The influence of swirl on combustion in diesel and spark ignition engines is reviewed briefly, and this leads to a resumé of the swirl measuring techniques. The numerous ways of analysing swirl data are summarised and the relations between the different swirl parameters are presented.Experimental results are presented from a diesel engine in which the flow has been measured by a hot wire anemometer, a paddle wheel and a swirl torquemeter. The performance of the different measurement techniques is compared. Further results are presented (from a spark ignition engine) which illustrate the influence of the inlet port, manifold and entry conditions on the swirl measurements. Integration techniques are reviewed for producing a single swirl parameter to characterise the combined performance of the inlet port, valve and camshaft. Finally, the difficulty in standardising measurements of barrel swirl are discussed.