Today I’m going to share the 10 best day trading software platforms for beginners. But before I get into the various trading software platforms I’ve researched let me explain how most beginners get into trading.
Most traders are very careful with their money so they only take positions that last for days or weeks.
This gives them a bit more time to understand and analyze the market to find the best trades.
Traders who use this strategy are called swing traders and they only usually do it part-time. Beginner traders are more likely to be swing traders at first as it helps them learn more about how the industry works.
However, some like to challenge themselves more once they finally get a good grasp on trading. This is where day trading comes in.
Day trading is the activity wherein a trader places multiple trades within a single day. Depending on the day trading strategy, positions can be held from minutes to hours. The goal of day trading is to take as many positions as possible and all profits gained from them will be accumulated to a huge amount by the end of the day. Not many traders can handle this type of trading style because it is highly stressful and intense. It requires more focus and discipline since you need to find profitable trades in a short amount of time.
Aside from focus and discipline, day traders need to have the best tools to succeed. One of the most important tools that you need to acquire is a reliable trading software platform. What should day traders look for when it comes to finding the best trading platform? Here are some of the factors:
- Ease of use. A trading platform should be easy to use and navigate. You want to have a platform that works for you.
- Fast and quality execution. Since day traders need to place trades quickly, you don’t need any delays. Time is an essential part of day trading so you need a trading platform that allows you to execute trades immediately.
- Low or zero commissions. Most brokers nowadays have cut down or totally removed commissions. Commissions are fees that are charged by a broker for every trade placed. Lower or zero commissions mean traders will have access to more trades.
- Customized charting. Day traders apply technical analysis to make profitable trades. A good trading platform should also be customized to be used with technical indicators beneficial for the trader.
Customer service is also a good additional factor when it comes to choosing a trading platform. You would need the help you can get when you encounter a problem from using it and having access to great customer service will make things easier.
To find the most suitable platform for you, we list down 10 of the most used platforms by day traders:
Platform 1: Interactive Brokers (Best for Stock)
Interactive Brokers’ Trader Workstation is one of the largest and most powerful trading platforms available. This platform lets you trade in over 135 markets such as stocks, forex, futures, and options. IB users also have real-time access to current news and market data. Trades can also be placed and monitored in real-time, giving traders an advantage in the market. Aside from comprehensive research tools, Interactive Brokers has a wide array of free trading tools and order types that you can add to your chart depending on your style and preference.
Interested traders might start with a free trial or Lite version of the platform first to get a good grasp on it. You can already access the above-mentioned features with it. With the Lite version, traders get commission-free trades on US Exchange-Listed stocks and ETFs and no monthly fees. However, if you want to have extra software tools that you think might help, you just have to upgrade with the Pro version.
Beginner traders will benefit greatly from Interactive Brokers since it offers lower commission fees and margin interest rates as compared to other brokers.
Platform 2: TD Ameritrade (Best for Forex)
TD Ameritrade is another top pick trading platform for beginner day traders. Its most advanced platform, thinkorswim Desktop, lets you access many sophisticated trading tools and resources. It has an “Analyze” section wherein you can see economic data, company profiles, and Earnings tool which are all helpful in testing your trading strategy. The trading platform can also display charts with real-time data and has a wide array of 400+ technical analysis tools and strategies. If you want to customize your own tools or strategy, you may also do that in the thinkorswim Desktop through the use of TD Ameritrade’s own programming language called thinkScript.
Beginners would also benefit greatly from TD Ameritrade since it does not have any commissions on US Exchange-listed stocks and ETFs. There is also no minimum deposit required to open an account. TD Ameritrade has an extensive educational resource that is useful for beginners who want to enhance their trading. If you want to test your strategy, you can also do that on the platform risk-free through the paperMoney simulator.
If you are looking for the best low-price platform packed with powerful features, TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim Desktop is the best choice for you.
Platform 3: TradeStation
TradeStation’s desktop platform is another option for day traders. It has a lot of features such as RadarScreen which scans for trading opportunities in real-time and EasyLanguage which is its programming language that allows you to create your own indicators and strategies. The platform includes free and paid built-in trading apps or you can go to the TradingApp Store where you can find and use add-on products made by independent developers. TradeStation also allows you to backtest and optimize your trading strategy before you can even make your first trade. These tools are great for day traders.
There are two options when availing of a TradeStation account: TS Select and TS Go. Both options offer free commissions for stocks, ETFs, stock options, futures, futures micro e-mini, and futures options. However, there is a minimum deposit of $2000 in TS Select while you can deposit any amount for TS Go.
Platform 4: TradingView
The TradingView desktop app is a cloud-based trading platform suitable for beginner day traders as it is easy to use and has a large community wherein anyone can learn from others. TradingView users can trade stocks, futures, forex, cryptocurrencies, and bonds. The charting platform is intuitive and advanced, with all 12 chart types customizable.
But TradingView’s claim to fame is its fantastic technical analysis. It has over 100+ built-in indicators, 100,000+ community indicators, 50+ drawing tools, Volume Profile indicators, multi-frame analysis, and candlestick pattern recognition. Do you want to create your indicators and strategies and share them with other users? You may do so with PineScript, TradingView’s programming language. There are also three screeners available to scan and filter well-performing companies, currency pairs, or cryptocurrencies based on fundamental and technical analysis.
