Retained austenite may be helpful or detrimental to the life of heat-treated components, but it can be difficult to accurately measure in manufactured steels. Commonly used visual sample investigations are subjective and often incorrect, magnetic measurements require part-specific calibration, and electron backscattering involves expensive equipment, intensive sample preparation, and long measurement times. Recent developments in X-ray diffractometry, however, provide measurements in minutes and can compensate for the influence of carbides in high-carbon steels as well as texture orientations in rolled sheet metals. This paper discusses the use of X-ray diffraction for measuring retained austenite and compares and contrasts it with other methods. It also provides a brief review of the formation of austenite and its effect on carburized gears, TRIP steels, and bearings.