FTSE 100 vs FTSE 250

Find out the key differences between the FTSE 100 and the FTSE 250 as well as some important points to consider before investing.

See the top company holdings Top holdings for each fund
FTSE 100 vs FTSE 250 performance Compare historical data

Looking to invest in the UK stock market? You’ll come across 2 prominent indices: the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250. The FTSE 100 represents the top 100 stocks on the London Stock Exchange by size, while the FTSE 250 comprises the subsequent 250 stocks.

With the biggest 100 companies, you get heavy-hitting multinationals that collect revenues mainly from overseas. Meanwhile, the FTSE 250’s companies are more closely tied to the UK economy and arguably have more room to grow starting from a lower base.

In this head-to-head comparison, we’ll explore whether the FTSE 100 or the FTSE 250 is the better investment option.

What’s the difference between the FTSE 100 and the FTSE 250?

The FTSE 100 is the top 100 stocks on the London Stock Exchange ordered by market capitalisation, while the FTSE 250 is the following 250. There’s also a FTSE 350, which is a combination of the 2 indices. The FTSE 100 and the FTSE 250 are designed to represent the overall performance of the London Stock Exchange, but as they have different concentrations of stocks, they perform differently. Typically, when referencing the FTSE, people mean the FTSE 100, as it’s the most commonly known index.

List of top 10 stocks from each

There might be some crossover between stocks on the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250, mainly because the market capitalisation of the companies is constantly changing. So, the bottom end of the FTSE 100 and the first few stocks on the FTSE 250 are often switching between the 2 indices.

FTSE 100

  • AstraZeneca
  • Unilever
  • HSBC Holdings
  • Diageo
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • British American Tobacco
  • BP
  • Royal Dutch Shell A
  • Rio Tinto
  • Reckitt Benckiser

FTSE 250

  • Centrica
  • Tritax
  • Unite Group
  • Harbour energy
  • Convatec
  • Easyjet
  • F&C Investment
  • Weir Group
  • RIT Capital Partners
  • TUI

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FTSE 100 vs FTSE 250: Which is bigger?

This depends on how you’d define bigger. If you’re talking about the sheer number of stocks, then the FTSE 250 is bigger than the FTSE 100 as it has 150 more stocks on it. If you want to compare based on the size of the companies that make each one up, you’d compare with market capitalisation. When you do this, the FTSE 100 is worth more, at around £1.9 trillion, compared with the FTSE 250’s market cap of just £317 billion.

FTSE 100 vs FTSE 250: Which is worth more?

The FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 are chosen based on the market capitalisation of the companies that make them up, so those with higher market caps are in the FTSE 100. This means that despite having fewer stocks, the FTSE 100 is worth more than the FTSE 250, with a market cap of 6 times bigger than that of the FTSE 250.

FTSE 100 vs FTSE 250: Which is more diversified?

The FTSE 100 has a more even sector split than the FTSE 250, but it’s still very heavily weighted towards financial companies and consumer staples companies. The FTSE 250 is 35% financial companies and 21% consumer discretionary companies, so it might not get you quite the diversification you’re after.

FTSE 100 vs FTSE 250 chart

Platforms where you can invest in the FTSE 100 and the FTSE 250

These trading apps allow you to invest in companies within each index directly or to invest in funds and ETFs.

Best for 0% commission stocks

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  • Commission-free stock trades
  • Receive dividend payments
  • Invest in fractional shares

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Personalised market updates
  • Commission-free trading
  • Invest in fractional shares
  • Over 5,400 stocks & ETFs

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97% would recommend
  • No commissions for funds
  • Expert research and insights
  • Wide range of tax wrappers

What’s the best FTSE index fund?

Here are some of the best-performing FTSE 250 and FTSE 100 funds according to justETF:

IconFund5-year performance (to February 2024)Link to invest
Vanguard iconVanguard FTSE 250 UCITS ETF Distributing (VMID)15.50%Invest with XTBCapital at risk
Invesco iconInvesco FTSE 250 UCITS ETF (S250)14.69%Capital at risk
DWS Xtrackers iconXtrackers FTSE 250 UCITS ETF 1D (XMCX)14.21%Capital at risk
iShares iconiShares FTSE 250 UCITS ETF (MIDD)13.46%Invest with eToroCapital at risk
HSBC iconHSBC FTSE 250 UCITS ETF GBP (HMCX)13.00%Capital at risk
IconFund5-year performance (to February 2024)Link to invest
iShares iconiShares Core FTSE 100 (CUKX)30.38%Invest with eToroCapital at risk
Vanguard iconVanguard FTSE 100 (VUKE)30.29%Invest with XTBCapital at risk
Xtrackers iconXtrackers FTSE 100 (XDUK)30.05%Capital at risk
Lyxor iconLyxor FTSE 100 (100D)29.51%Capital at risk
Invesco iconInvesco FTSE 100 (S100)29.48%Capital at risk
HSBC iconHSBC FTSE 100 (HUKX)28.63%Capital at risk

All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

Is it better to invest in the FTSE 250 or the FTSE 100?

