In the realm of MEMS piezoelectric vibration energy harvesters, cantilever-based designs are by far the most popular. For cantilever-based vibration energy harvesters, the active piezoelectric area near the clamped end is able to accumulate maximum strain-generated-electrical-charge, while the free end is used to house a proof mass to improve the power output without compromising the effective area of the piezoelectric generator since it experiences minimal strain anyway. However, despite while other contending designs do exist, this paper explores five selected micro-cantilever (MC) topologies, namely: a plain MC, a tapered MC, a lined MC, a holed MC and a coupled MC, in order to assess their relative performance as an energy harvester. Although a classical straight and plain MC offers the largest active piezoelectric area, alternative MC designs can potentially offer larger deflection and thus mechanical strain distribution for a given mechanical loading. Numerical simulation and experimental comparison of these 5 MCs (0.5 µm AlN on 10 µm Si) with the same practical dimensions of 500 µm and 2000 µm, suggest a cantilever with a coupled subsidiary cantilever yield the best power performance, closely followed by the classical plain cantilever topology.