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The high-level contribution of this paper is a simulation-based detailed performance comparison of three different classes of on-demand routing protocols for mobile ad hoc networks: stability-based routing, power-aware routing and load-balanced routing. We choose the flow-oriented routing protocol (FORP), min-max battery cost routing (MMBCR) and the traffic interference based load balancing routing (LBR) protocol as representatives of the stability-based routing, power-aware routing and load-balancing routing protocols respectively. FORP incurs the least number of route transitions; while LBR incurs the smallest hop count and lowest end-to-end delay per data packet. Energy consumed per data packet is the least for LBR, closely followed by MMBCR. FORP incurs the maximum energy consumed per data packet, both in the absence and presence of power control. Nevertheless, in the presence of power control, the end-to-end delay per data packet and energy consumed per data packet incurred by FORP are significantly reduced compared to the scenario without power control. MMBCR is the most fair in terms of node usage and incurs the largest time for first node failure. FORP tends to repeatedly use nodes lying on the stable path and hence is the most unfair of the three routing protocols. FORP also incurs the smallest value for the time of first node failure.