Nanomaterials and nanotechnologies have been expected to provide innovative platforms for addressing antibacterial challenges, with potential to even deal with bacterial infections involving drug-resistance. The current review summarizes recent progress over the last 3 years in the field of antibacterial nanomaterials with a photothermal conversion effect. We classify these photothermal nanomaterials into four functional categories: carbon-based nanoconjugates of graphene derivatives or carbon nanotubes, noble metal nanomaterials mainly from gold and silver, metallic compound nanocomposites such as copper sulfide and molybdenum sulfide, and polymeric as well as other nanostructures. Different categories can be assembled with each other to enhance the photothermal effects and the antibacterial activities. The review describes their fabrication processes, unique properties, antibacterial modes, and potential healthcare applications.