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Best Online Brokers for Stock Trading 2019

Blain Reinkensmeyer

The StockBrokers.com best online brokers 2019 review (9th annual) took six months to complete and produced over 30,000 words of research. Here's how we tested.

Want to buy shares of stocks like Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB), Disney (DIS), or Uber (UBER)? If so, you will need an online broker account.

Choosing an online stock broker is one of the most important decisions you will make as an investor. This guide aims to introduce online trading and break down the best online brokers available today.

As a previous full-time trader turned hobby enthusiast, since 2001, 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. In total, it took six months to complete our ninth annual assessment of the industry.

Since our inception back in 2011, StockBrokers.com has helped over six million investors research and compare online brokers. While the markets are anything but certain, you can feel confident StockBrokers.com has your back in 2019 to help you find the right broker.

Best Online Brokers for Stock Trading

  • TD Ameritrade - Best for overall and beginners
  • Fidelity - Best for investors
  • Charles Schwab - Best for IRA accounts
  • E*TRADE - Best web platform
  • Interactive Brokers - Best for professionals
  • Merrill Edge - Best rewards program
  • TradeStation - Best platform technology

Here's a summary of the best online brokers:

TD Ameritrade

Best Overall - Open Account
Exclusive Offer: Trade free for 90 days + get up to $600 cash.

Rated our #1 online broker for traders in 2019, TD Ameritrade charges $6.95 per trade and offers the largest variety of trading tools through its desktop-based thinkorswim and Mobile Trader platforms. It also ranks #1, alongside its Best in Class rating, for numerous other categories including Beginners, Trading Platforms and Tools, Customer Service, and Education, among others. Read full review

Fidelity

Best for Investors - Open Account
Exclusive Offer: Get 300 commission-free trades and 2 years to use them.

Fidelity Investments charges $4.95 per trade and received 4.5 stars in our 2019 Review, including being awarded Best in Class for 12 different categories. It is our top recommendation for discount trading. The broker also took home the #1 awards for Research and Order Execution. Finally, Fidelity’s mobile app was rated Best Mobile App for Investors. Read full review

Charles Schwab

Best for IRA Accounts - Open Account
Current Offer: $4.95 online equity trades + $0.65 per options contract.

Charles Schwab charges $4.95 per trade and was rated #1 for IRA Accounts and 5 stars for Research. Extensive research access along with consistent customer service, ample tools, the largest selection of commission-free funds, and industry-leading market reports combine to present a great full-service brokerage. Read full review

ETRADE

Best Web Platform - Open Account
Promo Offer: Trade Free for 60 Days & Get Up to $600.

E*TRADE, with its $6.95 stock trades, finished fourth overall in 2019. E*TRADE was awarded 5 stars and #1 for Options Trading, thanks to its Power E*TRADE trading platform. The broker also won first place for Mobile Trading, and offers well-rounded access to quality research, trading tools, education, and more. Read full review

Interactive Brokers

Best for Professionals - Open Account
Exclusive Offer: New clients that open an account today receive a special margin rate.

Designed for professional traders serious about their craft, Interactive Brokers offers only per-share pricing ($.005 per share with a $1 minimum per trade), and charges up to $20 per month between two minimum activity fees. Traders who can meet its $100,000 minimum deposit for margin trading are rewarded with an industry-leading commissions schedule, margin rates, and full support for international trading. Read full review

Merrill Edge

Best Rewards Program - Open Account
Current Offer: Invest in a new account and get up to $600.

