The dominantly inherited spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) are a large class of neurodegenerative diseases. Transcranial magnetic stimulation has been used to evaluate the function of the pyramidal tract, and central motor conduction time (CMCT) is one index used to detect pyramidal tract dysfunction. We conducted a comprehensive search of PubMed, Embase and Web of Science. Eight eligible studies were included in the meta-analysis. For upper limb CMCT, the mean difference (95% confidence interval (CI)) between the combined SCA group and the control group was 2.24 [1.76-2.72], while the mean differences (95% CIs) between the subtypes and the control group were as follows: 4.43 [3.58-5.28] for SCA1, 0.25 [-0.15,0.65] for SCA2, 1.04 [-0.37,2.46] for SCA3 and 0.49 [-0.29,1.28] for SCA6. Additionally, SCA1 significantly differed from SCA2 and SCA3 in terms of CMCT (P=0.0006 and P=0.010, respectively). We also compared lower limb CMCT between the SCA2 and control groups. The mean difference (95% CI) was 6.58 [4.49-8.67], which was clearly statistically significant. The differences in CMCT values among different subtypes suggests diverse pathological mechanisms. In general, CMCT is a promising objective index to judge the severity of disease deserving further investigation.