||One of the exciting future directions in the 3D printing field is the development of innovative personalized smart constructions for bio-applications, including drug delivery, namely high-throughput drug screening and customized topical/oral administration of pharmaceuticals, as well as tissue engineering. In this context, hydrogels have emerged as a promising material that, when combined with extrusion 3D printing, allow the creation of soft-material structures with defined spatial locations, that can be printed at room temperature and customized by tuning the geometric design and/or the formulation components. Thus, the efficacy and quality of such vehicles is dependent on formulation, design, and printing process parameters. However, hydrogel inks are often designed and characterized using different methods and this lack of uniformity impairs. Characterization techniques are usually arbitrary and differ among research groups, challenging the inference of possible con-clusions on hydrogel behaviour and potential applications. Therefore, to properly analyse the potential of a particular hydrogel ink formulation, we review, for the first time, the most frequently employed characterization procedures, from rheological approaches to printing parameters and settings, and discuss their relevance, lim-itations and drawbacks, and highlight future perspectives. Overall, to accelerate the development of high-quality 3D constructs, comprehensive characterization protocols for both pre-printing and printing assays should be adopted. Furthermore, their transversal adoption could serve as a boost in terms of quality requirements and regulatory aspects.