MFe2O4 (M = Zn, Co, Ni) nanorods are synthesized by a template-engaged reaction, with ��-FeOOH nanorods as precursors which are prepared by a hydrothermal method. The final products are characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). The electrochemical properties of the MFe2O4 (M = Zn, Co, Ni) nanorods are tested as the anode materials for lithium ion batteries. The reversible capacities of 800, 625 and 520 mAh g-1 are obtained for CoFe2O4, ZnFe 2O4 and NiFe2O4, respectively, at the high current density of 1000 mA g-1 even after 300 cycles. The superior lithium-storage performances of MFe2O4 (M = Zn, Co, Ni) nanorods can be attributed to the one-dimensional (1D) nanostructure, which can shorten the diffusion paths of lithium ions and relax the strain generated during electrochemical cycling. These results indicate that this method is an effective, simple and general way to prepare good electrochemical properties of 1D spinel Fe-based binary transition metal oxides. In addition, the impact of different reaction temperatures on the electrochemical properties of MFe2O4 nanorods is also investigated. �� 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.