Vanguard's mutual fund fees are competitive. In fact, they're among the lowest in the mutual fund industry.

Vanguard's John Bogle launched the first index mutual fund, the Vanguard 500 Index Fund, in 1976. Since then, Vanguard has built a reputation as the industry's leader in index fund and low-cost investing. Today, the company manages over $3 trillion in assets.

Index funds have gained popularity among investors due to their low-cost structure. Passively managed index funds don't typically require active fund management and the transaction costs that come with actively trading. Therefore, index funds tend to carry expense ratios that are much lower than their actively managed counterparts. Vanguard's position as the index fund pioneer makes it a popular choice for investors seeking low-cost investment choices. While Vanguard has become synonymous with index fund investing, the company also manages several highly rated actively managed funds.

As of Oct. 28, 2015, The Vanguard 500 Index Fund is the largest in the world and carries an expense ratio of 0.05%. Fund investors pay just $5 annually for every $10,000 invested. The 500 Index Fund is a cost leader in the universe of stock mutual funds, but Vanguard offers attractively priced funds across many asset classes and disciplines.

Money Market Funds

In the money market category, Vanguard is only average as its Prime Money Market Fund and Tax Exempt Money Market Fund both charge 0.16%. Most money market funds, such as Vanguard's, have been waiving a portion of expenses to provide investors with even a negligible yield.

Bond Funds

Vanguard's bond mutual fund expense ratios remain very competitive relative to its peers. The Total Bond Market Index Fund, one of Vanguard's larger funds, charges 0.07%, which is 91% lower than the average expense ratio with its Morningstar peer group. The Vanguard Long-Term Bond Index Fund has the highest expense ratio in Vanguard's bond index group at 0.2%. That number, however, is still 71% lower than the peer group average.

Vanguard's active funds are competitive as well. The popular Vanguard Inflation-Protected Securities Fund charges 0.2%, which is 73% lower than its Morningstar peer group average.

Stock Funds

Of Vanguard's 17 domestic stock index mutual funds, 13 charge expense ratios of 0.1% or less. The Vanguard 500 Index Fund and the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund are the cheapest, with expense ratios of just 0.05% each. Each of these low-cost stock index funds is at least 90% below the Morningstar peer group average.

Despite the fact that actively managed funds tend to charge greater fees, Vanguard's lineup of actively managed stock funds also ranks well. Larger funds such as the Vanguard Wellington, Vanguard Wellesley Income and Vanguard Selected Value all charge less than 0.5% annually and come with strong long-term performance records.

International Funds

International funds tend to be more expensive than their domestic counterparts due to additional political and economic considerations as well as lower levels of liquidity and information. Vanguard's international mutual fund family remains a low-cost leader in this arena as well. The Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund, Vanguard's biggest international fund, charges 0.14%, making it 88% cheaper than its peer group average.

Emerging markets are generally costlier due to the challenges of gaining access to these less developed economies. Despite these challenges, the Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index Fund charges just 0.15%, a fee lower than 90% of its peers.

Sector Funds

Vanguard manages a total of four sector-specific funds targeting health care, energy, real estate and precious metals. Vanguard manages each of these products with the same low-cost mandate as its other funds, charging under 0.4% in each case.

Want to learn how to invest?

Get a free 10 week email series that will teach you how to start investing.

Delivered twice a week, straight to your inbox.