The ocean covers approximately 70% of the earth's surface and contains an immense source of renewable energy, in terms of ocean waves. However, this resource is unevenly distributed throughout the world, and so, therefore, converting waves into a useful form of energy will require the identification of potential Wave Energy Farm (WEF) locations. This should be undertaken in tandem with selecting an appropriate Wave Energy Converter (WEC), as the characteristics of these devices are critical in capturing the available wave power. Therefore, this paper describes a three-stage systematic approach that was developed and implemented in order to select the most suitable WEC(s) for marine areas identified as optimal for WEFs. As this sector is evolving rapidly, the first stage identified all WECs currently in development and proposed classifying these devices in a practical and meaningful manner. The second stage developed a procedure for identifying generic WEF locations by integrating the multiple dimensions of sustainable development and the technical limitations of the sector, within a geographic information systems framework. Lastly, the third stage incorporates the results from the previous two stages. The devices considered for further analysis were reduced based on commercial viability, whilst the available power was quantified and characterised at each of the optimal WEF sites. Thereafter, appropriate techno-economic performance indicators were identified to rank and determine the optimal device for a specific location.