Day trading’s popularity has surged in the past couple of decades. High-speed internet connections and access to personal computers made day trading an attainable possibility. Today, the potential to earn money and work full-time executing trades is an exciting possibility.
However, as any skilled day trader will tell you, day trading isn’t for everyone. It’s often aggressive, fast-paced, and requires an enormous amount of skill and strategy. Additionally, to be successful, you must have a comprehensive, intuitive, and powerful software.
Many new day traders mistakenly think they aren’t good at day trading when the problem isn’t their ability – it’s their software’s shortcomings causing them to fall short.
So, what are the top software picks for day traders? Let’s get into it.
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Choosing the Right Software
When you first start learning how to day trade, you might not have your strategy figured out yet. Not knowing what you need can make finding the right software even more challenging.
If you’re just getting started, there are a few specific things you want your software to have:
- Responsive and Up-To-Date Research
- An Affordable Minimum Balance
- Low Fees and Commissions
- Comprehensive Analytics
- Fast Execution Time
- Market Scanning Capabilities
- Portfolio Tracking
- User-Friendly Charting Software
If your software has all of the above features, you’ve likely found a winner. However, your needs might be more complicated. If you plan to utilize complex algorithms, you might find that you need a localized computer-based software. You might also really benefit from additional features like backtesting, news coverage, and more.
Start with the must-have features, and then look for software solutions that also include your unique needs. The perfect software for you exists, you just have to find it.
Now, what are some of the software solutions on the market that fit the bill? Let’s dive into some of the top choices.
Five Top Day Trading Software
- LightSpeed – LightSpeed offers a free demo account for users. This allows you to learn how to trade with zero risks. Pair that with their low latency and fast execution speeds, and it’s clear why they’re a top pick. They also have incredibly low commissions, which is essential for active day traders. Once you get your feet wet, customization is a breeze.
- TradeStation – TradeStation has been in the game since 1982. They’re true innovators in the trading software world. They offer commission-free stock trades, one-click trading, comprehensive research, and completely customizable software. They’re also praised for their top-tier customer service.
- Interactive Brokers – Interactive Brokers is the trading software developed specifically for day trading. Because of this, it’s incredibly intuitive to the needs of day traders. They can be costly, though. Most experts say that Interactive Brokers is the best software for day traders, but only if you know exactly what you’re doing. If you’re brand new to day trading, you’d likely fare better learning the ropes with different software and then switching to this one later on.
- TD Ameritrade (ThinkorSwim) – Unlike Interactive Brokers, ThinkorSwim is a terrific software to learn the ropes. It offers research and tools, educational resources, mobile trading, and hotkeys. Additionally, it has nearly every single feature you could ever need. Some say that there are almost too many features, which can make it overwhelming to a new trader. However, with their tools and easy-to-use interface, it’s a fantastic place to develop your strategy and style.
- TradeSpoon – TradeSpoon’s beginner option is free, so it’s an ideal place to start without having to pay a fortune. The interface and usability are intuitive and dynamic. They offer a wide range of interesting tools, like their sock forecast toolbox. However, what really sets TradeSpoon apart is their one-on-one mentoring options. If you like learning via a teacher or mentor, TradeSpoon has mentors available to help you learn the ropes, which can make the transition into day trading much smoother.
Selecting Your Software
Ultimately, your perfect software will depend a lot on your unique needs. However, if you look for software that includes the must-have features, you’ll be ahead of the curve. Always read the fine print on fees, check out reviews, and do additional research before committing to any software.
Finally, know that no matter what software you choose to go with, you’ll have a bit of learning to do. Learning how to successfully day trade takes a lot of work, and fantastic software is just one piece of the puzzle.
About the Author:
Skylar Hammond is a writer for the True Trader group who specializes in topics such as stock trading, personal finance, and forex. He focuses on helping beginners and experts alike learn more about the market and improve their trading skills.