Methanation of coal- or biomass-derived carbon oxides for production of synthetic natural gas (SNG) is gaining considerable interest due to energy issues and the opportunity of reducing greenhouse gases by carbon dioxide conversion. The key component of the methanation process is the catalyst design. Ideally, the catalyst should show high activity at low temperatures (200-300 °C) and high stability at high temperatures (600-700 °C). In the past decades, various methanation catalysts have been investigated, among which transition metals including Ni, Fe, Co, Ru, Mo, etc. dispersed on metal oxide supports such as Al2O3, SiO2, TiO2, ZrO2, CeO2etc. have received great attention due to their relatively high catalytic activity and selectivity. Furthermore, over the past few years, great efforts have been made both in methanation catalysts development and reaction mechanism investigation. Here we provide a comprehensive review to these most advancements, covering the reaction thermodynamics, mechanism and kinetics, the effects of catalyst active components, supports, promoters and preparation methods, hoping to outline the pathways for the future methanation catalysts design and development for SNG production.