State plans that offer tax breaks are typically the best 529 savings plans to invest in, according to Kiplinger. Other well-rated options, based on 2014 data, include New York’s 529 College Savings Program, the Maryland College Investment Plan and the Utah Educational Savings Plan.
For those living in states that do not offer tax breaks, choosing the right plan depends on the consumer's investing needs. Things to consider include low fees, rate of return, time available for investing, and if the plan is aggressive or conservative, notes Kiplinger. It is also important to understand how much personal involvement is required. Some plans are essentially hands-free outside of the initial investment, while others rely on the investor to make most decisions regarding money allocation.
In addition to Kiplinger and Forbes, sites such as SavingForCollege.com also offer performance rankings to help consumers decide on the 529 savings plan that best suits their needs.