Trading software provides tools that help investors analyze markets and make trades. The best software includes advanced technical analysis and pattern recognition technology, signals and copy trading tools, plus automated robots. Importantly, leading software can help identify profitable trading opportunities and automate order execution in line with chosen strategies.
In this guide, we explain how trading software packages work before comparing the tools offered by the top forex, stock, commodity and crypto brokers. We also explore software demo accounts, computer equipment, and regional differences.
Best Trading Software 2024
We have tested the trading software at hundreds of brokers as of March 2024, and these are the best options:
#1 - Forex.com
Why We Chose Forex.com
Forex.com boasts a global reputation with multiple awards and 20+ years experience. Regulated in the US, EU, UK and Canada they provide a huge range of day trading markets, not just forex, and offer competitive fees on a cutting-edge platform. The brand also provides a suite of additional tools, from performance analytics and SMART Signals to advanced charts and strategy builders.
"Forex.com remains a best-in-class brokerage for active forex traders of all experience levels, with over 80 currency pairs, tight spreads from 0.0 pips and low commissions. The powerful charting platforms collectively offer over 100 technical indicators, as well as extensive research tools."- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: Forex, Spot Metals
- Regulator: NFA, CFTC
- Platforms: MT4, MT5, TradingView, eSignal, AutoChartist, TradingCentral
- Min. Deposit: $100
- Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
- Leverage: 1:50
- The $100 minimum deposit requirement makes the broker accessible for beginners
- Forex.com is a respected and trusted broker overseen by tier-one regulators including the US SEC
- Competitive cashback rebates up to 15% are available for active traders
- It's a shame that there's no copy trading platform for beginners or signal providers
- The $15 monthly inactivity fee is higher than some competitors, including XM which only charges $5
- The investment offering varies between countries
#2 - Interactive Brokers
Why We Chose Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is a premier brokerage for experienced traders, providing access to 150 markets in 33 countries, along with a suite of comprehensive investment services. With over 40 years of experience, this Nasdaq-listed firm adheres to stringent regulations by the SEC, FCA, CIRO, and SFC, amongst others, and is one of the most trusted brokers for trading around the globe.
"Interactive Brokers is one of the best brokers for advanced day traders, providing powerful charting platforms, real-time data, and customizable layouts. Its superb pricing and advanced order options also make it highly attractive for day traders, while its diverse range of equities is still among the best in the industry."- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: Stocks, Options, Futures, Forex, Funds, Bonds, ETFs, Mutual Funds, CFDs, Cryptocurrencies
- Regulator: FCA, SEC, FINRA, CBI, CIRO, SFC, MAS, MNB
- Platforms: Trader Workstation (TWS), Desktop, GlobalTrader, Mobile, Client Portal, AlgoTrader, OmniTrader, eSignal, TradingCentral
- Min. Deposit: $0
- Min. Trade: $100
- Leverage: 1:50
- The TWS platform has clearly been built for intermediate and advanced traders and comes with over 100 order types and a reliable real-time market data feed that rarely goes offline.
- IBKR is one of the most respected and trusted brokerages and is regulated by top-tier authorities, so you can have confidence in the integrity and security of your trading account.
- IBKR continues to deliver unmatched access to global stocks with tens of thousands of equities available from 100+ market centres in 24 countries.
- IBKR provides a wide range of research tools, but their distribution across trading platforms and the web-based 'Account Management' page lacks consistency, leading to a confusing user experience.
- You can only have one active session per account, so you can’t have your desktop program and mobile app running simultaneously, making for a sometimes frustrating trading experience.
- TWS’s learning curve is steep, and beginners may find it challenging to navigate the platform and understand all the features. Plus500's web platform is much better suited to new traders.
#3 - NinjaTrader
Why We Chose NinjaTrader
NinjaTrader is a US-headquartered and regulated brokerage that specializes in futures trading. There are three pricing plans to suit different needs and budgets, as well as ultra-low margins on popular contracts. The brand's award-winning charting software and trading platform also offers a high-degree of customization and superb technical analysis features.
"NinjaTrader continues to meet the demands of active futures traders looking for low fees and premium analysis tools. The platform hosts top-rate charting features including hundreds of indicators and 10+ chart types."- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: Forex, Stocks, Options, Commodities, Futures, Crypto
- Regulator: NFA, CFTC
- Platforms: NinjaTrader Desktop, Web & Mobile, eSignal
- Min. Deposit: $0
- Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
- Leverage: 1:50
- NinjaTrader continues to deliver comprehensive charting software for active day traders with bespoke technical indicators and widgets
- Traders can get free platform access and trade simulation capabilities in the unlimited demo
- You can get thousands of add-ons and applications from developers in 150+ countries
- There is a withdrawal fee on some funding methods
- Non forex and futures trading requires signing up with partner brokers
- The premium platform tools come with an extra charge
#4 - eToro USA
Why We Chose eToro USA
eToro is a social investing platform that offers short-term and long-term trading on stocks, ETFs, options and crypto. The broker is well-known for its user-friendly community-centred platform and competitive fees. With FINRA and SIPC oversight and millions of users across the world, eToro is still one of the most respected brands in the industry. eToro securities trading is offered by eToro USA Securities, Inc.
