Management of patients with a spontaneous pneumothorax continues to challenge clinicians. Recent guidelines help provide care pathways for these patients and highlight the many areas in need of additional study. Management options for spontaneous pneumothoraces should be selected based primarily upon a patient's clinical status. Observation or pleural air drainage, in selected patients, plays a significant role in patients with primary spontaneous pneumothorax. By contrast, pleural air drainage plays the central role in patients with a secondary spontaneous pneumothorax. Surgically directed recurrence prevention and air leak management are preferred for both primary and secondary spontaneous pneumothorax patients.