Stable water-based Fe3O4 ferrofluid was obtained by three steps. Fe3O4 nanoparticles with the size of about 10 nm were first prepared by chemical co-deposition method. In order to prevent Fe3O4 nanoparticles from agglomerating, they were coated by bilayer surfactants. Then, the coated Fe3O4 nanoparticles were dispersed well into water. Due to the actions of electrostatic force and hydrogen bond, the water-based Fe3O4 ferrofluids can keep stable for two years and no layered phenomenon occurred. The ferrofluid has high saturation magnetization, low remnant magnetization and coercive force.