We present the design of Stokes and Mueller polarimeters based on ferroelectric liquid crystal (FLC) panels. The instrument is complete and takes time-sequential measurements. A FLC device is modeled as a uniaxial birefringentwaveplate with two stable optical axis orientations switchable by a squared electrical signal. The optical parameters of theLC device (retardance and the two stable orientations of the fast axis) are calibrated. Then the orientations of the optical elements of the setup are optimized in order to minimize the propagation of the noise.We also provide a tolerance study to achieve2%accuracy for the Stokes vector and Mueller matrix metrology. These analyses are conducted as a function of the incident state of polarization and of the Mueller matrix to be measured, respectively. The optimized system is implemented and calibrated in the laboratory.We evaluate its repeatability over 24 h of operation, and the dependence with the temperature is discussed. In addition, we include a study related to the speed of taking the measurements. Finally, we provide some experimental measurements of different Stokes vectors and Mueller matrices, validating the proposed prototypes. © 2013 Optical Society of America.