Numerous studies have investigated aripiprazole as a treatment for bipolar disorder (BD). therefore we conducted this comprehensive meta-analysis to investigate the efficacy and safety profile of aripiprazole in treating BD. Two authors conducted systematic searches of PubMed and ScienceDirect from inception until May 14th, 2017. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of people with BD who received aripiprazole were included. A total of 20 RCTs met the eligibility criteria, including two which investigated the efficacy of aripiprazole versus haloperidol (aripiprazole = 340; haloperidol = 337), three which compared aripiprazole versus lithium (aripiprazole = 208; lithium = 212), and 15 with multiple comparisons of aripiprazole versus a placebo (aripiprazole = 1923; placebo = 1499). Compared to a placebo, aripiprazole improved acute mania (Hedges' g: − 0.299, p = 0.001) and psychosis (Hedges' g: − 0.296, p < 0.001) in the acute mania state, but did not improve depressive symptoms (Hedges' g: − 0.127, p = 0.054) in the acute depressive state. Aripiprazole was associated with lower relapse rates in bipolar mania when used in combination versus a placebo in maintenance therapy (odds ratio: 0.522, p < 0.029). Aripiprazole was also associated with higher levels of high density lipoprotein, lower dropout rates, but no difference in extrapyramidal symptoms in the maintenance phase versus a placebo or in comparison with other medications (haloperidol or lithium). Our results suggest that aripiprazole is effective and safe in treating bipolar mania. Further trials are necessary to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability versus other medications. © 2017 Elsevier Inc.