This study compared how older people use quality information to choose residential care providers in England, the Netherlands and Spain (Catalonia). The availability of information varies between each country, from detailed inspection and survey information in the Netherlands, through to a lack of publicly available information in Catalonia. We used semi-structured interviews and group workshops with older people, families and professionals to compare experiences of the decision-making process and quality information, and also to explore what quality information might be used in the future. We found that most aspects of the decision-making experience and preferences for future indicators were similar across the three countries. The use of quality information was minimal across all three, even in England and the Netherlands where information was widely available. Differences arose mainly from factors with the supply of care. Older people were most interested in the subjective experiences of other residents and relatives, rather than ‘hard’ objective indicators of aspects such as clinical care. We find that the amount of publicly available quality information does not in itself influence the decisions or the decision-making processes of older people and their carers. To improve the quality of decisions, more effort needs to be taken to increase awareness and to communicate quality in more accessible ways, including significant support from professionals and better design of quality information.