Quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D) was applied to investigate the adsorption characteristics of polyacrylamide-based polymers (PAMs) on anisotropic basal planes of kaolinite. Kaolinite basal planes were differentiated by depositing kaolinite nanoparticles (KNPs) on silica and alumina sensors in solutions of controlled pH values. Adsorption of an in-house synthesized organic-inorganic Al(OH)3-PAM (Al-PAM) as an example of cationic hybrid PAM and a commercially available partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (MF1011) as an example of anionic PAM was studied. Cationic Al-PAM was found to adsorb irreversibly and preferentially on tetrahedral silica basal planes of kaolinite. In contrast, anionic MF1011 adsorbed strongly on aluminum-hydroxy basal planes, while its adsorption on tetrahedral silica basal planes was weak and reversible. Adsorption study revealed that both electrostatic attraction and hydrogen-bonding mechanisms contribute to adsorption of PAMs on kaolinite. The adsorbed Al-PAM layer was able to release trapped water overtime and became more compact, while MF1011 film became more dissipative as backbones stretched out from kaolinite surface with minimal overlapping. Experimental results obtained from this study provide clear insights into the phenomenon that governs flocculation-based solid-liquid separation processes using multicomponent flocculants of anionic and cationic nature.