Abstract Performance of 10 fault location methods for power distribution systems has been compared. The analyzed methods use only measurements of voltage and current at the substation. Fundamental component during pre-fault and fault are used in these methods to estimate the apparent impedance viewed from the measurement point. Deviation between pre-fault and fault impedance together with the system parameters are used to estimate the distance to the fault point. Fundamental aspects of each method have been considered in the analysis. Power system topology, line and load models and the necessity of additional information are relevant aspects that differentiate one method from another. The 10 selected methods have been implemented, tested and compared in a simulated network. The paper reports the results for several scenarios defined by significant values of the fault location and impedance. The estimated error has been used as a performance index in the comparison.