Abstract Microstructured-etched plates previously coated with Al 2O 3, were further impregnated with Ag. The plates were characterized by means of laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The silver loading on the alumina-coated plates was determined to be between 0.8 and 1.6% and the distribution along the microchannels was proved to be almost uniform. The microplates were tested in a microreaction chamber for selective catalytic reduction of NO using different hydrocarbons (HC-SCR). A clear relationship between the number of carbon atoms in the hydrocarbon chain and the NO reduction was found. The results are compared to those obtained in minireactors under similar reaction conditions. The outcome indicates that microreactors are a useful, fast and effective way for studying selective catalytic reduction of NO with hydrocarbons.