It’s the New Year, a new decade and day trading is on everyone’s New-Years resolution list. Where to start? What software to use, what are the PRO’s and CON’s? In this article, we will break down the best day trading software for the new decade of the roaring ’20s. All of the software can be found online.
We will be discussing the top 5-day trading software out there, how it works, the hardware needed, and what you should be looking for!
How does day trading software work?
Online day trading platforms are multifaceted, they’ve got multiple components to them that traders should know about when choosing the best online day trading software. There are 4 broad categories.
- Brokers or Third-party vendors
- Data Feeds
- Trade execution.
Depending on the broker you choose, you may be offered the software for a discounted fee or even for free. A lot of brokers have their own in-house software systems but also offer the option to attach another software system to your account. We recommend going with a broker that is asset-specific and offers more than one software option. Not only their own in house system. Third-party software providers typically have more technical and advanced software features that greatly benefit day traders. They are known to offer traders the option to use multiple different brokers and data providers on one single interface.
Data feeds are how traders get the real-time pricing of futures, stocks, forex or whatever it is you want to trade. Centralized products like Futures and Stocks have data sources that are provided from the exchange they are traded on. Forex is not centralized so the data depends on your broker. Choose carefully with a data provider, some are better than others in terms of quotes and reliability. Brokers should provide multiple data feeds to choose from. Such as AMP futures that allow traders to choose from an array of futures data providers. If the software you chose requires a third-party data provider, make sure that you do your research on the most reliable option.
Charting is an important aspect of trading software. Day traders rely on technical analysis to conduct trade ideas and if the charting of the software chosen is limited, there may be limited opportunity for profitability. A more advanced and customizable package is always better so you are riddled with options for charting. Different assets may require different charting needs.
The last piece of the software puzzle is trade execution. When you’ve done the analysis on your chart provided by the best data provider you can find you’ll want to be able to enter and exit your trades. With the option to put contingencies on your trades, naturally. Make sure your software provides trading execution, a depth of market ladder or some kind of level 2 which gives you quote prices. It’s more difficult to place trades on a chart for some so having multiple execution options as Sierra Chart provides is a huge bonus for day traders. Some software may allow traders to develop automated trading or application programming interface to help you customize your trading execution. This is important for those that want to eventually automate their trading.
What tools or hardware do you need?
The two leading powerhouses in the hardware department are Windows and Mac, which is best for your day trading platform choice? When you are on the hunt for the software you have to find which is compatible with your computer! Most if not all software runs on Windows, and select software runs on Mac. You can get Windows third-party software on your Mac. There are downsides to that. Many people have experienced issues doing that and software lagging. Which is the last thing you need when day-trading? A crash or a mishap is a lot of money thrown away to the market.
There has been development in the world of Mac and software synergy. MetaTrader, the most popular platform in the world and on our list is Mac friendly. The software is easy to use and by far the most popular among Forex traders. No matter what you are looking for you have to ensure that the software you chose is compatible with your Mac or Windows computer.
Then there is mobile day trading software. We’re for sure not telling you today trade solely on your phone or mobile device. However, the option is always great just in case you do run into a hardware or software mishap on your desktop or laptop. Choosing software that has the option of a mobile app is very important. Whether its the data provider’s app or the software itself which always traders to manage their positions. The majority of software has the option of a mobile app and trade abilities within. Such as TradingView, Interactive Brokers and MetaTrader. For software that doesn’t directly offer a mobile app, ensure that the data provider does! Sierra Chart, for example, does not have a mobile app, however, CQG the data provider does. If you connect the two you can trade on the CQG mobile app to ensure safety. Make sure the mobile option has real-time data.
What you should be looking for!
When choosing the best day trading software in 2020 you should look for the features that are most important to you. Along with your trading success. Some software that offers additional features may be priced higher. Meaning you need to conduct a careful search when it comes to choosing the right software for you.
Cost & Criteria
- Does the software meet your criteria? When it comes to day trading software it is hard to find one that fits everything for every person. Some people require more indicators, while others want simplicity. Does your strategy involve one simple study? Or does your strategy involve multiple screens, assets, indicators and more? The easiest way to find out is through free trials, and all software for day trading offers that option.
- How much are you willing to pay? People usually take the easy route and look for the cheapest platform or the free platform. However, you pay for quality, always remember that. You may save money immediately but may hinder your performance in the future. Consider this an investment, get the features you may need now. You should confirm with your broker, does the software comes at an additional cost? Is it included? Is it even available?
Features- This is a pivotal criterion that a day trader needs. One of the main things traders looks for when choosing day trading software. Will the platform provide you with the charts, data, indicators, market access you need to win? Make sure your platform includes everything you need for your strategy.
Execution speed- When it comes to speed, day trading is where it matters most. Time is money and if you can’t get on-demand fills then the day trading software is not for you. You need to be able to get in and out of trades in milliseconds. Check the software for any execution errors, this could be on the data providers/brokers end as well. Seconds of slippage and your account could be in trouble.
Accessibility- Where can you access your software? The software that we tend to recommend is rarely found on a browser. Meaning they are downloads. Some software that is recommended, TradingView, can easily be found online and used there. For the most part, the software is an easy download. So you will have to have your own computer and an internet connection. Make sure that the internet connection is stable wherever you go.
