Recently, the rapid emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens has caused a serious health problem. Scientists respond to the threat by developing new antimicrobial materials to prevent or control infections caused by these pathogens. Polymer-based nanocomposite hydrogels are versatile materials as an alternative to conventional antimicrobial agents. Cross-linking of polymeric materials by metal ions or the combination of polymeric hydrogels with nanoparticles (metals and metal oxide) is a simple and effective approach for obtaining a multicomponent system with diverse functionalities. Several metals and metal oxides such as silver (Ag), gold (Au), zinc oxide (ZnO), copper oxide (CuO), titanium dioxide (TiO 2) and magnesium oxide (MgO) have been loaded into hydrogels for antimicrobial applications. The incorporation of metals and metal oxide nanoparticles into hydrogels not only enhances the antimicrobial activity of hydrogels, but also improve their mechanical characteristics. Herein, we summarize recent advances in hydrogels containing metal ions, metals and metal oxide nanoparticles with potential antimicrobial properties.