Magnetic solids are widely used in detection and analytical systems because of the performance advantages they offer compared to similar solids that lack magnetic properties. These solids can be used to pre-concentrate analytes and for the magnetic separation and molecular identification of biomolecules, and organic and inorganic species. Magnetic solid separation techniques also offer benefits over centrifugation, filtration, and solid-phase extraction. In this review, we describe the synthesis, characterization and applications of a series of solids including silica supports, carbon nanotubes, alumina, organic polymers and other materials, mostly containing magnetite or paramagnetic metals. Also addressed are the future perspectives of magnetic solid applications.