The effect of deposition temperature on microstructure and mechanical properties of ZrN coatings fabricated by DC magnetron sputtering was investigated. X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscope, nanoindentation and scratch test were applied to characterize the ZrN coatings. The results show that with the increasing of substrate temperature the preferred orientation of the coating changed from (111) to (200), the ZrN crystalline phase almost disappeared at 600 resulting from nitrogen loss and the formation of ZrO2 phase. From 50 to 450 , the coatings showed columnar structure, and at 600 the columnar disappeared, presenting equiaxed structure instead. The hardness of coatings showed few significant variations under 450 , and at 600 the coating hardness dropped for the low crystallinity and ZrO2 phase softening. The substrate-coating adhesion decreased with the increasing of temperature before 450 , and then followed by an elevation at 600 .