Nanoparticles (NPs) are increasingly used to target bacteria as an alternative to antibiotics. Nanotechnology may be particularly advantageous in treating bacterial infections. Examples include the utilization of NPs in antibacterial coatings for implantable devices and medicinal materials to prevent infection and promote wound healing, in antibiotic delivery systems to treat disease, in bacterial detection systems to generate microbial diagnostics, and in antibacterial vaccines to control bacterial infections. The antibacterial mechanisms of NPs are poorly understood, but the currently accepted mechanisms include oxidative stress induction, metal ion release, and non-oxidative mechanisms. The multiple simultaneous mechanisms of action against microbes would require multiple simultaneous gene mutations in the same bacterial cell for antibacterial resistance to develop; therefore, it is difficult for bacterial cells to become resistant to NPs. In this review, we discuss the antibacterial mechanisms of NPs against bacteria and the factors that are involved. The limitations of current research are also discussed.