Day Trading Simulators

A free day trading simulator replicates real-time market conditions, allowing traders to practice strategies in a risk-free environment. Similar to demo accounts, no deposit is required and virtual funds are provided. We have tested free trading simulators and listed them below with full reviews.

To list the best day trading simulators in 2024, we took into account:

  • The assets and markets you can practice trading
  • How closely the simulator mirrors live market conditions
  • Whether there is a backtesting engine with access to historical data
  • The quality of the broker’s live account if you switch to real-money trading

Brokers With The Best Day Trading Simulators

These are the top 5 simulators for day traders with paper funds:

Day Trading Simulators Comparison

Day Trading Simulators Comparison
Broker Free Trading Simulator Trading Platforms Instruments Visit
CMC Markets logo
Web, MT4 CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Treasuries, Custom Indices, Spread Betting Visit
Vantage logo
ProTrader, MT4, MT5, TradingView, DupliTrade CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Bonds Visit
AvaTrade logo
WebTrader, AvaTradeGO, AvaOptions, MT4, MT5, AlgoTrader, TradingCentral, DupliTrade CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Bonds, Crypto, Spread Betting Visit
XM logo
MT4, MT5 Forex, Stock CFDs, Turbo Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Precious Metals, Energies, Shares, Crypto, Futures Visit
Pepperstone logo
MT4, MT5, cTrader, TradingView, AutoChartist, DupliTrade CFDs, Forex, Currency Indices, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Crypto, Spread Betting Visit
OANDA US logo
OANDA Trade, MT4, TradingView, AutoChartist Forex, Crypto Visit
Deriv.com logo
Deriv Trader, MT5 CFDs, Multipliers, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities Visit
IC Markets logo
MT4, MT5, cTrader, TradingView, TradingCentral, DupliTrade CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Bonds, Futures, Crypto Visit
Eightcap logo
MT4, MT5, TradingView CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities Visit
LiteForex Europe logo
MT4, MT5 CFDs, Forex, Indices, Commodities Visit
CityIndex logo
MT4, TradingView, TradingCentral CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Cryptos, Options, Commodities, Bonds Visit
DNA Markets logo
MT4, MT5 CFDs, Forex, Indices, Commodities, Stocks, Crypto Visit
FOREX.com logo
MT4, MT5, TradingView, eSignal, AutoChartist, TradingCentral CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Cryptos, Futures, Options, Commodities Visit
eToro logo
eToro Web, CopyTrader, TradingCentral CFDs, Forex, Stocks, ETFs, Cryptos, Futures, Commodities, Bonds Visit
RoboForex logo
R StocksTrader, MT4, MT5, TradingView CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Futures Visit

#1 - CMC Markets

Why We Chose CMC Markets

Established in 1989, CMC Markets is a respected broker listed on the London Stock Exchange and authorized by several tier-one regulators, including the FCA, ASIC and CIRO. More than 1 million traders from around the world have signed up with the multi-award winning brokerage.

"With advanced charting tools and an extensive range of tradable CFDs, including an almost unrivalled selection of currencies and custom indices, CMC Markets provides a fantastic online platform for traders of all levels. "

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Treasuries, Custom Indices, Spread Betting
  • Regulator: FCA, ASIC, MAS, CIRO, BaFin, FMA, DFSA
  • Platforms: Web, MT4
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Minimum Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:30 (Retail), 1:500 (Pro)

Pros

  • CMC Markets is heavily regulated by reputable financial authorities and maintains its stellar reputation, helping to ensure a secure and trustworthy trading environment.
  • CMC offers excellent pricing, including tight spreads and low trading fees for all but stock CFDs. The Alpha and Price+ schemes also offer perks for active traders with up to 40% discounts on spreads.
  • The web platform delivers a fantastic user experience with advanced charting tools for day trading and customizable features, catering to both beginners and experienced traders. MT4 (but not MT5) is also supported.

Cons

  • Trading stock CFDs incurs a relatively high commission, especially compared to the cheapest brokers like IC Markets.
  • While CMC offers an above-average suite of assets, there is no support for trading real stocks and UK clients can’t trade cryptocurrencies.
  • Despite improvements, the web platform still requires enhancements to make it as intuitive to trade on as software from rivals like IG.

#2 - Vantage

Why We Chose Vantage

Founded in 2009, Vantage offers trading on 1000+ short-term CFD products to over 900,000 clients. You can trade Forex CFDs from 0.0 pips on the RAW account through TradingView, MT4 or MT5. Vantage is ASIC-regulated and client funds are segregated. Copy traders will also appreciate the range of social trading tools.

