The power to detect quantitative trait loci (QTL) using the double haploid (DH), full-sib (FS) and hierarchical (HI) designs implemented in outbred fish populations was assessed for interval mapping using deterministic methods. The predictions were tested using simulation. The DH design was most efficient for the range of designs and parameters considered and was most beneficial when the FS design was not very powerful. The difference between the designs was largest for a low amount of residual genetic variation. Accounting for an increase of the environmental variance due to the genetic constitution of the double haploid progeny changed the magnitude of the power, but the ranking of the designs remained the same. As large full sib family sizes can be obtained in fish, the practical value of HI designs as a strategy for increasing the power of QTL mapping experiments is limited when compared with the FS design. Overall, the results suggested that the DH design could be a very useful tool for QTL mapping in fish, and of particular importance when the effect of the QTL is low and the residual genetic variation from other chromosomes can be controlled by using multiple markers.