Annual Review of Online Brokers

2019 Online
Broker Rankings

By Blain Reinkensmeyer | February 19th, 2019

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Online Broker Rankings

In total, 4,544 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 (18%)
  • Offering of Investments (15%)
  • Platforms & Tools (15%)
  • Research (15%)
  • Customer Service (15%)*
  • Mobile Trading (12%)
  • Ease of Use (3%)
  • Education (7%)
  • Banking (0.0%)

Click on any category name to filter brokers results by that category. For more information, see How We Test. *For brokers who do not offer phone support, no testing was conducted and this category's weighting was proportionally distributed among the remaining categories.

BrokersCommissions & FeesPlatforms & ToolsResearchMobile TradingCustomer ServiceOffering of InvestmentsEducationEase of UseBankingOverall Rating
TD Ameritrade
Charles Schwab
Interactive Brokers
Merrill Edge
Ally Invest
Cobra Trading

Fellow Investors,

Over the past six months, I have again had the honor of leading our ninth annual Review.

As a hobby trader for the past 18 years, I have completed over 1,000 trades in my personal portfolio, finishing 2018 with a total of 1,024 trades (2,458 individual buys and sells, to be exact). Of the 16 brokers that volunteered to subject themselves to our thorough assessment this year, I personally have traded with 13 of them.

Experience provides a true perspective that cannot be found elsewhere. Looking at the 2019 Review, there were 284 variables spread across nine categories.

New this year, we merged the categories of Commissions & Fees with Order Execution, which now is known just as Commissions & Fees. This was a milestone I’ve been working towards for the past two years; it’s crucial for investors to understand that the underlying cost per trade is not the only factor in pricing. We also unveiled a new sub-category, Best for Professionals, to acknowledge the brokerages that cater to the most demanding traders.

Alongside the annual review, our third annual international forex brokers review, which includes 28 FX brokers, was also published today on our sister site, Finally, be sure to check the latest Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) ratings, which you can view on

To narrow down your choice of a broker that best suits your needs, you can start with the “Best in Class” category lists below, which feature 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 six million investors research and compare online brokers. While the markets are anything but certain, you can feel confident has your back in 2019 to help you find the right broker.

Here’s to us as investors and our success in 2019,


Blain Reinkensmeyer
Blain Reinkensmeyer Head of Research

Best in Class

Our “Best in Class” awards highlight the top five brokers for nine primary categories and four additional categories. Each category winner is displayed below its respective section label.

View all Best in Class

View Customer Service Infographic
Best in Class for
  • Commissions & Fees Interactive Brokers
  • Platforms & Tools TD Ameritrade
  • Research Fidelity Investments
  • Mobile Trading E*TRADE
  • Customer Service TD Ameritrade
  • Offering of Investments Interactive Brokers
  • Education TD Ameritrade
#1Broker Innovation TD Ameritrade
#1International Trading Interactive Brokers
#1Investor App Fidelity Mobile
#1Trader App TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader
#1Desktop Platform TD Ameritrade thinkorswim
#1Web Based Platform Power E*TRADE
#1Platform Technology TradeStation
#1Client Dashboard Fidelity Mobile Feed
#1Overall Client Experience Merrill Edge
#1Trader Community TD Ameritrade
#1New Tool TD Ameritrade Apple Business Chat
#1Order Execution Fidelity

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 2019 winners.

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