A facile method is described for synthesising nickel nanoparticles via the thermal decomposition of an organometallic precursor in the presence of excess n-trioctylphosphine as a capping ligand. For the first time, alkylamines with different chain lengths were employed as size-limiting agents in this synthesis. A direct correlation is demonstrated between the size of the alkylamine ligands used and the mean diameter of the nickel nanoparticles obtained. The use of bulky oleylamine as a size-limiting agent over a reaction period of 30 min led to the growth of nickel nanoparticles with a mean diameter of 2.8 +/- 0.9 nm. The employment of less bulky N,N-dimethylhexadecylamine groups led to the growth of nickel nanoparticles with a mean diameter of 4.4 +/- 0.9 nm. By increasing the reaction time from 30 to 240 min, while employing oleylamine as the size-limiting agent, the mean diameter of the nickel nanoparticles was increased from 2.8 +/- 0.9 to 5.1 +/- 0.7 nm. Decreasing the amount of capping ligand present in the reaction system allowed further growth of the nickel nanoparticles to 17.8 +/- 1.3 nm. The size, structure and morphology of the nanoparticles synthesised were characterised by transmission electron microscopy and powder X-ray diffraction; while magnetic measurements indicated that the particles were superparamagnetic in nature.