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Best Brokers for Day Trading 2019

Blain Reinkensmeyer

Published by Blain Reinkensmeyer


Monday, February 18th, 2019

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Understanding your classification as a trader is critical when you select a broker for day trading. As an active trader, you are likely comfortable paying $4, $5, $6, or even $7 per trade. You want low-cost trades, but a feature-rich platform and great tools are important to you too; therefore, you are willing to pay more.

However, speak to a hyperactive trader or day trader, and you will find the platform/software design don't matter nearly as much; commissions and order execution talks while everything else walks. Day trading as a profession is risky business.

Our ranking in this category considers both types of trader.

Best Active Trading Brokers 2019

Day Trading Tools

Our No. 1 pick for day trading, Interactive Brokers, wins this category because the broker caters specifically for active and hyperactive traders. You won’t find the broker’s platform built for new investors, and you can mostly forget about research. What you will find, though, are programmable hotkeys and a slew of order types for placing every possible trade imaginable, including algorithmic orders, alongside the lowest margin rates in the industry. Popular among the institutional community, including hedge funds, this broker offers the lowest commissions in the industry.

Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation (TWS) platform
Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation (TWS) platform.

Interactive Brokers, Lightspeed, TradeStation, Cobra Trading, and SpeedTrader all offer what are known as “unbundled” rates, which means they pass 100% of all market rebates (or charges) for adding (or taking) liquidity back to their clients. Many market exchanges (examples include Citadel, Bats, and KCG (Virtu)) will pay your broker for routing your order to them. These rebates are usually no more than a tenth of a penny or two per share, but they add up. See: Order Execution Guide.

TradeStation 10 desktop platform
TradeStation 10 desktop platform.

Using a broker such as Lightspeed, routing a 1,000-share buy limit order on the NYSE will currently net you $0.0014 per share. Lightspeed’s base rate is $.0045 per share, so the original $4.50 trade now becomes only $3.10, thanks to a $1.40 rebate from the NYSE. This represents a savings of 31 percent. Note, however, this goes both ways, as routing a straight market order to the NYSE instead would incur a charge of $.0027 per share, thus increasing the cost of the trade.

Order routing aside, our other top brokers for day trading shine for different reasons. TradeStation provides three commission structures with quality executions and an insanely powerful desktop platform rivaled only by TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim, which also offers traders an excellent mobile trader app. Meanwhile, Fidelity was ranked first overall for order execution, providing traders industry-leading order fills alongside a competitive platform.

Fidelity Active Trader Pro platform
Fidelity Active Trader Pro platform.

All in all, finding the right broker for day trading first requires defining “active.” Next, ask yourself, “How important are low trading commissions?” and, “How important are tools?” Assume that lower trade costs usually mean less quality in such areas as research, trading tools, mobile trading apps, or ease of use. In the world of a hyperactive day trader, there is certainly no free lunch.

Top finishers at a glance (overall)


Interactive Brokers Logo
Exclusive Offer New clients that open an account today receive a special margin rate. Learn More
Fidelity Investments Logo
TradeStation Logo
Current Offer Low Fees and Free Market Data. Trade with TradeStation. Learn More
TD Ameritrade Logo
Exclusive Offer Trade free for 90 days + get up to $600 cash. Learn More
Charles Schwab Logo
Current Offer Earn 500 commission-free online trades at Schwab. Learn More

Day trading platform features

Is there a specific feature you require for your trading? Popular tools used by day traders include ladder trading, level II quotes, trade hot keys, direct market routing, stock alerts, streaming time & sales, and strategy backtesting, among many others. Lucky for you, StockBrokers.com operates the largest verified database on the web for online brokerages.

Compare Interactive Brokers vs Fidelity vs TradeStation vs TD Ameritrade vs Charles Schwab


StockBrokers.com comparison tool.

Best Day Trading Platforms 2019

Day trading laws and regulations

To day trade, you have at least $25,000 to comply with the Pattern Day Trader rule. Traders must also meet margin requirements. The government put these laws into place to protect investors. Day trading is risky.

What is a pattern day trader? "FINRA rules define a 'pattern day trader' as any customer who executes four or more 'day trades' within five business days, provided that the number of day trades represents more than six percent of the customer’s total trades in the margin account for that same five business day period."

What is a day trade? FINRA rules define a day trade as, "FINRA rules define a day trade as the purchase and sale, or the sale and purchase, of the same security on the same day in a margin account. This definition encompasses any security, including options. Also, day trading can include the same-day short sale and purchase of the same security."

Best day trading brokers summary


Online Broker Trading Platform Minimum Deposit Commissions Active Trading
Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation (TWS) $0 $0.005 per share 5 Stars
Fidelity Active Trader Pro $0 $4.95 5 Stars
TradeStation TradeStation 10 $500 $5.00 5 Stars
TD Ameritrade thinkorswim $0 $6.95 4.5 Stars
Charles Schwab StreetSmart Edge $0 $4.95 4.5 Stars

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All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 02/18/2019 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The StockBrokers.com staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest pricing data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page. For stock trade rates, advertised pricing is for a standard order size of 500 shares of stock priced at $30 per share. For options orders, an options regulatory fee per contract may apply.

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