Silica-supported iron catalysts (Fe/SiO2, FePt/SiO2, and FePtK/SiO2) were prepared using a novel nonaqueous (acetone) evaporative deposition technique. This preparation leads to relatively well-dispersed iron phases at modest (10%) metal loadings. Moreover, catalytic activities of these catalysts for Fischer–Tropsch synthesis are high and comparable to industrially relevant precipitated iron catalysts. Catalyst activities were tested following a nonregular L18 orthogonal array that enabled the number of 150-h activity tests to be reduced from 54 to 18; this statistical design was augmented with five additional runs to provide replication. Primary independent variables affecting catalysts' activity were promoter type, pretreatment gas composition (H2, H2/CO, or CO), pretreatment temperature (250, 280, or 320 °C), and reaction temperature (250 or 265 °C); iron carbide level measured from Mössbauer spectroscopy was correlated with activity in a separate analysis. Activity was found to increase in the order Fe/SiO2, FePt/SiO2, and FePtK/SiO2. For a given catalyst composition, activity increases to a maximum with increasing pretreatment temperature and increasing time. Catalyst activity was also positively correlated with increasing chi-carbide content for Fe/SiO2 and FePt/SiO2 catalysts but not for FePtK/SiO2. While pretreatment atmosphere greatly influences initial activity–time behavior, activity is less dependent on pretreatment after about 150 h of reaction. Steady-state methane and C2+ hydrocarbon selectivities (CO2-free basis) for the FePtK/SiO2 catalyst at 250–265 °C, 10 atm, and H2/CO = 1 are 7–9 and 91–93%, respectively, while its hydrocarbon productivity at 250 °C (normalized to 15 atm, H2/CO = 0.7) of 0.27 g HC/gcat/h is comparable to those reported for unsupported precipitated iron catalysts of high activity and selectivity. These results indicate that preparation of an active, selective, stable, attrition-resistant supported iron catalyst for Fischer–Tropsch synthesis is feasible. Promise for additional improvements in catalyst performance through application of advanced preparation methods and optimization of catalyst chemical and physical properties is also indicated.