The satisfaction and frustration of the psychological needs for autonomy, relatedness and competence predict well-being and ill-being outcomes. However, research within educational and work contexts is stifled by the lack of an exhaustively validated measure. Following extensive preparatory and pilot work, the present three studies (total N = 762) aimed to develop such a measure and validate it against the Basic Need Satisfaction at Work Scale (Deci et al. in Personal Soc Psychol Bull 27(8):930–942, 2001) and an adapted version of the Balanced Measure of Psychological Needs (Sheldon and Hilpert in Motivation Emot 36(4):439–451, 2012). The Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scale demonstrated a better factor structure and internal reliability than its predecessors, and good criterion validity. This improvement was due to the exclusion of ambiguous items and items measuring antecedents of need satisfaction and frustration. The results also strengthen current evidence showing that need satisfaction and frustration are distinct but related constructs, and each better predicts well-being and psychological health problems, respectively.