To evaluate the efficacy and safety of transurethral enucleation of the prostate (TUEP) versus transvesical open prostatectomy (OP) for the management of large benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing TUEP and OP were identified from PubMed, Embase and Web of Science up to February 28, 2015. A meta-analysis was conducted with the STATA 12.0 software. Nine RCTs including 758 patients were enrolled in our meta-analysis. There were no significant differences between the two groups in the maximum urinary flow rate at 1, 3, 6 months, 1 and 2 years: postvoiding residual urinary volume, prostate-specific antigen, international prostate symptom score and quality of life score at 1, 3, 6 months and 1 year; or international index of erectile function at 3, 6 months and 1 year. Perioperative outcomes including hemoglobin level drop, catheter period, irrigation length and hospital stay favored TUEP, while operative time and resected prostate weight favored OP. There was significantly less blood transfusion with TUEP, but no significant differences were found in other complications such as recatheterization, urinary tract infection, reintervention for clots and bleeding control, incidence of pneumonia and infarction, transient incontinence, bladder neck contracture, urethral stricture and recurrent adenoma. TUEP can be performed effectively and safely with functional outcomes and complications similar to OP for large BPH, whereas it has the advantages of a shorter catheter period, shorter hospital stays and less blood transfusion. These findings seem to support TUEP as the next-generation "gold standard" of surgery for large BPH.