Plasma jets for thermal spraying are strongly affected in a negative sense by the interaction with the relatively static surrounding atmosphere, particularly at atmospheric spray conditions. Turbulences at the jet fringes arise resulting in entrained cold gas, in slowing and cooling down of the jet and in causing eventually its disintegration. All means suppressing or delaying this phenomenon, called cold gas entrainment, help to improve the interaction of plasma and spray material and hence lead to better product quality and higher deposition efficiency of the process. To observe the cold gas entrainment, to investigate the thermal and kinetic properties of DC plasma jets at different operating conditions and to study the effect of plasma source and powder injection modifications a diagnostic equipment with Schlieren optics, enthalpy probe and mass spectrometry was installed. By modification of the internal and external anode nozzle contours and also by application of a shroud nozzle around the plasma jet exit encouraging results with reduced penetration of cold ambient air into the jet could be obtained.