INTRODUCTION: A lack of high quality burn scar rating scales underpins the urgent need to introduce a guide for clinicians and researchers to choose the most appropriate scale for their requirements. METHODS: An updated electronic search of Medline, CINAHL, and EMBASE databases from 2010 to 2011 of a previous published systematic review were used to identify English articles related to burn scar rating scales. The clinimetric properties, content, purpose, characteristics of the subjects tested and feasibility of each scale were critically reviewed. RESULTS: An additional seven papers were identified by the updated search, bringing the total number of papers reviewed to 36. The majority (88%) covered items pertaining to the physical properties of the skin rated by an observer. All of the scales had been tested for the purpose of discriminating between patient groups; however, only preliminary evidence exists for the ability of the scales to measure change in scar properties over time. The majority of testing of scales occurred using Caucasian subjects, males, upper limb sites and adults. CONCLUSIONS: This paper provides a guide to selecting the most appropriate burn scar rating scale for research and clinical practice by reviewing the content, purpose, test sample characteristics and feasibility of each scale.