"eToro remains a top pick for traders looking for leading social investing and copy trading services. With a low deposit, zero commissions and an intuitive platform, the broker will meet the needs of newer day traders."- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: Stocks, Options, ETFs, Crypto
- Regulator: SEC, FINRA
- Platforms: eToro Trading Platform & CopyTrader
- Min. Deposit: $10
- Min. Trade: $10
- Investors can access Smart Portfolios for a more hands-off approach, covering a range of sectors and markets such as renewable energy and artificial intelligence
- eToro USA Securities is a trustworthy, SEC-regulated broker that is a member of FINRA and SIPC
- The online broker offers an intuitive social investment network with straightforward copy trading on cryptos
- There's no MetaTrader 4 platform integration for traders who are accustomed to using third-party charting tools
- There's a narrower range of day trading instruments available compared to competitors, with only stocks, ETFs and cryptos
- Average fees may cut into the profit margins of day traders
#5 - OANDA US
Why We Chose OANDA US
OANDA is a popular brand offering exceptional execution, low deposit requirements and advanced charting and trading platform features. The top-rated brand has over 25 years of experience and is regulated by trusted agencies, including the NFA/CFTC. Around the clock support is available for short-term traders, alongside flexible contract sizes and automated trade executions.
"OANDA remains an excellent broker for US day traders seeking a user-friendly platform with premium analysis tools and a straightforward joining process. OANDA is also heavily regulated with a very high trust score."- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: Forex, Crypto
- Regulator: NFA, CFTC
- Platforms: OANDA Trade, MT4, TradingView, AutoChartist
- Min. Deposit: $0
- Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
- Leverage: 1:50
- Beginners can get started easily with $0 minimum initial deposit
- The proprietary OANDA web platform continues to deliver a highly competitive charting environment, including 65+ technical indicators powered by TradingView
- There's a strong selection of 68 currency pairs for dedicated short-term forex traders
- There's only a small range of payment methods available, with no e-wallets supported
- The range of day trading markets is limited to forex and cryptos only
- It's a shame that customer support is not available on weekends
How Trading Software Works
Online trading software can be broken down into four categories:
- Data – Before you start investing, you need to know the price of the stocks, futures, or currencies you want to trade. For stocks and futures, those prices will usually come from exchanges. Forex, however, doesn’t have a central exchange.
- Charting – Experienced traders will usually chart prices in graphing software. Many vendors will also offer data feeds. These charting packages usually offer basic technical analysis indicators. Opt for a more advanced package, and you can benefit from extra indicators and the ability to back-test strategies.
- Trade execution – With your data to hand and after analyzing it on a chart, at some point, you will want to open a position. For that, you will need some sort of trade execution software, such as an electronic trading platform. A lot of options today will also allow you to develop your own trading strategies with an application programming interface (API). They may also offer automated trading capabilities specifically for day trading.
- Broker vs. independent vendor – Many online brokers offer software directly linked to their in-house systems. You can also use third-party applications through independent software vendors with platforms that support integration. The benefit of third-party solutions is that they often have more advanced features and enable you to trade at several different brokers through a single interface.
Mac or Windows?
When choosing your software, you need something that works seamlessly with your desktop or laptop. Any crashes or technical issues could cost you profits.
Fortunately, retail investors are no longer constrained to Windows computers. Recent years have seen a surge in the popularity of day trading software for Mac devices, in particular. MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5, for example, are the world’s most popular trading platforms. The Mac-compatible terminals are user-friendly and provide an easy-to-navigate interface, ideal for beginners and veterans. Signals, copy trading, plus Expert Advisors (EAs) are also available.
But regardless of whether you are looking for the best trading software for Mac or Windows, check reviews to ensure the technical tools, data feeds, portfolio trackers, back-testing capabilities, and any other features you require won’t run into compatibility hurdles.
In addition, make sure the initial download is free. Reputable brokers shouldn’t charge you for installation.
Mobile Trading Software
You can also get useful mobile trading software, normally in the form of an app on iOS or Android devices. These aren’t typically designed to replace desktop applications as they lack in the capabilities area. Instead, they are best used to supplement your normal, desktop-based system.
