Thermal barrier coatings are used in the aerospace industry for thermal insulation in hot sections of gas turbines. Improved coating reliability is a common goal among jet engine designers. In-service failures, such as coating cracking and spallation, result in decreased engine performance and costly maintenance time. A research program was conducted to evaluate residual stresses, microstructure, and thermal shock life of thermal barrier coatings produced from different powder types and spray parameters. Sixteen coatings were ranked according to their performance relative to the other coatings in each evaluation category. Comparisons of residual stresses, powder morphology, and microstructure to thermal shock life indicate a strong correlation to thermal barrier coating performance. Results from these evaluations will aid in the selection of an optimum thermal barrier coating system for turbine engine applications.