To assess the efficacy and safety of thulium laser resection of the prostate (TmLRP) vs transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) for treating patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). A systematic search of the electronic databases, including Medline, Scopus, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, and the Cochrane Library was performed up to May 1, 2013. The pooled outcomes of interest assessing the two techniques included demographic and clinical baseline characteristics, perioperative variables, complications, and postoperative efficacy including maximum flow rate (Qmax), postvoid residual (PVR), quality of life (QoL) and International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS). Nine trials assessing TmLRP vs. TURP were considered suitable for meta-analysis including three randomized controlled trials (RCTs), two prospective, and four retrospective studies. Compared with TURP, although TmLRP needed a longer operative time (weighted mean difference [WMD]: 9.00 min; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.53-15.47; P=0.006), patients having TmLRP might benefit from significantly less serum sodium decreased (-3.58 mmol/L; 95% CI, -4.04 to -3.12; P<0.001), less serum hemoglobin decreased (WMD: -0.94 mmol/L; 95% CI, -1.44 to -0.44; P<0.001), shorter time of catheterization (WMD: -2.07 days; 95% CI, -2.66 to -1.49; P<0.001), shorter length of hospital stay (WMD: -1.87 days; 95% CI, -2.41 to -1.33; P<0.001), and fewer total complications (odds ratio [OR]: 0.29; 95% CI, 0.20-0.41; P<0.001). During the 1, 3, 6, and 12 months of postoperative follow-up, the procedures did not demonstrate a significant difference in Qmax, IPSS, PVR, and QoL. Our data suggest that as a promising minimally invasive technique, TmLRP appears to be a safe, feasible, and efficient alternative to TURP for treating patients with BPH with reliable perioperative safety, fewer complications, and comparable efficacy in relation to Qmax, PVR, QoL, and IPSS. Because of the inherent limitations of the included studies, further large sample prospective, multicentric, long-term follow-up studies and RCTs should be undertaken to confirm our findings.