A key point…
Make sure when choosing your software that the mobile app is free.
A good application will provide succinct market updates, trends, and the usual stock price tickers. If it overloads you with information that pushes you towards impulsive decisions, stay clear.
Comparing Trading Software
Online brokers will often offer standard software, but if you want additional features essential for your strategies, you may have to pay significantly more. So, conduct a thorough comparison before investing with your hard-earned capital.
The key points to consider include:
Cost & Need
- Does it meet your needs? – There is no one-size-fits-all trading software. Different programs will suit different investors. Are you following a simple stock strategy such as moving average tracking? Alternatively, do you want to employ a more complicated multi-conditional strategy? Will you need a direct forex feed or real-time signals? Get a free software download trial and practice on it first to make sure it caters to your needs.
- Cost – How much does the trading software cost? It is all too easy to opt for the cheapest application. But while this may save money in the short term, you may be sacrificing essential features your strategy requires. Adding these options later may also cost you more than investing in comprehensive software to start with. Also, check to see if the program is available as part of the standard brokerage account, or does it come at an additional cost?
- Execution speed – Time is money, and nowhere is that truer than in the day trading world. Ensure your software will allow you to enter and exit positions swiftly. Check reviews for any execution red flags. A few seconds could be the difference between finishing in the red or black at the end of the day. For more information on execution speeds, see our guide.
- Accessibility – Is it a web-based software offering? If so, you will need just an internet connection to get online, plus you should have zero installation, update, and maintenance costs. This is the best option for beginners. However, if you want to employ complex algorithms, you may need computer-based installable software. This is usually a more expensive route to go down. Note, the top copy-trading software is normally available via web-based terminals.
- Features – Active traders often rely on short-term price movements to turn a profit. What does your strategy need to monitor these price fluctuations? Will you need charts, particular data feeds, news sources, and specific market access? If so, check whether these will be included as standard.
- Analytics – Does your strategy depend on technical indicators and pattern recognition technology? Will the program recognize arbitrage opportunities, for example? Comprehensive analysis software will provide you with all the features you need in one user-friendly bundle.
Forex Trading Software
Which is the best forex trading software available in today’s market? Finding the right solution isn’t always a straightforward decision with hundreds of options to choose from.
The first question should be: ‘what information, resources, and tools do you need to enhance your forex trading strategy?’
Below are some of the most popular types of currency trading software available:
- Trading platforms – These enable you to manage and execute forex trades.
- Signal generators – These provide recommended price levels for which to enter and exit positions.
- Technical analysis software – These offer historical and live charts with exchange rates, plus a wide range of technical indicators.
- Automated forex trading software – Once you have pre-programmed your rules and strategy, these programs will automatically execute positions on your behalf.
Stock Trading Software
With today’s volatile market trends, picking the right stock trading software is important. It is often said that there are very few stocks worth investing in each day. This means identifying opportunities before share prices make big moves will be what separates the profitable traders from the rest.
Before purchasing stock trading software, always check application reviews first. In addition, look for the following capabilities:
- Market scanning – These programs scan the market for opportunities and draw your attention to potential stocks via push notifications and alerts
- Charting software – These help you decipher market conditions and trends, so look for an application that offers user-friendly and intuitive charts, plus customizability options. eSignal is a particularly popular solution.
- Portfolio tracking – These track previous trades and results, helping you identify mistakes and refine strategies.
- Backtesting – These back-test your trading systems against historical data, giving you an idea of how successful your strategy may be before you risk real capital.
Other Instruments & Markets
On top of the ones above, you can also get your hands on the following:
- Commodity trading software – There is a rich supply of international applications for the commodities markets. Plus, you can find some of the best free online trading and charting software around.
- Bitcoin day trading software – As the market is still expanding, there are new options popping up every month. You can also find some of the best trading simulator software that is normally free. eToro is a particularly good choice for crypto investors.
- Emini trading software – E-mini options continue to grow so you can choose between generic systems or specialist Emini software. Good scalping options are also available, with plenty of reviews on forums.
- Penny stocks software – There is healthy competition here. In particular, there are plenty of easy-to-use buy and sell signal software for penny stocks.
- Software for NSE – You can find free programs for Indian markets, or you can choose from the ever-growing list of paid options.
- Software for cryptocurrency – These include robots, prediction software, or you can find plenty of manual solutions. You can also now get your hands on useful virtual money management software to keep your online wallet heavy.
Day trading journal software allows you to keep online log books. Why would you want that? Because they maintain a detailed account of all your previous positions.
They usually record the instrument, date, price, entry, and exit points. This could allow you to fill in your tax returns with ease and analyze recent trade performance.
