Bargain Shoppers: The Cheapest ETF In Every Category

Michael Johnston: ETFs have gathered more than $1 trillion in assets thanks to a number of structural advantages, including enhanced transparency, significant tax advantages, and intraday liquidity. But make no mistake about it: the ETF boom has been fueled in large part by an increased attention to expenses, and intensifying desire among investors to minimize their fees. Though not universally the most cost efficient options out there, ETFs generally tend to boast lower expense ratios than their mutual fund counterparts–a distinction that has caught the eye of many an investor over the past few years [see the Cheapskate ETFdb Portfolio ETFdb Pro Members Only].

Even among ETFs, however, there can be significant differentials in fees. It’s not uncommon for two products with similar portfolios and investment objectives to sport extreme differences in expense ratios. In other words, don’t assume that all ETFs are cost efficient. Sorting through the exchange-traded options can be a valuable exercise for those looking to cut down on fees.

The ETFdb Category pages can serve as useful tools for finding the ETFs that meet certain investment objectives. And they can most certainly be used to find the cheapest options in each group of similar products (as well as the options for commission free trading). Below, we highlight the ETF in every ETFdb Category with the cheapest expense ratio:

Equity ETFs

ETFdb Category ETF ER
All Cap Equities  Focus Morningstar US Market Index ETF (FMU)  0.05%
Alternative Energy Equities  S&P Global Clean Energy Index Fund (ICLN)S&P Global Nuclear Energy Index Fund (NUCL)  0.48%
Asia Pacific Equities  Pacific ETF (VPL)  0.14%
Building & Construction  SPDR Homebuilders ETF (XHB)  0.35%
China Equities  China Trendpilot ETN (TCHI)  0.50%
Commodity Producers Equities  SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF (XME)  0.35%
Communications Equities  Focus Morningstar Communication Services Index ETF (FCQ)Telecom ETF (VOX)  0.19%
Consumer Discretionary Equities  Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY)  0.18%
Consumer Staples Equities  Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP)  0.18%
Emerging Markets Equities  Emerging Markets ETF (VWO)  0.20%
Energy Equities  Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE)  0.18%
Europe Equities  European ETF (VGK)  0.14%
Financials Equities  Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF)  0.18%
Foreign Large Cap Equities  Europe Pacific (VEA)  0.12%
Foreign Small & Mid Cap Equities  International Small-Cap Equity ETF (SCHC)  0.35%
Global Equities  FTSE All World Ex US ETF (VEU)Total International Stock ETF (VXUS)  0.18%
Health & Biotech Equities  Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV)  0.18%
Industrials Equities  Industrial Select Sector SPDR (XLI)  0.18%
Japan Equities  Japan Hedged Equity Fund (DXJ)  0.48%
Large Cap Blend Equities  Focus Morningstar Large Cap Index ETF (FLG)S&P 500 ETF (VOO)  0.05%
Large Cap Growth Equities  Growth ETF (VUG)  0.10%
Large Cap Value Equities  Value ETF (VTV)  0.10%
Latin America Equities  Direxion S&P Latin America 40 RC Volatility Response Shares (VLAT)  0.45%
MLPs  MLP ETF (MLPA)  0.45%
Materials  Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB)  0.18%
Mid Cap Blend Equities  Mid-Cap ETF (VO)  0.10%
Mid Cap Growth Equities  Mid-Cap Growth ETF (VOT)  0.10%
Mid Cap Value Equities  Mid-Cap Value ETF (VOE)  0.10%
Small Cap Blend Equities  Focus Morningstar Small Cap Index ETF (FOS)  0.12%
Small Cap Growth Equities  Small-Cap Growth ETF (VBK)  0.10%
Small Cap Value Equities  Small-Cap Value ETF (VBR)  0.21%
Technology Equities  Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK)  0.18%
Transportation Equities  SPDR S&P Transportation ETF (XTN)  0.35%
Utilities Equities  Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU)  0.18
Water Equities  ISE Water Index Fund (FIW)Water Resource Portfolio (PHO)  0.60%

