In this study, we evaluated the efficacy and safety of high-dose calcium channel blocker (CCB) monotherapy and standard-dose CCBs combined with angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) for patients with hypertension. A comprehensive search of PubMed, Embase and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials was performed in December 2015. Randomized controlled trials designed to identify the above goal were included. Thirteen trials including 2371 patients were identified. The standard-dose CCB/ARB combination resulted in a greater reduction of systolic blood pressure (WMD − 2.52, 95% confidence interval (CI): − 3.76 to − 1.28) and diastolic blood pressure (weighted mean difference (WMD) − 2.07, 95% CI: − 3.73 to − 0.42) compared to high-dose CCB monotherapy. The overall hypertension control rate for the CCB/ARB combination was higher than that for CCB monotherapy (relative risk (RR): 1.17, 95% CI: 1.08-1.26). Furthermore, the CCB/ARB combination treatment yielded significantly fewer overall adverse events (RR: 0.84, 95% CI: 0.74-0.95), oedema (RR: 0.31; 95% CI: 0.18-0.52) and rash (RR: 0.27, 95% CI: 0.08-0.96, P = 0.04) than did CCB monotherapy. The standard-dose CCB/ARB combination is superior to high-dose CCB monotherapy for lowering blood pressure and reducing adverse events in hypertensive patients. Future research should focus on the cost-effectiveness and longterm effects of these two treatment strategies for patients with hypertension.