In suspension plasma spraying (SPS); the use of water based suspensions provides a cheaper; safer and more environmentally friendly alternative to organic liquids. However; due to the physical properties of water; producing a water based SPS coating with desirable microstructure has so far been elusive. In this study; the effects of pH and dispersant on the rheology and stability of YSZ water based suspensions were investigated. PEI; PBTCA and α-Terpineol were used as dispersant polymers. The stabilized suspensions were deposited by Axial III plasma spray system and the relationship between suspension parameters and the atomized droplet size and the final coating microstructure was studied. The results showed that a combination of Terpineol dispersant with pH adjustment to 2.5; could lead to a SPS coating with columnar microstructure having 17.4 vol.% porosity.