutes
Compatible sample typesMost sample types, particularly more difficult to lyseTissues, cells, blood, bacteria, yeastCells and tissuesTissues, cells, blood, serum/plasma, urine, plantsCells
Amount of starting material100 mg of tissue or 107 cells (requires 1 mL reagent)5–100 mg of tissue or 0.1–20 x 106 cultured cellsUp to 200 mg tissue or 5 x 106 to 1 x 10cellsUp to 100 mg tissue or 5 x 106 cells1–100,000 cells
Reverse transcription reagents included    ✓ 
qPCR master mix included    
High throughput compatible 
(plate format available)
  • Protocol Videos—Videos to help you isolate nucleic acids using a variety of techniques.
  • DNA & RNA Selection Guide—Find the right purification products.
  • Videos—View our library of DNA & RNA purification and analysis videos.
  • Application Notes—Explore our application notes from scientists sharing data for isolation products

For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.