Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have become a common financial shortcut to provide exposure and diversification in a portfolio. To choose our best brokers for ETFs we examined cost, commissions, research and screening tools, and ETF options available on each platform.

Best Online Brokers for ETFs:

Charles Schwab: Best Online Broker for ETFs

4.7
  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: Free stock and ETF trading, $0.65 per options contract
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Why We Chose It

Schwab is our choice for best overall online broker for ETFs due to the strength of its ETF screener combined with the general quality of its overall platform, including portfolio analysis tools for every day investors. Schwab makes the process of investing in ETFs simple while still providing comprehensive research and multi-criteria screening for investors who want to conduct in-depth research prior to investing.

Pros
  • Comprehensive portfolio analysis tools

  • StreetSmart Edge platform is customizable and robust

  • Schwab is an excellent broker overall

Cons
  • Investors must use StreetSmart Edge for the best ETF screener

  • Schwab can be a bit pricey on options

  • Futures are traded on a separate platform

Charles Schwab: Best ETF Screeners

4.7
  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: Free stock and ETF trading, $0.65 per options contract
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Why We Chose It

Schwab’s ETF screener through StreetSmart Edge comes with over 150 screening criteria, and the addition of socially responsible investing (SRI) criteria makes finding an ETF aligned with your values straightforward. The quality of the StreetSmart Edge ETF screener does make the website seem basic by comparison, so it is worth learning the platform to take full advantage of Schwab’s ETF scanning capabilities.

Pros
  • StreetSmart Edge ETF screener has 150+ screening criteria

  • Screener results can be turned into a watchlist or exported

  • ETF screener is available to both prospects and clients using StreetSmart Edge

  • ETFs can be filtered according socially responsible investing criteria

Cons
  • Website screener is a poorer quality than the StreetSmart Edge ETF screener

  • Schwab can be a pricey service to use

Interactive Brokers: Best ETF Research

4.6
  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: Maximum $0.005 per share for Pro platform or 1% of trade value, $0 for IBKR Lite
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Why We Chose It

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) ETF screener stands out because its powerful toolset can be brought to bear on all of its asset offerings, including ETFs. This means you can customize the Mosaic interface with an ETF specific watchlist, pulling in the market and news information you want to see from a trading perspective while also leveraging the Fundamentals Explorer to pull in hundreds of data points, over 80 news wires and reports, and thousands of analysts ratings.

IBKR also has a mutual fund replicator that helps users swap out any mutual funds for an ETF with lower management fees. Traders looking to use an ETF to hedge a position can also use the Beta Hedge order to find an ETF for the job.

Pros
  • Robust platform with the lowest margin rates

  • Can trade an extensive range of asset classes in 135 markets across 33 countries

  • Research capabilities and tools for all asset classes are excellent

Cons
  • Trading platforms can be intimidating for new investors

  • Trading interface may be complicated for users only buying and holding ETFs

Why Invest in ETFs?

ETFs offer an affordable way to build a diversified portfolio, thanks to their expense ratios and greater tax efficiency when compared to mutual funds. ETFs are simple to trade since the transactions take place, much like stocks, on regulated exchanges. ETFs can be traded on margin, have no short-selling restrictions, and provide intraday trading opportunities and plenty of liquidity.

A large percentage of ETFs are optionable as well, allowing traders to manage their portfolio risk using derivatives.

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Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing investors with unbiased, comprehensive reviews and ratings of online brokers. Our reviews are the result of months of evaluating all aspects of an online broker’s platform, including the user experience, the quality of trade executions, the products available on its platforms, costs and fees, security, the mobile experience and customer service. We established a rating scale based on our criteria, collecting thousands of data points that we weighed into our star-scoring system.

Our best options brokers offer research capabilities specific to finding the best ETFs for a customer’s specific purpose. Top-notch screeners, analyst reports, fundamental and technical data, and the ability to compare ETFs are components of this award. We also looked for high-quality streaming data and the ability to find ETFs that are optionable. With all the commission cuts that came in the fall of 2019, ETFs trade commission-free at the large majority of online brokers. 

Click here to read our full methodology.