Measuring quality of life (QoL) has become an increasingly important dimension of assessing patient well-being and drug efficacy. As there are now several asthma QoL questionnaires to choose from, it is important to appreciate their strengths and weaknesses. To assist in this choice, we have reviewed the existing questionnaires in a structured way. Information relating to the conceptual and measurement model, reliability, validity, interpretability, burden, administration format and translations was extracted from the published literature. The instruments differ in almost all criteria considered, and therefore it cannot be assumed that they measure the same thing. We recommend the selection of questionnaires that are designed only for asthma and that do not assess symptoms as part of QoL. Only two of the questionnaires reviewed fulfill these requirements: the Sydney Asthma QoL Questionnaire (AQLQ-S) and the Living with Asthma Questionnaire (LWAQ). However, for multinational studies, it may be convenient or practical to use questionnaires that have been linguistically validated in many languages (AQLQ-J, SGRQ). It remains unclear which of these questionnaires best reflects patient perceptions of QoL. Our review did not involve patients, so for the time being choosing from existing questionnaires requires a compromise based on the rigor of the development process and the target patient group.