A pressure reducing valve (PRV) regulates the outlet pressure regardless of the fluctuating flow and varying inlet pressure, thereby reducing leakage and mitigating the stress on the downstream water distribution network (WDN). Notwithstanding the crucial importance of PRVs, few experimental data are available in the literature. The aim of this paper is to overcome this gap by means of the results of a large number of tests carried out at the Water Engineering Laboratory of the University of Perugia, Italy. These tests have been executed on a standard type of PRV in steady-state conditions, to characterize it, and in unsteady-state conditions, to check its transient response. A broad range of laboratory conditions simulating possible events in WDNs has been examined and both short and long duration monitoring have been carried out. The analysis of the tests demonstrates the versatility of PRVs as a powerful tool for pressure management, and also when the flow condition changes according to the users' demand pattern. In fact, their transient response is appropriate with small pressure oscillations generated by the PRV self-adjustment. Moreover, proper PRV modelling has to include both its mechanical behaviour and the characteristics of the pressure pipe system in which it is installed.