Vanguard bond ETFs

Choose from a wide variety of short-, intermediate-, and long-term bond ETFs.

Find income & stability with a bond ETF

Get higher potential for income

Bond ETFs (exchange-traded funds) give your portfolio the opportunity to earn income from interest payments—unlike stock ETFs, which aim for long-term growth (although some pay dividends).

Reduce your investment risk

A bond ETF could contain hundreds—sometimes thousands—of bonds, making an ETF generally less risky than owning just a handful of individual bonds.

Add stability to your portfolio

When included in a well-balanced portfolio, bond ETFs can help limit the risks associated with stock ETFs.

Get broad exposure to bond markets around the globe

You can invest in just a few ETFs to complete the bond portion of your portfolio. Each of these ETFs includes a wide variety of bonds in a single, diversified investment.

Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF

Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF holds more than 8,300 domestic investment-grade bonds.

Vanguard Total International Bond ETF

Vanguard Total International Bond ETF holds more than 4,500 bonds from both developed and emerging non-U.S. markets.

How to evaluate different bond ETFs

Different types of bonds will expose you to different types and levels of risk. Knowing the general terms used to describe specific bond characteristics can help you assess how comfortable you are with the risks involved with investing.

For example, maturity helps gauge how much the price of a bond (or bond ETF) will go up or down when interest rates change. The general rule is to align the average maturity of a bond ETF with the length of time that you'll have your money invested in that ETF.

Credit quality helps gauge the likelihood that the bond will default. Obviously, the better the credit quality, the less risk there is to your investment.

Actually, investing in a combination of U.S. and international bonds can add another level of diversification to your portfolio. Consider splitting your bond allocation into about:

  • 70% U.S. bond ETFs.
  • 30% international bond ETFs.

Inflation-protected bond ETFs invest in government bonds that are routinely adjusted for inflation.

For more information about Vanguard mutual funds and ETFs, visit Vanguard mutual fund prospectuses or Vanguard ETF prospectuses to obtain a prospectus or, if available, a summary prospectus. Investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information are contained in the prospectus; read and consider it carefully before investing.

You must buy and sell Vanguard ETF Shares through Vanguard Brokerage Services (we offer them commission-free) or through another broker (which may charge commissions). See the Vanguard Brokerage Services commission and fee schedules for limits. Vanguard ETF Shares are not redeemable directly with the issuing fund other than in very large aggregations worth millions of dollars. ETFs are subject to market volatility. When buying or selling an ETF, you will pay or receive the current market price, which may be more or less than net asset value.

All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest. Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.

Bond ETFs are subject to interest rate risk, which is the chance that bond prices overall will decline because of rising interest rates, and credit risk, which is the chance a bond issuer will fail to pay interest and principal in a timely manner or that negative perceptions of the issuer's ability to make such payments will cause the price of that bond to decline. Investments in bonds issued by non-U.S. companies are subject to risks including country/regional risk, which is the chance that political upheaval, financial troubles, or natural disasters will adversely affect the value of securities issued by companies in foreign countries or regions; and currency risk, which is the chance that the value of a foreign investment, measured in U.S. dollars, will decrease because of unfavorable changes in currency exchange rates. These risks are especially high in emerging markets.