Optical, surface and structural properties of ZnO thin films fabricated by reactive radio- frequency (rf) magnetron sputtering and sol-gel coating methods are comparatively investigated. The optical properties of films produced by both techniques have very similar characteristics, however; the surface morphology and degree of crystallinity have different behaviors. The nanostructure columnar zinc oxide thin films can be synthesized by sol-gel coating methods which can have numerous applications requiring larger surface area. Also, the process scalability and large-scale manufacturing of these materials are discussed. It indicated that the nanostructure ZnO thin films can be synthesized with sol-gel methods at wafer levels with nano-grains and improved surface properties compared with reactive rf magnetron sputtering deposition.