Merrill Edge ($6.95 per trade) was awarded #1 for Banking Services and #1 Overall Client Experience, thanks to its parent company, Bank of America (BofA). Not limited to just BofA customers, Merrill Edge's Preferred Rewards program is excellent, offering $0 stock trades among other perks such as bonus rewards on credit cards and discounted mortgage rates. Read full review

TradeStation

Best for Platform Technology - Open Account
Promo Offer: $5 per Trade plus $0.50 per Contract for Options

TradeStation's advanced trading platform has been awarded Best Platform Technology for the past six years. For active traders and day traders, TradeStation was rated 5 stars and comes packed full of tools and functionality. Trades are just $5 and users can even code their own apps using the broker's proprietary EasyLanguage programming language. Read full review

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1. TD Ameritrade

Exclusive offer: Trade for 90 days + get up to $600 cash. Open Account

The extra cost of trading with TD Ameritrade is worth every cent – the brokerage delivers fantastic platforms, research, mobile apps, education, and customer service. This outstanding all-round experience makes TD Ameritrade our No. 1 overall broker in 2019.

TD Ameritrade at a Glance


Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, TD Ameritrade was founded in 1975 as one of the first online brokerages in the United States (1). As of September 2018, TD Ameritrade is home to over 11 million funded broker accounts and $1 trillion in total client assets (2). Each day the market is open, TD Ameritrade clients place approximately 860,000 trades, on average (3).

Feature TD Ameritrade
Publicly Traded NASDAQ: AMTD
Minimum Deposit $0
Stock Trades $6.95 per trade
Option Trades $6.95 + $0.75 per contract
Mutual Fund Trades $49.99 per trade
Broker Assisted Trades $44.99 per trade
Commission-Free ETFs 571
Trading Platform thinkorswim
FINRA Regulated Broker Check
2019 Review Awards #1 Overall, #1 Platforms & Tools, #1 Customer Service, #1 Education, #1 Beginners, #1 Trader Community, #1 Broker Innovation, #1 Trader App (TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader), #1 Desktop Platform (thinkorswim), #1 New Tool (Apple Business Chat)

Why Choose TD Ameritrade


  • Excellent trading platform and tools. Over the years, I have learned it is not just the trading tools that separate brokers, but the design, depth, speed, and overall execution of delivering the ultimate trading experience. This is where brokers such as TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim and TradeStation really excel. After spending hundreds of hours on both desktop platforms, I give thinkorswim the edge, thanks to its modern feel and outstanding trader tools; however, both platforms execute so well that it truly comes down to personal preference. Die-hard fans exist for both, and either one is a great choice for seasoned traders.
  • Awesome for beginner stock traders. TD Ameritrade has the largest selection of educational materials in the industry, by a landslide, with over 200 educational videos covering every investment topic imaginable. Furthermore, the whole learning center is gamified, tracking your progress as you go with quizzes bringing concepts together at the end of each course. For ongoing reading, TD Ameritrade provides customers its magazine, thinkMoney magazine, alongside its trading blog, The Ticker Tape. Bottom line, for investor education, TD Ameritrade was the only broker to score a perfect 100% in our 2019 Review.
  • Great for stock research. TD Ameritrade offers my favorite earnings analysis tool through its thinkorswim platform. TD Ameritrade also provides it's own TV Network and what it calls Social Signals analysis for individual equities. Using proprietary algorithms, the Sentiment Score shows what percentage of tweets are positive and displays other relevant metrics. Additionally, in the social realm, TD Ameritrade analyzes data from its six million retail customers to create what it calls the Investor Movement Index (IMX), which displays and analyzes the sentiment of its retail investors’ portfolios.

TD Ameritrade Drawbacks


  • TD Ameritrade is expensive. TD Ameritrade is a terrific broker all-around. Because of its massive selection of trading tools, research, and 24/7 support, it is also more expensive than other brokers.

TD Ameritrade thinkorswim trading platform
TD Ameritrade thinkorswim trading platform.

2. Fidelity

Exclusive Offer: Get 300 commission-free trades and 2 years to use them. Open Account

With over $2 trillion in client assets, Fidelity is a low-cost online broker offering $4.95 stock trades, industry-leading research, excellent trading tools, an easy-to-use mobile app, and comprehensive retirement services. Overall, Fidelity is a winner for investors.

Fidelity at a Glance


Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, Fidelity was founded in 1946 is one of the largest asset managers in the world (4). As of July 2019, Fidelity is home to over 30 million individual customers and $6.7 trillion in total customer assets (5).

