The Best Online Stock Trading Platforms: Reviewed and Ranked

The Best Online Stock Trading Platforms: Reviewed and Ranked

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to extremely high stock market volatility in 2020. As a result, nearly 25% of the stock market is made up by retail traders. Maybe some of your co-workers, friends, or family members have been talking about their recent success in this crazy market. Whether you’re brand new to trading and investing or an old-pro, choosing the right platform for your needs is essential. Let’s take a look at the best online stock trading platforms out there.

Best Platform for Beginners: TD Ameritrade

When you’re just starting out trading online, the financial markets can be quite intimidating. Not only do you have to learn the fundamentals and technicals of the market, but you also have to make the right decisions when it comes to choosing a platform and a trading room.

This is why it can be a good idea to find an online broker that is there to help you learning the basics of the market. When you choose to trade with TD Ameritrade, the day trading platform you’ll use is called Think or Swim.

TD Ameritrade offers educational tools to help new investors learn everything they need to know about the stock market and investing.

To trade options contracts, it cost $0.65 per contract. For trading stocks, ETFs, and per-leg-options, the trading commissions are free.

When choosing a platform, however, you should be aware that a platform with no commissions does actually come at a cost. If you’re scalping stocks or otherwise making quick day trades, you might find that the trade execution speed is working against you.

Best Platform for Options: Tastyworks

Created by the same man, the infamous Tom Sosnoff, as Think or Swim, Tastyworks is a high-tech brokerage and platform. It offers a wide range of tools that can help you quickly analyze which trades you want to enter.

Since the early 2000s and especially with the recent stock market volatility, options trading has become increasingly popular among retail investors.

To trade stocks on Tastyworks, there is no commission. When you open an option trades, there is a $1.00 commission, but no commission to close the trade.

If you’re a beginner, you might find Tastyworks a bit overwhelming. Expect to spend some time climbing the learning curve and exploring the ins-and-outs of the platform.

Best Platform for ETFs: Charles Schwab

If you’re primarily focusing in trading ETFs, you want a platform that can help you find the best ETFs at any given time. You’ll want analyst reports, top-notch screeners, technical and fundamental data, and the ability to compare ETFs.

When you choose Charles Schwab as your broker, you’re choosing a full-service investment firm. This means that you could choose to have the guidance of a financial advisor or simply just utilize the technology and services as a self-directed active trader.

Schwab’s platform, StreetSmart Edge, comes equipped with an ETF screener that combines technical, fundamental, and third party data to analyze stocks using over 150 criteria. One of the great things about this screener is that it’s highly customizable and you can save your criteria for future use.

As far as fees go, it’s free to trade stocks and ETFs. The commission for trading options is $0.65 per options contract.

Advanced Traders Platforms

Depending on your purposes and goals in investing, you might be in the market for a more advanced trading platform. It’s worth taking the time to do the research to find the right platform for you, as not every platform will suit every investors’ needs.

Interactive Brokers

If you’re looking for a day trading platform that offers reliable data, high-quality executions, access to the asset classes you want to trade, and sophisticated order types, it might be time to look into Interactive Brokers.

This firm connects to as many electronic exchanges as they possibly can. This means you can trade options, equities, and futures at any time around the whole world.

Interactive Brokers comes equipped with an order execution engine that re-routes all or part of your order to guarantee optimal execution. It also works to get you the best price and maximize the potential for rebates. This order execution engine is perhaps the smartest and most sophisticated order router in the whole business.

Unlike other platforms, Interactive Brokers only allows you to stream data on one device at any given time. If your workflow depends on multiple devices, this could be an issue for you.

The fees for Interactive Broker depends on if you use their Pro version or their Lite version. IBKR Lite offers $0 commissions. IBKR Pro’s commissions are 1% of the trade value but no higher than $0.005 per share.


This is another great platform for active traders. If execution speed is one of your biggest concerns, you’ll want to look into this low-latency platform.

This platform is specifically designed for ultra-low-latency trades. While the platform might not have the bells and whistles of some of the other bigger players, they put their focus into allowing low-cost, rapid-fire trading.

The fee structure for Lightspeed is slightly more complicated than for other platforms. You have the option of paying a commission per trade or per share. This allows you to determine a commission structure that works best for you, whether or not you plan on playing mega-caps or purchasing more shares of lower-priced stocks.

What’s the Best Online Stock Trading Platform For You?

There are so many different online trading sites to choose from that it can be quite overwhelming to choose. Whether you’re doing standard online share trading, options, ETFs, futures, or Forex, you’re going to want to find your ideal platform.

When you’re considering the best online stock trading platform for your needs, be sure to take into account the types of trades you’ll be making, the market you’ll be trading in, and your goals as an investor and trader.

Are you ready to take your options trading game to the next level? Check out our basic and advanced option trading programs to supplement your income, make a living, and more.

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