There are so many lists of impressive dividend-payers these days -- it's enough to make your head spin. My own head spun recently when I learned of the "Dividend Champions" list, maintained by Dave Fish at his DRiP Investing Resource Center. (Interestingly, he credits Motley Fool Community member Bruce Doe, among others, for inspiring the list.) Mr. Fish looks for companies that, like the more famous Dividend Aristocrats, have hiked their dividends regularly for 25 or more years.

When I checked out his latest spreadsheet, I was struck by just how long some companies have been increasing their payouts. For example, here are a few standouts, along with their recent yields and their rating (out of five stars) on Motley Fool CAPS:

Company

CAPS Rating (Out of 5)

Recent Yield

Years of Consecutive Increases

Emerson Electric (NYSE:EMR)

*****

4.1%

52

Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL)

*****

3.0%

46

Lowe's (NYSE:LOW)

***

1.7%

46

Kimberly-Clark (NYSE:KMB)

****

4.9%

37

Becton Dickinson (NYSE:BDX)

****

2.0%

36

McGraw-Hill (NYSE:MHP)

****

3.5%

36

Family Dollar (NYSE:FDO)

***

1.6%

33

Data: Dave Fish, Motley Fool CAPS, Yahoo! Finance.

I found it interesting that while the Standard & Poor's Dividend Aristocrat index fell to just 52 companies at the end of 2008, Mr. Fish's list sported 116 names. That's because he casts a wider net while still looking mainly for 25-year-plus performers. He looks beyond the S&P 500 companies, for example, and also includes some companies with big payouts, but not quite 25 years of consecutive increases. Still, given our current economy, I expect that even Mr. Fish's list will shrink. This past year has taught us not to take dividends for granted -- even though they're incredibly powerful.

I like that both indexes exist. The Aristocrats is a pickier list, and its components are more likely to be familiar names. But if you're hunting for dividend payers for your portfolio and you'd like to be introduced to some companies you hadn't thought of or heard of before, the Champions list is a great place to start.

For more ideas on dividend paying stocks, check out our Motley Fool Income Investor newsletter. A free, no-obligation trial will give you dozens of stock recommendations, many yielding 8% or more.

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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article. Kimberly-Clark is a Motley Fool Income Investor selection. McGraw-Hill is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Try our investing newsletters free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.