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Best Day Trading Platforms for 2022

Blain Reinkensmeyer

Written by Blain Reinkensmeyer
Edited by Carolyn Kimball
Fact-checked by Steven Hatzakis

October 11, 2022

The StockBrokers.com best online brokers 2022 review, our 12th annual, took three months to complete and produced over 40,000 words of research. Here's how we tested. Our editorial content is independent and unbiased; here's how we make money.

A day trade is when you buy shares of a stock then sell the same shares before the market closes. Because day traders place far more trades than the average investor, keeping costs low is just as important as buying and selling (or shorting and covering) for a profit.

Having placed over 2,500 trades, I know firsthand that having a reliable day trading platform stocked with the trading tools you need is crucial to success.

For our 2022 Review, we tested and scored 15 online brokers. To find the best day trading platform, we focused on both web and desktop platforms and assessed each platform across 55 features. Alongside tools, we also took into consideration the costs of trading, including margin rates and order execution quality.

What is day trading?

Day trading is a strategy in which a trader buys and sells stocks throughout the trading day. The goal is to end each trading session with a net profit after commissions. Day traders primarily trade during the opening 60 minutes (9:30 - 10:30 a.m. Eastern) and closing 30 minutes (3:30 - 4 p.m. Eastern) of each market session, which is when price volatility is highest.

To make more than four day trades of the same security in any five-business-day period, a trader must be approved as a Pattern Day Trader, or PDT, which requires maintaining a balance of at least $25,000.

Best Day Trading Platforms 2022

2022 StockBrokers.com annual review badge

Here's a breakdown of the best online brokers for day trading.

Fidelity
5 Stars Overall

Best order execution

Minimum Deposit$0.00
Stock Trades$0.00
Options (Per Contract)$0.65

Of the 15 brokers we tested for 2022, hands down, Fidelity offers the best order execution quality. Fidelity is the only broker to offer $0 trades and not accept payment for order flow (PFOF), resulting in price improvement above and beyond what other brokers can offer. Read full review

Pros
  • Excellent mobile app for investors
  • Our top pick for order execution, no payment for order flow (PFOF)
Cons
  • Margin rates can be higher than those of peers
  • Mobile app may fall short for active traders
Visit Site open_in_new

Trade at Fidelity. 1

TradeStation
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4 Stars Overall

Best platform technology

Minimum Deposit$0.00
Stock Trades$0.00
Options (Per Contract)$0.60

In our testing, we found that TradeStation has one of the most robust desktop platforms we have ever seen. As a leader in trader technology, it earned the top award for Platform Technology in 2022. Read full review

Pros
  • Excellent desktop and web-based trading platforms
  • Great for professionals
  • Offers cryptocurrency trading
Cons
  • Research trails industry leaders
  • Educational content split between two sites
  • Scored poorly for customer service
Visit Site open_in_new
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Trade Stocks, Options, Futures, & Crypto.

TD Ameritrade
5 Stars Overall

Best desktop platform

Minimum Deposit$0.00
Stock Trades$0.00
Options (Per Contract)$0.65

The TD Ameritrade desktop trading platform, thinkorswim, is our No. 1 desktop platform for 2022. Highlights include paper trading, Earnings Analyzer (my personal favorite earnings analysis tool), and charts with 489 optional indicators, among many others. Read full review

Pros
  • Excellent education for beginners
  • thinkorswim platform suite is our top desktop platform for 2022
  • Futures and forex trading available
Cons
  • $6.95 fee per trade for penny stocks
  • No access to international stock markets
Visit Site open_in_new

Trade Stocks & ETFs Commission Free

Interactive Brokers
4.5 Stars Overall

Best for professionals

Minimum Deposit$0.00
Stock Trades$0.00
Options (Per Contract)$0.65

The Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation (TWS) trading platform offers the largest selection of order types alongside the lowest margin rates in the industry (by a landslide). Popular among institutions, including hedge funds, TWS is not beginner-friendly. Read full review

Pros
  • Web-based client portal great for casual investors
  • Offers access to global markets
  • Robust mobile app
Cons
  • Trader Workstation (TWS) desktop platform best suited for professionals, not beginners
Visit Site open_in_new

New clients, special margin rates.

E*TRADE
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5 Stars Overall

Best web-based platform

Minimum Deposit$0.00
Stock Trades$0.00
Options (Per Contract)$0.65

While E*TRADE lacks a desktop platform, it offers an excellent web-based trading platform, Power E*TRADE. Power E*TRADE provides ease of use and the core trading tools needed for day traders to succeed. Read full review

Pros
  • Power E*TRADE offers great selection of trading tools
  • Our top pick for mobile trading and ease of use
Cons
  • $1,000 minimum for streaming data
  • Range of educational materials is limited compared to peers
Visit Site open_in_new
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Open and fund & get up to $600 or more.