"Vantage remains an excellent option for CFD traders seeking a tightly-regulated broker with access to the reliable MetaTrader platforms. The fast sign-up process and $50 minimum deposit make it very straightforward to start day trading quickly."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Bonds
  • Regulator: FCA, ASIC, FSCA, VFSC
  • Platforms: ProTrader, MT4, MT5, TradingView, DupliTrade
  • Minimum Deposit: $50
  • Minimum Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:500

Pros

  • The broker has recently made efforts to expand its suite of CFDs providing further trading opportunities
  • There are no short-term strategy restrictions with hedging and scalping permitted
  • It’s quick and easy to open a live account – taking less than 2 minutes

Cons

  • The average execution speeds of 100ms to 250ms are slower than alternatives based on tests
  • It's a shame that some clients will need to register with the offshore entity, which offers less regulatory protection
  • Unfortunately, cryptos are only available for Australian clients

#3 - AvaTrade

Why We Chose AvaTrade

AvaTrade is a leading forex and CFD broker, established in 2006 and regulated across 9 jurisdictions. Over 400,000 users have signed up with the broker which processes over 2 million trades each month. The firm offers multiple trading platforms, including MT4, MT5, and a proprietary WebTrader. 1250+ financial instruments are available for day trading, alongside a comprehensive education center and multilingual customer support.

"AvaTrade offers the full package for short-term traders. There is powerful charting software, reliable execution, transparent fees, and fast account opening with a low minimum deposit."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Bonds, Crypto, Spread Betting
  • Regulator: ASIC, CySEC, FSCA, ISA, CBol, FSA, FSRA, BVI, ADGM
  • Platforms: WebTrader, AvaTradeGO, AvaOptions, MT4, MT5, AlgoTrader, TradingCentral, DupliTrade
  • Minimum Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:30 (Retail) 1:400 (Pro)

Pros

  • Day traders can access stable spreads and zero commissions with no hidden fees
  • There's a great range of fee-free deposit methods, including bank wire, credit cards and popular e-wallets like Skrill
  • Automated trading is supported through MetaTrader Expert Advisors (EAs), as well as the AvaSocial and DupliTrade tools

Cons

  • Traders from the US are not accepted
  • It’s a shame that there are no rebate schemes for serious traders looking for additional perks - CMC Markets would be a better choice here
  • There is no ECN account with raw spreads

#4 - XM

Why We Chose XM

XM is a globally recognized forex and CFD broker with 10+ million clients in 190+ countries. Since 2009, this trusted broker has been known for its low fees on 1000+ instruments. XM is regulated by multiple financial bodies, including the ASIC and CySEC.

"XM is one of the best forex and CFD brokers we have tested. The flexible account types will suit a variety of short-term trading styles while the $5 minimum deposit and smooth sign-up process make it easy to start trading."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: Forex, Stock CFDs, Turbo Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Precious Metals, Energies, Shares, Crypto, Futures
  • Regulator: ASIC, CySEC, DFSA, FSC, FSCA
  • Platforms: MT4, MT5
  • Minimum Deposit: $5
  • Minimum Trade: 0.01 Lots

Pros

  • Powerful MT4 and MT5 platforms are available with 60+ and 80+ technical charting tools
  • XM is a hugely respected broker authorized by tier-one regulators
  • XM continues to deliver diverse and multilingual educational materials and offers a useful live education schedule for its webinars and insights

Cons

  • PayPal deposits are not supported
  • There is weak regulatory oversight through the global entity
  • There's $5 inactivity fee after only 3 months, though this won't affect active traders

#5 - Pepperstone

Why We Chose Pepperstone

Established in Australia in 2010, Pepperstone is a top-rated forex and CFD broker with over 400,000 clients worldwide. It offers access to 1,300+ instruments on leading platforms MT4, MT5, cTrader and TradingView, maintaining low, transparent fees. Pepperstone is also regulated by trusted authorities like the FCA, ASIC, and CySEC, ensuring a secure environment for day traders at all levels.

"Pepperstone stands out as a top choice for day trading, offering razor-sharp spreads, ultra-fast execution, and advanced charting platforms for experienced traders. New traders are also welcomed with no minimum deposit, extensive educational resources, and exceptional 24/7 support."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Currency Indices, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Crypto, Spread Betting
  • Regulator: FCA, ASIC, CySEC, DFSA, CMA, BaFin, SCB
  • Platforms: MT4, MT5, cTrader, TradingView, AutoChartist, DupliTrade
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Minimum Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:30 (Retail), 1:500 (Pro)

Pros

  • Award-winning customer support is available via telephone, email or live chat with response times of <5 minutes during testing.
  • There’s support for a range of industry-leading charting platforms including MT4, MT5, TradingView, and cTrader, catering to various short-term trading styles, including algo trading.
  • Now offering spread betting through TradingView, Pepperstone provides a seamless, tax-efficient trading experience with advanced analysis tools.

Cons

  • Despite enhancements to its range of markets, crypto offerings are relatively limited compared to other brokers such as eToro, with no option to invest in real coins.
  • There’s no simplified proprietary trading platform, nor are there any social trading features, which could be a disadvantage if you are new to day trading.
  • Pepperstone’s demo accounts are active for only 30 days, which may not be not long enough to familiarize yourself with the different platforms and test trading strategies.

