Deciding to start stock trading could be one of the best decisions you could take in life.
With the right insights and experience, stock trading can be an impressive method to earn money. In light of the fact that thousands are making a living out of stock trading, we can’t ignore the fantastic possibilities that stock trading presents.
However, you shouldn’t think that stock trading is effortless — not for a minute, it isn’t.
Amidst choosing the stocks to invest in and taking market-friendly decisions, stock trading can take a toll on the trader. It’s not so surprising, either.
As it happens, the time and effort you spend on stock trading results in the returns you receive. Now, if there is one thing that can help you simplify this process, it’s some of the best stock trading platforms out there.
The online broker — better known as a stock trading platform — that you choose can impact how you find your way with stock trading.
For instance, beginners should avoid online brokers charging high commissions and choose something with better promotion options. On the other hand, an experienced trader may choose a trading platform with better analytics and insights.
We thought we could translate our experience with online brokerages into something that can help you pick the right stock trading platform.
In this article, we have reviewed and compared some of the most popular stock trading platforms. Because we have included services that belong to different categories, your level of expertise in stock trading wouldn’t matter. There will at least be one option that suits you..
Best Stocks Trading Platforms – Reviews & Buying guide for 2021
Best Overall: Ameritrade
- Commissions: $0
- Promotions: None
- Account Minimum: $0
TD Ameritrade is currently one of the most popular stock trading platforms in the United States. It has been active in the market for so long that it’s the go-to choice of many beginners. There are a few reasons why it is so.
First of all, Ameritrade does not charge any commissions from the user, which is a relief for those who just started stock trading. Similarly, the service does not want you to maintain any kind of minimum balance.
Therefore, even if you want to start your stock trading with a single dollar, you can do that with Ameritrade.
We also noted that TD Ameritrade is known for the wonderful options of education that it offers. Even if you have zero knowledge in the stock trading domain, the FAQ and Knowledge Base section of Ameritrade will help you start.
Besides, the stock market platform is known for its offices, which provide in-person education on stock market trading, investment, and related topics.
Once you have grown accustomed to the tools and their UI, you can listen to the TD Ameritrade Network to know more about the market. Nine hours of live programs from the network is more than enough to get you the necessary market insight.
You can do everything you want to do with TD Ameritrade using the thinkorswim trading platform suite. The suite is available for desktop and mobile, offering a dedicated User Interface on all devices.
For instance, if you want a quick look at your investment portfolio at the end of the day, you can use the thinkorswim app for Android or iOS. Again, because it’s a widely-used standard, you won’t have trouble finding tutorials.
Despite being beginner-friendly and straightforward, TD Ameritrade offers an adequate level of flexibility. First of all, you can choose between many types of accounts, based on the control you need.
While this could be a little bottleneck for the beginner, you can rely on the Knowledge Base once again. We also think this is more of a necessary evil when it comes to a comprehensive stock trading platform like TD Ameritrade.
Talking of comprehensive nature, we should mention that the platform supports everything you can expect from an online stock brokerage. In addition to stocks, you can get retirement guidance.
You can also check out options like futures and forex trading. While these are great, we think the lack of international trading on Ameritrade could be a limitation for many.
Another area where Ameritrade could improve would be promotions. Unlike some of the other brokerage firms out there, TD Ameritrade doesn’t offer many promotions.
If the service had some point here, it would have been unstoppable. We also noticed that TD Ameritrade doesn’t have a straight-up pricing plan. It does charge you a considerable amount for mutual fund trading and broker-assisted trading.
Altogether, while it could improve some sections like promotions, TD Ameritrade is the best platform to start stock market trading.
- Beginner-friendly design and UI.
- Advanced trading suite for desktop/mobile.
- Multiple options for stock market education.
- No commissions and minimum account.
- It doesn’t offer promotions.
- Too many account types.
Runner Up: Interactive Brokers
- Commission: $0
- Promotions: $0
- Account Minimum: $0
Interactive Brokers is yet another name you can trust when it comes to online stock trading. While the service resembles Ameritrade in many aspects, a few factors may compel you to pick this one instead of the other.
For instance, just like TD Ameritrade, Interactive Brokers also doesn’t charge you any commission or have a minimum balance to be maintained.
Because of these factors, you won’t have trouble using Interactive Brokers to start your low-budget trading adventures. The company maintains a high reputation among veteran traders as well.
At the same time, we think the UI could be improved a little. Ultimate beginners into the stock market may find it hard to navigate through the website.
Of course, there are education options on the stock trading platform website. However, these options aren’t as detailed as the ones you find on Ameritrade.
While the company doesn’t offer in-person education, you can find many courses and webinars on the Trader’s Academy. We could see some short videos on the site, but they mostly have to do with Interactive Brokers tools.
