Perfection is hard to find in the investment landscape and exchange traded funds are no exception, but there are plenty of excellent ETFs on the market today.

The Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (NYSEArca: VTI) merits a place in the “really good” ETF conversation. VTI is goliath ETF, both in terms of holdings and assets. The fund held 3,814 stocks and nearly $56 billion in assets at the end of April, according to Vanguard data.

Investors have poured $4.5 billion into VTI this year, a total surpassed by only the WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: HEDJ) and the Deutsche X-trackers MSCI EAFE Hedged Equity ETF (NYSEArca: DBEF). That comes on top of $7.1 billion allocated to the ETF last year and $6.4 billion in 2013. In 2012, VTI hauled in $2 billion. [Vanguard Extends Asset-Gathering Dominance]

VTI tracks the CRSP U.S. Total Market Index and as its name implies the fund holds pretty much everything in the U.S. markets, with at least a $10 million market-cap, weighted by market capitalization. However, the index may exclude business development companies, American Depository Receipts, royalty trusts and limited partnerships. There are other reasons why VTI has been a hit with investors.

“Vanguard charges investors an annual fee of 0.05 percent of the money they put into VTI, which it reaps over the course of a year. That’s about as cheap as it gets, but it’s not quite free. So you’d expect VTI to miss its index’s return by 0.05 percent, since the expense ratio comes out of the ETF’s return,” writes Eric Balchunas for Bloomberg. “But Vanguard is able to lend out up to one-third of the securities in the fund to short sellers. It collects a small rental fee for this service and puts all that revenue back into the ETF. This can partly offset the expense ratio, the percentage of assets an ETF issuer takes for managing the fund.”

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