Best Robo-Advisors

Best Robo-Advisors

Robo-advisors provide more accessible investing and money management options at a fraction of the cost historically available in traditional models, empowering more individuals to save, invest, and grow money towards financial freedom. But there are several factors to consider when searching for the right robo-advisor to both give you a holistic sense of your total financial picture and help keep you on track toward reaching your financial goals during turbulent market conditions.

To make it easier, this unbiased, comprehensive comparison of the top robo-advisors is based on our own proprietary rating methodology that measures cash management, goal planning tools, fees, portfolio management, mobile functionality, socially conscious investing, portfolio construction, and other pertinent variables.

Best Robo-Advisors

Wealthfront: Best Overall and Best for Goal Planning

  • Account Minimum: $500
  • Fees: 0.25% for most accounts, no trading commission or fees for withdrawals, minimums, or transfers.
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Best Overall: Wealthfront is a leader in the robo-advisor space and takes the crown for Best Overall platform on the market. With a comprehensive suite of investment management tools and products, Wealthfront stands above the rest for those looking for an automated financial solution.

Best for Goal Planning: Wealthfront is also our pick for the Best for Goal Planning thanks to extensive goal-setting options, free digital financial planning tools, and robust progress trackers available throughout the platform.

On Friday, September 2, 2022, Wealthfront announced that, together with UBS, the companies have decided to terminate the pending acquisition, leaving Wealthfront to remain an independent company.


  • Outstanding goal setting and financial planning tools

  • Variety of account options including 529 plans

  • Tax-loss harvesting applied on a daily basis

  • External account aggregation

  • Path and Self-Driving Money tools let you evaluate tradeoffs of saving for multiple goals and automatically allocate excess cash towards them


  • Fractional share trading is not supported

  • No human advisors are offered

  • Limited chat and service options


Wealthfront was one of the first automated investment platforms in the robo-advisor space, launching in 2008 and becoming an industry leader by providing an exemplary digital portfolio management experience. Wealthfront’s strength lies in its fully digital experience through a variety of portfolio customization tools and daily tax-loss harvesting. 

Wealthfront’s portfolio management is paired with strong goal setting and financial planning tools such as Path and Self Driving money at a low cost of 0.25%. The competitive price point and high quality of the platform mean that Wealthfront has one of the strongest overall robo-advisor offerings available. 

One of the most impactful features of Wealthfront’s platform is the account aggregator tool. Using this feature, you can see your financial picture in one place and leverage Wealthfront’s powerful financial planning, goal setting, and progress tracking tools. This type of comprehensive goal support can make a large difference in helping you achieve financial success. This aspect of Wealthfront is specific to your situation as the model changes to account for changes in your personal financial life.

Wealthfront’s product suite also includes checking account and spend options so that you can manage more of your money in one place. This includes direct deposits, automating transfers, payments, and mobile deposits. All of this is available whether you use the investment management product or not. A borrow feature is also available through a line of credit for users with a minimum of $25,000 invested to round out the platform. Wealthfront is making a strong pitch for being an all-in-one financial solution for its users, and not just an automated portfolio manager. 

Interactive Advisors: Best for Socially Responsible Investing and Best for Portfolio Construction

  • Account Minimum: $100 – $50,000
  • Fees: 0.08-1.5% per year, depending on advisor and portfolio chosen
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Best for Socially Responsible Investing: Interactive advisors is our top choice for Socially Responsible Investing, given the significant number of investment vehicles, pre-built portfolios, and screening tools to let you invest in the world you envision.

Best for Portfolio Construction: Interactive Advisors is also our winner for Portfolio Construction as it offers the widest range of investment options in the robo-advisor space that serve investors who use several different portfolio strategies.


  • Extensive universe of investment vehicles, including fractional shares

  • More than 50 portfolio strategies

  • Strong investment research and screening tools

  • Socially conscious focus includes sustainable funds, pre-built portfolios, and screeners


  • Some portfolios have high minimums and management fees

  • Website navigation, account opening, and funding is not as intuitive as other robo-advisors

  • No tax-loss harvesting


Interactive Brokers is a powerhouse when it comes to serving traders and active investors. The broker launched its robo-advisor platform, Interactive Advisors, in 2007 to serve investors who prefer access to wide-ranging investment options and portfolio strategies while automating the portfolio management portion of their finances.

Interactive Advisors offers a unique blend of portfolio options, with self-selection from an extensive investment vehicle catalog at one end of the spectrum to mimicking professionally managed portfolios on the other end of the range. Investment options include mutual funds, stocks, ETFs, fixed income, REITs, ESG, non-proprietary funds, and managed portfolios.

The socially responsible focus of the platform allows you to extensively customize your portfolio’s focus, such as blocking individual companies that do not align with your values or selecting existing socially conscious strategies from a wide variety of established fund managers like Vanguard, BlackRock, and Wisdom Tree.

