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An X-band 5-bit MEMS distributed phase shifter with a total area of 19.110 × 2.646 mm2 is presented. Based on the equivalent-circuit model, a novel design method is applied to design the phase shifter. The basis of the method is to optimise the length of the MEMS device while maintaining a certain return loss. The fabricated phase shifter shows average measured insertion loss of -1.54 dB, return loss of -12.12 dB, and relative phase error of 2.41% for 32 unique phase states at 10 GHz. The MEMS bridge using serpentine flexures is actuated with an actuation voltage of 15 V.