The effects of basal-plane defects on the performance of 4H-SiC Schottky diodes using a Ni electrode are demonstrated. Systematic characterization was performed using 4H-SiC epitaxial layers grown by sublimation epitaxy on substrates with various off-axis angles. As the off-axis angle increases, the ideality factor of the current-voltage characteristics increases, and the Schottky barrier height decreases, corresponding to an increase in the number of basal-plane defects. The reverse-bias current degrades for high off-axis samples. These results indicate that basal-plane defects degrade the device performance. Schottky diodes that possesses good characteristics were obtained for samples with low off-axis angles (2o- and 4o-off samples).