Interactive Advisors stands out among robo-advisors for portfolio construction on two fronts: One, the portfolios often contain fractional shares of stocks rather than operating solely through ETFs to create stock exposure. Two, you can choose to mirror actively managed portfolios, an option very few robo-advisors offer. Combined with the ability to screen out unwanted stocks and see the impact the omission would have using historical returns, Interactive Advisors is definitely one of the most customizable robo-advisors in the industry.

Betterment: Best for Beginners and Best for Cash Management

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: 0.25% (annual) for digital plan, 0.40% (annual) for the premium plan 
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Best for Beginners: Betterment wins our Best for Beginners category due to a very user-friendly experience combined with no Account Minimum, practical education resources, and intuitive guidance.

Best for Cash Management: Betterment also receives our top choice for Cash Management as its checking account and cash reserve products give users the best option for accessing and moving money in a seamless way.


  • Straightforward onboarding and funding process

  • Aggregation of external accounts

  • No account minimum to maintain

  • FDIC insured checking and cash reserve account

  • Full transparency into investment strategy before funding


Betterment is one of the original robo-advisors to challenge traditional investment managers, launching in 2008 and growing to $29 Billion of assets under management. The platform has been intentional about user and asset growth, acquiring Wealthsimple’s US business in April 2021.

Betterment’s platform is built to attract new investors with no account minimum to get started while providing a seamless signup experience. It’s also easy to set goals, monitor progress, and leverage a variety of straightforward planning tools. Cash management options are very attractive as well, with Betterment Checking and Cash Reserve accounts covered by FDIC insurance and providing transaction functionality similar to traditional banks.

The investment platform is able to support many goals and time horizons with different accounts, each with its own investment strategy to ensure you stay on track. This also includes the option to link external accounts to Betterment’s platform and use financial tools to give you a holistic sense of your financial picture. While Betterment is built with a digital first approach, human advisors are available to provide added guidance for an additional fee.

Betterment also pairs a checking account and savings options alongside their investment offering to provide a more complete financial experience. There are also financial prompts when cash reaches certain thresholds so that you’re adequately invested as your savings grow. For new investors, Betterment offers a simple solution to manage your money in a larger sense beyond just your investment portfolio.

Personal Capital: Best for Portfolio Management

  • Account Minimum: $100,000
  • Fees: 0.89% to 0.49% for accounts over $1 million
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Best for Portfolio Management: Our choice for Best Portfolio Management platform is Personal Capital, due the firm’s outstanding tax optimization strategies and unique approach to diversification in the robo-advisor space.


  • Wide range of free investment management tools

  • Account aggregation for holistic asset management

  • Access to advisor or advisor team (depending on account balance)

  • Excellent tax optimization features

  • Strong variety of portfolio strategies and investment vehicles


  • Very high $100,000 account minimum

  • Management fees are significantly higher than industry average starting at 0.89% annually for accounts with at least $1 million

  • Mobile experience lacks some of the desktop functionalities


Personal Capital’s platform was launched to investors seeking a balance between a digital-only experience and a traditional financial advisor model by pairing smart portfolio automation with access to human consultants as part of the experience. Personal Capital continues to expand its reach as it was acquired by Empower Retirement in August 2020 to pair with one of the leaders in group retirement services.

It is worth noting that Personal Capital is aimed at high net-worth investors, with an account minimum of $100,000 and the top tier service for accounts over $1 million. Although it may be out of reach for many new investors, it still scored highest in terms of both automated portfolio management and true diversification. Personal Capital’s strength lies in its approach to portfolio management, particularly tax optimization strategies. While tax-loss harvesting is a key aspect of the platform, Personal Capital goes further by considering different account tax statuses when placing assets and featuring tax-optimized retirement withdrawals. 

Much of Personal Capital’s goal planning is geared around retirement which is exemplified by its Smart Withdrawal tool being a primary goal setting focus. Other financial tools such as the Recession Simulator can be used to explore the impact of a market pullback on a wider variety of investment goals. A key aspect of the platform is access to human advisors who can provide holistic guidance across the spectrum of financial planning topics and additional portfolio customization.

Personal Capital puts your portfolio plan into action by including a variety of securities such as stocks, bonds, ETFs, alternative investments, cash, and private equity. Separate from cash held in your portfolio, Personal Capital’s Cash account doesn’t require you to be an investing client and is protected by FDIC coverage up to $1.25 million. This account offers flexible money movement including direct deposit and payments features. 

M1 Finance: Best for Sophisticated Investors and Best for Low Costs

  • Account Minimum: $100 ($500 minimum for retirement accounts)
  • Fee: 0%
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Best for Sophisticated Investors: Our pick for the platform best suited for sophisticated investors goes to M1 Finance because of the extensive portfolio customization options, including investor discretion to choose from over 60 different pre-built portfolios or build their own.

Best for Low Costs: M1 Finance also wins the Best for Low Costs category with no fees charged for trading or account management, putting more of your dollars to work by investing.


