Given the worldwide effort to improve crop drought resistance, it is crucial to understand the mechanisms of root system adaptation of ploidy wheat to water-deficient environments. A meta-analysis was performed to examine the changes in root system mechanisms under drought conditions. Data used in the analysis were drawn from 192 papers, taking into account wheat ploidy levels as well as pot and field studies. The results illustrated that water stress reduced grain yield and aboveground biomass to a greater extent in diploid and tetraploid compared with hexaploid genotypes. In contrast, drought reduced root biomass, root surface area and root volume more in hexaploid than in diploid and tetraploid wheat. Under water-limited conditions, diploid and tetraploid genotypes exhibited greater root biomass and root length densities in the topsoil. Hexaploid genotypes greatly reduced root biomass and root length density in the topsoil and maintained higher root biomass and root length density in subsoil. These genotypes also showed smaller root diameter and xylem centre vessel diameter under drought conditions. The analysis revealed that grain yield was negatively correlated with topsoil root biomass and root length density, root volume, root diameter and xylem centre vessel, but positively correlated with subsoil root mass, root length density and root vigour. The study demonstrated that domestication and selection pressures of ploidy wheat have altered wheat root system traits while improving grain yield. Greater root mass and root length densities in the subsoil facilitate access to soil moisture from deep layers, contributing to high yields in drought environments.