We performed a prospective, open-label, randomised controlled trial comparing the air-Q(®) against the LMA-ProSeal™ in adults undergoing general anaesthesia. One hundred subjects (American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status 1-3) presenting for elective, outpatient surgery were randomly assigned to 52 air-Q(®) and 48 ProSeal devices. The primary study endpoint was airway seal pressure. Oropharyngolaryngeal morbidity was assessed secondarily. Mean (SD) airway seal pressures for the air-Q(®) and ProSeal were 30 (7) cmH (2) O and 30 (6) cmH(2) O, respectively (p = 0.47). Postoperative sore throat was more common with the air-Q(®) (46% vs 38%, p = 0.03) as was pain on swallowing (30% vs 5%, p = 0.01). In conclusion, the air-Q(®) performs well as a primary airway during the maintenance of general anaesthesia with an airway seal pressure similar to that of the ProSeal, but with a higher incidence of postoperative oropharyngolaryngeal complaints. © 2011 The Authors. Anaesthesia © 2011 The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland.