Ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi) is an innovative treatment strategy for a myriad of indications. Non-viral synthetic nanoparticles (NPs) have drawn extensive attention as vectors for RNAi due to their potential advantages, including improved safety, high delivery efficiency and economic feasibility. However, the complex natural process of RNAi and the susceptible nature of oligonucleotides render the NPs subject to particular design principles and requirements for practical fabrication. Here, we summarize the requirements and obstacles for fabricating non-viral nano-vectors for efficient RNAi. To address the delivery challenges, we discuss practical guidelines for materials selection and NP synthesis in order to maximize RNA encapsulation efficiency and protection against degradation, and to facilitate the cytosolic release of oligonucleotides. The current status of clinical translation of RNAi-based therapies and further perspectives for reducing the potential side effects are also reviewed.