Durable goods orders rose 2.2 percent last month, only partially reversing January's revised 3.6 percent decline.
Economists had forecast orders rising 3.0 percent last month.
Durable goods range from toasters to big-ticket items like aircraft which are meant to last three years and more.
Excluding transportation, orders climbed 1.6 percent. Economists had expected that reading to increase 1.7 percent. Machinery orders increased 5.7 percent.
Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for future business investment, edged 1.2 percent higher, missing analysts' expectations of a 2.0 percent gain.
A 3.9 percent increase in bookings for transportation equipment - including a 6.0 percent increase in civilian aircraft orders - drove the overall increase in durable goods orders.
Boeing received 237 orders for aircraft during the month, according to the plane maker's website, up from 150 in January.
Orders for motor vehicles edged up 1.6 percent.
Shipments of non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, which go into the calculation of gross domestic product, rose 1.4 percent in February.