Trader Workstation is the name of the tool that Interactive Brokers offer for all things trading. While it’s a reliable tool and considered standard, beginners may have trouble navigating around.
If you haven’t used a stock market platform before, you may need some time to get used to the desktop tool from IB. The firm is also using an AI-based bot called iBot to answer customer queries.
The situation stays almost the same when it comes to market research. The TWS suite comes with several sections that offer market insights.
However, due to the navigation problem we mentioned earlier, it may be a challenging thing. By the way, if you are entirely new to the scene, you can check out the Interactive Brokers Client Portal, which is easy to understand.
We believe Interactive Brokers is the better choice if you prioritize having a diversified portfolio. In addition to its support for all sorts of stocks and securities, you can engage in international trading.
In total, 135 markets in 33 countries are covered by the brokerage. It comes as a solace for those who want to expand their trading horizons to the maximum level. There is no forex trading on the platform, though.
Because the brokerage deals with international trading, you can find a better variety of investment options on the platform. The platform allows you to trade in 22 currencies, which is excellent.
Now, depending on your short-term and long-term plans, you can choose between these products. At the same time, keep in mind that you have to spend a considerable amount of time trading.
Just like TD Ameritrade, however, Interactive Brokers doesn’t offer any promotional offers. We don’t expect any less from a platform made for serious users.
We believe the platform could work in improving the overall User Interface and features set. Even when the TWS suite has fantastic elements, they seem to be accessible to industry veterans only.
If you can spend some more time navigating around the website and learning about the advanced features, you can choose Interactive Brokers without a doubt.
- Advanced flexibility and choices.
- A full-fledged trading suite for desktop.
- Supports international trading in up to 135 markets.
- No commissions on the base plan.
- A difficult-to-navigate User Interface.
- Some products are costly.
- Commissions: $0
- Promotions: 100 Stocks or 10 Options
- Account Minimum: $0
There are times when you need a super-dynamic platform to trade stocks and other elements. In such cases, you should check out tastyworks, which are quite popular in the industry.
On top of the standard features you can enjoy, such as the zero commissions and the lack of minimum account balance, tastyworks brings up a fantastic set of promotional offers.
While you can start low-budget trading using the platform, we won’t recommend that if you want to get the promotional offers.
The brokerage offers a chance to win 100 stocks or ten options for free once you’ve deposited $2000 in your account. Since you have control over which stocks to pick, it’s an excellent offer for beginners. It’s just that you should have two grand with you.
In terms of the trading experience, tastyworks isn’t the most beginner-friendly, though. Although the trading suite allows you to allocate your funds for the maximum profit, new users may need a day or two to get used to the scene.
While the company tries its best to include more features, the challenging UI becomes a little problem. The issue stays the same on the mobile apps of tastyworks.
On the other hand, if you approach tastyworks trading as an upgrade, you won’t be disappointed. It’s like the trading site takes you for granted when it comes to some kind of knowledge.
If you belong to this part, the advanced flexibility will be a great addition. For example, you can arrange everything you want to see on your main screen in a way you prefer.
Probably the most significant limitation of this stock brokerage is that it doesn’t offer you enough options to choose from.
This limited product selection can be a problem when you want to expand your investment options in the future. Similarly, the deposit and withdrawal options on the platform are shallow when compared to TD Ameritrade or Interactive Brokers.
You can avail some of the lowest fees on the available product types on the bright side of things. You can also get the best experience out of the educational material on the website. The research tools come in very handy, provided that you are familiar with the suite.
- Suitable for experienced traders.
- Low fees for all transactions.
- Amazing promotional offers.
- Essential education/research resources.
- Subpar product selection.
- The UI could be way better.
- Commission: $0
- Promotions: 4 free stocks valued up to $3700
- Account Minimum: $0
Webull advertises as one of the most comfortable stock trading platforms out there. While we disagree entirely with that, there is some truth to the claim.
For instance, when you sign up for the service, you don’t have to worry about hefty commissions or keeping a minimum balance. It’s one of the few platforms where you can buy stocks, options, and an ETF without any extra charge.
Of course, if you go for advanced options like a margin account, you will have to deal with the margin rates and other fees accordingly. Unless you do that, Webull is a smooth sail, indeed. This stock trading platform also offers an amazing promotional offer that you shouldn’t miss. The best part is that you don’t have to invest a massive sum to avail this offer.
By depositing just $100 in your Webull account, you can get four free stocks that may be valued up to $3700. It is a great way to start your stock trading career and an opportunity to choose well.
By the way, even if you don’t deposit $100, you can get two free stocks for merely funding your account. Once you’ve done this, you can quickly move to other aspects as well.
There are a few areas where Webull takes the lead. For instance, provided that you have some experience dealing with stock trading, the control panel of the trading suite won’t surprise you. This stock trading tool works equally fine on desktop and mobile as well. But rest assured, once you have given the tool some time, its minimalistic look would grow on you.
Another advantage you have with Webull is the availability of margin trading. Since the rate tiers are lower and more accessible, you won’t think twice before using these options.
Unlike its competitors, Webull does not require any paid subscription. Simply registering an account with the platform would give you a margin trading account with at least $2000.
The platform is not perfect, though. As it happens, it can find room for improvement in many sections. For instance, the amount of educational literature you can find on the platform is meager.
Experts also believe that the platform should have better cash management options. Last but not least, you don’t get the same flexibility in terms of product selection.
If you are looking for some mind-boggling offers and an advanced User Interface, Webull is an excellent option indeed. However, you should have some backup options to educate yourself since the platform is too straightforward to do that.
- Advanced trading software.
- Best-in-class promotional offers.
- No commissions for options trading.
- Easy-to-access margin trading.
- The trading software is tough to master.
- Product availability could be better.
- Commission: $0
- Promotions: None
- Account Minimum: $0
There aren’t many things unique about E*TRADE as a stock trading platform. However, it’s a great alternative to many of the services we had mentioned above.
For power users who need a fully-fledged suite to manage their stock trading needs, E*TRADE brings the best of both worlds. On one side, you have the freedom to trade without worrying about commissions. On the other, you have a robust system to rely on.
Like the winner of the list, E*TRADE also does not charge you for the transactions you make.
There may be some fees for complex transactions and broker-assisted ones, of course. But, as long as you stick to online stock trading, there is nothing to worry about. You don’t have to maintain a minimum account balance, either, if that’s bothering you.
Something that needs a special mention is the mobile apps developed and maintained by E*TRADE. The apps can provide a seamless trading experience.
Even though the regular E*TRADE app offers a decent stock trading interface, you can upgrade to the E*TRADE Pro version for enhanced results. For instance, if you ever want to move from stocks to options or futures, you should get the Pro version.
Because it has been designed for the experts in the field, you’d love the extra features as well. For instance, you can check out Prebuilt Portfolios on E*TRADE.
This feature will allow you to manage multiple stocks at once by setting a standard level of risk. The best part? You don’t have to pay any extra fees to use this super-advanced option.
As you can see, all the features in the E*TRADE stock trading platforms are designed for professionals in the field. It does not mean that newbies can’t try.
It’s just that you won’t find much difference. On the other hand, if you have been using something like Ameritrade or Interactive Broker, you can consider E*TRADE as a worthwhile upgrade.
While some parts of the stock brokerage site are advanced, you don’t have to pay extra to use the features. It is almost like someone upgrading your account for free.
Nevertheless, this platform isn’t as expansive as some others on the list. For instance, you cannot keep using E*TRADE if you are looking for international trading or forex options.
In the end, E*TRADE gets many things straight. If you can give up some features, like international brokerage and a consolidated view, you should consider this. There are no promotional offers on this platform, by the way.
- Well-maintained mobile trading apps.
- No transaction fees for stocks.
- Easy-to-master interface without extra cost.
- Advanced features like Prebuilt Portfolios.
- No international brokerage and forex.
- Lacks consolidated asset tracking options.
Stock Trading Platforms FAQ
Can you day trade with $1000?
Yes, you can. There is no limit to the amount for which you can day-trade. You just have to choose a trading platform that doesn’t ask for a minimum account balance.
By the way, day-trading with $1000 can give you impressive profit, and it’s a number that many experts recommend that you start with. Day-trading with $1,000 isn’t all about putting all your eggs in one basket, though.
Is day trading illegal?
No, day trading is not illegal. Day-trading is one of the most legal things you can do in the trading industry. It applies to almost every market globally.
Many markets are now additionally opening up better opportunities for the same. Nevertheless, each country and market may have set some restrictions on day-trading. You should understand them before you begin.
What is the riskiest stock to buy?
The answer depends on the market that you are targeting. For instance, if you are talking about NASDAQ or NYSE, your options would include the stocks of Wayfair, Carvana, Shopify, Co-Diagnostics, Alpha Pro Tech, and iBio.
Depending on the market you are dealing with, you can find riskier stocks based on unstable values. The thing with riskier stocks is that you can earn big if you are the right person at the right time.
Can you earn a living trading stock?
You can. As we said in the introduction, thousands of investors make a living out of trading stocks. Of course, before you go full-time into this, you can see if you can make profits.
Although you may not make $1000 on the first day, you can make your way up there over time. We must also mention that living through stock trading won’t be as stable as through a conventional job.
We hope you found our coverage of the best trading platform for stocks helpful. As we have mentioned in the corresponding reviews, many of these platforms allow you to trade options, bonds, and forex.
However, it is good to build yourself a great base before expanding your horizons to those sectors. In that case, each of the stock trading brokerages will help you a lot.