This paper presents the results of an investigation into the performance of different controllers in active load control of wind turbine blades equipped with microtabs. A bang–bang (BB) controller, a linear quadratic regulator (LQR) a proportional integral derivative (PID) and a sliding mode controller (SMC) are synthesised for load alleviation. The performance of the synthesised controllers in load alleviation is evaluated by employing WTAC (Wind Turbine Aeroelastic and Control), a wind turbine simulator incorporating an unsteady aerodynamic module, a structural analysis module and a control module. The variable-speed pitch-controlled NREL-5 MW is adopted as the case study. Using frequency domain analysis it is shown that for the studied case all controllers have more or less the same performance at rejecting the first rotational frequency loads. It is also shown that all controllers are more effective at rejecting loads with lower frequencies. BB and PID controllers, although capable of rejecting low frequency loads, may cause amplification of loads with higher frequencies. Investigating the performance of four controllers at different wind speeds for the studied wind turbine, it is observed that the effectiveness of BB and PID controllers reduces with wind speed but on the other hand SMC and LQR perform better at higher wind speeds. Introducing a new parameter, life index, the performance of different controllers in terms of the actuation wear is investigated. It is shown that LQR cause less actuation wear compared to SMC, while having comparable performance in load alleviation.