Bioinspired smart asymmetric nanochannel membranes (BSANM) have been explored extensively to achieve the delicate ionic transport functions comparable to those of living organisms. The abiotic system exhibits superior stability and robustness, allowing for promising applications in many fields. In view of the abundance of research concerning BSANM in the past decade, herein, we present a systematic overview of the development of the state-of-the-art BSANM system. The discussion is focused on the construction methodologies based on raw materials with diverse dimensions (i.e. 0D, 1D, 2D, and bulk). A generic strategy for the design and construction of the BSANM system is proposed first and put into context with recent developments from homogeneous to heterogeneous nanochannel membranes. Then, the basic properties of the BSANM are introduced including selectivity, gating, and rectification, which are associated with the particular chemical and physical structures. Moreover, we summarized the practical applications of BSANM in energy conversion, biochemical sensing and other areas. In the end, some personal opinions on the future development of the BSANM are briefly illustrated. This review covers most of the related literature reported since 2010 and is intended to build up a broad and deep knowledge base that can provide a solid information source for the scientific community.