The high number of design options and prototyping activity within the wave energy sector indicates that it is in a conceptual stage of development. It therefore inappropriate to narrow the design focus and an effort should be made to explore the parameter space to ensure every potential winner has been covered. To this end, this paper proposes a value-driven process, whereby the widest possible parameter space is evaluated based upon the requirements of wave energy extraction. In this preliminary study a model is used to calculate financial merit as a proxy for design value. Nine parameters are considered and a ranking is provided for each combination based upon the designs ability to return a profit. Limits are implemented based upon a designs ‘achievability’, a measure of how far the parameter combination is from current technical reality. The study finds that a profit is only likely to be returned on investment if the limits of current technology are reached and if devices are placed at sites with favourable characteristics. For example the only combinations to return a profit have a PTO efficiency beyond most existing wave energy technology and a consistent maintenance free life. The results of this study will to lead to a decision making tool which ranks and identifies value-enhancing design options for wave energy devices.