Stellite 6 was deposited by laser cladding on an austenitic stainless steel substrate (ASS) with energy inputs of 1 kW (ASS 1) and 1.8 kW (ASS 1.8). The chemical compositions and microstructures of these coatings were characterized by atomic absorption spectroscopy, optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The microhardness of the coatings was measured and the wear mechanism of the coatings was assessed using a pin-on-plate (reciprocating) wear testing machine. The results showed less cracking and pore development for Stellite 6 coatings applied to the austenitic stainless steel substrate with the lower heat input (ASS 1). Further, the Stellite coating for ASS 1 was significantly harder than that obtained for ASS 1.8. The wear test results showed that the weight loss for ASS 1 was much lower than for ASS 1.8. It is concluded that the lower hardness of the coating for ASS 1.8, together with the softer underlying substrate structure, markedly reduced the wear resistance of the Stellite 6 coating. © (2014) Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland.