This paper investigates the performance characteristics of the reduced common mode voltage (RCMV) PWM methods for three phase voltage source inverters and provides a comparison with the standard PWM methods. PWM methods are reviewed and their pulse patterns and common mode voltage patterns illustrated. The AC output current ripple, DC link input current ripple, and output voltage linearity characteristics of each modulation method are thoroughly investigated by analytical methods and simulations. The analysis leads to important results regarding the practical use of the investigated PWM methods. The paper aids in selection of appropriate PWM methods in drives that have low common mode voltage requirements.