Feature Fidelity
Publicly Traded Privately held
Minimum Deposit $0
Stock Trades $4.95 per trade
Option Trades $4.95 + $0.65 per contract
Mutual Fund Trades $49.95 per trade
Broker Assisted Trades $32.95 per trade
Commission-Free ETFs 500
Trading Platform Active Trader Pro
FINRA Regulated Broker Check
2019 Review Awards #1 Research, #1 Investor App, #1 Client Dashboard, #1 Order Execution

Why Choose Fidelity


  • Terrific for investment research. Fidelity, which earned our No. 1 spot again this year, stands out for its 12 equity research reports and fantastic stock comparisons, allowing customers to compare up to five stocks at once with 21 different metrics. Fidelity also distributes high-quality market analysis and personal finance education through its Fidelity Viewpoints weekly distribution. What excites us most about Fidelity is its fully responsive (mobile friendly), carefully laid out research area. Content flow and personalization are at the heart of the experience, which is unlike any other broker in the industry.
  • Great for new investors. Behind TD Ameritrade, Fidelity is my second broker recommendation for beginner stock traders. Fidelity offers investors the perfect blend of ease of use, excellent research tools, as well as a great education center. While most brokers provide a plug-and-play experiences, Fidelity goes the extra mile, using data and usability testing to drive what it shows customers, and where. This user-friendly approach flows right into Fidelity's learning center, which includes hundreds of articles, and like TD Ameritrade, progress tracking capabilities.
  • Excellent mobile app for everyday investors. Fidelity understands what investors need to succeed on the go, and delivers it in spades. The Fidelity mobile app is a winner for investors because it is easy to use, packed full of market research, and includes a wide variety of trading tools.

Fidelity Drawbacks


  • Fidelity Mobile is built more for investors than active traders. That's not to say Fidelity doesn't cater to active traders, because it does. Fidelity does not receive payment for order flow from market makers for stock and ETF trades (6), and its active trading platform, Active Trader Pro, is feature-rich. That said, Fidelity Mobile lacks some of the specific trading features active traders may desire; for example, only seven technical indicators are available for charting.

Fidelity account stock quote
Fidelity account stock quote.

3. Charles Schwab

Current Offer: $4.95 online equity trades + $0.65 per options contract. Open Account

Founded in 1973, Charles Schwab is a full-service brokerage with over $3 trillion in total client assets. As a low-cost leader offering $4.95 stock trades, Charles Schwab provides investors excellent stock research, quality trade tools, and professional planning for the future.

Charles Schwab at a Glance


Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Charles Schwab was founded in 1971 and is one of the largest brokerage firms in the United States (7). As of July 2019, Charles Schwab is home to 11.9 million active brokerage accounts and $3.53 trillion in total client assets (8). Charles Schwab is also a significant player in the retirement space, and as of year-end 2018, it was the largest provider of custodial services for independent investment advisors (9).

Feature Charles Schwab
Publicly Traded NYSE: SCHW
Minimum Deposit $0
Stock Trades $4.95 per trade
Option Trades $4.95 + $0.65 per contract
Mutual Fund Trades $49.95 per trade
Broker Assisted Trades $25 per trade
Commission-Free ETFs 503
Trading Platform StreetSmart Edge
FINRA Regulated Broker Check
2019 Review Awards #1 IRA Accounts

Why Choose Charles Schwab


  • Excellent market research. Charles Schwab offers customers its own proprietary A – F ratings, called Schwab Equity Ratings, for some 3,000 US stocks. Even more impressive, Schwab boasts a full lineup of 26 in-house experts who provide numerous articles, known as Schwab Insights, on a variety of market topics throughout each week. Some experts, such as Chief Investment Strategist Liz Ann Sonders, can often be seen on TV discussing the market.
  • Leader in retirement services. Charles Schwab, like its closest competitors, offers all three types of retirement investing: self-directed, robo-advice, and managed investing. Self-directed IRA accounts are competitive no matter which broker you choose; however, Charles Schwab shines with its Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium services. Intelligent Portfolios offers fully automated asset management with no annual fees and Intelligent Portfolios Premium provides clients unlimited one on one guidance from a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) for $30/month after a $300 one-time planning fee.

