This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-inhibitors in the treatment of ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) by using a meta-analysis of clinical trials. We searched PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and Clinicaltrials.gov by using keywords related to the topic in August 2018. The pooled effect sizes were calculated based on a random-effects model. We also performed subgroup meta-analysis by types of ALK inhibitors (crizotinib, ceritinib, and alectinib). A total of 20 clinical trials with 10 single-arm trials and 10 double-arm trials were included in the final meta-analysis. The median overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), overall response rate (ORR), disease control rate (DCR), 1 year survival rate, and 2 year survival rate were 19.14 months, 8.47 months, 62%, 78%, 74%, and 62%, respectively. ALK inhibitors showed a significantly superior efficacy compared with chemotherapy (hazard ratio (HR) for OS, 0.83; HR for PFS, 0.43; rate difference (RD) for ORR, 0.23; and RD for DCR, 0.10). The current meta-analysis of clinical trials showed the significant efficacy of ALK inhibitors in the treatment of ALK-positive NSCLC. Further head-to-head trials are needed to compare their efficacy with other types of NSCLC treatment regimens. PROSPERO registration: CRD42018085987.