Reported here is a phantom-based comparison of methods for determining the power spectral density (PSD) of ultrasound backscattered signals. Those power spectral density values are then used to estimate parameters describing α(f), the frequency dependence of the acoustic attenuation coefficient. Phantoms were scanned with a clinical system equipped with a research interface to obtain radiofrequency echo data. Attenuation, modeled as a power law α(f)= α0fβ, was estimated using a reference phantom method. The power spectral density was estimated using the short-time Fourier transform (STFT), Welch’s periodogram, and Thomson’s multitaper technique, and performance was analyzed when limiting the size of the parameter-estimation region. Errors were quantified by the bias and standard deviation of the α0 and β estimates, and by the overall power-law fit error (FE). For parameter estimation regions larger than ~34 pulse lengths (~1 cm for this experiment), an overall power-law FE of 4% was achieved with all spectral estimation methods. With smaller parameter estimation regions as in parametric image formation, the bias and standard deviation of the α0 and β estimates depended on the size of the parameter estimation region. Here, the multitaper method reduced the standard deviation of the α0 and β estimates compared with those using the other techniques. The results provide guidance for choosing methods for estimating the power spectral density in quantitative ultrasound methods.