Paper deals with examinations of properties of shape memory alloy actuators. Authors describe design of own laboratory stand for obtaining electro-thermo-mechanical characteristics of SMA wires (maximum length 900 mm). The stand allows for semi-automatic measurements of voltage and current (supplying the actuator), temperature of wire and its extension. Data acquisition and control signals are realized by PC computer. All elements of the measuring system are connected by GPIB network (IEEE 488.2 standard). Control program for static measurements was written in G language (LabVIEW environment). Temperature is measured using infrared camera Flir A325. Displacement measurement system contains optical sensor (converting piston movement into series of pulses), pulses counter, PWM signal generator (PWM signal fulfillment is proportional to number of pulses), lowpass filter and buffer conditioning external signal. For dynamic measurements data recording is performed using digital oscilloscope Tektronix MSO 2024 equipped with four separated channels and digital filter. Wide range of examinations of several SMA wires allowed for drawing its exploitative characteristic helpful for practical use. It shows length change of actuator as a function of mechanical load (Fig. 10). Finally some example static as well as dynamic characteristics are presented and short discussion is carried out.