  • No fees for trading or account management

  • High level of portfolio control

  • Spending and borrowing options complement portfolio management

  • Variety of screening tools to fine-tune your portfolio

  • Expansive portfolio customization options


M1 Finance entered the robo-advisor space in 2015 and achieved $5 Billion in assets under management in 2021, highlighting continued user and asset growth since inception. M1 also has a premier Plus tier that was improved in 2021 by adding a unique credit card product to go alongside other spending and borrowing product options. 

While M1 stands out for its wide variety of portfolio customization options and investment vehicles to choose from, it also excels in cost containment with no fees for trading or account management. While there are other minor miscellaneous fees for specific account management requests, M1’s focus on driving down costs leaves investors with more money in their pockets.

On the downside, there are limited financial calculators and goal-setting options available on the platform. There is also no access to human investment consultants, if that is important to you. In lieu of human support, M1 Finance provides a great option for self-directed investors to automate some of the investment management processes without sacrificing portfolio flexibility and control.

The extensive portfolio customization features available through M1 are complemented with other account management elements such as a spend option, a credit card, and a smart transfers tool that helps allocate excess cash. Most importantly for this category, the robo-advisor’s commitment to cost containment and reduction keeps fees from eating into your returns.

Merrill Guided Investing: Best for Education

  • Account Minimum: $1,000 or $20,000 with an advisor
  • Fee: 0.45% annually of assets under management, assessed monthly. With advisor—0.85%. Discounts available for Bank of America Preferred Rewards participants.
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Best for Education: Merrill Guided Investing receives our top choice in this category by leveraging its expertise to provide a deep educational library of videos, articles, tools, and a goal exploration process that is valuable to investors of all backgrounds.


Merrill’s Guided Investing platform was launched in 2017 to provide a stand-alone robo-advisor offering that built upon Merrill’s extensive investment history. Merrill added to this platform by creating a “Guided Investing with an Advisor” service in 2019 to pair a human element with investing.

Merrill Guided Investing takes the Best for Education category thanks to a superb educational catalog that can be tailored to investors of all experiences, backgrounds, and goals. The educational content is offered in a variety of formats, including videos, articles, and goal exploration. Merrill Guided Investing aims to elevate investor knowledge so you can get the most out of the platform’s tools and achieve your portfolio goals as well as your broader financial goals. 

The platform provides education around a variety of planning areas including retirement, saving for a home, travel, general investing, and several other goals. Investors can gain confidence in the likelihood of accomplishing their goals by using tools to simulate investment performance, savings strategies, and financial outcomes. 

The educational content, tools, and automated investing strategy are available through Merrill’s Guided Investing digital-only service for an annual fee of 0.45% and on Guided Investing with an Advisor tier for a higher annual fee of 0.85%. Both services allow investors to use ETFs and mutual funds to accomplish their goals.

E*TRADE Core Portfolios: Best for Mobile Experience

Best for Mobile Experience: Our pick for the top mobile platform is E*TRADE’s Core Portfolios, given the mobile app’s seamless experience and sleek design, including access to the full complement of Core Portfolios features available through your smartphone.


  • Quick, easy sign up process

  • Current E*TRADE users new to Core Portfolios receive expedited onboarding

  • Socially Responsible Investing options

  • Low fees and fund expense ratios


E*TRADE is a well-known industry leader in the discount brokerage space, launching their Core Portfolios robo-advisor offering in 2017. When E*TRADE’s platform was acquired by Morgan Stanley in 2020, an already robust offering became even deeper.

The Core Portfolios mobile experience leverages the expertise of an established brokerage industry expert to provide an easy-to-use automated investment platform. As a result, investors are empowered with the tools needed to manage their portfolios directly from their mobile devices in a way that stands out from the rest of the robo-advisor field.

E*TRADE’s Core Portfolio manages to bring a streamlined mobile experience by reducing goal setting, questionnaires, and time horizon options. This is an intentionally designed approach so you can quickly and simply manage your investments without extensive portfolio and goal customization. 

You’ll be able to choose a portfolio containing a diversified basket of ETFs. Auto-rebalancing is applied to help keep your portfolio on track, although no tax-loss harvesting is available and customers are unable to consolidate their outside accounts. Investment advisor support is also accessible to help answer questions for both existing and prospective customers. This all comes wrapped up in a very competitive 0.3% annual management fee.

Final Verdict

There are several strong robo-advisor offerings with strengths in different key areas to help manage your money. When considering which of these platforms might be the right fit, keep in mind your personal preferences, goals, and needs. One significant factor that wasn’t part of our rating methodology was investment returns. This was left out due to different portfolio risk levels and allocation strategies between robo-advisors. While many platforms follow passive investment strategies attempting to match the overall growth of the market, offerings that provide additional customizations let you invest in a more dynamic, personal way. 

It’s also helpful to consider platforms that allow for external account aggregation if your investments are held at more than one institution so you will have aligned tax optimization, investment strategies, and goal tracking. We found that Wealthfront offers the best overall experience balancing these options. Next, we’ll look at side-by-side comparisons of the companies we reviewed so you can see where each platform shines through.