The present study investigates the electrothermal explosion of 3Ni-Al powder and 3Ni-Al-CNT powder at different green compacts density. For 3Ni-Al compact only the nickel powder was mechanically activated prior to reactive processing, whereas for 3Ni-Al-CNTs two-phase milling was carried out for activating the compact mechanically. The effect of green density on the microstructure and phases produced was investigated. Post reaction electric-annealing was also conducted to investigate its effect on product homogenization and densification. The reactions resulted in Ni3Al as the major phase, and green density was found to have limited effect on the product porosity and microstructure. Post reaction electric-annealing resulted in unique microstructures, namely the formation of Ni4.22Al0.9 phase. Microhardness of reacted 3Ni-Al intermetallic and 3Ni-Al-CNT intermetallic composite were evaluated with post reaction annealing. The effect of CNT addition at the level of 5 vol.% content posed a barrier to atomic diffusion and hence limited the reactivity during synthesis resulting in higher porosity levels, however post synthesis electric annealing resulted in materials with lower porosity and higher hardness.