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TQQQ vs. QQQ

The best choice for your portfolio depends on your risk tolerance.

While these exchange-traded funds (ETFs) boast similar names and track the same index, the QQQ is better suited to passive investors, while day traders and otherwise active investors may be better off trading the TQQQ. But the best choice for you will ultimately depend on a myriad of factors.

What is the TQQQ?

The ProShares UltraPro QQQ (TQQQ) is a leveraged ETF that tracks the Nasdaq 100. It was created in 2010 and as of June 2020 had over $4.31 billion in assets under management. The fund uses a complex combination of futures, swaps and borrowed money to amplify the movement of the index tracks — in this case, the Nasdaq.
The TQQQ is designed to triple the daily returns of the Nasdaq so that a 1% gain by the Nasdaq would theoretically result in a 3% gain for TQQQ investors.
The fund’s expense ratio is 0.95% and returns quarterly distributions to investors.

What is the QQQ?

The Invesco Trust (QQQ) is an ETF that passively tracks the Nasdaq 100. The fund was created in 1999 and as of June 2020, was the second-most traded ETF in the US. Between 44% and 47% of its holdings are tech stocks, with the rest of the fund divided up between communications, healthcare, consumer discretionary and industrial stocks.
The fund’s expense ratio is 0.2% and returns quarterly distributions to investors.

Is TQQQ a good investment?

By its very nature, the TQQQ is a riskier investment than the QQQ. It aims to amplify the daily returns of the Nasdaq-100 by a factor of three. This means that if the Nasdaq does well, the TQQQ does really well. And if the Nasdaq drops? Well, the TQQQ plummets by three times as much.
Because of its volatility, the TQQQ is best used as an intraday investment, which means you buy and sell the fund over the course of a single trading day. This often makes the TQQQ a strong fit for active traders with a high degree of risk tolerance.
Another drawback to consider before you invest is the TQQQ’s expense ratio. Most ETF expense ratios sit at 0.2% or below — like the QQQ. But the TQQQ’s expense ratio is 0.95%. You’ll pay more to invest in this fund, and while it may potentially magnify your gains, it may also widen your losses.

TQQQ performance

The past performance of an ETF is no guarantee of what the fund will do in the future. But tracking the TQQQ may help you compare it to other funds.

The past performance of an ETF is no guarantee of what the fund will do in the future. But tracking the TQQQ may help you compare it to other funds.

Is QQQ a good investment?

The QQQ is considered an aggressive growth fund and is disposed to higher short-term volatility than larger indices like the S&P 500. That said, it’s still considered a viable buy-and-hold investment that has a history of compensating its investors for taking on increased risk with above-average returns.
Historically, the QQQ has outperformed the S&P 500, with 10- and 15-year returns of 19.8% and 12.8%, beating out the S&P’s 15.4% and 9.1% returns over the same period.
The QQQ is a way to incorporate tech stocks into your portfolio while also adding exposure to large-cap industrial and healthcare companies. You don’t need to hand-pick or monitor individual stocks — the index does that for you. And the QQQ is typically a more stable investment than the TQQQ, which means it’s suitable to be held long-term.
That said, the QQQ is limited in its scope. Unlike the S&P 500, it only tracks 100 stocks, nearly half of which are tech stocks. Should anything happen to the tech sector, your investment in the QQQ will be put at risk.

QQQ performance

What the QQQ has done in the past is no guarantee of future performance. But tracking this fund can help you see how it compares to other ETFs.

How to choose

Before you add either of these funds to your portfolio, consider the following:

  • Risk tolerance. The TQQQ is exponentially riskier than the QQQ and is only suitable for investors with a high degree of risk tolerance.
  • Timeline. The QQQ may work as either a short- or long-term investment, but the TQQQ is typically an intraday trade.
  • Amount of capital. Since the TQQQ uses leverage to amplify returns, you could earn as much or more than a QQQ investment with less capital.
  • Investing experience. If day trading isn’t a routine part of your investment strategy, it may be prudent to skip out on the TQQQ.

Compare brokerage accounts

To invest in either of these ETFs, you’ll need a brokerage account. Review your options below.

1 - 6 of 6
Name Product Ratings Available asset types Stock trade fee Minimum deposit Cash sweep APY Signup bonus
Tastytrade
Finder Score: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Tastytrade
★★★★★
Stocks, Options, ETFs, Cryptocurrency, Futures, Treasury Bills
$0
$0
N/A
Get $50-$5,000
Competitive, capped options commissions, with a reliable trading platform designed for serious traders.
SoFi Invest®
Finder Score: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
SoFi Invest®
★★★★★
Stocks, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs, Alternatives
$0
$0
0.02%
Get up to $10,000 cash
Commission-free stocks, ETFs and options, with no options per-contract fees. Plus, a no-cost robo-advisor and complimentary access to certified financial planners (CFPs).
Robinhood
Finder Score: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Robinhood
★★★★★
Stocks, Options, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
$0
$0
5%
Get a free stock
Trade stocks, options, ETFs and crypto without commissions and on a user-friendly platform. Plus, a 1% IRA match and no options contract fees.
Public.com
Finder Score: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Public.com
★★★★★
Stocks, Bonds, Options, ETFs, Cryptocurrency, Alternatives, Treasury Bills, High-yield cash account
$0
$0
5.1%
Get up to $10,000 and transfer fees covered
Build a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, options, ETFs, crypto and alternative assets, with a high-yield cash account and options contract rebates.
Moomoo
Finder Score: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Exclusive
Moomoo
★★★★★
Stocks, Options, ETFs
$0
$0
Up to 8.10%
Choose a 1.5% match or up to 15 free fractional shares
No commission stock, ETF and options trades, with $0 equity options contract fees, low margin rates and advanced trading tools.
E*TRADE from Morgan Stanley
Finder Score: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
E*TRADE from Morgan Stanley
★★★★★
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs, CDs, Futures
$0
$0
0.01% to 0.15%
Get up to $1,000
terms apply
$0 commissions on US-listed stocks, ETFs, mutual funds and options, with powerful, easy-to-use tools and complimentary market research.
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Bottom line

Both the QQQ and TQQQ track the Nasdaq and depend on its performance for returns. But before you add either fund to your portfolio, consider your time horizons and risk tolerance.
Review your account options with multiple brokerages to find the platform that best meets your needs.

Frequently asked questions

Paid non-client promotion. Finder does not invest money with providers on this page. If a brand is a referral partner, we're paid when you click or tap through to, open an account with or provide your contact information to the provider. Partnerships are not a recommendation for you to invest with any one company. Learn more about how we make money.

Finder is not an advisor or brokerage service. Information on this page is for educational purposes only and not a recommendation to invest with any one company, trade specific stocks or fund specific investments. All editorial opinions are our own.

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Editor

Shannon Terrell is a lead writer and spokesperson at NerdWallet and a former editor at Finder, specializing in personal finance. Her writing and analysis on investing and banking has been featured in Bloomberg, Global News, Yahoo Finance, GoBankingRates and Black Enterprise. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and English literature from the University of Toronto Mississauga. See full bio

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has written 174 Finder guides across topics including:
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