Background and study aims Choice of sedation (propofol vs opioid/benzodiazepine) has been studied in the literature and has shown variable outcomes. The majority of recent studies have evaluated propofol sedation (PS) versus opioids, benzodiazepines, or a combination of both. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies comparing PS to other sedation methods to assess the impact on colonoscopy outcomes. Methods Multiple databases were searched and studies of interest were extracted. Primary outcome of the study was adenoma detection rate (ADR) and secondary outcomes included polyp detection rate (PDR), advanced adenoma detection rate (AADR), and cecal intubation rate (CIR). Results A total of 11 studies met the inclusion criteria with a total of 177,016 patients (148,753 and 28,263 in the opioids/benzodiazepine group and PS group, respectively). Overall, ADR (RR: 1.07, 95 % CI 0.99-1.15), PDR (RR: 1.01, 95 % CI 0.93-1.10), and AADR (RR: 1.17, 95 % CI 0.92-1.48) did not improve with the use of PS. The CIR was slightly higher for propofol sedation group (RR 1.02, 95 % CI 1.00-1.03). Conclusion Based on our analysis, PS and opioid/benzodiazepine sedation seem to have comparable ADR. Our results do not favor use of a particular sedation method and the choice of sedation should be individualized based on patient preference, risk factors and resource availability.