With interest in microneedles as a novel drug transdermal delivery system increasing rapidly since the late 1990s (Margetts and Sawyer Contin Educ Anaesthesia Crit Care Pain. 7(5):171-76, 2007), a diverse range of microneedle systems have been fabricated with varying designs and dimensions. However, there are still very few commercially available microneedle products. One major issue regarding microneedle manufacture on an industrial scale is the lack of specific quality standards for this novel dosage form in the context of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). A range of mechanical characterisation tests and microneedle insertion analysis techniques are used by researchers working on microneedle systems to assess the safety and performance profiles of their various designs. The lack of standardised tests and equipment used to demonstrate microneedle mechanical properties and insertion capability makes it difficult to directly compare the in use performance of candidate systems. This review highlights the mechanical tests and insertion analytical techniques used by various groups to characterise microneedles. This in turn exposes the urgent need for consistency across the range of microneedle systems in order to promote innovation and the successful commercialisation of microneedle products.