Although recent studies have reported favorable outcomes in living donor liver transplantation (LDLT), it remains unclear which populations benefit most from LDLT. This study aims to evaluate LDLT outcomes compared with deceased donor LT (DDLT) according to Model for End‐Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score categories. Using data from the United Network for Organ Sharing registry, outcomes were compared between 1486 LDLTs; 13,568 donation after brain death (DBD)‐DDLTs; and 1171 donation after circulatory death (DCD)‐DDLTs between 2009 and 2018. Because LDLT for patients with MELD scores >30 was rare, all patients with scores >30 were excluded to equalize LDLT and DDLT cohorts. Risk factors for 1‐year graft loss (GL) were determined separately for LDLT and DDLT. Compared with LDLT, DBD‐DDLT had a lower risk of 30‐day (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.60; P < 0.001) and 1‐year GL (aHR, 0.57; P < 0.001). The lower risk of GL was more prominent in the mid‐MELD score category (score 15‐29). Compared with LDLT, DCD‐DDLT had a lower risk of 30‐day GL but a comparable risk of 1‐year GL, regardless of MELD score category. In LDLT, significant ascites was an independent risk for GL in patients with mid‐MELD scores (aHR, 1.68; P = 0.02), but not in the lower‐MELD score group. The risk of 1‐year GL in LDLT patients with ascites who received a left liver was higher than either those who received a right liver or those without ascites who received a left liver. In LDLT, combinations of MELD scores of 15 to 29, moderate/severe ascites, and the use of a left liver are associated with worse outcomes. These findings help calibrate appropriate patient and graft selection in LDLT.