The microstructures and magnetic properties of nickel nanorods fabricated using an anodic alumina oxide template and electroless deposition were investigated. The as-deposited nanorods were found to contain nanocrystalline grains with an average size of ∼2-3nm. The temperature-dependent magnetic hysteresis curves indicated superparamagnetic behavior of the as-deposited rods as a result of the reduction of ferromagnetic crystallites. The superparamagnetic (SM) Ni nanorods transformed into ferromagnetic (FM) ones when annealed at 400 °C. Results from dark-field transmission electron microscopy reveal that the microstructure of the rods tends to form a laminar structure with grain growth parallel to the long axis of the rods, together with the enhancement of ferromagnetic ordering along the same direction. The results suggest that the SM-FM phase transition obtained is microstructure driven. The Ni nanorods manufactured by the electroless deposition also have the potential to serve as magnetic building blocks in nanoscale devices, such as high-frequency inductors. On-chip magnetic spiral inductors were fabricated using these nanorods, and it was demonstrated that the nanorods can enhance inductance up to 6GHz.