Chronic forms of urticaria are common, often adversely impacting on quality of life. No formal studies have assessed the extent and nature of disability in different types of urticaria. The Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) is a simple and validated 10-item questionnaire designed to measure and compare disability in different skin conditions. In this study, we aimed to assess the disability in different urticarial groups using the DLQI, allowing comparison with previously published DLQI scores in common skin diseases. The DLQI was administered to 170 consecutive patients attending a specialist urticaria clinic over a 4-month period. Consistent with previous studies using the DLQI, mean scores were not influenced by gender or age. Patients with chronic idiopathic urticaria without a concurrent physical urticaria (n = 47) suffered moderate quality of life impairment (mean ± SD DLQI 25 ± 24%). In comparison, patients with chronic idiopathic urticaria with concurrent delayed pressure urticaria (DPU) (n = 26) suffered significantly higher quality of life impairment (mean ± SD DLQI 43 ± 23%, 95% confidence interval for difference 7–29%). Disability in this group was greatest in the dimensions of work/study, symptoms/feelings and leisure. Subjects with another form of physical urticaria, cholinergic urticaria, also endured high levels of disability (n = 9, mean ± SD DLQI 50 ± 34%). From our urticaria study group, we have shown that subjects with DPU and cholinergic urticaria endure the most quality of life impairment. The mean DLQI scores demonstrated in these groups are comparable with those previously seen in severe atopic dermatitis out-patients (60%) and higher than those seen in out-patients with psoriasis (29.7%), acne (24.3%) and vitiligo (16.1%).