Nanostructured semiconductor metal oxides have played a central role in the gas sensing research field, because of their high sensitivity, selectivity and low response time. Among all the processes, developed for the synthesis of nanostructured metal oxides, gel combustion seems to be the most promising route due to low-cost precursors and simplicity of the process. It combines chemical gelation and combustion, involving the formation of a gel from an acqueous solution and an exothermic redox reaction, yielding to very porous and softly agglomerated nanopowders. In this work, nanostructured tin oxide, SnO2, and titanium oxide, TiO2, have been synthesized through gel combustion. Powders showed nanometric particle size and high specific surface area. The so-obtained TiO2 and SnO2 nanopowders have been used as sensitive element of resistive λ sensor and ethanol sensor respectively, realized depositing films of nanopowders dispersed in water onto alumina substrates provided with Pt contacts and heater. TiO2-based sensors showed at high temperature good response, fast response time, linearity in a wide range of O2 concentration and long-term stability. SnO2-based sensors have shown high sensitivity to low concentrations of ethanol at moderate temperature.