I have been using TradeStation for a while. Overall, it is a great trading platform. It has been rated 4.5 out of 5 by Barrons’ a few years in a row. This is the highest score. ThinkorSwim and Interactive Brokers also have 4.5. A few people asked me to write a review about it. I will start with the software.
- I believe TradeStation has the best charting, which is very accurate and smooth.
- It has a very deep database to provide you with up to 20+ years of historical data, which is very important for back testing.
- The platform is pretty stable. There were only a few short outages last year as far as I remember.
- There are a lot of convenient features to aid you in rapid order executions such as “exit all”. For example, it takes me 2-3 seconds to exit all my open positions because I do not have to fill out an order form. This is very useful for day traders so we can easily close all our positions at 3:59 PM
- You can automate your trades if you like.
- The software is written in C++. So it is slightly faster than ThinkorSwim and Interactive Brokers.
- The learning curve is kind of steep when you need to automate your trades because you need to have some programming skills. TradeStation does come with some strategies ready for use. But they are useless
- Because it is written in C++, I believe the only operating system they support is Windows. Sorry for Mac and Linux users. ThinkorSwim and Interactive Brokers are written in Java. So they can run on anything.
- TradeStation does not have a browser based Platform. So you can not sneak in a few trades at work. This is one of the reasons that many retail traders do not use TradeStation. This is where Interactive Brokers and ThinkorSwim shine
- It has flexible fee structures. One is 6.99 per trade regardless how many shares you have, which is what I have. It is very good for penny stock traders.
- The other is 0.01 per share for the first 500 shares and then 0.006 per share for the remaining. For example, if I have 1000 shares, I pay $5 for the first 500 shares and then pay $3(0.006 X 500). Therefore, the total is 8. It is not hard to see if you are a scalper that trades high priced stocks like Bidu,GS or GOOG, this fee structure is in your favor. For example, you pay only 4 dollars for a round trip of 200 shares of Bidu. Interactive Brokers is even slightly cheaper. Of course, if you are a high flyer scalper that trades north of 700 shares of GOOG,GS or anything like that each time, you can always choose option 1
You need to pay fees for real time data like NASDAQ level2, total views and other stuff. It can cost 50-60 dollars a month for data subscriptions. This is the same with Interactive Brokers. This is another reason why most retail users do not use them. They go to ThinkorSwim.
I am overall happy with TradeStation. Each time I call them, it takes only 2-3 minutes to reach a customer service rep. I met one rude person who perhaps did not have enough sleep the night before. However, It does not affect my overall experience with TradeStation.
In conclusion, TradeStation is a very solid platform for full time traders. I highly recommend it. We will talk about ThinkorSwim next time.
Would you like to receive the latest trading ideas or other updates from my blog? Then join hundreds of others on my mailing list below. It is totally free and easy to opt-out.