Abstract Various adsorbents as well as toxicants have been investigated regarding the adsorption behaviors and mechanisms. However, most of these reports were based on batch test. The discrepancy in adsorption behaviors between batch test and column test has been recognized recently. This study was to investigate the sorption behavior of Cd(II) in a novel adsorbent made from Reed char. Batch adsorption test and column leaching test were both conducted. Various influence factors including confining pressure, pH, velocity, concentration and ionic strength were studied. The velocity was found to have negligible effect on the breakthrough of Cd(II). The adsorption affinity was observed for the first time to decrease from a high value ( R d = 130.00) to a negligible one ( R d = 1.20) with increasing confining pressure from 0 to 100.00 kPa. The breakthrough of acid Cd(II) solution was earlier for solutions with less pH and higher ionic strength. The Cd(II) laden adsorbent was reclaimed by flushing chelants through the column. The recycled adsorbent appeared to be applicable in the following adsorption treatment. Suggestions were provided regarding the potential engineering applications.