Ultrashort pulsed laser is an indispensable tool for the evolution of photonic technology in the present and future. This laser has been progressing tremendously with new pulse regimes and incorporating novel devices inside its cavity. Recently, a nanomaterial based saturable absorber (SA) was used in ultrafast laser that has improved the lasing performance and caused a reduction in the physical dimension when compared to conventional SAs. To date, the nanomaterials that are exploited for the development of SA devices are carbon nanotubes, graphene, topological insulators, transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) and black phosphorous. These materials have unique advantages such as high nonlinear optical response, fiber compatibility and ease of fabrication. In these, TMDs are prominent and an emerging two-dimensional nanomaterial for photonics and optoelectronics applications. Therefore, we review the reports of Q-switched and mode-locked pulsed lasers using TMDs (specifically MoS2, MoSe2, WS2 and WSe2) based SAs. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.