ZnO nanopowders were prepared via solvothermal synthesis by using methanol, ethanol, isopropanol, n-butanol, n-hexanol and 1-octanol as the reaction medium. Effects of alcohol on the properties of the ZnO nanopowders were investigated. XRD, FSEM and UV-visible absorption spectroscopy were used to characterize ZnO nanopowders. The results show that: the type of alcohol had significantly effect on the morphology of ZnO nanopowders. ZnO nanoparticles with diameter ~100 nm were obtained by using ethanol and isopropanol as reaction solvent. ZnO nanorods were obtained with the n-butanol, n-hexanol and 1-octanol as reaction solvent, and the grain size distribution broadened with the increasing of carbon chain of alcohol. The effect mechanism of alcohol was also discussed in detail.