Great dividend stocks don't always come from companies that are well known to investors. Sometimes, great dividends are hidden in the corners of the market. 

These may not be household names, but Melco Resorts (NASDAQ:MLCO), Hannon Armstrong (NYSE:HASI), and Heico Corp (NYSE:HEI) all have the qualities investors should like in dividend stocks -- even if they aren't the highest-yielding dividend stocks on the market. 

Stack of coins in dirt with a plant growing out of it.

Image source: Getty Images.

A dividend to bet on

I'm starting this list with Melco Resorts, who has actually suspended its dividend, but in this case, I think that's a good thing for the long-term dividend. Here's why.

Before the pandemic, the casino industry had started generating so much cash that companies began paying hefty dividends to investors. Melco Resorts was one of those companies, and you can see below that it paid steadily growing dividends and even sprinkled in a couple of special dividends. That ended this spring when the pandemic shut down Melco Resorts' properties, but it's not the end of the story because it still has highly valuable resorts in the world's largest gambling market. 

MLCO Net Income (TTM) Chart

MLCO Net Income (TTM) data by YCharts.

Management has also been willing to adjust the dividend based on how operations are going, which is why dividends can be volatile. When net income grows, so does the dividend, but when earnings fall, the dividend does, too. So it was no surprise that the dividend was suspended in May when it was clear the disruptions from COVID-19 weren't ending soon. This may seem like a weakness, but I actually think it's a strength because management isn't going to mortgage the future just to maintain a certain dividend payment. 

Melco Resorts' dividend will be back when visitors come back to casinos in Asia and there are signs of improvement with Macau's gaming revenue more than tripling between June and September. Long term, this is a dividend payer investors should love to own.

The clean-energy dividend

Hannon Armstrong isn't a household name, by any means, but has a big impact on how businesses can invest in climate-change solutions. The company finances everything from energy-efficiency projects to rooftop solar to utility-scale wind farms. It has the flexibility to invest in those assets in the way it sees the highest return in investment, whether that's through a debt position or equity position in the asset. 

Long term, this business model and flexibility have allowed the company to grow revenue, net income, and most importantly dividends over the past decade. And the opportunities for growing investment in renewable-energy stocks is only growing each year. 

HASI Revenue (TTM) Chart

HASI Revenue (TTM) data by YCharts.

There are always going to be opportunities to invest in energy, and Hannon Armstrong is set up to do just that. When interest rates are low, like they are now, the company can buy an equity position in renewable-energy projects that are now competing with fossil fuels around the world. If interest rates rise, it can provide debt to projects and take a lower risk position in the capital structure. And with decades of experience and a dividend yield of 3.4%, Hannon Armstrong has the potential to grow its dividend for decades to come. 

The forgotten dividend stock

Few companies have a decades-long history like Heico of generating returns for investors, which you can see in the chart below. The company makes parts and assemblies for aircraft, space exploration, and other specialty applications and is a go-to manufacturer for aerospace and electronics companies. And management has turned that position into a great operating business, as you can see below. 

HEI Revenue (TTM) Chart

HEI Revenue (TTM) data by YCharts.

You can see above that the dividend yield of just 0.15% is low by any standard, but that's what I like about it long term. Management pays less than 10% of earnings out as a dividend, giving it the opportunity to use cash to acquire bolt-on acquisitions or grow the dividend long term. In today's market where small operators have been upset by the pandemic, there could be opportunities to acquire long-term growth, which could be better for investors than a higher dividend payment. 

HEI Payout Ratio Chart

HEI Payout Ratio data by YCharts.

Heico isn't the highest dividend yield on the market, but that's not what makes it amazing. What makes this dividend great is how much growth potential there is by Heico simply continuing to do what it's been doing for decades. 

Yield isn't everything

You may notice that these stocks aren't necessarily high-yield stocks, and there's a reason for that. Companies that pay reasonable dividends and retain enough cash to fund growth or acquisitions can generate more long-term value than companies that focus on growing the dividend at all costs. And I think Melco Resorts, Hannon Armstrong, and Heico have the kind of dividends that are sustainable for decades. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.