Thermal barrier coatings are used in several industries to improve thermal efficiency. Examples are gas turbine engines and marine diesels. The performance and life of thermal barrier coated components depend on a variety of factors all related to the specific application. This paper gives an overview of some of the aspects to consider and put special attention to. The different features, in the microstructure, will be discussed with respect to their appearance and influence on the performance of the TBC. Thermal conductivity, microstructure, failure mechanisms and different applications are highlighted.