Friction performance of electroless Ni-B coatings sliding against steel is experimentally investigated in this paper. Friction performance is measured in terms of coefficient of friction (COF) for varying tribological testing parameters such as load, speed and time. Taguchi-based optimisation of the testing parameters is attempted to find the optimal combination of testing parameters for minimum COF. An analysis of variance reveals that all the testing parameters have significant influence on the friction performance of the coating. Also, the interaction between load and speed is found to affect the friction more compared with the rest of the interactions. The coating characterisation is done with the help of scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray and X-ray diffraction analysis. It is found that the Ni-B coating is amorphous in the as-deposited condition but gradually turns crystalline with heat treatment. The sliding tracks observed with SEM showed that abrasive failure is the predominant wear mechanism. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.