The power harnessed by wave energy converters (WECs) in oceans is highly variable and, therefore, has a high peak‐to‐average power (PTAP) ratio. To minimize the cost of a WEC power take off (PTO) system, it is desirable to reduce the PTAP ratio while maximizing the mean power extracted by WECs. The important issue of how PTAP ratio reduction measures (such as adding an inertia element) can affect the mean power extracted in a reference model has not been thoroughly addressed in the literature. To investigate this correlation, this study focuses on the integration of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Reference Model 3, a two‐body point absorber, with a slider‐crank WEC for linear‐to‐rotational conversion. In the first phase of this study, a full‐scale numerical model was developed that predicts how PTO system parameters, along with an advanced control algorithm, can potentially affect the proposed WEC’s PTAP ratio as well as the mean power extracted. In the second phase, an appropriate scaled‐down model was developed, and extracted power results were successfully validated against the full‐scale model. Finally, numerical and hardware‐in-the‐loop (HIL) simulations based on the scaled‐down model were designed and conducted to optimize or make trade‐offs between the operational performance and PTAP ratio. The initial results with numerical and HIL simulations reveal that gear ratio, crank radius, and generator parameters substantially impact the PTAP ratio and mean power extracted.