Any list of the 10 best dividend stocks is entirely subjective. Some investors prefer high-yield dividend stocks while others seek total return. An investor should consider the lists of several experts and choose the stocks with the greatest potential to help him reach his personal investment goals.
Ben Reynolds at TheStreet sources his 2015 best-of list from an elite group of stocks known as the "dividend aristocrats." These companies have increased their dividends every year for 25 or more consecutive years. Reynolds recommends McDonald's (MCD), Wal-Mart (WMT), Exxon Mobil (XOM), Aflac (AFL) and Abbott Laboratories (ABT). In addition, W.W. Grainger (GWW), ADP (ADP), Sherwin-Williams (SHW), AT&T (T) and Consolidated Edison (ED) are also recommended.
Another list of 10 safe high-yield dividend stocks that, as of October 2014, pay a dividend greater than 3 percent that is unlikely to be cut in the near future can be found on 24/7 Wall St. This list includes AT&T (T), Altria (MO), Consolidated Edison (ED), Chevron (CVX) and Cisco Systems (CSCO). It also includes Duke Energy (DUK), Kraft Foods (KRFT), Kimberly-Clark (KMB), Kinder Morgan (KMI) and Southern Company (SO).
For the investor who prefers to own a diversified basket of dividend stocks, Kiplinger's recommends a number of exchange-traded funds worth considering. These include SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY), WisdomTree Emerging Markets Equity Income Fund (DEM), First Trust DJ Global Select Dividend Index Fund (FGD), iShares S&P U.S. Preferred Stock Index Fund (PFF) and the Guggenheim Multi-Asset Income ETF (CVY).