Background Formal pulmonary function testing with laboratory spirometry (LS) is the standard of care for risk stratification before lung resection. LS and handheld office spirometry (OS) are clinically comparable for forced expiratory volume in 1 second and forced vital capacity. We investigated the safety of preoperative risk stratification based solely on OS. Methods Patients at low-risk for cardiopulmonary complications were enrolled in a single-center prospective study and underwent preoperative OS. Formal LS was not performed when forced expiratory volume in 1 second was more than 60% by OS. Propensity score matching was used to compare patients in the OS group to low-risk institutional database patients (2008 to 2015) who underwent LS and lung resection. Standardized mean differences determined model covariate balance. The McNemar test and log-rank test were performed, respectively, for categorical and continuous paired outcome data. Results There were 66 prospectively enrolled patients who received OS and underwent pulmonary resection, and 1,290 patients received preoperative LS, resulting in 52 propensity score–matched pairs (83%). There were no deaths and two 30-day readmissions per group. The major morbidity risk was similar in each group (7.7%). All analyses of discordant pair morbidity had p exceeding 0.56. There was no association between length of stay and exposure to OS vs LS (p = 0.31). The estimated annual institutional cost savings from performing OS only and avoiding LS was $38,000. Conclusions Low-risk patients undergoing lung resection can be adequately and safely assessed using OS without formal LS, with significant cost savings. With upcoming bundled care reimbursement paradigms, such safe and effective strategies are likely to be more widely used.