Bond / Fixed Income ETFs

ETFdb Category ETF ER
California Munis  SPDR Barclays California Municipal Bond ETF (CXA)  0.20%
Corporate Bonds  SPDR Barclays Capital Short Term Corporate Bond ETF (SCPB)  0.12%
Emerging Markets Bonds  Market Vectors Renminbi Bond ETF (CHLC)  0.39%
Government Bonds  1-3 Year US Treasury Index Fund (TUZ)  0.09%
High Yield Bonds  Baa-Ba Rated Corporate Bond Fund (QLTB)  0.30%
Inflation-Protected Bonds  U.S. TIPS ETF (SCHP)  0.14%
International Government Bonds  Euro Debt Fund (EU)S&P/Citigroup International Treasury Fund (IGOV)S&P/Citi 1-3 Yr Intl Treasury Bd (ISHG)  0.35%
Money Market  SPDR Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL)  0.13%
Mortgage Backed Securities  Mortgage-Backed Securities Index Fund (VMBS)  0.15%
National Munis  Market Vectors Short Municipal Index ETF (SMB)  0.16%
New York Munis  SPDR Barclays New York Municipal Bond ETF (INY)  0.20%
Preferred Stock/Convertible Bonds  Convertible Securities Portfolio (CVRT)  0.35%
Total Bond Market  Total Bond Market ETF (BND)U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (SCHZ)  0.10%

Commodity ETFs

ETFdb Category ETF ER
Agricultural Commodities Agricultural Fund (TAGS)  0.32%
Commodities DJ-UBS Commodity Index Total Return ETN (DJCI)  0.50%
Metals United States Copper Index Fund (CPER)E-TRACS UBS Bloomberg CMCI Ind Metal ETN (UBM)  0.65%
Oil & Gas United States Oil Fund (USO)  0.45%
Precious Metals COMEX Gold Trust (IAU)  0.25%

Inverse & Leveraged ETFs

ETFdb Category ETF ER
Inverse Bonds  DB Inverse Japanese Government Bond Futures ETN (JGBS)  0.50%
Inverse Commodities  United States Short Oil Fund (DNO)  0.60%
Inverse Equities  Barclays Short B Leveraged Inverse S&P 500 TR ETN (BXDB)  0.40%
Leveraged Bonds  Double Short US Long Bond Treasury Futures ETNs (DSTJ)Double Short US 10 Year Treasury Futures ETNs (DSXJ)  0.85%
Leveraged Commodities  DB Agriculture Double Short ETN (AGA)DB Base Metals Dble Long ETN (BDD)DB Base Metals Dble Shrt ETN (BOM)

DB Agriculture Double Long ETN (DAG)

DB Commodity Double Short ETN (DEE)

DB Gold Double Long ETN (DGP)

DB Crude Oil Dble Short ETN (DTO)

DB Commodity Double Long ETN (DYY)

DB Gold Double Short ETN (DZZ)

2x Oil Bull/S&P 500 Bear (FOL)

2x Gold Bull/S&P 500 Bear (FSG)

Leveraged Currency  Market Vectors-Double Short Euro ETN (DRR)Market Vectors-Double Long Euro ETN (URR)  0.65%
Leveraged Equities  ETRACS Monthly Pay 2x Leveraged S&P Dividend ETN (SDYL)  0.30%
Leveraged Real Estate ETRACS Monthly Pay 2x Leveraged Dow Jones International Real Estate ETN (RWXL)  0.40%

The Rest

ETFdb Category ETF ER
Currency  Dreyfus Japanese Yen Fund (JYF)  0.35%
Diversified Portfolio  S&P Conservative Allocation (AOK)  0.31%
Target Retirement Date  S&P Target Date 2040 (TZV)  0.29%
Hedge Fund  Long/Short Liquid Index (Net) ETN (CSLS)  0.45%
Global Real Estate  Global ex-U.S. Real Estate Index Fund (VNQI)  0.35%
Real Estate  REIT ETF (VNQ)  0.10%

Related: Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI), S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX)

Written By Michael Johnston From ETF Database Disclosure: No Positions.

ETF Database is committed to giving our audience, consisting of both active traders and buy-and-hold investors, information that, to our knowledge, is truthful and non-biased. [For more ETF insights, sign up for our free ETF newsletter or try a free seven day trial of ETFdb ProETFdb Pro Members Only.]

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