Characterizing the physical and structural properties of metal powders for use in near-net shape manufacturing processes is important for assessing their suitability for a particular process route or end use application. Key characteristics include particle size distribution, particle shape, surface condition and microstructure, which impact powder properties such as packing, flowability, compressibility and sintering behavior. By better understanding the relationship between particle characteristics, bulk powder properties and process factors in relation to final product performance, it should be possible to develop a more robust and optimal set of design and manufacturing rules to give the required part consistency and quality.