The Best Gold ETFs With Low Costs

These gold ETFs provide investors with numerous ways to play the metal, from direct exposure to stock-related angles, on the cheap.

stacked gold bars
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's a good time to be an aficionado of gold and gold ETFs (exchange-traded funds). The cost of investing in gold through funds continues to trickle lower, and the variety of ways to get exposure to gold continues to grow.

Plus, gold prices are on the upswing at the moment amid expectations the Federal Reserve could be done hiking interest rates. "Metals like copper, aluminum and gold, should perform strongly next year, particularly if rate cuts come sooner," says Francisco Blanch, head of global commodities, equity derivatives and cross-asset quantitative investment strategies at BofA Global Research.

Blanch and his Global Commodity Research team at BofA also note that while gold pushed higher this fall as geopolitical tensions in the Middle East ramped up, new buyers could enter the market once the Fed announces a decisive end to its rate-hiking cycle, which it expects to occur in Q2. "If the Fed cuts earlier, gold could end the year at $2,400 per ounce," the group adds. 

Also helping the precious metal is the U.S. dollar, which is easing back from recent highs. ""Gold is priced in dollars, so dollar weakness is, by definition, gold strength," writes Kiplinger contributor Charles Lewis Sizemore, CFA, in his feature on gold investing.

Why should I invest in gold?

Gold investors typically tout several virtues of the yellow metal: It hedges against inflation, they say, it's an uncorrelated asset that doesn't move with the stock market and it can grow in value when national or even global uncertainty is high. Those features help build the bull case, which you can leverage via gold ETFs.

Plus, a recent State Street Global Advisors survey found that 65% of respondents felt gold is a long-term strategic investment. Additionally, 73% of those surveyed believe that owning gold ETFs has improved the overall performance of their investment portfolios. 

What are the best gold ETFs?

We recommend that if you look to use these commodity ETFs to diversify your portfolio, you first learn the ins and outs of gold investing. For one, gold "has generated disappointing long-term returns compared to stocks," says Dan Burrows, senior investing writer at, in his article on 10 facts you need to know about investing in gold. Even then, make it a small portion (5%) of your portfolio. 

And we recommend investing in ETFs for several reasons, including liquidity, low expenses and ease of use.

Using my professional experience as editor-in chief for WealthUp, as well as former senior investing editor at Kiplinger and managing editor at InvestorPlace, I looked for the best ETFs to buy that gave different degrees of exposure to gold.

With that in mind, here's an introduction to seven low-cost gold ETFs. This list includes the most ubiquitous gold ETFs on the market – funds you typically can read about in just about any daily commodity wrap-up – as well as a few that aren't as well-covered by the financial media but might be better investments than their high-asset brethren.


Data, including assets under management, dividend yield and expenses, is as of December 5, and is courtesy of Morningstar .

Kyle Woodley

Kyle Woodley is the Editor-in-Chief of WealthUp, a site dedicated to improving the personal finances and financial literacy of people of all ages. He also writes the weekly The Weekend Tea newsletter, which covers both news and analysis about spending, saving, investing, the economy and more.

Kyle was previously the Senior Investing Editor for, and the Managing Editor for before that. His work has appeared in several outlets, including Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money, Barchart, The Globe & Mail and the Nasdaq. He also has appeared as a guest on Fox Business Network and Money Radio, among other shows and podcasts, and he has been quoted in several outlets, including MarketWatch, Vice and Univision. He is a proud graduate of The Ohio State University, where he earned a BA in journalism. 

You can check out his thoughts on the markets (and more) at @KyleWoodley.