Noninvasive ventilation (NIV) has been one of the major advances in respiratory medicine in the last decade. NIV improves quality of life, prolongs survival, and improves gas exchange and sleep quality in restrictive patients, but evidence available now does not allow us to establish clear criteria for prescribing NIV in patients with chronic respiratory failure due to COPD. On the basis of the available studies, NIV should not be used as a treatment of choice for all patients with COPD, even when disease is severe. However, there is more evidence that NIV has an important effect in these patients. In fact, a selected group of patients may well benefit from domiciliary mechanical ventilation, and we need to be able to identify who they are. Moreover, NIV can be a new strategy to improve exercise tolerance in COPD patients.