The microstructure of YBa2Cu3Ox sYBCOd-coated conductors depends strongly on the deposition method and thickness of the YBCO layer. This letter shows how the clear qualitative difference in grain connectivity between vacuum-deposited and solution-grown layers has direct consequences for the spatial distribution of the critical current density sJcd. Pulsed-laser-deposited YBCO conductors usually have a columnar grain structure that results in a two-dimensional current network, as demonstrated with magneto-optical imaging. Consequently, their transport Jc varies considerably on length scales from 50 mm up to 5 mm, with current suppression occurring even at defects that run parallel to the macroscopic current. In contrast, the thicker YBCO coatings in metalorganic-deposited samples have a layered structure, leading to a three-dimensional current path. Magneto-optically, this is deduced from sample-wide shielding currents, while transport experiments reveal much smaller spatial variations in Jc. These results are encouraging for the further development of nonvacuum produced YBCO-coated conductors, since such three-dimensional systems are inherently more “forgiving” of local defects.