Estimation of the tail index of heavy-tailed distributions and its applications are essential in many research areas. We propose a class of weighted least squares (WLS) estimators for the Parzen tail index. Our approach is based on the method developed by Holan and McElroy (J Stat Plan Inference 140(12):3693–3708, 2010). We investigate consistency and asymptotic normality of the WLS estimators. Through a simulation study, we make a comparison with the Hill, Pickands, DEdH (Dekkers, Einmahl and de Haan) and ordinary least squares (OLS) estimators using the mean square error as criterion. The results show that in a restricted model some members of the WLS estimators are competitive with the Pickands, DEdH and OLS estimators.