In this paper, a new family of 3-degree-of-freedom planar parallel manipulators (PPMs), namely U-shape fixed base PPMs starting with an active prismatic joint on each leg, is proposed. In order to identify the best manipulators of this family, comparative kinematic and dynamic performance studies are performed. The kinematic performances are quantified through the local performance index, namely the kinematic isotropy. From the kinematic isotropy analysis results, it is observed that PPR-PRP-PRP, PRP-PRP-PRP and PRR-PRP-PRP configurations have better kinematic design aspects compared to other configurations of this family of U-shape fixed base parallel configurations. Further, from the workspace analysis, it is observed that the PPR-PRP-PRP configuration has a higher value of workspace to the total area required ratio compared to other configurations. This paper also presents a comparative dynamic performance analysis of these top-three U-shape fixed base configurations in terms of dynamic driving performance measures, and energy requirements for three different (fixed base size of the manipulators) aspect ratios under two different loading conditions. From the analyses results, it is perceived that the PRP-PRP-PRP configuration is requiring lower energy and dynamic driving performances than others. These analyses are done with the help of multi-body dynamic software, namely MSC ADAMS, and the results are validated through the help of real-time experiments conducted on in-house fabricated prototypes of these three PPMs. In specific, the energy consumption is measured and compared in this study. Experimental results demonstrated that the PRP-PRP-PRP manipulator displays a considerably better performance in terms of minimum energy requirement. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018.