Pincer-based catalysts possess an exceptional balance of stability versus reactivity, aspects of fundamental interest in catalyst design. This balance has been well-controlled by systematic ligand modifications along with the variation of the metal center. Ruthenium pincer complexes (RPCs), exhibit a versatile chemistry, serve as excellent precursors and find potential applications in many organic transformations. A large number of novel and valuable reactions has been developed using both stoichiometric and catalytic amounts of RPCs. Compared to the traditional ruthenium catalysts, pincer complexes often present high efficiency, selectivity and functional group tolerance. This review highlights different methodologies for the synthesis of RPCs and their catalytic applications for different reactions reported in the last decade. Additionally, the factors affecting the catalytic reactivity of the RPCs and the reaction mechanisms are discussed.