The Best ETFs to Buy Now (2024)

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) offer investors a variety of different strategies to prepare for whatever the market throws at them – Federal Reserve moves, election uncertainty, economic instability and just about everything else under the sun. We kept all of these in mind as we built this list of the best ETFs to buy now.

With the second quarter of 2024 well underway, we're still left wondering exactly what kind of year it will be. Most economic statistics point to a robust economy. The first reading of Q1 real GDP (gross domestic product) showed the economy grew at a healthy 1.6%, following the fourth quarter's even stronger 3.2%. Unemployment remains near historic lows.

Inflation remains higher than most of us would like, but it's trending lower. And the Federal Reserve is widely expected to start lowering interest rates later this year. The consensus estimate is that the Fed makes its first rate cut this fall.

Yet risks remain. The yield curve has been inverted since July 2022, with short-term interest rates significantly higher than long-term interest rates. This has traditionally been a warning sign of a coming recession. Mortgage rates hover near 20-year highs, which has had the effect of trapping millions of Americans in their homes and putting existing home sales into a deep freeze. It's hard to justify selling a home financed at a sub-3% rate in order to buy one at close to a 7% rate.

Credit card balances topped $1 trillion for the first time last year, and millions of Americans have seen their budgets crimped by the resumption of student loan payments.

And then, of course, there's the elephant in the room: The 2024 presidential election. There are strong feelings and uncertainty surrounding both current President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, who are both the front-runners for their respective parties' nominations. This has the potential to spark volatility in the stock and bond markets in the lead-up to November, though the good news for investors is that election years tend to be positive for equities.

So, how do you invest in an environment like this?

By sticking with quality.

ETFs loaded with strong companies that have proven their ability to navigate an uncertain market make sense in this environment.

How do you find the best ETFs to buy?

Today we're going to take a look at five of the best ETFs to buy for 2024. But this of course raises the question of what exactly defines a strong ETF and where we should go to look for them?

To start, it's generally a good idea to stick to relatively broad-market ETFs. You don't have to put your entire portfolio in an S&P 500 index fund, of course, though doing so isn't necessarily a bad idea, particularly if your account is modest in size and diversification is difficult.

Sector ETFs and highly specialized single-strategy ETFs can add value under the right set of circ*mstances, and you may have your reasons for wanting targeted exposure. But it's generally going to make sense to keep those positions relatively small while leaving the bulk of your portfolio in more diversified, broader-market ETFs.

Costs are also a consideration. It's not going to have a major impact on your long-term returns if you hold an ETF with an expense ratio of 0.08% vs 0.10%. Once you reach a certain low-cost threshold, it doesn't move the needle all that much to lower fees by an extra basis point. (A basis point = 0.01%). But every dollar you pay in fees is a dollar you no longer have available to grow and compound. So, all else equal, it makes sense to buy low-cost ETFs rather than those with higher expense ratios.

As for where to look for the best ETFs to buy, we've never had more options. Popular websites such as Yahoo Finance and Morningstar offer simple screeners that allow you to rank ETFs based on the specific criteria you're looking for. Of course, a screener should just be a starting point in your research. You should always take the time to visit the ETF sponsor's website and do a little digging of your own.

Let's take a look at the five best ETFs to buy now. Data is as of April 29. Dividend yields represent the trailing 12-month yield, which is a standard measure for equity funds.


Wall Street

The Best ETFs to Buy Now (2024)


What are the best ETFs to buy right now? ›

The best ETFs to buy now
Exchange-traded fund (ticker)Assets under managementExpenses
Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG)$76.5 billion0.06%
Vanguard U.S. Quality Factor ETF (VFQY)$333.3 million0.13%
SPDR Gold MiniShares (GLDM)$7.4 billion0.10%
iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF (SHY)$24.4 billion0.15%
1 more row

Which ETF has the highest return? ›

100 Highest 5 Year ETF Returns
SymbolName5-Year Return
FNGOMicroSectors FANG+ Index 2X Leveraged ETNs50.00%
TECLDirexion Daily Technology Bull 3X Shares42.20%
GBTCGrayscale Bitcoin Trust40.63%
SOXLDirexion Daily Semiconductor Bull 3x Shares36.15%
93 more rows

Which ETF will grow the most? ›

Compare the best growth ETFs
Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ)0.20%18.60%
Vanguard Growth ETF (VUG)0.04%15.07%
iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF (IWF)0.19%15.78%
iShares S&P 500 Growth ETF (IVW)0.18%14.34%
3 more rows

Are ETFs a good investment today? ›

ETFs are considered to be low-risk investments because they are low-cost and hold a basket of stocks or other securities, increasing diversification. For most individual investors, ETFs represent an ideal type of asset with which to build a diversified portfolio.

