Background and objective: This study was performed to compare three disposable airway devices, the LMA Unique (LMA-U), the Ambu laryngeal mask (Ambu LM) and the Soft Seal laryngeal mask (Soft Seal LM) for elective general anaesthesia during controlled ventilation in non-paralysed patients. Methods: One hundred and twenty ASA I–III patients scheduled for routine minor obstetric surgery were randomly allocated to the LMA-U (n = 40), Ambu LM (n = 40) or Soft Seal LM (n = 40) groups, respectively. Patients were comparable with respect to weight and airway characteristics. A size 4 LMA was used in all patients and inserted by a single experienced anaesthesiologist. Oxygenation, overall success rate, insertion time, cuff pressure and resulting airway leak pressure were determined as well as a subjective assessment of handling and the incidence of sore throat, dysphagia and hoarseness. Results: Time of insertion was shortest with the Ambu LM, while failure rates were comparable with the LMA-U, the Ambu LM and the Soft Seal LM (median 19 s; range 8–57 s; success rate 100% vs. 14; 8–35; 97% vs. 20; 12–46; 95%). Insertion was judged ‘excellent’ in 75% of patients in the LMA-U group, in 70% of patients in Ambu LM group and in 65% of patients in the Soft Seal LM group. There was no difference between devices with respect to postoperative airway morbidity at 6 h or 24 h following surgery. Conclusions: All three disposable devices were clinically suitable with respect to insertion times, success rates, oxygenation, airway and leak pressures, as well as to subjective handling and postoperative airway morbidity.