The wear resistance of electrodeposited (ED) Ni-B and Ni-B-Si 3N4 composite coatings is compared. The effect of incorporation of Si3N4 particles in the ED Ni-B matrix on the surface morphology, structural characteristics and microhardness has been evaluated to correlate the wear resistance. The wear mechanism of ED Ni-B and Ni-B-Si3N4 composite coatings appears to be similar; both involve intensive plastic deformation of the coating due to the ploughing action of the hard counter disc. However, the extent of wear damage is relatively small for ED Ni-B-Si3N4 composite coatings. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.