Break down of our Favourite Day Trading Software options (in reverse order)
5. Trading View
At number five, we’ve placed TradingView. The platform is extremely versatile and can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection. It has a live community and millions of visitors a month. Traders share ideas and collaborate with one another. There are pluses and minuses to the platform naturally. In terms of day trading, it may not be the best due to the simplicity of the platform in general.
Cost: There are four tiers of possible subscriptions. You will have to pay for data most likely to login to live to trade. This is through your broker. Take a look at the different levels: https://www.tradingview.com/gopro/
- Basic: Free
- PRO: $12.95 US/Mo.
- PRO +: $24.95 US/Mo.
- PREMIUM: $49.95 US/Mo.
Assets: Day trading software usually includes an array of assets. However, some software specializes in certain asset classes. TradingView is amazing in that you can find an asset and every asset class on the platform.
- Very simple and user-friendly.
- Available online.
- It has multiple assets.
- Can login with multiple brokers.
- Can trade directly on the platform.
- Has a trading ladder.
- A long list of indicators and drawing tools.
- Can code on the platform.
- Limited customizability.
- Not for complex day trading strategies.
- Limited charting preferences.
- Difficult to get multiple screens going at the same time.
- Mainly used for swing trading.
- A trading ladder is very simple.
- No order flow trading.
4. TD Ameritrade
Next, up is TD Ameritrade, made famous by a lot of YouTube gurus. This is a platform that is offered through TD bank so they have their own brokerage and platform interconnected. This limits traders slightly due to heavily regulated financial institutions.
Cost: The platform itself is free. There are costs associated with day trading different assets. Even though the platform has attempted to compete with $0.00 commission trading, there is a slight fee for assets.
Assets: The platform is really well rounded and includes all assets that are traded on large exchanges.
- Easy to use.
- Free, free commission for the most part.
- Very secure clearing.
- A lot of assistance.
- High margins, especially day trading derivatives.
- Commission for day trading derivatives is still high.
- Too simple, doesn’t offer a lot of features.
- May not fit a complex day traders strategy.
- No order flow trading.
MetaTrader, whether you have version 4 or 5 is the most used platform in the trading world. Its fame stems from the Forex market. There are millions of users on the platform and I would venture to say the majority are Forex traders. The fact that there are so many FX traders on the platform has pushed the creators to make it FX focused. Leaving other assets behind. There has been developed on the futures front. All due to the Micro futures hitting the market.
Cost: The platform itself is Free. There are internal add-ons you can buy within. You will also have to pay a broker fee for the data provider you choose.
Assets MetaTrader provides all assets. Their capabilities with assets other than Forex are slightly limited, however. The majority of the client base trades FX.
- Worldwide use so its reputable.
- Amazing for FX traders.
- Has endless customization features.
- Can code your own indicators.
- Very FX heavy, if you’re not into FX it’s not the platform for you.
- The trading ladder is difficult to use.
- The visuals are archaic.
- The learning curve at the start.
- No order flow trading.
2. Ninja Trader
Ninja Trader is a giant in the day trading software industry. They are the go-to when people look for day trading through the internet. That is why they come in second place on our list. Everyone who trades futures has either gone through NinjaTrader or stuck with it through their trading careers.
Cost: You can either get the trial version for Free. Or get a Leased or Owned version. The Leased version comes at an annual, semi-annual or quarterly lease payment. ($720, $425, $225 respectively). If you want to Own NinjaTrader it will cost you a single payment of $1099 or 4 monthly payments of $329.
Assets: All assets are available for NinjaTrader. It depends on the data feed you get, this will dictate which assets you are able to access and trade.
- Trial period before buying.
- Multiple brokers to choose from.
- Customization is abundant.
- Multi-asset trading.
- Easy to construct strategies and test.
- Good for complex trading plans.
- Good customer support.
- Forces user to use their broker/commissions.
- Dropping brokers/data feeds off lately.
- If you get the lifetime you may feel trapped if you find something else.
- Order flow is only available if you own the product.
- Difficult to use at the start, learning curve.
1. Sierra Chart
Sierra Chart is our number one choice for the best day trading platform of 2020. Sierra Chart is cheap. It has so many features you probably won’t be aware of 95% of them. It can be customized. Strategy tested and is perfect for day trading any asset.
Cost: Sierra Chart has 2 main packages to choose from. Package 3 and Package 5. The first being more limited in ability than the second. If you want order flow we recommend Package 5. On a monthly basis Package 3 is USD $26 and Package 5 is USD $36. If you get the platform through your broker for multiple months at a time you’ll get a discount.
Assets: All assets can be traded on Sierra Chart. Depending on the data provider you have, there will be a cost associated with trading different assets. The perfect day trading platform for futures trading.
- The trial period, then super cheap.
- Multiple charts, important for futures trading.
- Endless studies.
- Customization abilities like no other.
- Multiple asset use.
- Good for any strategy.
- Analytics to analyze your trading.
- Order flow trading.
- TPA offers members an SC Chartbook.
- Difficult to use at the beginning.
- It looks like a little old school.
- Because of the price point, limited customer support.
After going through the importance of choosing the right day trading platform for you and laying out our top 5 picks; we hope traders can make an easier decision. The list of 5 is based on the overall day trading capabilities of the platform. We chose the most well-rounded platform that was able to accommodate the needs of all assets. That being Sierra Chart. A huge deciding point was the order flow abilities and the lower cost. Along with the vast ability to customize the platform made SC a no brainer. We want you to choose the best platform for your 2020 needs and success.