According to the Investment Company Institute, ETF assets grew 28% over the 12 months ended in April. Moreover, during that period, 185 new ETFs came to the marketplace. By comparison, the number of traditional mutual funds only increased by 0.6% over the past year.

There are obvious reasons why ETFs have gained in popularity. ETFs have distinct advantages over mutual funds, after all, and provide investors with more ways to play the market. Some super-specialized ETFs can be dangerous for individual investors like us, but others can be a prudent part of a balanced portfolio.

To help us navigate the growing ETF landscape, we can call on the more than 105,000 investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's investment community. In addition to rating stocks, CAPS investors can also make "outperform" or "underperform" calls on ETFs. And some of those ETFs have received very high honors from the community, placing them among the most highly rated investments in the CAPS universe.

Your top picks
Here are the top five ETFs as rated by CAPS investors:

ETF Name

Overall CAPS Rank

Notable Top Holdings

Vanguard Mid-Cap Growth (VOT)


MEMC Electronic Materials (NYSE:WFR), T Rowe Price Group (NASDAQ:TROW), Noble (NYSE:NE)

PIMCO Floating Rate Strategy (PFN)



ING Global Equity Dividend & Premium Opportunity (IGD)


Fortis, AT&T (NYSE:T), US Bancorp (NYSE:USB)

SPDR DJ Wilshire Small Cap Value (DSV)


Ryder System, Commercial Metals Company, Hanesbrands

John Hancock Tax-Advantage Dividend Income (HTD)


ONEOK (NYSE:OKE), NSTAR (NYSE:NST), Dominion Resources

Source: Motley Fool CAPS, as of June 6, and Morningstar.

Please bear in mind that these are not formal recommendations. Instead, I offer this list as a jumping-off point for further research. In fact, researching five-star CAPS picks such as these has proved to be an effective tool for investors.

What do you think of these ETFs? Do you think they deserve a place in investors' portfolios? The 105,000-plus investors on Motley Fool CAPS are waiting to hear your opinion. Get started today -- CAPS is 100% free!