Other day trading platforms

In addition to our top five trading platforms for day trading in 2022, we reviewed 10 others: Ally Invest, Charles Schwab, Firstrade, J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing, Merrill Edge, SoFi Invest, Tradier, Robinhood, Vanguard and Webull. To dive deeper, read our reviews.

Day trading platforms comparison

Popular day trading platform tools include ladder trading, Level II quotes, trade hot keys, direct market routing, stock alerts, streaming time and sales, customizable watch lists, and backtesting, among many others.

Below you can find a trading platform comparison table of common tools and features. For a full comparison of 150+ features, use our comparison tool.

Feature Fidelity logoFidelity TD Ameritrade logoTD Ameritrade E*TRADE logoE*TRADE Interactive Brokers logoInteractive Brokers TradeStation logoTradeStation
Streaming Time & Sales Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Streaming TV Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Direct Market Routing - Stocks Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ladder Trading No Yes No Yes Yes
Trade Hot Keys Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Trade Ideas - Backtesting Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Trade Ideas - Backtesting Adv No Yes No Yes Yes
Short Locator Yes No No Yes Yes
Order Liquidity Rebates No No No Yes Yes
Visit Site Visit Site
Visit Site
Visit Site
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Visit Site
Visit Site
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Broker pricing comparison

Here's a comparison of pricing across the best brokers for day trading. For more comparisons, use the online broker comparison tool.

Feature Fidelity logoFidelity TD Ameritrade logoTD Ameritrade E*TRADE logoE*TRADE Interactive Brokers logoInteractive Brokers TradeStation logoTradeStation
Minimum Deposit $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Stock Trades $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
ETF Trade Fee $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $49.95 Varies $19.99 $14.95 $14.95
Options (Base Fee) $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Options (Per Contract) $0.65 $0.65 $0.65 $0.65 $0.60
Futures (Per Contract) N/A $2.25 $1.50 $0.85 $1.50
Broker Assisted Trade Fee $32.95 $25 $25 $30 $0
Visit Site Visit Site
Visit Site
Visit Site
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Visit Site
Visit Site
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What broker do most day traders use?

The best platform for day trading will depend on your trading style. Some traders only trade stocks and ETFs, others trade stocks and options, and some of the most fearless and well-capitalized might trade futures. In our 2022 Stockbroker Review, we found the five best platforms for day trading were Fidelity, TradeStation, TD Ameritrade, Interactive Brokers, and E*TRADE.

Which platform is best for day trading options?

Most brokers charge commissions and/or per-contract fees on options trades. If you day trade options, those commissions can pile up quickly. Firstrade, Robinhood and Webull don’t charge for trading and exercising options. We found Webull’s desktop platform to be very friendly to beginners; while if you’re willing to pay commissions, then E*TRADE offers the best balance between ease of use and useful tools.

What app do most day traders use?

Every day trader has unique needs. That’s why we highlight the strengths and weaknesses of many brokers. E*TRADE and TD Ameritrade allow you to choose between basic apps and special ones tailor-made for active traders on the go.

Can you day trade on multiple platforms?

Yes. It is not uncommon for day traders to have multiple brokerage accounts and use several trading platforms simultaneously. Common reasons why traders use multiple platforms include having a backup in case of an outage, running dedicated trading strategies, or accessing specific trading tools not available elsewhere.

What are the risks of day trading?

Because day trading involves actively buying and selling stocks throughout the day using margin (borrowed capital), it is inherently risky. Like poker, losing streaks can cause traders to take undisciplined risks, magnifying losses. Some day trading software — for example, a trading journal — can help identify your strengths and weaknesses, provided you’re diligent in entering your trades.

Can you start day trading with $500?

If you do not have at least a $25,000 balance, margin approval, and Pattern Day Trader status, you can only place four day trades over a period of five business days before your account becomes restricted.

Is day trading illegal?

In the U.S., day trading is legal. To day trade, you must have at least a $25,000 minimum account balance and be approved as a Pattern Day Trader. Once classified as a PDT, you gain access to 4:1 margin intraday and 2:1 margin for holding open positions overnight.

Is day trading worth it?

In today's market, hedge funds running sophisticated algorithms make it very difficult to day trade profitably. Most day traders are also severely undercapitalized and get suckered into paying for expensive chat room memberships, educational courses, and newsletter subscriptions on social media. Here's a breakdown of what I learned from day trading.

What is the best platform for day trading?

For the lowest pricing, Fidelity's Active Trader Pro (ATP) is the best day trading platform thanks to $0 trades with no payment for order flow (PFOF). Fidelity aside, TradeStation and TD Ameritrade offer the most trading tools and platform customizations. Finally, for the lowest margin rates and most order types, the Trader Workstation (TWS) trading platform from Interactive Brokers is best.

What is the fastest trading platform?

