Best Low-Cost Gold ETFs for Smart Investors

Estimated read time 5 min read

Investors have long sought refuge in gold during uncertain times, thanks to its historical role as a store of value and hedge against inflation. Gold Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) have made it easier than ever to invest in this precious metal without the need for physical ownership. In this article, we will explore the best gold ETFs that offer low costs and make gold an attractive addition to your investment portfolio.

The Significance of Gold in Diversification

Gold is a unique asset that can provide diversification benefits to a traditional investment portfolio. It tends to exhibit low correlation with equities and fixed-income assets, which means it can help mitigate risk during economic downturns or times of financial stress.

Gold ETFs offer an efficient way to access the gold market without dealing with the complexities of physical gold ownership, such as storage, insurance, and transaction costs. When evaluating gold ETFs, it’s crucial to consider the following factors:

  1. Low Expense Ratios: A lower expense ratio means you retain more of your returns, especially for a passive asset like gold.
  2. Liquidity: Highly liquid ETFs typically have tighter bid-ask spreads, making it easier to enter and exit positions without incurring significant costs.
  3. Holdings: The ETF’s holdings are critical. It should accurately represent the performance of the underlying asset, in this case, gold.
  4. Custodian Reputation: Ensure the ETF’s custodian is reputable, and the gold is stored securely.
  5. Tracking Error: Assess the ETF’s ability to track the price of gold effectively. A smaller tracking error indicates a more accurate representation of gold prices.
  6. Tax Efficiency: Consider the tax implications of holding gold ETFs, which may vary depending on your location.

The Best Low-Cost Gold ETFs


SPDR Gold Trust (GLD)


GLD is one of the largest and most liquid gold ETFs.

It’s backed by physical gold held in vaults, and the trust’s expenses are low.

GLD is designed to track the price of gold bullion.


iShares Gold Trust (IAU)


IAU is another major gold ETF that offers a cost-effective way to invest in gold.

It’s backed by physical gold, and its expense ratio is among the lowest in the category.

IAU aims to reflect the performance of the price of gold.


Aberdeen Standard Physical Gold Shares ETF (SGOL)


SGOL is known for its strong reputation as a low-cost gold ETF.

It stores gold in Switzerland and is highly transparent in its operations.

SGOL seeks to track the performance of the gold price.


GraniteShares Gold Trust (BAR)


BAR is an ultra-low-cost gold ETF designed for cost-conscious investors.

It’s backed by physical gold stored in London, and its expense ratio is one of the lowest.

BAR tracks the performance of the gold price with minimal tracking error.


Perth Mint Physical Gold ETF (AAAU)


AAAU is backed by gold stored in the Perth Mint, one of the world’s most respected mints.

It offers low expenses and high transparency in its operations.

AAAU seeks to track the price of gold bullion.

Comparing the Options

Each of these gold ETFs has unique features and advantages. The choice between them should be based on your specific investment goals and preferences.


GLD and IAU are suitable for investors looking for the most substantial and most liquid gold ETFs, offering ease of entry and exit.


SGOL is known for its strong reputation and gold storage in Switzerland, which may appeal to investors seeking additional security.


BAR is ideal for cost-conscious investors who prioritize low expense ratios.


AAAU is backed by gold stored in one of the world’s most respected mints, making it an attractive option for those valuing credibility.


Investing in gold has been a traditional strategy for diversification and hedging against economic uncertainties. Gold ETFs offer an accessible and low-cost approach to gold ownership. By evaluating the expense ratios, liquidity, holdings, custodian reputation, tracking error, and tax efficiency of these ETFs, you can select the best low-cost gold ETF to enhance your investment portfolio. Whether you are looking for the most significant liquidity, enhanced security, cost-effectiveness, or credibility, the options presented here can help you find the perfect fit for your investment strategy.


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