Mass spectrometry (MS) has longstanding applications in radiochemistry laboratories, stemming from carbon-dating. However, research on the development of radiotracers for molecular imaging with either positron emission tomography (PET) or single photon emission computed tomography has yet to take full advantage of MS. This inertia has been attributed to the relatively low concentrations of radiopharmaceutical formulations and lack of access to the required MS equipment due to the high costs for purchase and maintenance of specialized MS systems. To date, single quadrupole (SQ)-MS coupled to liquid chromatography (LC) systems is the main form of MS that has been used in radiochemistry laboratories. These LC–MS systems are primarily used for assessing the chemical purity of radiolabeling precursor or standard molecules but also have applications in the determination of metabolites. Herein, we highlight personal experiences using a compact SQ-MS in our PET radiochemistry laboratories, to monitor the small amounts of carrier observed in most radiotracer preparations, even at high molar activities. The use of a SQ-MS in the observation of the low mass associated with non-radioactive species which are formed along with the radiotracer from the trace amounts of carrier found is demonstrated. Herein, we describe a pre-concentration system to detect dilute radiopharmaceutical formulations and metabolite analyses by SQ-MS. Selected examples where SQ-MS was critical for optimization of radiochemical reactions and for unequivocal characterization of radiotracers are showcased. We also illustrate examples where SQ-MS can be applied in identification of radiometal complexes and development of a new purification methodology for Pd-catalyzed radiofluorination reactions, shedding light on the identity of metal complexes present in the labelling solution.