We performed a systematic review to compare the efficacy and safety of the streamlined liner of the pharynx airway and laryngeal mask airway used in adults during general anaesthesia. We included 14 studies with studies with 1273 patients in total. There was no evidence of a difference between the two devices in insertion success rate on the first attempt (13 studies, 1143 patients), insertion time (seven studies, 576 patients), ease of insertion (five studies, 466 patients), oropharyngeal leak pressure (eight studies, 771 patients) and the quality of the fibreoptic view of the larynx through the device (three studies, 281 patients). The relative risk (95% CI) of bloodstaining of the device (nine studies, 859 patients) was 2.09 (1.46–3.00) for the streamlined liner of the pharynx airway compared with the laryngeal mask airway. Other adverse events were comparable. Subgroup analysis suggested that the insertion by novice users might be faster and more successful with the streamlined liner of the pharynx airway than the laryngeal mask airway; however, this was from only two studies and 186 patients. The method of size selection of the streamlined liner of the pharynx airway device might also affect the speed of insertion: choosing according to the width of the patient's thyroid cartilage, rather than height, may produce better results.