Dividend stocks have long been a darling of investors. Not only do these stocks appreciate in value, but you can also depend on them to give you a return every year, quarter or month.
But not all dividend stocks are created equal, which leaves to choose from various share prices, payout ratios and dividend growth rates. When considering dividend stocks, you might want to take Warren Buffett’s sage advice to buy what you know.
Check out this list of 10 high-performing dividend stocks to help you decide which dividend stock to pick next.
10 Top Dividend Stocks of All Time
You don’t have to be an investing expert to make money off of dividend stocks, but you should have some knowledge of your options before committing. To make it easier to decide what options could be right for your investment portfolio, take a look at the 10 best dividend stocks of all time:
1. Coca-Cola (KO)
- Industry: Consumer staples
- Share price: $45.29
- Dividend: $0.37 per quarter
- P/E ratio: 23.73
Coca-Cola has been paying dividends to stockholders since 1920, and has increased its dividend every year for the last 55 years. Anyone who bought a single share of Coca-Cola stock at its initial public offering in 1919 and reinvested the dividends would have an investment worth $9.8 million as of 2012. With that kind of returns, Coca-Cola might be a good choice.
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2. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)
- Industry: Medical devices, pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods
- Share price: $142.60
- Dividend: $0.84
- P/E ratio: 20.89
Johnson & Johnson manufactures many well-known consumer brands such as Tylenol, Listerine and Band-Aid and contains pharmaceutical and medical device divisions. For investors interested in a long-standing company with continuous growth in earnings and dividend yield, Johnson & Johnson is a top pick.
3. Procter & Gamble (PG)
- Industry: Consumer packaged goods
- Share price: $89.85
- Dividend: $0.69 per quarter
- P/E ratio: 23.05
Anyone who washes clothes, uses dental hygiene products, has a baby or uses toilet paper or paper towels has likely used Procter & Gamble products. The global brand has been making consumer goods since 1837 and has paid a dividend for 127 consecutive years. And for the last 61 years, P&G has increased its dividend yearly. Longevity plus stability make this dividend stock a good choice for investors.
4. 3M (MMM)
- Industry: Manufacturing
- Share price: $236.58
- Dividend: $1.175
- P/E ratio: 29.33
Originally called the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, 3M makes products for businesses and consumers in a variety of industries, including healthcare, automotive and transportation — and its growth doesn’t seem as if it will slow down anytime soon. 3M products aren’t just for businesses, though — the Post-It Note was invented by a 3M employee and has become one of the company’s most popular products. One side benefit of owning 3M stock: The company offers shareholders discount pricing on a holiday box of 3M products.
Because 3M has raised its dividend for each of the last 59 years and has never missed a dividend payment in over a century, it could be good pick for investors who are interested in the manufacturing sector.
5. Colgate-Palmolive (CL)
- Industry: Consumer packaged goods
- Share price: $72.49
- Dividend: $0.40 per quarter
- P/E ratio: 23.68
Colgate-Palmolive Company has two divisions: oral, personal and home care, which includes brands like Colgate toothpaste, Palmolive dishwashing liquid and SpeedStick deodorant; and pet nutrition, which includes Hill’s Science Diet, Prescription Diet and Ideal Balance, which it markets through pet retailers and veterinarians.
Analysts see Colgate-Palmolive as a good long-term investment, as the company has significant business outside the U.S., and its dominance in the oral care business makes it difficult for competitors to gain shares.
6. Lowe’s (LOW)
- Industry: Home improvement retailer
- Share price: $84.99
- Dividend: $0.41
- P/E ratio: 21.45
Lowe’s, a big-box powerhouse, operates or services 2,370 home improvement and hardware stores across the country, serving over 17 million customers a week. Lowe’s P/E ratio of 21.44 is more attractive than that of its major competitor, Home Depot, which has a P/E ratio of 28.35. Overall, Lowe’s offers the better value of these two leaders in the $183 billion home improvement market.
7. Walmart (WMT)
- Industry: Retail
- Share price: $97.60
- Dividend: $0.51 per quarter
- P/E ratio: 22.35
Retail giant Walmart has been a public company since 1970. Since that time, its stock has split 11 times. For example, if you purchased 100 shares of Wal-Mart stock at its IPO price of $16.50 per share, you would now own 51,200 shares and your $1,650 investment would be worth $4,997,120. Of the 32 analysts who follow Walmart, 15 rate it a strong buy or a buy, and 15 rate it a hold, making this stock a smart investment choice.
8. Hormel (HRL)
- Industry: Food processing
- Share price: $36.99
- Dividend: $0.188
- P/E ratio: 23.56
Hormel Foods might be best known for its trademark cans of Spam, but it also manufactures other grocery products, refrigerated foods and specialty foods that are distributed worldwide.
Hormel is one of only four companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to have grown earnings in 28 of the past 31 years, making it a solid performer in the sometimes-tricky food sector. And it’s no surprise that shareholders of Hormel have enjoyed 51 consecutive years of dividend increases.
9. Aflac (AFL)
- Industry: Insurance
- Share price: $88.76
- Dividend: $0.45 per quarter
- P/E ratio: 13.03
In an industry that consumers often perceive to be a necessary evil, Aflac has managed to carve out a niche for itself in disability insurance, or what they refer to as “voluntary insurance at the work site.” Trading very close to its 52-week high, all but two of the 15 analysts who cover this stock rate it at least a hold. And the company’s low P/E ratio relative to the rest of the industry makes it a bargain.
10. Target (TGT)
- Industry: Retail
- Share price: $61.02
- Dividend: $0.62
- P/E ratio: 12.19
Target is another major player in the retail sector and faces competition from Walmart on the brick-and-mortar front as well as Amazon in the online space. Target stands out as an investment for two reasons: its low P/E ratio of 12.19, which is a full ten points lower than main competitor Walmart; and the recent acquisition of Shipt, which will help it compete with behemoth Amazon.
Up Next: 10 Top Stocks of 2017
High-dividend yield stocks, like the ones listed here, are usually big, established companies with large market capitalizations. You can look at their earnings reports to determine where they are going over time and whether they would be the best high-dividend stocks to add to your portfolio. Overall, the best dividend stocks to buy are those that have been paying dividends for a long time and increase their dividends regularly.