Shape memory polymers (SMPs) are a group of adaptive polymers that can recover the permanent shape from a temporary shape by external stimuli on demand. Among a variety of external stimuli for polymer actuation, temperature is the most extensively used. In SMP applications, one of the major design considerations is the time necessary to recover the shape without external deformation constraints, or free recovery, and the amount of the recoverable strain. This paper investigates the amount of the recoverable strain and the recovery rate of an epoxy-based SMP (Veriflex® E, VFE1-62 (CRG, Dayton, OH)) under different thermal conditions. In particular, the free recovery behaviors of the SMPs under two experimental protocols, isothermal and shape memory (SM) cycle, are studied. It is found that free recovery in isothermal experiments is much faster than that in a SM cycle at the same recovering temperature and the material is fully recoverable at the temperature above differential scanning calorimetry . Furthermore, for the recovery in SM cycle experiments, reshaping the sample at a low temperature and recovering from the deformation at a high temperature yield the fastest recovery rate, while reshaping at a high temperature and recovering at a low temperature cannot recover the original shape within this work’s experimental time frame. The possible mechanism for these observations is discussed.