Poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) hydrogel is a promising articular cartilage biomaterial. In this paper, the effects of different variable factors on the friction coefficient of Poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) hydrogel were investigated when sliding against stainless steel ball by ball-pan tribometer. Factors included lubrication condition, sliding speed, diameter of stainless steel ball, and load. It was shown that the free water in PVA hydrogel has an excellent lubrication on the counterparts. The friction coefficients have little difference between dry and lubricants lubrication condition at initial friction test. With the friction test time prolonged, friction coefficient of PVA hydrogel under dry condition increased rapidly. Friction coefficient decreased with the increase of sliding speed and the diameter of stainless steel ball, and increased with the increasing load. The rising rate of friction coefficient at low load region is obviously larger than that at high load region.