Charles Schwab Drawbacks


  • Mobile app is lackluster. Given the size and breadth of Charles Schwab's offering, we had higher expectations for its mobile app, which is good, but certainly not great. Stock quotes are real-time but require manual refreshing, and there is no basic stock price alerts functionality.
  • Research area needs a makeover. Schwab's offering of market research is terrific; however, its website area for research boasts an outdated design.

schwab equity rating summary apple
Charles Schwab Equity Rating summary Apple.

4. E*TRADE

Promo Offer: Trade Free for 60 Days & Get Up to $600. Open Account

Founded in 1982, E*TRADE is a full-service online broker that charges $6.95 for stock trades with discounts for active traders. While E*TRADE may not offer the cheapest trades, the Power E*TRADE platform is excellent for options trading, and the broker offers two great mobile apps.

E*TRADE at a Glance


Headquartered in New York City, E*TRADE was founded in 1982 and, like its closest competitors, was also one of the first online brokerages in the United States (10). E*TRADE acquired online broker OptionsHouse in September 2016 for $725 million, paving the way for what is now branded as the Power E*TRADE platform (11). As of December 31st, 2018, E*TRADE had 4.9 million brokerage accounts and processed over 280,000 online trades per trading day (12).

Feature TD Ameritrade
Publicly Traded NASDAQ: ETFC
Minimum Deposit $500
Stock Trades $6.95 per trade
Option Trades $6.95 + $0.75 per contract
Mutual Fund Trades $19.99 per trade
Broker Assisted Trades $25 per trade
Commission-Free ETFs 295
Trading Platform Power E*TRADE
FINRA Regulated Broker Check
2019 Review Awards #1 Mobile Trading, #1 Options Trading, #1 Web Based Platform (Power E*TRADE)

Why Choose E*TRADE


  • Excellent web platform that is a winner for options trading. Investors who prefer a web-platform experience have a choice of several great browser-based trading platforms. Our top pick again this year, Power E*TRADE, combines the best of both worlds: ease of use with fantastic trading tools. The online trading platform is just “ok” for equities trading, but is terrific for options trading.
  • Full featured mobile apps. Among all the online brokers we track on StockBrokers.com, E*TRADE offers the most mobile app features. It offers two mobile apps for customers: E*TRADE Mobile and Power E*TRADE Mobile. I recommend E*TRADE mobile for stock trading and Power E*TRADE Mobile for options trading. Power E*TRADE Mobile offers a more sleek, modern design than E*TRADE Mobile; however, E*TRADE Mobile offers more trading tools.

E*TRADE Drawbacks


  • E*TRADE is expensive. Behind TD Ameritrade, E*TRADE is the second most expensive online broker in terms of trading commissions and fees. Unfortunately, extensive trading tools and streaming market data doesn't come for free.
  • Research is thorough but trails industry leaders. E*TRADE offers a robust selection of research for stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and bonds; however, the design is very outdated and the broker lacks the overall depth to out compete Fidelity, Charles Schwab, and TD Ameritrade.

Power E*TRADE trading platform
Power E*TRADE trading platform.

5. Interactive Brokers

Exclusive Offer: New clients that open an account today receive a special margin rate. Open Account

While Interactive Brokers is not suitable for casual investors, it leads the industry for low-cost trading for professionals. Through the Trader Workstation (TWS) platform, Interactive Brokers offers excellent tools and an extensive selection of tradable securities.

Interactive Brokers at a Glance


Headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut, Interactive Brokers was founded in 1977 by Thomas Peterffy, who is respected as, "an early innovator in computer-assisted trading" (13). Interactive Brokers is most widely recognized for its extensive international reach, servicing over 125 market destinations worldwide (14). As of May 2019, each day the market is open, Interactive Brokers clients placed 894,000 trades, on average (15).

