An overview of the typical in-vitro test methods used to characterize the performance of Nitinol stents is presented. Characterization requires a consistent definition and understanding of radial force as well as a consideration of the sensitivity of the various methods to friction, fixture compliance, material uncertainty and other experimental factors. These sensitivities are demonstrated using finite element analysis and in vitro experimentation. The results help guide the development of better experimental methodologies and interpretation of performance parameters such as radial force. Finally, we conclude with discussions on establishing a rigorous, self-consistent approach to Nitinol component design and testing.