Zoe Stabler

Finder expert Zoe Stabler answers

Typically, the FTSE 100 is “better” because it’s got the highest stocks by market cap in the London Stock Exchange, but the FTSE 250 has more stocks in it and has historically had slightly better growth – so as an investment, it really depends on what you’re looking for.

There’s also no reason why you can’t invest in both. You’d get more diversification as you’d be investing in 350 companies. You’d do this by investing in a FTSE 350 index fund.

What are the top holdings in the FTSE 250 and FTSE 100?

FTSE 250FTSE 100
iconCentricaiconAstraZeneca
iconTritaxiconUnilever
iconUnite GroupiconHSBC Holdings
iconHarbour EnergyiconDiageo
iconConvateciconGlaxoSmithKline

How to invest in the FTSE 250 and FTSE 100

  1. Find a FTSE 250 or FTSE 100 ETF, index fund or mutual fund. Some index funds track the performance of all stocks on the index, whereas others only track a certain number of stocks or are weighted more towards specific stocks. You should select the fund that best suits your investment goals.
  2. Open a share-trading account. To invest in the funds, you’ll need to open a trading account with a broker or platform. Keep in mind that some index funds may only be available on certain brokerages or platforms. The providers in our comparison table below let you invest in US shares. We’ve included some index funds below that are listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE)
  3. Deposit funds. You’ll need to deposit funds into your account to begin trading. Some brokers may charge you deposit fees, or you may need to pay a forex fee to convert your pounds into US dollars.
  4. Buy the index fund. Once your money has been deposited, you can then buy the index fund. You’ll generally pay a small annual fee to invest in an ETF or index fund.

Best trading platform for index funds: Saxo

Saxo Markets logo
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★★★★★
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Capital at risk
We chose Saxo as our top pick because of the following:
  • Invest in over 19,000 stocks, funds and investment trusts.
  • Use its award-winning trading platforms.
  • Customer support available 24 hours a day.

Need to know: Opening a Saxo share dealing account requires a high minimum investment (£500).

Read our review of Saxo.

Compare FTSE 250 and FTSE 100 trading platforms

Table: sorted by promoted deals first

These trading apps allow you to invest in companies within the indexes directly or to invest in funds and ETFs.

Name Product Finder score Min. initial deposit Price per trade Frequent trader rate Platform fees Offer Link
Finder Award
FREE TRADES
eToro Free Stocks
4.4
★★★★★
$100
£0 on stocks
N/A
£0

Capital at risk. Other fees apply.

Platform details
InvestEngine
4.3
★★★★★
£100
£0
N/A
0% - 0.25%
Get a Welcome Bonus of up to £50 when you invest at least £100 with InvestEngine. T&Cs apply.

Capital at risk

Platform details
XTB
4.3
★★★★★
£0
£0
£0
£0
Earn up to 4.9% interest on uninvested cash. Tiered interest rate structure applies depending on value of existing assets.

Capital at risk

Platform details
Hargreaves Lansdown Fund and Share Account
4.2
★★★★★
£1
£11.95
£5.95
£0

Capital at risk

Platform details
interactive investor Trading Account
4.2
★★★★★
£0
£3.99 (free regular investing)
£0
£4.99-£19.99
Get £100 free trading credit when opening a Trading Account by 30 April. Capital at risk. T&Cs apply.

Capital at risk

Platform details
Wealthify
4.1
★★★★★
£1
£0
N/A
0.6%

Capital at risk

Platform details
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Bottom line

The FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 serve as key indicators of the UK stock market, including everything from miners, banks, tobacco makers, banks to High Street chains and real estate. While not quite as exciting as their high-tech American counterparts, they offer stability. Both pay dividends, with the FTSE 100 having a slightly higher yield at 3.8% compared to the FTSE 250’s 3.4%.

The FTSE 100’s global exposure leaves it better prepared to weather UK recessions, with significant revenues coming from overseas. In contrast, the FTSE 250 is more tied to the UK economy’s ups and downs. On the other hand, the FTSE 250 has historically had slightly better growth, because its smaller constituents are scrappier and have more runway starting from a lower base.

If you can’t decide between the 2 indices, you can always opt for a FTSE 350 index fund, which rolls them into one.

Frequently asked questions

All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

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