How We Compare Brokers With Trading Simulators

To rank the best day trading simulators, our experts considered:

Investment Offerings

Most day trading simulators offer access to stocks and forex. However, the top programs also provide other assets and instruments, including commodities, cryptocurrencies, and futures.

We prefer providers that offer access to a wide range of markets. Not only does this provide portfolio diversification opportunities, but it also means you don’t need to open several paper trading accounts at different firms.

Entry Requirements

The top brokers provide free access to their day trading simulators, which will serve most beginners. This also comes with the advantage that you can effectively test an online broker before upgrading to a real account.

Alternatively, experienced traders may prefer to trial ideas through a paid service that offers richer market data and more advanced tools. TraderSync is a good option here.

The user-friendly software offers custom playlists whereby you can quickly replay various trade setups. It also offers data on daily returns, total profits, total losses, returns from going long and short, and the net overall profit or loss.

TraderSync day trading simulator overview report

Platform Features

The quality of the trading platform or app where you will simulate trades is an important consideration.

We look at the breadth of technical analysis tools, such as charts and indicators.

Our team also note that many investors are interested in automated trading. So, we consider whether there is access to a free simulator on MetaTrader 4 (MT4) – industry-leading software that comes with Expert Advisors (EAs).

Having said that, beginners may prefer a no-frills day trading simulator from a broker like TradeNation.

This easy-to-use program walks you through the basics of setting up a day trade, from using margin to risk management parameters:

Results from TradeNation day trading simulator

How you access the simulator service is also key. The best brokers offer a simple browser-baed solution, while other firms offer platforms that can be downloaded on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.

Alternatively, there may be mobile apps available for Apple and Android devices.

Simulated Market Conditions

Our experts assess how well the simulator mirrors true market conditions.

Good providers offer accurate and realistic pricing spanning a variety of markets as well as sufficient historical data for backtesting.

Based on our tests, the top firms offer upwards of 4 years of historical information with level 2 market data.

Live Account Conditions

A day trading sim is a great place to start, but many traders will eventually want to upgrade to a real-money account. With this in mind, our team evaluate the live trading conditions available at providers.

In our experience, the best brokers offer an accessible minimum deposit of <$500, tight spreads with low to zero commissions, and around-the-clock customer support to help new traders get started.

We also favor brokers authorized by tier-one regulators, such as the UK Financial Conduct Authority and the Australian Securities & Investments Commission. This is a good indication that a brokerage can be trusted.

Final Thoughts

A day trading simulator is one of the best ways to improve your trading skills. After spending time in a fake trading account, you can then switch to a live account with real money.

With this in mind, day trading simulators should not be treated as a game, but rather a tool to build confidence and test trading concepts.

Also, remember that there is no guarantee that strategies which are successful in a simulator will make money in a real account.

FAQs

What Is A Day Trading Simulator?

A day trading simulator works like a demo account, allowing traders to test and refine strategies using virtual funds.

The best programs closely replicate live conditions and also offer a backtesting engine, so traders can simulate strategies using historical data.

How Do Day Trading Simulators Work?

Day trading simulators use market data to create a trading environment that is similar to live conditions. As a result, clients can test out strategies using both real-time information and historical data.

Most brokers with day trading simulators do not require a deposit to access the test environment. Upon sign-up, you will receive a sum of virtual funds to practice trading stocks, forex or another product. This is typically in the range of $10,000 to $100,000.

What Is The Best Day Trading Simulator?

Our experts have reviewed, compared and listed the best day trading simulators with full reviews.

To rank the top simulators, we considered the assets you can practice trading on, the quality of the trading software, the amount of virtual money available, and any joining requirements.

Should I Use A Day Trading Simulator?

Day trading simulators offer several advantages. Primarily, they provide a risk-free environment to test new strategies. Beginner traders can build their confidence and develop good trading habits, while seasoned investors can trial new trade setups.

The best trading simulators are also available outside of core trading hours, allowing you to backtest ideas on the weekend, for example.

What Are The Risks Of Day Trading Simulators?

Day trading simulators cannot replicate the emotions you feel when trading with real money. As such, a day trading sim will not expose you to the same level of pressure, which can lead to over-confidence in paper trading mode.

Often, simulators will not account for all the costs that come with live trading. For example, sims rarely include slippage, which is the difference between the expected price and the actual execution price.

Finally, a strategy may work when you backtest it against historical data, but there is no guarantee it will work going forward with real money.

Are Day Trading Simulators Free?

Many brokers offer free day trading simulators. For example, eToro provides free access to its stock market and forex trading simulator for all traders that register an account.

There are even trading sims where no login details or sign-up is required, available from brokers like TradeNation. However, in our experience, these normally offer fewer features and tools.

Article Sources

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