Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.
The best ETFs in the US for 2021
See which US ETFs are the highest performing by revenue.
The ETFs on this page are all listed in the US, and we ranked them based solely on their returns. Given the volatility of the stock market, some of the ETFs listed here may have shifted since we last updated this page.
Best performing US ETFs so far this year
As of April 2021, the top performing US ETFs so far this year are:
|Symbol||ETF name||YTD returns||Annual dividend yield|
|NRGU||MicroSectors U.S. Big Oil Index 3X Leveraged ETN||120.79%||0.00%|
|DPST||Direxion Daily Regional Banks Bull 3X Shares||97.79%||0.50%|
|GUSH||Direxion Daily S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Bull 2x Shares||93.76%||0.11%|
|RETL||Direxion Daily Retail Bull 3X Shares||81.09%||0.61%|
|HIBL||Direxion Daily S&P 500 High Beta Bull 3X Shares||67.73%||0.11%|
|ERX||Direxion Daily Energy Bull 2X Shares||66.27%||1.49%|
|DIG||ProShares Ultra Oil & Gas||64.99%||2.03%|
|MJ||ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF||63.55%||2.93%|
|BNKU||MicroSectors U.S. Big Banks Index 3x Leveraged ETN||59.55%||0.00%|
|PSCE||Invesco S&P SmallCap Energy ETF||52.16%||0.60%|
Source: ETF Database
Best performing US ETFs over 1 year
As of April 2021, the top performing US ETFs over the last year are:
|Symbol||ETF name||1-year returns||Annual dividend yield|
|RETL||Direxion Daily Retail Bull 3X Shares||454.03%||0.61%|
|FNGU||MicroSectors FANG+™ Index 3X Leveraged ETN||426.57%||0.00%|
|FNGO||MicroSectors FANG+ Index 2X Leveraged ETN||265.43%||0.00%|
|WEBL||Daily Dow Jones Internet Bull 3X Shares||212.19%||0.00%|
|SOXL||Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bull 3x Shares||211.94%||0.04%|
|PBW||Invesco WilderHill Clean Energy ETF||204.90%||0.42%|
|QCLN||First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund||195.40%||0.29%|
|ARKG||ARK Genomic Revolution ETF||186.56%||0.84%|
|IBUY||Amplify Online Retail ETF||179.29%||0.45%|
|MJO||Indxx MicroSectors Cannabis 2X Leveraged ETN||171.54%||0.00%|
Source: ETF Database
Best performing US ETFs over 5 years
As of April 2021, the top performing US ETFs over the last 5 years are:
|Symbol||ETF name||5-year returns||Annual dividend yield|
|SOXL||Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bull 3x Shares||2968.19%||0.04%|
|TECL||Direxion Daily Technology Bull 3X Shares||1345.33%||0.52%|
|TQQQ||ProShares UltraPro QQQ||1277.43%||0.00%|
|USD||ProShares Ultra Semiconductors||989.50%||0.12%|
|ARKW||ARK Next Generation Internet ETF||889.12%||1.18%|
|ROM||ProShares Ultra Technology||835.73%||0.19%|
|ARKK||ARK Innovation ETF||720.03%||1.57%|
|QLD||ProShares Ultra QQQ||651.49%||0.01%|
|ARKG||ARK Genomic Revolution ETF||547.53%||0.84%|
|PBW||Invesco WilderHill Clean Energy ETF||505.95%||0.42%|
Source: ETF Database
Compare trading platforms to invest in US ETFs
Picking the best ETFs for your situation
With thousands of ETFs to choose from, finding the best ones that fit your portfolio and investing strategy can help protect you from loss. Some points to consider when deciding which ETFs are best for you.
- Timeframe. Decide your investment timeframe and under what circumstances you’d consider selling.
- Have a strategy. Think about if you can afford to take on a riskier short-term investment or if you prefer to be more conservative. If you prefer lower risk, you could also consider index funds.
- Understand the product. Do your research of the listed fund. Download its prospectus and read through the details.