Feature Interactive Brokers
Publicly Traded IEX: Interactive Brokers
Minimum Deposit $0
Stock Trades $.005 per share ($1 min; 0.5% of trade value max)
Option Trades $0.70 per contract
Mutual Fund Trades $14.95 per trade
Broker Assisted Trades $30 per trade
Commission-Free ETFs 48
Trading Platform Trader Workstation (TWS)
FINRA Regulated Broker Check
2019 Review Awards #1 Commissions & Fees, #1 Offering of Investments, #1 Active Trading, #1 Professional Trading, #1 International Trading

Why Choose Interactive Brokers


  • Industry leading commissions. Like Fidelity and Merrill Edge, Interactive Brokers does not accept payment for order flow. This makes it's already low pricing even better because there are no hidden execution costs. As far as margin rates go, Interactive Brokers offers the lowest rates in the industry, across the board.
  • Excellent for day trading. Thanks to its focus on professional and institutional trading, Interactive Brokers takes the crown. For example, do you require advanced order types? Not a problem. Interactive Brokers offers customers an arsenal of 63 different order types, the most in the industry by a landslide.
  • Great international access and overall offering. What about trading internationally? Easy. Interactive Brokers offers trading in 26 countries and over 120 market centers. Interactive Brokers is also a winner for futures trading.

Interactive Brokers Drawbacks


  • For non-active traders, minimum fees add up. If you do not spend at least $10 in commissions per month, you will be charged the difference. Additionally, there is a fee of $10 charged for real-time quotes each month ("US Securities and Futures Value Bundle"), which is waived if at least $30 in commissions is spent. Bottom line: Interactive Brokers is best for active traders who consistently trade throughout the month.
  • Complex trading platform. Since Trader Workstation (TWS) has all the bells and whistles seasoned traders require to go about their day, the platform is inherently tricky to learn.
  • Poor customer service. In our national testing, Interactive Brokers consistently under delivers. Connection times average 1 - 2 minutes, and we find that, on the whole, customer service agents are not very professional.

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

6. Merrill Edge

Current Offer: Invest in a new account and get up to $600. Open Account

Backed by parent company Bank of America, Merrill Edge delivers fantastic research, customer service, universal account support, and customer rewards. Merrill Edge offers 10 commission-free stock or ETF trades each month to investors with balances above $20,000.

Merrill Edge at a Glance


Launched in 2010 and headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Merrill Edge is the self-directed trading arm of Bank of America. Merrill Edge was originally created by Merrill Lynch, which became a subsidiary of Bank of America in 2008 (16). Operating one of the largest banks in the United States, Bank of America is a household brand name serving over 66 million consumer and small business clients across 35 countries (17).

Feature Merrill Edge
Publicly Traded NYSE: BAC
Minimum Deposit $0
Stock Trades $6.95 per trade
Option Trades $6.95 + $0.75 per contract
Mutual Fund Trades $19.95 per trade
Broker Assisted Trades $29.95 per trade
Commission-Free ETFs 0
Trading Platform Merrill Edge MarketPro
FINRA Regulated Broker Check
2019 Review Awards #1 Overall Client Experience, #1 Banking, #1 Rewards Program

Why Choose Merrill Edge


  • Preferred Rewards program is a winner for free trades. To open an account with Merrill Edge, you do not have to be a Bank of America customer. That said, it is far easier to reach the minimum combined account balance to earn all sorts of perks under the Preferred Rewards program, which includes free stock and ETF trades. For example, under the base Gold tier, Merrill Edge offers 10 commission-free stock or ETF trades each month to customers with combined account balances of at least $20,000.
  • Unique research experience. Merrill Edge offers Stock Story, Fund Story, and Portfolio Story which makes conducting market research both educational and insightful. With Stock Story, each company’s "story" is broken into four separate chapters: “Who is this company?”, “How are they doing?”, “How has their stock performed?”, and “What do analysts say?” Through Stock Story, the full spectrum is covered, including both fundamental and technical research. Even environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings data is included.
  • Great customer service. In our national testing, Merrill Edge consistently delivered agent connection times under one minute. Service agents were consistently rated, "very good" for overall professionalism, helping the broker finish fifth out of 16 brokers for customer service in 2019.

