Direct laryngoscopic tracheal intubation using the Macintosh laryngoscope is taught to many healthcare professionals as it is a potentially life-saving procedure. However, it is a difficult skill to acquire and maintain. Several alternative intubation devices exist that may provide a better view of the glottis and require less skill to use. We conducted a prospective, randomised trial of four different laryngoscopes and the ILMA in 30 medical students who had no prior airway management experience. The devices were tested in both normal and cervical immobilisation laryngoscopy scenarios. Following brief didactic instruction, each participant took turns performing laryngoscopy and intubation using each device under direct supervision. Each student was allowed up to three intubation attempts with each device, in each scenario. The Airtraq, McCoy, and the ILMA each demonstrated advantages over the Macintosh laryngoscope. In both the easy and difficult airway scenarios, the Airtraq, McCoy, and the ILMA reduced the number of intubation attempts, and reduced the number of optimisation manoeuvres required. The Airtraq and ILMA reduced the severity of dental trauma in both scenarios. The performance of the other devices studied was more variable. Overall, participants found that only the Airtraq was less difficult to use and they were more confident using it compared to the Macinosh laryngoscope.