An increasing number of experiments are being conducted to study the design and performance of wave energy converters. Often in these tests, a real-time realization of prospective control algorithms is applied in order to assess and optimize energy absorption as well as other factors. This paper details the design and execution of an experiment for evaluating the capability of a model-scale WEC to execute basic control algorithms. Model-scale hardware, system, and experimental design are considered, with a focus on providing an experimental setup capable of meeting the dynamic requirements of a control system. To more efficiently execute such tests, a dry bench testing method is proposed and utilized to allow for controller tuning and to give an initial assessment of controller performance; this is followed by wave tank testing. The trends from the dry bench test and wave tank test results show good agreement with theory and confirm the ability of a relatively simple feedback controller to substantially improve energy absorption. Additionally, the dry bench testing approach is shown to be an effective and efficient means of designing and testing both controllers and actuator systems for wave energy converters.