Two methods using commercial kits for high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol quantitation were compared with the Lipid Research Clinics (LRC) procedures. HDL cholesterol quantitations on 50 patient specimens by the Lancer HDL cholesterol Rapid Stat Kit (Lancer) with phosphotungstate-Mg2+ precipitation and enzymic cholesterol assay averaged 424 mg/L, and by a method with dextran sulfate-Mn2+-polyethylene glycol (dextran sulfate) precipitation and enzymic cholesterol assay averaged 474 mg/L. By comparison, the LRC method (heparin-Mn2+ precipitation combined with a Liebermann-Burchard reagent cholesterol assay) averaged 478 mg/L. Supernates obtained by the three precipitation methods had similar cholesterol values when analyzed by the LRC assay, suggesting that the observed differences were primarily due to differences between the cholesterol assays. Results were consistent with underestimation by the enzymic assay of cholesterol in the supernates, offset by a positive interference of Mn2+ in the dextran sulfate-produced supernates. Among-day CVs of 4-5% were observed for the Lancer method, and 6-7% for the dextran sulfate method. Sedimentation of precipitates in hypertriglyceridemic specimens was excellent by both methods.