Best online broker trading platforms in January 2022

If you want to actively trade in the markets, you probably want to pay more attention to your broker’s trading platform. Unlike buy-and-hold investors who don’t need to get the best price every time, active or short-term traders live and die from their ability to get a low price. This is why it can be so important to find a broker with a top trading platform.

The best trading platforms give traders the ability to quickly and intuitively place orders, track a watchlist of stocks and funds, receive notifications about stocks that could potentially be interesting trades, offer tools to analyze complex option trades, and much more. A top trading platform can also provide streaming news and even allow you better trade execution so that you can get the most attractive price.

The best online brokerage trading platforms in January 2022

Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab is a solid all-round choice for any investor, especially beginners, but also for active traders. The broker’s entry-level trading platform can show you a company’s financial data, analyze trends and keep watch lists. But step onto the StreetSmart Edge platform for the flagship experience: a highly customizable platform that features screeners for trade ideas, news feeds, live CNBC coverage, advanced charts and an all-in-one trade ticket. StreetSmart Edge is available in both web and desktop versions. All of this and you get Schwab’s excellent customer service and a host of other great features.

  • Cost per share / ETF trading: $ 0
  • Costs per option trade: $ 0.65 per contract

Interactive brokers

Interactive Brokers has long been popular with active traders due to its good trade execution and ability to operate in almost any market. The broker’s core platform does the job when all you need to do is get a quick trade, but traders will likely find the broker’s Trader Workstation a real workhorse. This full-featured platform seems to do it all: customizable charts, real-time data, streaming news, option analysis, and more. Interactive Brokers offers a Pro tier with per-share pricing and a Lite tier with commission-free trading. Either way, you will get access to its top trading platform and also get discounts for trading significant volume.

  • Cost per share / ETF trading: $ 0.0005 per share, $ 1 minimum or free on the Lite platform
  • Costs per option trade: $ 0.65 per contract

Trading post

With volume discounts and powerful trading platforms, TradeStation should make it onto a trader’s shortlist for prospective brokers. The flagship desktop app offers a first-class experience with built-in charting indicators, more than 180 technical and fundamental indicators, the ability to create your own indicators and decades of historical data for backtesting strategies. If this platform is attractive then you should go for the broker’s TS SELECT pricing plan. However, if you don’t need all that power but still want a high performing app, you can go for the broker’s web-based platform with streaming real-time quotes, dozen of technical studies, watchlists, and much more. This platform is available in the TS SELECT and TS GO price plans. And if you want to trade cryptocurrencies, TradeStation offers some very cheap commissions.

  • Cost per share / ETF trading: $ 0 (for both TS SELECT or TS GO plans)
  • Costs per option trade: USD 0.50 per contract (TS GO) or USD 0.60 per contract (TS SELECT)

Robin Hood

Robinhood might not be your first guess when it comes to brokers with a solid trading platform, but it does have a sleek mobile app that gets you into the game quickly, and for this reason, it’s well worth including here. It’s a stripped-down, easy-to-navigate experience, and you can swipe from the watchlist to the stock in seconds to trade. You will receive a news feed and a summary of the analyst rankings. Upgrading to Robinhood Gold also gives you access to Morningstar Research Reports and Margin Loans. Robinhood offers commission-free trading in stocks, ETFs, options, and a handful of cryptocurrencies. If you want to place trades quickly and easily, Robinhood makes it possible.

  • Cost per share / ETF trading: $ 0
  • Costs per option trade: $ 0 per contract

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade has long been a favorite of active traders, and the broker brings two trading platforms into the fray. Its classic web-based platform has all of the basics, including streaming news, third-party research, and watchlists. TD is improving its game with its thinkorswim platform, which is available in web, desktop and mobile versions. This full-fledged platform gives you access not only to the basic stocks (stocks, bonds, ETFs, options, and mutual funds), but also to the more advanced ones (futures, forex, and futures options). They have around 400 technical studies and lots of charting tools and analysis to help you understand everything.

(Charles Schwab bought TD Ameritrade and will integrate the two companies in 2022 or 2023.)

  • Cost per share / ETF trading: $ 0
  • Costs per option trade: $ 0.65 per contract


Power E-Trade lives up to its name and offers powerful features for active traders. The broker’s flagship trading platform is web-based and offers more than 100 technical studies and dozen of drawing tools to help traders analyze the markets. You can overlay technical patterns on the charts to gauge where the security might go in the future, calculate the risk / reward ratio and breakeven point on options deals, and look for unusual activity that could lead to an attractive opportunity . You can visually see the risk / reward ratio in options trades and the trading platform brings Bloomberg TV right into your browser. Plus, you don’t need many options to grab yourself a discounted rate, one of the best prices in the business.

  • Cost per share / ETF trading: $ 0
  • Costs per option trade: $ 0.65 per contract or $ 0.50 for more than 30 trades per quarter

Loyalty Investments

Fidelity offers Active Trader Pro, a trading platform that includes a number of other tools and features. You can create stock charts, analyze action with dozen of technical indicators, place multiple trades at once, and stream Bloomberg TV straight to your desktop. You will also receive real-time news, earnings reports, and other business news to help you stay in the market. You also have instant access to tools like Real-Time Analytics, which provides trading signals when a stock exceeds key technical levels, and Trade Armor, which visualizes your trading opportunities. It all comes in a customizable layout, or you can opt for one of the preset layouts. And on top of that, you will receive helpful and responsive customer service from Fidelity.

  • Cost per share / ETF trading: $ 0
  • Costs per option trade: $ 0.65 per contract

Merrill Edge

Merrill’s feature-rich trading platform is called MarketPro and has a ton of elements that active traders will appreciate. The platform’s dashboard is highly customizable, so you can set everything up to show you your strengths with a simple drag-and-drop interface. Additional features include access to Nasdaq Level II quotes, 100+ technical studies to help you analyze trading activity, and charting tools that use streaming data. Of course, Merrill’s offering allows you to set trade alerts, create watchlists, and access all of the other core functions of the platform. Combine that with Merrill’s strong research and you have a winning combination.

  • Cost per share / ETF trading: $ 0
  • Costs per option trade: $ 0.65 per contract

Speed ​​of Light

A favorite with active traders, Lightspeed offers a number of trading platforms, although most require a monthly subscription. The broker’s core platform is available for free in web and mobile versions and offers solid foundations with watchlists, customizable charts, and technical studies. Those looking to move up to an even more powerful platform have at least four other options including LS Trader, Sterling Trader Pro, Livevol X, and Eze EMS. Each offers Nasdaq Level II streaming courses, watchlists, advanced charts, and technical studies. Some of the platforms include research, customizable order routing, and market scanners to find out where the action is taking place. Monthly pricing ranges from $ 130 to $ 325, although the lowest option (LS Trader) allows you to fully offset subscription costs with at least $ 130 in commissions in the previous month. Really active traders can quickly lower their commission fees with volume-based pricing.

  • Cost per share / ETF trading: $ 0.0045 per share, with a minimum of $ 1
  • Costs per option trade: $ 0.60 per contract, with a minimum of $ 1

Bottom line

Of course, while active traders can focus primarily on a broker’s trading platform, that’s not the only consideration. Traders should also consider what other types of value a broker can bring, including fundamental or technical research, costs including volume-based discounts, and last but not least, customer support that can help solve tricky problems along the way.

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