Exchange-traded funds have been raking in the dollars in recent years -- to the point where they now carry more than $1 trillion in assets. With their low costs, greater tax efficiency, and simple match-the-market approach, it's easy to see why ETFs are a favorite with investors. But, as with actively managed mutual funds, there are a number of ETFs out there that aren't appropriate for the average investor. Let's take a look at the 25 largest ETFs as measured by net assets and see which of these big funds you might be better off avoiding.
Three to avoid
Clocking in at No. 14 on the list of biggest ETFs with $13.1 billion in assets is iShares MSCI Brazil Index
With $10.4 billion in net assets is the Energy Select Sector SPDR
Lastly, the iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund
And a handful that you shouldn't miss
Fortunately, investors are probably getting a lot right, since most of the biggest ETFs around are solid, well-diversified options. Topping the list of large-and-in-charge ETFs is the SPDR S&P 500 ETF
Similarly, the single best emerging markets ETF offering also makes an appearance in the top 25. Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets ETF
And two to use with caution
Perhaps not surprisingly, the No. 2 spot on our list of largest exchange-traded funds goes to SPDR Gold Shares
Remember, just because an exchange-traded fund has a big asset base and is attracting a lot of investor inflows doesn't mean it's the right fund for you. Make sure you stick with low-cost, broad-market, well-diversified funds and leave the riskier offerings to the speculators.