Best Gold ETFs for September 2020

Gold ETFs are having a record year — here are the top performers.

Kevin VoigtSeptember 1, 2020
Best Gold ETFs for July 2020

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Gold is proving popular among investors looking to hedge against the market tumult caused by the coronavirus pandemic. And as gold prices rise, more and more investors are rushing to buy gold exchange-traded funds rather than purchasing bullion itself.

What are gold ETFs?

Gold ETFs are exchange-traded funds that give investors exposure to gold without having to directly purchase, store and resell the precious metal. Some gold ETFs directly track the price of gold, while others invest in companies in the gold-mining industry.

As with other types of ETFs, the issuing company buys stock in gold-related companies or purchases and stores gold bullion itself. Investors buy shares in the fund, whose value rises and falls with the underlying gold price or company stock value.

Gold is considered a safe haven investment, as its price often rises as stock markets tumble. Gold hit its all-time high of nearly $1,900 per ounce in September 2011, in the aftermath of the Great Recession. In recent months, the price of gold has been flirting with that record.

Meanwhile, investors are buying into gold ETFs in record numbers. In the first five months of this year, investors bought $33.7 billion worth of gold ETF shares, already eclipsing the previous annual record of $24 billion set in 2016, according to research from

Best gold ETFs for September 2020

Below is our list of best-performing gold ETFs. We exclude gold exchange-traded notes and leveraged gold ETFs:



YTD performance

Expense Ratio


SPDR Gold MiniShares Trust




Aberdeen Standard Physical Gold Shares ETF




GraniteShares Gold Trust




iShares Gold Trust




Perth Mint Physical Gold ETF




SPDR Gold Trust




VanEck Merk Gold




Invesco DB Gold Fund




iShares Gold Strategy ETF



Data current as of Aug. 12, 2020.

How to invest in gold ETFs

Here’s how to buy shares in a gold ETF:

Step 1: Find a gold ETF

You can typically find gold ETFs by searching for them on your broker's website. (No broker? Here's how to open a brokerage account.)

Step 2: Analyze the ETF

Two things to check before purchasing shares in a gold ETF:

  • Five-year returns. Most (but not all) gold ETFs are pegged to spot gold price, so returns should align with gold price moves.

  • Expense ratio. This is the ETF's annual fee, paid out of your investment in the fund. The average expense ratio for gold ETFs is 0.65%, according to Look for a low one.

And two important cautions: The average investor should avoid buying leveraged gold ETFs — these use financial derivatives and borrowed money to make bets on future price movements. Also, avoid gold exchange-traded notes. ETNs are secured debt obligations that don’t actually own the underlying gold (unlike ETFs) and have a greater risk of credit default.

These investments are strictly for pros and unsuitable for a buy-and-hold strategy favored by many investors saving for retirement.

Step 3: Buy the gold ETF

You can buy ETFs just like you’d buy a stock, through an online broker. A good approach is to buy them regularly to take advantage of dollar-cost averaging.

You Invest by J.P.Morgan
NerdWallet rating 
Read review

Fees and minimums:

  • $0 trade fees. $0 annual or inactivity fees.

  • No account minimum.


  • Up to $725 cash bonus when you open and fund a new account with $25,000 or more in new money.

Interactive Brokers IBKR Lite
NerdWallet rating 

on Interactive Brokers's website

Fees and minimums:

  • $0 trade fees. $0 annual or inactivity fees.

  • No account minimum.


  • None.

For more, check out our full list of the best brokers for ETF investing.

Learn more about sector ETFs:

We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines, and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers. Any comments posted under NerdWallet’s official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise.