TradeStation vs. Thinkorswim: Which To Use?

Trading can be profitable, but can also become a nightmare. One of the best ways to prevent the latter is to choose the right trading platform. And if you cannot decide what to pick, read this Tradestation (TS) vs Thinkorswim (TOS) for day trading comparison.

The two are from reputable online brokers, so you can be confident that they’re top-notch. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to note their similarities and differences. This way, it will be easier for you to choose one that’s suitable for your trading needs.

Are you ready to level up your trades? Is TradeStation any good? Or is Thinkorswim a better choice? Keep on reading and learn more about two platforms that should be on your radar.

TradeStation vs Thinkorswim: Free Features

Both platforms offer several free features. They are powerful already even without any fee, which is sure to make many traders happy.

You can use both Tradestation and Thinkorswim for free through their respective mobile apps. Plus, they support most trading types without a fee. In addition, you can access free data, which will help you make better trading decisions.

When you use these platforms, you can enjoy commission-free trading on stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs, among others. This means that more will get into your pocket as you don’t need to pay a commission to use the trading platform.

Plus, you can enjoy simulated trading on both platforms. This way, you can use paper money in your transactions. It’s also a great way to learn for those who are just starting.

Let’s also briefly talk about TradeStation vs NinjaTrader vs Thinkorswim. NinjaTrader can be a great alternative to the two as it’s also free. On this platform, you can enjoy features like trade simulation, charting, and backtesting at no cost.

TradeStation vs TOS: Paid Features

The idea of paying for a trading platform should not deter you. In most instances, the fees are minimal when you compare them to the features and benefits you can enjoy.

Those with a brokerage account at TradeStation don’t need to pay to use the platform’s basic version. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee, which will depend on the subscription you choose.

If you don’t have a brokerage account, you’ll pay $59.95 monthly for Portfolio Maestro. The latter is a backtesting tool that will help you evaluate various strategies and their potential impact on trading outcomes. This can also help balance your investment portfolio.

As for Thinkorswim, all features are free if you have a TD Ameritrade account. With this, you can use the web, mobile, and desktop versions.

Nonetheless, take note that there are corresponding fees for the use of TD Ameritrade. For instance, you’ll pay $500 for certificate withdrawal. The fees will depend on the things you want to do on the platform.

TradeStation vs TOS: Trading Fees

While you can trade commission-free on different assets at TradeStation, there are some fees to be aware of. Here are some fees to be aware of:

  • Stock Options: $.60 per contract
  • Futures: $1.50 per contract, per side
  • Micro Futures: $.50 per contract per side
  • Futures Options: $1.50 per contract per side

Meanwhile, it’s also important to note that there are corresponding fees for trading in Thinkorswim. Trading stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds online are free. However, you’ll have to pay for other trades, including the following:

  • Stocks and ETFs: $5 for Interactive Voice Response Phone System, $25 for broker-assisted trading
  • Options: $5 + $.65 per contract for Interactive Voice Response Phone System, $25 + $.65 per contract for broker-assisted trading
  • Futures: $2.25 per contract plus regulatory and exchange fees

TS vs TOS: Usability and Customization

Another thing we would like to highlight in this Tradestation vs TD Ameritrade (Thinkorswim) comparison is their usability. It can be a nightmare if trading platforms are complicated to use.

Nonetheless, there’s one thing to remember — these two platforms are for traders with experience. Hence, if you’re a newbie, you’ll find them difficult to use. Nonetheless, if you’re a knowledgeable trader, then it won’t be too difficult to figure out.

Meanwhile, when it comes to customization, you have more choices in Thinkorswim as against TradeStation. You can change some elements to suit your liking, such as the font and color scheme. This can be handy to traders who are looking for a more personalized experience.

On the other hand, at Tradestation, the options for customization are limited to charting. Same with Thinkorswim, you can change the settings of the chart. This way, you can achieve the appearance that you want.

It’s also worth highlighting that for both platforms, their mobile versions are easier to use. This is because they’re more compact. On the other hand, their desktop versions are more advanced, which can make them more complicated to navigate.

TS vs TOS: Charting

An important element you should not ignore in trading platforms is charting. It will help you visualize market data, presenting information in an easily digestible format. At a glance, you can understand the performance of an asset.

For charting, TradeStation has a Chart Analysis Window. You can chart history even more than 30 years ago for most symbols.

Not to mention, you can access more than 100 technical studies in TradeStation. These include stochastic double slow, awesome oscillator, and rate of deviation, among others. You can right-click on a graph and use the drop-down menu to customize the chart.

On the other hand, the charting functionalities of Thinkorswim are more advanced. Users can access more than 400 studies and enjoy a high level of customization.

Several charting tools are available at Thinkorswim. For instance, it has overlay stock charts, so you can visualize two or more stocks at a time. Meanwhile, you can also use drawing alerts, which will allow you to set notifications based on potential patterns.

So, is TradeStation better than Thinkorswim? Both are great, no doubt. Nonetheless, if you want a platform that’s user-friendlier with more charting options and analysis tools, Thinkorswim is a better choice.


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