What is the top 3 ETF? ›

Largest ETFs: Top 100 ETFs By Assets
SPYSPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust$533,178,000.00
IVViShares Core S&P 500 ETF$464,283,000.00
VOOVanguard S&P 500 ETF$455,444,000.00
VTIVanguard Total Stock Market ETF$398,098,000.00
96 more rows

What is the highest paying ETF? ›

Top 100 Highest Dividend Yield ETFs
SymbolNameDividend Yield
AAPBGraniteShares 2x Long AAPL Daily ETF24.26%
TSDDGraniteShares 2x Short TSLA Daily ETF22.56%
RYSEVest 10 Year Interest Rate Hedge ETF22.10%
FLJHFranklin FTSE Japan Hedged ETF Franklin FTSE Japan Hedged Fund21.84%
93 more rows

How many ETFs should I own? ›

Experts agree that for most personal investors, a portfolio comprising 5 to 10 ETFs is perfect in terms of diversification.

What is the riskiest ETF? ›

7 risky leveraged ETFs to watch:
  • ProShares UltraPro QQQ (TQQQ)
  • ProShares Ultra QQQ (QLD)
  • Direxion Daily S&P 500 Bull 3x Shares (SPXL)
  • Direxion Daily S&P 500 Bull 2x Shares (SPUU)
  • Amplify BlackSwan Growth & Treasury Core ETF (SWAN)
  • WisdomTree U.S. Efficient Core Fund (NTSX)
Jul 7, 2022

Are ETFs safer than stocks? ›

Because of their wide array of holdings, ETFs provide the benefits of diversification, including lower risk and less volatility, which often makes a fund safer to own than an individual stock. An ETF's return depends on what it's invested in. An ETF's return is the weighted average of all its holdings.

Is spy better than voo? ›

Over the long run, they do compound—those fee differences—and investors have been putting a lot more money into VOO versus SPY. That is the reason why we view VOO slightly better than SPY. And that is just the basic approach, which is the lower the investor can pay, the better the investment is.

What is the number one traded ETF? ›

Most Popular ETFs: Top 100 ETFs By Trading Volume
SymbolNameAvg Daily Share Volume (3mo)
SPYSPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust66,578,102
TQQQProShares UltraPro QQQ66,366,102
SOXLDirexion Daily Semiconductor Bull 3x Shares66,232,844
XLFFinancial Select Sector SPDR Fund43,778,020
96 more rows

What is Vanguard's best performing ETF? ›

Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (VYM)

The better Vanguard ETF for their needs is likely VYM, which delivers a higher 2.9% 30-day SEC yield by targeting the FTSE High Dividend Yield Index. It also charges the same expense ratio as VIG does, at 0.06%.

What is the downside to an ETF? ›

The single biggest risk in ETFs is market risk. Like a mutual fund or a closed-end fund, ETFs are only an investment vehicle—a wrapper for their underlying investment. So if you buy an S&P 500 ETF and the S&P 500 goes down 50%, nothing about how cheap, tax efficient, or transparent an ETF is will help you.

How to pick a good ETF? ›

Before purchasing an ETF there are five factors to take into account 1) performance of the ETF 2) the underlying index of the ETF 3) the ETF's structure 4) when and how to trade the ETF and 5) the total cost of the ETF.

What is the best ETF to buy right now? ›

Best ETFs To Buy Now
  • iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF (NYSE Arca: DGRO) ...
  • Industrial Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSE Arca: XLI) ...
  • Vanguard U.S. Quality Factor ETF ETF Shares (CBOE US: VFQY) ...
  • Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (NYSE Arca: VOO) ...
  • SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE Arca: SPY) ...
  • iShares S&P 100 ETF (NYSE Arca: OEF)
Mar 11, 2024

Is Vanguard S&P 500 ETF a good investment? ›

The Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO 0.68%) is one of the best ways to invest in the S&P 500, which has been a pretty smart strategy over the long term. Since 1965, the S&P 500 has produced a total return of 10.2% annualized. The Vanguard ETF has an expense ratio of just 0.03%, so you get to keep most of your gains.

What ETF is better than the S&P 500? ›

The S&P 500 does a good job of tracking the market, but that doesn't mean it will suit your investment needs. If you are retired and trying to maximize the income you generate, you should consider Schwab U.S. Dividend Equity ETF.

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