Thoracic epidural analgesia (TEA) and transversus abdominis plane (TAP) block are used for pain control after abdominal surgery. Although there have been several meta-analyses comparing these two techniques, the conclusion was limited by a small number of studies and heterogeneity among studies. Our meta-analysis used the Medline, EMBASE, and Cochrane central library databases from their inception through September 2022. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing TEA and TAP block were included. The pre-specified primary outcome was the pain score at rest at 12 h postoperatively. Twenty-two RCTs involving 1975 patients were included. Pooled analyses showed the pain score at rest at 12 h postoperatively was significantly different between groups favoring TEA group (Mean difference [MD] 0.58, 95% confidence interval CI – 0.01, 1.15, P = 0.04, I = 94%). TEA group significantly reduced the pain score at 48 h at rest (MD 0.59, 95% CI 0.15, 1.03, P = 0.009, I = 86%) and at 48 h at movement (MD 0.53, 95% CI 0.07, 0.99, P = 0.03, I = 76%). However, there was no significant difference at other time points. Time to ambulation was shorter in TAP block but the incidence of hypotension at 24 h and 72 h was significantly lower in TAP block compared to TEA. Trial sequential analysis showed that the required information size has not yet been reached. Our meta-analysis demonstrated there was no significant or clinically meaningful difference in the postoperative pain scores between TEA and TAP block group. Given the insufficient information size revealed by TSA, the high risk of bias of our included studies, and the significant heterogeneity of our meta-analysis results, our results should be interpreted carefully but it is not likely that the addition of further studies could prove any clinically meaningful difference in pain score between these two techniques.