- Check the returns. Look at the returns, including all fees over different periods of time. How has it performed over a one-year period? How has it performed over several years?
- Understand the fees. Fees strongly influence your return on investment. Make sure the returns outshine the ETF’s management fees and pick a broker with fees that match your trading habits.
- Talk to a financial adviser. If you’re not clear about an investment, how it works or its returns, contact a licensed professional to help you learn more.
Understanding an ETF’s fees
There’s a direct correlation between high fees and an ETF’s overall performance. When fees are higher, returns tend to be lower and vice versa. There are two main costs involved when investing in listed funds: brokerage and management fees.
- Brokerage fees. Like with stocks, your broker may charge a transaction fee every time you invest money into an ETF. This fee comes down to which trading platform or brokerage you use.
- Management fee. This is often displayed as the management expense ratio (MER), which is the percentage of your return charged as fees by the ETF’s fund managers. Normally, the more work a fund manager has to do to keep the ETF profitable, the higher the fee – though this won’t always be the case. This is why many active ETFs charge higher fees than index ETFs, which passively track an index.
To find a platform that offers the lowest fees, you’ll first need to decide how much you want to invest in the fund and how many lump sums you’ll be investing over a year. If it’s just one lump sum, a platform that doesn’t charge an inactivity fee will be key. If you plan on frequently adding small amounts, the brokerage fee itself will be more important.
Brokerage fees range from around $0 to $5 per transaction and ETF management fees range from about 0.05% to 2.5%.
How to invest in an ETF
Once you’ve considered the risks of investing in ETFs and worked out your financial goals, you can buy and sell units in an ETF like any stock on the stock market through a fund manager or an online trading platform.
To invest in ETFs through an online trading platform, you’ll need to do the following:
- Search for a trading platform that suits your investment needs.
- Sign up by providing personal details, proof of citizenship and proof of ID.
- Log in to your trading account.
- Move money into your trading account through a bank transfer.
- Search for the ETF on your platform and place an order.
Business cycles, demographic trends and bull or bear markets can often last for years, so ETFs with strong momentum sometimes continue to perform strongly — and vice versa.
Comparing recent performance of ETFs can help inform your investment planning and provide you with ideas for where to invest your money. From there, continue to research your investment choices and be as thorough with the trading platforms and services you consider.
More on investing
Prepare to revamp your asset allocation and explore new investment classes when you’re in your 30s.Read more…
Read our 7 tips for starting a portfolio if you’re new to investing.Read more…
Invest in companies before they go public, but only if you’re an accredited investor.Read more…
You can’t open an IG Markets account if you live in Canada – but that doesn’t mean you’re not out of options.Read more…
Learn about some suitable alternatives to Charles Schwab that you can use to make trades in Canada.Read more…
Learn how much it takes to start investing. We take you through investment options and what you can expect to put down at the onset.Read more…
More guides on Finder
Investing in cruise ship stocks
Cruise ship stocks are sailing through murky waters, but can they rise?
Investing in car stocks
Top car stocks and ETFs that track the category.
The best Canadian ETFs in 2021
See which Canadian ETFs are the highest performing by revenue.
How to invest in blockchain stocks
Comprehensive guide on blockchain stock investing, benefits, risks, main stocks, blockchain ETFs, and more.
3 ways to invest in private equity
Private equity could be a way to maximize returns. Learn more here.
How to invest in the BTCC Bitcoin ETF
The world’s first physical Bitcoin ETF has launched onto the stock market. Here’s how to invest if you’re in Canada.
Investing in fashion stocks
You can invest in the biggest high-end brands through fashion stocks. Learn more.
What is MyWallSt and is it available in Canada?
This investment research app is a great tool for beginner investors in the US. But can you use MyWallSt if you live in Canada?
Investing in robotics stocks
What investors should consider before adding robotics stocks to their portfolio.
The best balance transfer credit cards of 2021
Here’s our picks for the best balance transfer credit cards. Compare cards ranging from the longest intro APR periods to the lowest fees.
Ask an Expert
You must be logged in to post a comment.