Poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide) or pNIPAM is a thermoresponsive polymer that is widely studied for use in bioengineering applications. The interest in this polymer lies in the polymer's unique capability to undergo a sharp property change near physiological temperature, which aids in the spontaneous release of biological cells from substrates. Currently, there are many methods for depositing pNIPAM onto substrates, including atom-transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and electron beam ionization. Each method yields pNIPAM-coated substrates with different surface characteristics that can influence cell behavior. In this work, we compare two methods of pNIPAM deposition: plasma deposition and codeposition with a sol-gel. The resulting pNIPAM films were analyzed for use as substrates for mammalian cell culture based on surface characterization (XPS, ToF-SIMS, AFM, contact angles), cell attachment/detachment studies, and an analysis of exocytosis function using carbon-fiber microelectrode amperometry (CFMA). We find that although both methods are useful for the deposition of functional pNIPAM films, plasma deposition is much preferred for cell-sheet engineering applications because of the films' thermoresponse, minimal change in cell density, and maintenance of supported cell exocytosis function.