The election watchdog believes the rest of the UK can learn from how the Scottish independence referendum was run.
The Electoral Commission found that the referendum was well organised, with high levels of voter satisfaction.
The commission said it had identified important lessons about how to run future referendums successfully, including the expected referendum on further devolution for Wales and the possible ballot on UK membership of the European Union (EU).
John McCormick, Electoral Commissioner for Scotland, said: “On almost every measure of participation the referendum exceeded anything we have seen before and people overwhelmingly said they found the experience of voting positive.
“This is thanks to the commitment and hard work of those running the referendum, but it also provides a lesson in how to legislate and plan for referendums that policy makers across the UK should learn from.”
The commission’s report into the referendum said turnout (84.6%) was the highest of any Scotland-wide poll since the introduction of universal suffrage in 1928.
If found that 94% of voters who attended polling stations and 98% of those who used a postal ballot were satisfied with the process. One in 10 of voters were first-time voters.
The commission referendums, such as the UK’s membership of the EU, should not be held on the same day as other polls in order to allow campaigners to plan more effectively and enable voters to focus on the issues at hand.
Three quarters (75%) of 16 and 17-year-olds voted with 97% stating they intended to vote in future elections and referendum.
Mr McCormick said: “Anyone considering lowering the voting age should read our report carefully and learn from how it was done in Scotland.”
Legislation for ballots should be passed as early as possible. Scottish legislation for the referendum was passed nine months ahead of the vote, while that for the 2011 general election was passed just three months beforehand.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “We welcome the publication of the Electoral Commission’s report on the referendum, particularly the recognition that it was well run and that the Scottish Government’s process to develop the necessary legislation provides a model the commission would like to see adopted in future.”