One of the key diagnostics techniques for the full characterization of beam parameters for LINAC-based FELs is the use of RF deflectors. With these devices it is possible to completely characterize both the longitudinal and the transverse phase space. In the paper we illustrate the main design considerations for time resolved (sliced) beam parameter measurements using RF deflectors (RFDs). Measurement setups for longitudinal pulse shape as well as phase space and transverse beam slice emittance characterizations are described. The main sources of error are discussed and the design criteria of these devices are presented. In particular the SPARC RF deflector and the related diagnostic lines as well as recent measurement results are shown. Measurement results obtained at LCLS and FLASH are then shortly illustrated.
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