Importantly, it can help you identify mistakes, enabling you to invest smarter in the future. This makes it some of the most important intraday trading software available.
Where to Buy Day Trading Software
Make sure that when you compare programs, you check reviews first. Even those that proclaim to be one of the ‘top 10-day trading software’ can have some serious drawbacks. Also bear in mind that the easiest application won’t necessarily be the best.
Consider the popular and well-regarded options below:
- ZuluTrade – Automate trades and offers copy signals or traders to follow (particularly popular in the US)
- NinjaTrader – An advanced platform that also allows developers to build their own indicators
- MetaTrader – Market-leading multi-functional trading platform. Integrated with many top brokers
- AlgoTrader – This is ideal if you are looking for customizable, open-source software to implement automated strategies
- eSignal – Advanced charts and graphs to support short-term and long-term trading strategies. Extensive customization capabilities, plus custom indicators available
- TD Ameritrade – Some of the best live and virtual day trading software available, scoring particularly high in US reviews
- eToro – Leading social trading network. Copy profitable traders – or become a ‘leader’ and earn when other traders follow you
- TradingView – A leading charting package with a wealth of technical analysis tools and the ability to build and back-test strategies. The software can monitor price charts over 30-day changes, plus automate investments and copy trades
- Trading Station 2 – A cloud-based trading platform developed exclusively for the forex broker FXCM
- JSE software – Considered one of the best futures day trading software available
- Etrade software – Nifty trading software that is fast, reliable, and used by investors of all levels
- MCX day trading analysis software – One of Tim Sykes’s highly recommended systems
- Consors software – This German application offers some of the best trading simulation software for free
Choosing the right trading software is an important decision. It is also important that any solution integrates with your trading strategies. If you are investing in forex using a simple price action strategy, for example, you may have everything you need with your broker’s standard program.
However, tools such as TradingView can help you build and back-test more advanced strategies, including using your own code if desired. Complex trading systems may also require software with a wide range of indicators and technical tools at a few clicks’ notice to help make fast and accurate decisions.
Importantly, for advanced traders, strategy needs are likely to be greater, and may require optional advanced features that are often expensive.
If you want to test a specific software before committing to it, the best way to do so is through a demo account. A paper trading solution is essentially a practice account where you trade for free with virtual funds using the real program and its features. It is a great way to trial software, strategies, and develop your own skills. We list the top investing demo accounts here.
Tailored for Specific Markets
The best trading software for traders in Australia and Canada may fall short in Indian and South African markets. This is because the software in India may be be designed to analyze and take into account intricate Indian market dynamics. Spider Software, for example, provides technical analysis software specifically for Indian markets.
If you want to trade stocks in the West, you may find an application from far afield won’t give you access to all the data feeds and news resources you need to trade successfully.
There is also the question of cost. You can get plenty of free charting software for Indian markets. Still, the same powerful and comprehensive software in the UK, Europe, and the US, often comes with a price tag.
So, make sure your software comparison takes into account location and price.
The same principle applies to day trading tax software. Your accounting software needs to be able to accurately calculate how much tax is payable to your country’s specific body, the IRS or HMRC, for example.
Apart from wasting your time, any tax errors will fall on your lap, as will any fines.
Final Word On Location
If you’re British, do your homework and find out what the best application specifically for the UK is. If you are Canadian, check you won’t encounter any tax problems when you invest in accounting software from South Africa, for example.
Final Word On Trading Software
It is worth bearing in mind that your choice of broker can restrict the tools available.
Free day trading software may seem like a no-brainer to start with. However, if it comes with the sacrifice of technical tools that could enhance investment decisions, then it may cost you in the long run.
Also remember that the best trading software for forex may not be helpful for stocks, so do your research and consider all the tips in our guide above. And most importantly, you wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it first, and your trading software and application doesn’t need to be any different.
Does Trading Software Work?
Yes, in fact you may use it without even realizing. All brokers offer some type of trading analytical software to display price charts, technical indicators, or even for keeping a journal.
How Day Trading Software Work?
There are many types of programs, with most of the popular solutions helping to facilitate informed trades. TradingView, for example, is useful for backtesting and planning strategies because it offers historical data and analytical tools.
Is Online Trading Training Software Useful?
Trading learning software, such as mock accounts, provide a cost-free space for novices to test their strategies and learn how to invest. See our list of top practice accounts here.
What Is The Best Day Trading Software?
What Is The Best Free Trading Software?
There are many options, but one of the most popular forex and CFD software packages is free. MetaTrader is used by many brokers and is known for its reliability. Another free option is TradingView, they have charts spanning many assets, including cryptos, commodities, stocks, and indices.