The use of valid and reliable instruments for assessing self-care is crucial for the evaluation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) management programs. The aim of this review is to evaluate the measurement properties and theoretical foundations of instruments for assessing self-care and related concepts in people with COPD. A systematic review was conducted of articles describing the development and validation of self-care instruments. The methodological quality of the measurement properties was assessed using the COSMIN checklist. Ten studies were included evaluating five instruments: three for assessing self-care and self-management and two for assessing self-efficacy. The COPD Self-Efficacy Scale was the most studied instrument, but due to poor study methodological quality, evidence about its measurement properties is inconclusive. Evidence from the COPD Self-Management Scale is more promising, but only one study tested its properties. Due to inconclusive evidence of their measurement properties, no instrument can be recommended for clinical use.