Abstract Mn 1− x Zn x Fe 2O 4 (with x varying from 0.1 to 0.5) ferrite nanoparticles used for ferrofluid preparation have been prepared by chemical co-precipitation method and characterized. Characterization techniques like elemental analysis by atomic absorption spectroscopy and spectrophotometry, thermal analysis using simultaneous TG-DTA, XRD, TEM, VSM and Mossbauer spectroscopy have been utilized. The final cation contents estimated agree with the initial degree of substitution. The Curie temperature ( T c ) and particle size decrease with the increase in zinc substitution. In the case of particles with higher zinc concentration, both ferrimagnetic nanoparticles and particles exhibiting superparamagnetic behavior at room temperature are present. In addition, some of the results obtained by slightly altering the preparation condition are also discussed. The precipitated particles were used for ferrofluid preparation. The fine particles were suitably dispersed in heptane using oleic acid as the surfactant. The volatile nature of the carrier chosen helps in altering the number concentration of the magnetic particles in a ferrofluid. Magnetic properties of the fine particles and ferrofluids are discussed. Ferrofluids having Mn 0.5Zn 0.5Fe 2O 4 particles can be used for the energy conversion application utilizing the magnetically induced convection for thermal dissipation.