In this study, we have successfully synthesized the [email protected] (M = Fe3O4, Co and Ni) nanoparticles catalysts through the sodium borohydride reduction method for a comparative studies of their electrocatalytic performance towards ethanol oxidation in acidic media. After the structure, surface morphology and chemical composition characterization of the synthesized core–shell nanoparticles, their electrocatalytic activities towards oxidation of ethanol in acidic media were studied in detail. We investigated the effect of the core element (Fe3O4, Co and Ni) on the electrochemical behaviour as well as the enhancement of the electrocatalytic activity for ethanol oxidation reaction. Overall, the obtained results show that the all of these electrocatalysts exhibited an enhanced activity than Pt-alone nanoparticles towards ethanol oxidation reaction. On the other hand, the comparative studies of their electrocatalytic performance show that the [email protected] nanoparticles present the best performance with the maximum electrocatalytic activity and stability.