Investors aren’t falling short on investment choices these days. It’s hard enough building the right asset allocation for your portfolio. With over a thousand ETFs to choose from picking the right one can be complicated. Thankfully, there are several free online tools you can use to filter through the options to find the right ETF to fill out your allocation strategy.
Just like a stock screener, an ETF screener narrows your choices down to a more manageable number. The idea is simple. If you know the type of ETF you want, the screener will filter out the noise to find the ones that fit your investment criteria. From there you can sort, compare, and research the few remaining ETFs to find the one that fits.
Best ETF Screeners
The best ETF screener provides free, accurate, up to date fund information so you can find the right investments for your money. The most common filter criteria are asset type, expense ratio, category, region, volume, and performance. You can dig even deeper with these free ETF screening tools.
ETFdb is my go to ETF screener. It offers an asset filter right from the start. You can quickly filter out the riskier leveraged and inverse ETFs. Then break things down further by expense ratio, yield, and performance. While it might not be the most comprehensive, it is the easiest to use of the three. I find myself using it more and more for ETF research, since it allows me to do quick screens on the fly. If you’re looking for something simple and easy to use, ETFdb is highly recommended, otherwise the next two choices are more comprehensive.
As a side note, ETFdb also offers a mutual fund to ETF converter that will find ETFs that are similar to your existing mutual funds. Just enter your mutual fund’s ticker and it spits out the ETFs.
ETF.com is the most comprehensive ETF screening tool I’ve found. It’s easy to use, offers all the basic criteria choices mentioned earlier and two important filters. The first is the ability to screen by selection criteria, which is the strategy used to select the underlying assets in an ETF. The other is the ability to screen based on the fund’s weighting method.
If you’re not a fan of the popular market cap weighting used by most funds, this screener will find the alternatively weighted smart beta ETFs much easier. The only downside of the ETF.com screener, is the lack of a risk profile for each fund. You might be able to look at the list of holdings to figure it out. Once you start looking into a specific ETF, Morningstar offers the most information.
Morningstar is widely known for its fund ratings and other financial tools. It offers a basic and premium ETF screener. The basic version filters by category, expense ratio, fund family, and performance. The premium screener adds over 70 extra filters, making it the third best free fund screener online due to the price.
The screener is missing the two important filters provided by Index Universe though. Hopefully, Morningstar adds the ETF selection strategy and weighting method criteria sometime in the future.
There is one thing to note. You have to sign up first (it’s free) before you access the basic screener.
There are a number of free ETF screening tools available online. Most online brokers have one. My broker, TD Ameritrade, does too. Which comes in handy because I take advantage of the commission free ETFs that TD Ameritrade offers.
The choices above are a great place to find an ETF to fill out your portfolio or to replace a high-priced mutual fund with a low-cost ETF. Either way, an ETF screener will make digging through the thousand or more possibilities that much easier.