A typical feature of plasma sprayed zirconia-based coatings is that their depostion efficiencies are low. Thus, from the economic view of reducing cost, how to improve the depostion efficiency of plasma sprayed zirconia-based coatings is very important for practical application. In this paper, spray-dried nanostructured powders and conventional powders were used as feedstocks to deposit nanostructured and conventional zirconia coatings by atmospheric plasma spraying(APS). Deposition efficiencies for both nanostructured and conventional zirconia coatings deposited under different spraying parameters were comparatively measured. The obtained results revealed that the spray-dried nanostructured powders possessed higher deposition efficiency than that of conventional powders. In addition, it was found that spraying parameters had strongly influence on microstructure and microhardness of zirconia coatings. Therefore, in order to obtain high quality zirconia coating, proper spraying parameters must be considered.