This is just an opinion piece based on actual experience and other reviews designed to offer you some help if you’re choosing or changing brokers. Out of all the brokerage firms out there, we’ve broken it down to 3 firms that give you the best value, and offer the widest range of capabilities.
Moreover, these are some of the most reputable firms in the industry, with a high safety of funds. You won’t have to worry about them going out of business any time soon.
Please note that Operator Trading is not affiliated with these firms in any way, nor do we receive any kickbacks from it. Although if you’re a representative from one of these firms reading this, we certainly are open to it. Hey, just being honest…
Anyhow, here’s our pick of the 3 best brokerage firms, and the reasons we think they’re the best.
If you’ve been following our content, or have taken our courses, you know that we like Thinkorswim a lot. Thinkorswim just provides so many features, and so much information that is necessary for every serious trader. Before being bought out by TD Ameritrade, Thinkorswim was its own brokerage firm. The firm was started by real traders, for traders, so naturally the platform is very, very capable.
- Offers Stocks, Futures, Options, and Forex
- Originally designed by actual traders
- Accounts are free to open
- No monthly fees
- You only get charged when you trade
- One of the most robust Options Chains in the entire industry
- The Mobile App, for the most part, is very durable
- The Desktop Platform is one of the fastest in the industry
- Works on both Mac, and PC
- The support is fantastic
- The commission’s and fee’s aren’t terrible, but they aren’t great either
- Stocks are $6.95 per trade
- Options are $6.95 per trade, plus $0.75 per contract
- Futures are $2.25 per trade, per contract
- Forex is $0.10 per 1,000 units, with a minimum charge of $1.00
- May not be the best for traders who like to code their own systems
Overall, Thinkorswim is great. In all honesty, what you are getting with this complete platform makes up for the fee’s 10x over. The amount of information that Thinkorswim offers give you nearly all the tools and resources you need to make sure you aren’t flying blind.
Sure, the fee’s aren’t spectacular. However, would you rather have a super cheap broker that gave you basic technology, and information, or a broker that was decently priced with the whole package? Enough said.
Tradestation has been around since the early 80’s. It has definitely earned its stripes as an industry staple. They actually just went through whole re-branding cycle, which let’s be real was much-needed.
Anyhow, while not as robust as Thinkorswim, Tradestation is still a very close competitor. Let’s look at some Pro’s and Con’s, shall we?
- Highly competitive commissions
- Stocks are $5 per trade
- Options are $0.50 per contract plus $5 per trade
- Futures start at $1.50 per contract, per trade
- Offers highly useful charting software, with a wide variety of features
- Good for those who like to code their own tools and indicators
- No software, or market data fees
- Doesn’t offer Forex
- Options Chain capabilities aren’t terribly great compared to Thinkorswim
Overall, Tradestation is a solidly built platform, and wonderful brokerage firm. While my bias is towards Thinkorswim, you’re still in good hands with Tradestation. It comes down to your preference.
Full disclosure, I still have yet to try Tastyworks. However, Tastyworks is the second platform that was built by the same people who originally built Thinkorswim. Tastyworks is designed more towards the Options trader, however it offers almost all of the common trading products out there. To my knowledge, other than Currency Futures, it does not offer Spot Forex.
Tastyworks, undoubtedly has the lowest fees in the whole industry. Here’s a complete list of their fee structure. It’s very transparent.
- Lowest commissions out there
- Stocks are $5 per trade (Unlimited shares)
- Options are $1 per contract (pretty freaking great)
- Futures are $2.50 per contract
- Easy access to trading all products
- No need to jump through a bunch of hoops to get special account permissions
- Extremely fast, and lightweight platform
- Their Active Trader software is a little different from most other trading platforms. That’s not to say it’s bad. It’s just different
- Don’t expect new features to be out by the time they say they will
Who Should You Choose?
That’s up for you to decide. My pick is Thinkorswim. It offers a straightforward, and robust platform. When it comes to comparing Thinkorswim to Tradestation, the commission schedule that Tradestation offers is about the only thing that would sway me towards Tradestation. Thinkorswim’s Options Chain is just too damn good.
On the other hand, the fact that Tastyworks is essentially Thinkorswim 2.0, plus killer commissions will definitely be something that I will be looking into more deeply here in the near future.
Let us know what you think of these two platforms down in the comments. What are your own experiences, and opinions of these firms?
Have a great day!