Micro- and nano sized metal, semiconductor, pharmaceutical, and simple or complex ceramic particles have numerous applications in the development of sensors, thermal barrier coatings, catalysts, pigments, drugs, etc. The challenges include controlling the particle size, size distribution, particle crystallinity, morphology and shape, being able to use the nanoparticles for a given purpose, and to produce them from a variety of precursors. There are several methods to produce nanoparticles, each suitable for a range of applications. In this article, two methods that are receiving increasing attention are considered: Spray and microemulsion methods. Spray techniques are single-step methods of producing a broad spectrum of simple to multicomponent functional micro and nanoparticles and quantum dots. Microemulsion is a wet chemistry method. A micro-emulsion system consists of aqueous domains, called reverse micelles, dispersed in a continuous oil phase. In this article, the above mentioned methods of nanoparticle production are introduced and recent advances, research directions and challenges, and the pertinent patents are reviewed and discussed.