When comparing absorbed dose standards from different laboratories (e.g. National Measurement Institutes, NMIs, for Key or Supplementary comparisons) it is rarely possible to carry out a direct comparison of primary standard instruments, and therefore some form of transfer detector is required. Historically, air-filled, unsealed ionization chambers have been used because of the long history of using these instruments, very good stability over many years, and ease of transport. However, the use of ion chambers for therapy-level comparisons is not without its problems. Findings from recent investigations suggest that ion chambers are prone to non-random variations, they are not completely robust to standard courier practices, and failure at any step in a comparison can render all measurements potentially useless. An alternative approach is to identify a transfer system that is insensitive to some of these concerns—effectively a dosimeter that is inexpensive, simple to use, robust, but with sufficient precision and of a size relevant to the disseminated quantity in question. The alanine dosimetry system has been successfully used in a number of situations as an audit dosimeter and therefore the purpose of this investigation was to determine whether alanine could also be used as the transfer detector for dosimetric comparisons, which require a lower value for the measurement uncertainty. A measurement protocol was developed for comparing primary standards of absorbed dose to water in high-energy electron beams using alanine pellets irradiated in a water-equivalent plastic phantom. A trial comparison has been carried out between three NMIs and has indicated that alanine is a suitable alternative to ion chambers, with the system used achieving a precision of 0.1%. Although the focus of the evaluation was on the performance of the dosimeter, the comparison results are encouraging, showing agreement at the level of the combined uncertainties (~0.6%). Based on this investigation, a large-scale comparison of primary standards for high-energy electron beams is currently being developed under the auspices of the BIPM.