Master limited partnerships are great because they pay out boatloads of cash directly to investors. Unfortunately, that doesn't leave much capital to grow a business with, so MLPs must also issue a lot of debt. In this video, Fool.com contributor Aimee Duffy explains how to compare the debt situations at MLPs that vary in size, using the debt-to-adjusted-EBITDA ratio for Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE:EPD), Sunoco Logistics Partners (NYSE:SXL), Magellan Midstream Partners (NYSE:MMP), and Plains All American Pipeline (NYSE:PAA). Aimee indicates how to calculate the metric, and why it's so crucial to this space.

Fool contributor Aimee Duffy has no position in any stocks mentioned. Fool contributor Tyler Crowe owns shares of Enterprise Products Partners. The Motley Fool recommends Enterprise Products Partners and Magellan Midstream Partners. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.