Platform 5: ZACKSTrade
ZACKSTrade is designed for active traders. Its flagship trading platform, ZACKSTrade Pro, is free for all clients and provides a comprehensive and powerful workspace, and lets you trade from the chart. With a single account, you can already trade in stocks, bonds, options, and funds in different countries. The platform is fully customizable with over 120 indicators that you can use. You can also create watchlists and alerts for any important changes in the market.
ZACKSTrade Pro has a wide variety of robust technical analysis tools. Aside from the basic and popular tools, it also has Algos, Basket Trader, Market Scanners, Options Strategy Lab, Probability Lab, Rebalance Portfolio, Spread Trader, and Volatility Lab.
But the greatest advantage ZACKSTrade has is its low rates. You can trade stocks, options, and ETFs for as low as $1. The margin rates are also low which starts from 3.56%. Best of all, ZACKSTrade will not charge you for inactivity or maintenance.
Platform 6: NinjaTrader (Best For Day Trading Software)
NinjaTrader is an award-winning trading software platform for stocks, forex, futures, options, and CFD markets. It offers advanced charting with tools that help analyze the market and even the order flow. You can also use 1000+ third-party indicators, strategies, and apps to enhance and improve your technical analysis found in NinjaTrader’s Ecosystem. Have your own ideas for a great indicator or strategy? You can develop your own using NinjaTrader’s programming language, NinjaScript.
The platform is free to use for advanced charting, backtesting, and trade simulation. This allows a trader to replay historical market data or simulate your strategies. Because of these features, NinjaTrader is also a favorite platform for day traders.
Platform 7: Fidelity
Active Trader Pro is a trading software platform from Fidelity that is built specifically for active traders. With this platform, you can discover trading opportunities with its Real-Time Analytics and market filters. The Trade Armor tool lets day traders visualize risk management strategies and set alerts for any price movements. You can also monitor real-time news and relevant events in the Dashboard.
At Fidelity, there is no minimum deposit required to open an account. It also offers a $0 commission for US stocks, ETF, and options trades. The margin rates are also one of the low rates in the industry starting at 4%.
Platform 8: MetaTrader
MetaTrader 4 is one of the most popular trading platforms in the industry, especially among forex traders. It has a lot of features and trading capabilities that give it an edge over other platforms. The MT4 is very stable and has fast execution, lessening the chances of slippage. It allows traders to implement any strategy, even complex ones. Trading with the MT4 is flexible and convenient as it supports one-click trading which is ideal for day traders.
Technical analysis functions are MT4’s strongest advantage. It has 30 built-in indicators and 24 graphic objects which can be displayed in 9 timeframes to analyze the market and predict price dynamics. You can create your own indicator using MQL4 or download free indicators from Code Base. There are also additional 700 paid apps in the Market you can browse to aid in your trading.
Platform 9: Webull
The Webull Desktop is an all-in-one trading platform for day traders. It is convenient, reliable, and customizable to suit your trading needs. The latest version of the platform includes 50 technical indicators, 12 charting tools, and 45 widgets which help analyze market data and trends for efficient trading. You can customize the layout so that only important widgets are displayed. Webull has also improved the speed of the platform, allowing traders to access high-frequency tick data at a faster rate.
Webuill users enjoy commission-free trading for online stocks, ETF, and options trades.
Platform 10: Lightspeed
The Lightspeed Trader is a trading platform designed for day traders which offer fast trade executions, fast delivery of market information, and advanced charting. The platform is customizable and lets traders personalize up to 10 screen layouts. Lightscan, the platform’s scanner, allows traders to find volatile stocks near key price levels by using over 100 filters. It can also be used to scan sizable trades and track the activity of large traders. You can create custom orders so that the platform can react quickly to any trading opportunities that may arise.
Lightspeed offers low commission rates and low trading fees for equities and options. Users also have the benefit of using its various resources to increase their knowledge and be updated on the latest industry information.
The above list was in no special order – if we’re forced to pick our favourite software it would be Ninjatrader.
What Platform Do Professional Day Traders Use?
Not all platforms are alike and not one platform is tailored fit for all day traders. Professional day traders use platforms that are fast and have the right technical analysis tools to complement their strategies. Other factors that should also be considered are:
- Minimum deposit
- Margin rates
- Platform fees
- Customer support
What Software Do Professional Day Traders Use?
Just like a trading platform, there is no single software that professional traders use. Their choice of software boils down to different factors which may or may not be similar to other day traders. Professional day traders use software that will quickly place their trades once they meet the conditions they set. It should also have the analytical features that are fit for your strategy. So before you decide on what software to use, you should always do your research first.
What Is The Best Free Trading Platform?
There are already many free trading platforms available currently and they only differ in two or more aspects. Depending on what you are looking for, any free platform can be the best. If you are looking for low-pricing platforms, TradeStation, Fidelity, or Webull are great choices. However, if you are looking for platforms with great analytical tools, platforms like TD Ameritrade or ZACKSTrade are likely candidates.