Random packing advantages include high cost-effectiveness. The benefits of structured packing come at a price. If high capacity and efficiency are lower priorities but cost is a restricting factor, random packing offers quality performance at a much lower price. Figures from the EPA show that the cost for random packing can vary from as low as $6 per cubic foot for polypropylene material to over $100 per cubic foot for some types of stainless steel rings. Structured packing material costs vary over a much wider and higher range. Structured packing costs can range from $45 per cubic foot to over $400 per cubic foot.
Conversely, use structured packing in applications that require high capacity and efficiency. When high capacity is a necessity, the intricate internal structure of structured packing allows for a high surface area that translates into extremely high capacity. Similarly, the smooth honeycombed form of structured packing offers minimal impediment to the liquid, which leads to higher efficiency.
Also, structured packing can be used in situations where low pressure drop is required since structured packings offer lower pressure drop than random packaging.