There are an increasing number of compression systems available for treatment of venous leg ulcers and limited evidence on the relative effectiveness of these systems. The purpose of this study was to conduct a randomised controlled trial to compare the effectiveness of a 4-layer compression bandage system with Class 3 compression hosiery on healing and quality of life in patients with venous leg ulcers. Data were collected from 103 participants on demographics, health, ulcer status, treatments, pain, depression and quality of life for 24 weeks. After 24 weeks, 86% of the 4-layer bandage group and 77% of the hosiery group were healed (p=0.24). Median time to healing for the bandage group was 10 weeks, in comparison to 14 weeks for the hosiery group (p=0.018). Cox proportional hazards regression found participants in the 4-layer system were 2.1 times (95% CI 1.2–3.5) more likely to heal than those in hosiery, while longer ulcer duration, larger ulcer area and higher depression scores significantly delayed healing. No differences between groups were found in quality of life or pain measures. Findings indicate these systems were equally effective in healing patients by 24 weeks, however a 4-layer system may produce a more rapid response.