The fastest trading platforms are TradeStation, TD Ameritrade thinkorswim, and Interactive Brokers Traders Workstation (TWS) because they are desktop-based.

More details: With a desktop trading platform, the base code runs locally on your computer, maximizing speed. That said, web-based trading platforms built with modern code can match desktop platforms in overall speed. Software aside, like esports, the most common bottleneck for any trading platform is the internet connection.

2022 Overall Ranking

Here are the Overall rankings for the 15 online brokers who participated in our 2022 Review, sorted by Overall ranking.

Company Overall Customer Service Commissions & Fees Research Platforms & Tools Mobile Trading Apps Investment Options Education Ease Of Use Visit Site
Fidelity logoFidelity 5 Stars 4.5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 4.5 Stars 5 Stars 4.5 Stars 5 Stars 4.5 Stars Visit Site
TD Ameritrade logoTD Ameritrade 5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars Visit Site
E*TRADE logoE*TRADE 5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 4.5 Stars 5 Stars Visit Site
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Charles Schwab logoCharles Schwab 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars 4 Stars 4.5 Stars Visit Site
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Interactive Brokers logoInteractive Brokers 4.5 Stars 3 Stars 4.5 Stars 5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4 Stars Visit Site
Merrill Edge logoMerrill Edge 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4.5 Stars 4 Stars Visit Site
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Firstrade logoFirstrade 4 Stars 3.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4 Stars 2 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 3 Stars 4.5 Stars Visit Site
Ally Invest logoAlly Invest 4 Stars 4 Stars 4.5 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 3.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 3.5 Stars 4.5 Stars
TradeStation logoTradeStation 4 Stars 2 Stars 4.5 Stars 2 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 3.5 Stars 4.5 Stars Visit Site
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J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing logoJ.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing 4 Stars N/A 4.5 Stars 3.5 Stars 2 Stars 3.5 Stars 4 Stars 3.5 Stars 4 Stars
Tradier logoTradier 4 Stars 3.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 2.5 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 3.5 Stars 3 Stars 4.5 Stars
Webull logoWebull 3.5 Stars 2.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 2.5 Stars 3.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 3.5 Stars 1 Stars 5 Stars Visit Site
Robinhood logoRobinhood 3.5 Stars N/A 4.5 Stars 2 Stars 2 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 5 Stars
Vanguard logoVanguard 3.5 Stars 3 Stars 4.5 Stars 2.5 Stars 1.5 Stars 3 Stars 4.5 Stars 2.5 Stars 4.5 Stars
Sofi Invest logoSofi Invest 3.5 Stars 4 Stars 4.5 Stars 2 Stars 1.5 Stars 3.5 Stars 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars
View More

Methodology

For the StockBrokers.com 12th Annual Review published in January 2022, a total of 3,075 data points were collected over three months and used to score 15 top brokers. This makes StockBrokers.com home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.

In order to assess the overall day trading experience, we test across a wide range of devices and operating systems.

Testing was done on devices for both Apple and Android operating systems. For Apple: iPhone XS with the most current iOS. For Android: Samsung Galaxy S9+, 6.2" 4K Super AMOLED (2960x1440) 64-bit Octa-Core Snapdragon 835 Processor 2.7GHz, 6GB RAM 6.2" with the most current operating system.

Our research team rigorously tests the most important features sought by day traders, such as trading costs — including margin rates and order execution quality — and factors  such as ladder trading, stock alerts, streaming time and sales and customizable watch lists, among others. In total, we evaluate more than 200 variables for each broker.

As part of our annual review process, all brokers had the opportunity to provide updates and key milestones and complete an in-depth data profile, which we hand-checked for accuracy. Brokers also were offered the opportunity to provide executive time for an annual update meeting.

Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.

Read Next

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About the Author

Blain Reinkensmeyer
Blain Reinkensmeyer

Blain Reinkensmeyer has 20 years of trading experience with over 2,500 trades placed during that time. He heads research for all U.S.-based brokerages on StockBrokers.com and is respected by executives as the leading expert covering the online broker industry. Blain’s insights have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the Chicago Tribune, among other media outlets.


Carolyn Kimball
Carolyn Kimball

Carolyn Kimball is managing editor for Reink Media and the lead editor for the StockBrokers.com Annual Review. Carolyn has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at major media outlets including NerdWallet, the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News. She specializes in coverage of personal financial products and services, wielding her editing skills to clarify complex (some might say befuddling) topics to help consumers make informed decisions about their money.


Steven Hatzakis
Steven Hatzakis

Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 20 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.


1 Fidelity Sell orders are subject to an activity assessment fee from $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 of principal. Options trading entails significant risk and is not appropriate for all investors. Certain complex options strategies carry additional risk. Before trading options, please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options. Supporting documentation for any claims, if applicable, will be furnished upon request.
TD Ameritrade, Inc. and StockBrokers.com are separate, unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for each other’s services and products.
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