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Minimum norm algorithms for EEG source reconstruction are studied in view of their spatial resolution, regularization, and lead-field normalization properties, and their computational efforts. Two classes of minimum norm solutions are examined: linear least squares methods and nonlinear L1-norm approaches. Two special cases of linear algorithms, the well known Minimum Norm Least Squares and an implementation with Laplacian smoothness constraints, are compared to two nonlinear algorithms comprising sparse and standard L1-norm methods. In a signal-to-noise-ratio framework, two of the methods allow automatic determination of the optimum regularization parameter. Compensation methods for the different depth dependencies of all approaches by lead-field normalization are discussed. Simulations with tangentially and radially oriented test dipoles at two different noise levels are performed to reveal and compare the properties of all approaches. Finally, cortically constrained versions of the algorithms are applied to two epileptic spike data sets and compared to results of single equivalent dipole fits and spatiotemporal source models.