In this systematic survey, an overview of non-conventional actuators particularly used in soft-robotics is presented. The review is performed by using well-defined performance criteria with a direction to identify the exemplary and potential applications. In addition to this, initial guidelines to compare the performance and applicability of these novel actuators are provided. The meta-analysis is restricted to five main types of actuators: shape memory alloys (SMAs), fluidic elastomer actuators (FEAs), shape morphing polymers (SMPs), dielectric electro-activated polymers (DEAPs), and magnetic/electro-magnetic actuators (E/MAs). In exploring and comparing the capabilities of these actuators, the focus was on eight different aspects: compliance, topology-geometry, scalability-complexity, energy efficiency, operation range, modality, controllability, and technological readiness level (TRL). The overview presented here provides a state-of-the-art summary of the advancements and can help researchers to select the most convenient soft actuators using the comprehensive comparison of the suggested quantitative and qualitative criteria.