In this study, we investigated the effect of water soluble ligands [i.e., sodium borohydride (NaBH4), polyvinyl alcohol, glucose and galactose] on the preparation of nano-silver-supported activated carbon (AC). Ligand-stabilized Ag nanoparticle dispersion characteristics were also compared with those of ligand-free Ag nanoparticles. The nanoparticle distribution was investigated using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) which enabled a qualitative analysis of ligand-dependent nanoparticle adsorption onto AC. Silver nanoparticles with average sizes ranging from 7 to 20 nm were synthesized with different coatings. In particular, silver nanoparticles reduced and stabilized by NaBH4 were found to have a dense and homogenous dispersion of sizes in the range of 100-400 nm on the AC surface. These particles also seemed to remain on the AC surface after rinsing with water. The distribution of silver nanoparticles prepared in the presence of NaBH4/PVA was not as good as the one prepared with NaBH4. Their aggregate size varied from 300 to 600 nm on the AC surface and particles greater than 500 nm were eliminated from the AC surface upon rinsing with water. Glucose- and galactose-stabilized silver nanoparticles did not display an extensive adsorption and their adsorption seemed to be poor. However, glucose-stabilized silver nanoparticles could still be detectable to some extent after rinsing, while galactose-stabilized ones could not. Antimicrobial studies showed that all silver-containing carbons studied in this study inhibit bacterial growth and act as bacteriostatic agents.