The effect of Nb substitution for Ni in Ni45Co5Mn40Sn10 magnetic shape memory alloys on their magnetic properties, martensitic transformation characteristics, transformation hysteresis, and magnetocaloric properties was studied using wavelength-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, and the temperature and field dependence of the magnetization. Ni45Co5Mn40Sn10 alloy has a very low transformation hysteresis; however, the martensitic transformation temperatures are notably above room temperature, which is not desirable for magnetic refrigeration applications. In this study, small quantities of Nb substitution were shown to drastically shift the transformation temperatures to lower temperatures, at a rate of 68 K/at. % Nb, which is needed for household refrigeration. The austenite Curie temperature also decreased with increasing Nb content. However, a decrease in the latent heat of the martensitic transition was observed, which negatively affects the magnetic field-induced adiabatic temperature change capability. Still, the relatively large transformation entropy and the low transformation hysteresis make the Nb-doped Ni45Co5Mn40Sn10 alloys potential candidates for solid state refrigeration near room temperature. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.