Handoff in heterogeneous cellular networks is one of the hot topics for wireless networks beyond the third generation. We observe that a power exhausting issue may occur in a code division multiple access (CDMA) system with mixed-sized cells. During soft handoff in the downlink transmission, a number of base stations transmit signals to a user simultaneously. Usually, a microcell has a more stringent limitation on the total available power than a macrocell. Thus, ignoring the impact of various cell sizes, the traditional downlink power allocation techniques for soft handoff may easily consume excessive power to serve soft handoff users, while leaving insufficient power for serving other regular users. To resolve such an power exhausting issue in CDMA systems, we investigate different downlink power allocation techniques used in soft handoff subject to the impact of mixed-sized cells. For the single-site power allocation technique we consider the site selection diversity transmission (SSDT) technique, while for the multi-site power allocation we study the link proportional power allocation (LPPA), the quality balancing power allocation (QBPA), and the equal power allocation (EPA) techniques. We find that the multi-site LPPA technique can more efficiently allocate power to both handoff and non-handoff users than others. In an example with the ratio of the micrcocell radius/macrocell radius equal to 1/3, it is demonstrated that LPPA can improve the capacity over EPA, QBPA, and SSDT by 125, 30, and 5%, respectively. By taking account of measurement errors in the same case, the capacity improvements of LPPA over EPA, QBPA, and SSDT become 180, 41, and 23%, respectively.