2021 Top S&P 500 ETFs

If you’re interested in adding or increasing your portfolio’s exposure to the S&P 500, widely considered the benchmark index for the US stock market, there is definitely an ETF for you.

Whether you are looking for a simple, low-cost option to track the S&P 500 or a variation on a theme, simply scroll down to see several live lists that detail your options.

S&P 500 Index ETFs

The most common type of S&P 500 ETF is one that simply tracks the S&P 500.

These ETFs are very straightforward and as a result have very low expense ratios (as low as 0.03%).

Capitalization Weighted S&P 500 ETFs

If the S&P 500 was an equally weighted index, each stock within the index would be given a 1/500 weighting.

However, the S&P 500 is a capitalization weighted index.

This means that larger market cap companies get a greater than average share than smaller companies.

The ETF industry is here to serve and has a few ETFs that alter the official weighting of the S&P 500.

Style-Based S&P 500 ETFs

Another type is a style-based S&P 500 ETF.

These ETFs filter out some S&P 500 companies so they can focus on a particular theme.

There are several approaches though the most common tend to be growth, value, and high dividend paying S&P 500 stocks.

Inverse S&P 500 ETFs

Yet another type of S&P 500 ETF is an inverse ETF.

These ETFs simply go in exactly the opposite direction of the S&P 500.

For example, if the S&P 500 is down 0.5% on the day, an inverse S&P 500 ETF will be up 0.5%.

Leveraged S&P 500 ETFs

The final type is the leveraged S&P 500 ETF.

These ETFs track the S&P 500 or the inverse of the S&P 500 with a certain multiple in performance.

For example, a 3x leveraged S&P 500 ETF will gain 3% on the day if the S&P 500 is up 1%.

Conversely, if the S&P 500 is down 1%, the 3x leveraged S&P 500 ETF will be down 3%.

Definitely not for the faint of heart.

For example, here is what an investor in the ProShares UltraPro S&P500 ETF (a 3x leveraged ETF) would have experienced in terms of daily volatility since its inception on June 23, 2009.

UPRO volatility chart

Notice how there are several occurrences greater than a 5% daily gain but also several that were less than a 5% daily loss.

Feel free to click on any ETF name to get its up to date volatility chart.

S&P 500 ETF FAQ

What is the cheapest S&P 500 ETF?

The cheapest S&P 500 ETFs are IVV, VOO, and SPLG (respectively iShares Core S&P 500 ETF, Vanguard S&P 500 ETF, and SPLG SPDR Portfolio S&P 500 ETF). They each have an expense ratio of 0.03%.

What types of S&P 500 ETFs are there?

S&P 500 ETFs generally fall in the following categories: index, style-based, inverse, and leveraged.

What is the oldest S&P 500 ETF?

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is the oldest S&P 500 ETF. Its inception date is January 22, 1993.

Do S&P 500 ETFs pay dividends?

Yes, all S&P 500 listed above pay dividends though their dividend yield can vary greatly. For example, leveraged type S&P 500 ETFs tend to have lower dividend yields — below 1%. On the other hand, other S&P 500 ETFs specifically focused on dividends (SPDR Portfolio S&P 500 High Dividend ETF (SPYD) or Invesco S&P 500 High Dividend Low Volatility ETF (SPHD) can offer dividend yields above 5%.