The Airtraq® laryngoscope is a novel single use tracheal intubation device. We compared the Airtraq® with the Macintosh laryngoscope in patients deemed at low risk for difficult intubation in a randomised, controlled clinical trial. Sixty consenting patients presenting for surgery requiring tracheal intubation were randomly allocated to undergo intubation using a Macintosh (n = 30) or Airtraq® (n = 30) laryngoscope. All patients were intubated by one of four anaesthetists experienced in the use of both laryngoscopes. No significant differences in demographic or airway variables were observed between the groups. All but one patient, in the Macintosh group, was successfully intubated on the first attempt. There was no difference between groups in the duration of intubation attempts. In comparison to the Macintosh laryngoscope, the Airtraq® resulted in modest improvements in the intubation difficulty score, and in ease of use. Tracheal intubation with the Airtraq® resulted in less alterations in heart rate. These findings demonstrate the utility of the Airtraq® laryngoscope for tracheal intubation in low risk patients.