Merrill Edge Drawbacks


  • Not a good choice for active traders. While Merrill Edge does offer an active trader platform, MarketPro, the platform lacks advanced order types, provides no ability to one-click buy/sell stocks, and restricts options traders to just two-legged options spreads. Bottom line: Merrill Edge is best for everyday investors.

Merrill Edge Preferred Rewards Gold status
Merrill Edge Preferred Rewards Gold status.

7. TradeStation

Promo Offer: Spring into the market action with FREE trading until 2020. Open Account

TradeStation is a discount brokerage offering low-cost stock, ETF, options, and futures trades through two excellent trading platforms. While research is limited, TradeStation does offer free streaming real-time data and charges no monthly platform fee for its base flat-fee trading accounts.

TradeStation at a Glance


Headquartered in Plantation, Florida, TradeStation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Monex Group, Inc., one of Japan’s largest online financial services providers. (18). TradeStation's roots date back to the 1982, when the company was formed under the name Omega Research. The company's flagship TradeStation platform was launched in 1991, and TradeStation Group was a NASDAQ listed company from 1997 - 2011, until it was acquired by Monex Group (19).

Feature TradeStation
Publicly Traded Tokyo: 8698
Minimum Deposit $500
Stock Trades $5 per trade
Option Trades $5 + $0.50 per contract
Mutual Fund Trades $14.95 per trade
Broker Assisted Trades $50 per trade
Commission-Free ETFs 0
Trading Platform TradeStation 10
FINRA Regulated Broker Check
2019 Review Awards #1 Platform Technology

Why Choose TradeStation


  • Excellent trading platforms. TradeStation 10 is a desktop-based, downloadable trading platform for online trading that is robust and full of trading tools; the platform is rivaled only by TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim platform. TradeStation also offers a web-based counterpart, Web Trading, which is designed for everyday traders and provides great all-around usability. This unique combination makes TradeStation a viable choice for both casual and active traders.
  • Flexible account types. TradeStation offers three commissions plans, which allows the broker to cater to all trader types, including hedge funds. To keep things simple, here on StockBrokers.com we focus on TradeStation's default Flat-Fee pricing plan, which is best for everyday traders because there is no monthly platform fee charged and all trades are flat rate.
  • The Mobile app is great for stock and options trading. From monitoring multiple watch lists and setting price alerts, to analyzing stock charts and placing trades, TradeStation Mobile provides a fantastic all-around experience for traders.

TradeStation Drawbacks


  • All three trading platforms do not fully sync. When assessing TradeStation 10 (desktop), Web Trading (browser), and TradeStation Mobile (mobile), we found that watch lists do not sync across all three platforms. Watch lists only sync between Web Trading and TradeStation Mobile. Minor? Yes. However, it is something to keep in mind if you see yourself using all three platforms.

TradeStation 10 desktop trading platform
TradeStation 10 desktop trading platform.

Other Online Brokers

Outside of our top seven online brokers for 2019, there are nine other brokerages we reviewed: Firstrade, Ally Invest, SogoTrade, Lightspeed, SpeedTrader, Cobra Trading, Just2Trade, Robinhood, and ChoiceTrade. Here's our high-level takeaways for each broker. To dive deeper, read our full review.

