The Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory's (NCL) unique set-up has allowed our lab to handle and test a variety of nanoparticle platforms intended for the delivery of cancer therapeutics and/or imaging contrast agents. Over the last six years, the NCL has characterized more than 250 different nanomaterials from more than 75 different investigators. These submitted nanomaterials stem from a range of backgrounds and experiences, including government, academia and industry. This has given the NCL a unique and valuable opportunity to observe trends in nanoparticle safety and biocompatibility, as well as note some of the common mistakes and oversights of nanoformulation. While not exhaustive, this article aims to share some of the most common pitfalls observed by the NCL as they relate to nanoparticle synthesis, purification, characterization and analysis.