The use of relatively low purity zinc nitrate for electrochemical deposition of compact ZnO films is attractive for large scale production because of the cost saving potential. ZnO films were grown on SnO2:F and magnetron sputtered ZnO:Al templates using a three electrode potentiostatic system in galvanic mode. The electrolyte consisted of a 0.1 M zinc nitrate solution (either 99.998% or 99% purity) and 1 mM aluminium nitrate for extrinsic doping, when required. Moderate deposition rates of up to 0.9 nm s−1 were achieved on ZnO:Al templates with lower rates of up to 0.5 nm s−1 on SnO2:F templates. Observation of SEM images of the films revealed a wall-like morphology whose lateral thickness (parallel to the substrate) reduced as aluminium was added to the system either in the electrolyte or from the substrate. However, pre- deposition activation of the template by applying a negative voltage (approximately −2 V) allowed the growth of compact films even for the low purity electrolyte. The optical band gap energy of intrinsically doped films was lower than that of the Al doped films. The composite electrical conductivity of all the films studied, as inferred from sheet resistance and Hall effect measurements of the ZnO/template stacks was much less than that of the uncoated templates. A strong E2 (high) mode at around 437 cm−1 was visible in the Raman spectra for most films confirming the formation of ZnO. However, both the Raman modes and XRD reflections associated with wurtzite ZnO diminished for the Al doped films indicating a high level of mainly oxygen related defects. Based on these data, further studies are underway to improve the doping efficiency of aluminium, the crystalline structure and thus the conductivity of such films.