In recent years, NF (nanofiltration) membrane has been receiving great attention for hardness removal and has begun to replace traditional lime soda ash softening process, particularly in Florida, USA, mainly due to less sludge production and easy operation. This study aimed to provide detailed surface characteristics of various commercial NF membranes by performing sophisticated surface analysis, which would help more fundamentally understand the performance of NF membranes. More specifically, a total of 7 NF membranes from top NF/RO manufacturers in the world were examined for basic performance tests, surface analysis, and fouling potential assessment. The results demonstrated that NF membranes are classified into two groups in terms of surface zeta potential; they are highly negatively charged ones, and neutral and/or less negatively charged ones. Their hydrophobicities, measured by contact angle, varied from hydrophilic to slightly hydrophobic ones. The AFM measurements showed various surface roughness, ranging from 23 nm (smooth) to 162 nm (rough) of average peak height. Lab-scale fouling experiments were performed using feedwater obtained from conventional water treatment plants in the province of Korea, and their results attempted to correlate to surface characteristics of NF membranes. However, unlike typical RO membranes, no clear correlation was found in this study, indicating that fouling mechanisms of NF membrane may be different from those of typical RO membranes, and both cake deposition and pore blocking mechanisms should be considered simultaneously.