Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the roughness and morphology of zirconia after air abrasion and erbium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Er:YAG) laser application of different intensities. Background data: Although surface roughness is important to obtain micromechanical retention, it is unclear which surface treatment is most appropriate for zirconia. Methods: Fifty sintered zirconia specimens were divided into five groups (n = 10). The following treatments were applied: control, Er:YAG laser irradiation with different energy intensities (200, 300, and 400 mJ), and air abrasion with aluminum oxide (Al2O3) particles (110 mu m). Morphologic changes after surface treatments were examined in microscope analyses. Then, the surface roughness (Ra in mu m) of the specimens was evaluated using a surface texture measuring instrument. Roughness data were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Tukey's honestly significant difference (HSD) test (p = 0.05). Results: Results of microscope analyses revealed changes in surface morphology after surface treatments, including the formation of rare pits in the 400 mJ laser group and the formation of microretentive grooves in the air abrasion group. According to the results of the statistical analysis, the mean surface roughness value for the air abrasion group was significantly higher than that of the other groups (p < 0.001). Except for the air abrasion group, there were no statistically significant differences within other groups (p > 0.05). Conclusions: According to the results of the statistical and microscopic analyses, 400 mJ Er: YAG laser energy or air abrasion can be used to obtain micromechanical retention prior to luting; however, air abrasion is the most effective surface treatment method.