The two-sphere method with multiple confocal measurements and a "cat's-eye" measurement is used widely in high accuracy interferometry, which can obtain the absolute surface data of the tested spherical surface. We provide a comparative experimental study on absolute testing procedures for spherical surface with two-sphere method, which include the classical Jensen method with three position measurements, the Zygo method with five position measurements and a variant of the Jensen method. The variant of the Jensen method can combine the multiple "three-position" measurements based on the fiducial method and averaging method. The repeatability of the involved absolute measurement methods is also studied by the five set experiments, and the corresponding Zernike fitting coefficients are compared in detail. The experimental results are meaningful for implementation of two-sphere method with higher repeatability in practice. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.