The objective of this study was to compare the health-related quality of life (HRQL) of patients with epilepsy with populations suffering from different chronic diseases, using the short form 36 (SF-36) health profile measure. The populations to be compared were adult patients drawn from hospital based registers, with confirmed epilepsy (n = 397), angina pectoris (n = 785), rheumatoid arthritis (n = 1,030), asthma (n = 117) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (n = 221). Health-related quality of life scores were compared using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) for predicting mean scores adjusted for age, gender, education and comorbidity. Patients with epilepsy on average scored highest on all scales, reflecting that in our sample the majority had well-controlled epilepsy. Our results indicate that the HRQL of a representative sample of patients with epilepsy is good, when compared with other chronic disorders, although reduced in several dimensions compared with a general reference population. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and COPD scored lowest on the physical function scales, while rheumatoid arthritis patients reported most pain.