The present work aims to study the hardness and wear resistance of electroless Ni-B coatings. An alkaline bath having nickel chloride as the source of nickel and borohydride as the reducing agent was used to prepare the electroless Ni-B coatings. The structure, microhardness and wear resistance of electroless Ni-B coatings, both in as-plated and heat-treated conditions, were evaluated using X-ray diffraction (XRD), Leitz microhardness tester and a pin-on-disc wear test apparatus. XRD patterns reveal that electroless Ni-B coatings are amorphous in as-plated condition and undergo phase transformation to crystalline nickel and nickel borides upon heat-treatment. The microhardness of the electroless Ni-B coatings increases with increase in heat-treatment temperature and exhibit two maxima in the hardness vs. heat-treatment temperature curve. The specific wear rate increases with increase in applied load from 20 to 40 N and at all applied loads, the specific wear rate and coefficient of friction are less for heat-treated electroless Ni-B deposits compared to that obtained for as-plated ones. The wear process of electroless Ni-B coatings is governed by an adhesive wear mechanism. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.