Over the last 15 years supraglottic airway devices (SADs), most notably the classic laryngeal mask airway (LMA) have revolutionised airway management in anaesthesia. In contrast for resuscitation, both in and outside hospital, facemask ventilation and tracheal intubation remain the mainstays of airway management. However there is evidence that both these techniques have complications and are often poorly performed by inexperienced personnel. Tracheal intubation also has the potential to cause serious harm or death through unrecognised oesophageal intubation. SADs may have a role in airway management for resuscitation as first responder devices, rescue devices or for use during patient extraction. In particular they may be beneficial as the level of skill required to use the device safely may be less than for the tracheal tube. Concerns have been expressed over the ability to ventilate the lungs successfully and also the risk of aspiration with SADs. The only SADs recommended by ILCOR in its current guidance are the classic LMA and combitube. Several SADs have recently been introduced with claims that ventilation and airway protection is improved. This pragmatic review examines recent developments in SAD technology and the relevance of this to the potential for using SADs during resuscitation. In addition to examining research directly related to resuscitation both on bench models and in patients the review also examines evidence from anaesthetic practice. SADS discussed include the classic, intubating and Proseal LMAs, the combitube, the laryngeal tube, laryngeal tube sonda mark I and II and single use laryngeal masks.