Annual Review of Online Brokers

2018 Online
Broker Rankings

By Blain Reinkensmeyer | February 20th, 2018

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Online Broker Rankings

In total, 3,796 data points were gathered to rate and rank online brokers. To determine an Overall winner for self-directed investing, we weighted each category as follows:

  • Commissions & Fees (15%)
  • Offering of Investments (15%)
  • Platforms & Tools (15%)
  • Research (15%)
  • Customer Service (15%)
  • Mobile Trading (12%)
  • Ease of Use (3%)
  • Education (7%)
  • Order Execution (3%)
  • Banking (0.0%)

Click on any category name to filter brokers results by that category. For more information, see How We Test.

BrokersCommissions & FeesOffering of InvestmentsPlatforms & ToolsResearchCustomer ServiceMobile TradingEducationEase of UseOrder ExecutionBankingOverall Rating
TD Ameritrade
Charles Schwab
Interactive Brokers
Merrill Edge
Ally Invest
Capital One Investing
Lightspeed Trading

Fellow Investors,

Over the past six months, I have once again had the honor of leading research for our eighth annual Review.

As a hobby trader for the past 17 years, I have completed over 1,000 trades in my personal portfolio, finishing 2017 with a total of 1,020 trades (2,422 individual buys and sells, to be exact). Of the 13 brokers that volunteered to subject themselves to our thorough assessment this year, I personally have traded with 12 of them.

Experience provides a true perspective that cannot be found elsewhere. Looking at the 2018 Review, there were 292 variables spread across 10 categories (no other publication, print or web, eclipses even 100 total variables).

Again this year, we have added a ranking, alongside individual reviews, for eight different robo-advisors. View our ranking of the best robo-advisors. In addition, our second annual forex brokers review, which includes over 43 FX brokers, will be published on our sister site,, later this Spring, so keep an eye out (4/3/18 UPDATE - Review published). Finally, we have slowly started to rate Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs), which you can view on

To narrow down your choice of a broker best suited to you, you can start with the “Best in Class” category lists below, where you can see recommended brokers based on aspects that matter most to you. Then read a full-length review and compare your favorites side by side, using the comparison tool to finalize your selection.

Since our inception back in 2011, has helped over four million investors research and compare online brokers. While the markets are anything but certain, you can feel confident has your back in 2018 to help you find the right broker.

Here’s to us as investors and our success in 2018,


Blain Reinkensmeyer
Blain Reinkensmeyer Co-Founder & Head of Research

Best in Class

Our “Best in Class” awards highlight the top five brokers for 12 categories. Each category winner is displayed below its respective section label. Click on a category name to view all five winners and read additional commentary.

Best in Class for
  • Commissions & Fees Interactive Brokers
  • Offering of Investments Interactive Brokers
  • Platforms & Tools TD Ameritrade
  • Research Fidelity Investments
  • Customer Service TD Ameritrade
  • Mobile Trading E*TRADE
  • Education TD Ameritrade
#1Broker Innovation TD Ameritrade
#1International Trading Interactive Brokers
#1Banking Services Merrill Edge
#1Investor App Fidelity Mobile
#1Trader App TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader
#1Desktop Platform TD Ameritrade thinkorswim
#1Web Based Platform OptionsHouse by E*TRADE
#1Platform Technology TradeStation
#1Client Dashboard Fidelity Mobile Feed
#1Overall Client Experience Merrill Edge
#1Retirement Services Charles Schwab
#1Trader Community TD Ameritrade
#1New Tool Merrill Edge Stock Story
#1Phone Support TD Ameritrade

Industry Awards

Each year online brokers stand out for going "above and beyond" in the areas that matter most to customers. To recognize these brokers, we distribute industry awards. Here are the 2018 winners.

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