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FAQs - NIST Handbooks

The NIST Handbooks are documentary standards that are developed via a consensus standards development process that involves all stakeholders. The NIST Handbooks are considered a Technical Report Series of “recommended codes of engineering and industrial practice (including safety codes) developed in cooperation with interested industries, professional organizations, and regulatory bodies”.

OWM publishes and maintains all electronic versions of our publications and documentary standards via the OWM Publications and Documentary Standards page. You may also access the documents directly via the NIST Handbooks page here.

OWM will provide a printed copy of select NIST Handbooks (44, 130, and 133) free of charge but is  subject to availability. You may request a copy at OWM [at]

Many of the previous editions of the NIST Handbooks are provided as electronic copies (generally as *.pdf) on the NIST Handbooks page.

The most accessed and/or requested NIST Handbooks and other documentary standards are highlighted via the OWM Publications and Documentary Standards page. The current editions of each document are posted here.

These three NIST Handbooks are a series of documentary standards that serve as “model” laws, regulations, and procedures to be adopted as legal requirements by federal, state, and local regulatory agencies. They are used to regulate and ensure equity for consumers and sellers in commercial transactions based on weight and measure.

NIST OWM and the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) share the mutual goal and responsibility of developing the standards in these NIST Handbooks (44, 130, and 133). Learn more about these roles here.

Specific only to NIST Handbooks 44, 130 and 133, new standards are proposed to the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) and developed via a committee-based consensus process involving NCWM members with technical advice from NIST OWM.

Learn more about this process here.

In general, the NIST Handbooks 44, 130 and 133 are updated annually.

NIST Handbook 143 is currently undergoing a revision to reflect changes in the State Weights and Measures Laboratories Program, and a new edition will be released in 2023. 

The NIST Handbook 105 series are updated after any significant technical change in specifications and tolerances are made related to a specific technical sector.

Created June 28, 2023