Hyaluronan (HA) is a glycosaminoglycan found in the extracellular matrix and ranges from several thousand to millions of daltons in size. HA has importance in various pathological conditions and is known to be elevated in several diseases. Three commonly used, commercially available HA enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)-like assays (from Corgenix, Echelon and R&D) were compared on the basis of accuracy, sample variability and ability to measure a range of HA sizes. The Corgenix HA ELISA-like assay displayed the lowest intra-assay variability [coefficient of variation (CV) = 11.7 +/- 3.6%], followed by R&D (CV = 12.3 +/- 4.6%) and Echelon (CV = 18.9 +/- 9.2%). Interassay variability was also lowest for the Corgenix assay (CV = 6.0%), intermediate for the Echelon assay (9.5%) and highest for the R&D assay (CV = 34.1%). The high interassay variability seen for the R&D assay may have been due to the effect of dilution, since the dilution-independent interassay variability was 15.5%. The concentration of the standard HA was overestimated by the Echelon assay by 85% and underestimated by the R&D and Corgenix assays by 34 and 32%, respectively. The Echelon HA ELISA-like assay was the most effective at measuring all sizes of HA tested (2 MDa and 132, 66 and 6.4 kDa), whereas the Corgenix and R&D assays were unable to detect 6.4 kDa HA. These findings suggest that the Echelon HA ELISA-like assay is better suited for size-sensitive HA measurements but has a relatively high variability. The Corgenix and R&D HA ELISA-like assays have low variability and high accuracy but are not suitable for detecting low-molecular-weight HA.