8. Firstrade, "Founded in 1985, Firstrade has a long history of providing value for its customers. Known for its easy-to-use website, Firstrade offers $0 stock and options trading. Firstrade offers Morningstar research; however, its trading platform struggles to stand out against industry leaders." Read full review

9. Ally Invest, "Backed by Ally Financial, Ally Invest is a low-cost broker providing $4.95 stock trades. Ally’s complete universal-account management experience makes the brokerage ideal for current Ally Bank customers; however, convenience aside, Ally Invest struggles to stand out against industry leaders." Read full review

10. SogoTrade, "Founded in 1986, SogoTrade is an online discount brokerage that charges $4.88 base commissions and supports Chinese-speaking customers. Unfortunately, despite offering five trading platforms for stocks and options, SogoTrade struggles to stand out against the best brokers." Read full review

11. Lightspeed, "Lightspeed is a direct-access, online discount brokerage that focuses on serving active and professional traders through its in-house and third-party trading platforms. Casual traders beware though, not trading enough will mean getting stuck paying high monthly platform fees." Read full review

12. SpeedTrader, "SpeedTrader, a division of Mint Global Markets, has been serving active traders for 19 years. As a Das Trader Pro exclusive firm, SpeedTrader caters solely to hyperactive and professional traders and offers discounted commissions; however, pricing plans are complicated." Read full review

13. Cobra Trading, "Cobra Trading was founded in 2003 by Chadd Hessing as a direct-access, low-cost online brokerage for professional stock traders. While Cobra Trading offers multiple trading platforms and personalized service, trading costs are more expensive than leader Interactive Brokers." Read full review

14. Just2Trade, "Just2Trade is a discount brokerage offering low-cost stock trades and an easy to use trading platform, Just2Trade+. Unfortunately, Just2Trade provides little to no research tools and a very low-quality customer experience that, overall, is not worth the cost savings." Read full review

15. Robinhood, "Robinhood makes trading simple for beginners by offering an easy-to-use mobile app and $0 stock, options, ETF, and cryptocurrency trades. However, Robinhood makes money by accepting payment for order flow. Furthermore, few trading tools are offered, and there is no phone support." Read full review

16. ChoiceTrade, "Founded in 2000, ChoiceTrade is an online broker that advertises unlimited free stock trades for $5 per month. Unfortunately, numerous restrictions apply and, overall, ChoiceTrade provides customers a terrible all-around online investing experience not worth the hassle." Read full review

2019 Best in Class Winners

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 category winners

2019 best in class winners
2019 best in class winners

2019 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.

2019 industry awards
2019 industry awards

2019 Brokerage Rankings

Scored on 4,544 data points, here's our final broker rankings for the sixteen brokerages who participated in our 2019 Broker Review, sorted by Overall ranking.

StockBrokers.com online stock broker rankings 2019
StockBrokers.com online stock broker rankings 2019

Best Online Stock Brokers (Summary)


Online Broker Best For Minimum Deposit Commissions Overall Rating
TD Ameritrade Best Overall $0 $6.95 4.5 Stars
Fidelity Best for Investors $0 $4.95 4.5 Stars
Charles Schwab Best for IRA Accounts $1,000 $4.95 4 Stars
E*TRADE Best Web Platform $500 $6.95 4 Stars
Interactive Brokers Best for Professionals $10,000 $.005 per share 4 Stars
Merrill Edge Best Rewards program $0 $6.95 4 Stars
TradeStation Best Platform Technology $500 $5.00 3.5 Stars

Read Next

Explore our other online trading guides:

Methodology

For the StockBrokers.com ninth annual best online brokers review published in February 2019, a total of 4,544 data points were collected over six months and used to score brokers. This makes StockBrokers.com home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.

Participation is required to be included. Each broker completed an in-depth data profile and provided executive time (live in person or over the web) 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.

More from the editor

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 StockBrokers.com annual review, our third annual international forex brokers review, which includes 28 FX brokers, was also published on our sister site, ForexBrokers.com. Finally, be sure to check the latest financial advisor ratings, which you can view on investor.com.

Still aren't sure which broker to choose? Ask us a question! Whether you are a beginner investor learning the ropes or a professional trader, we are here to help. Email us your online broker specific question and we will respond within one business day. It is our satisfaction guarantee.

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Blain Reinkensmeyer

About the author: Blain Reinkensmeyer As Head of Research at StockBrokers.com, Blain Reinkensmeyer has 18 years of trading experience with over 1,000 trades placed during that time. Referenced as a leading expert on the US online brokerage industry, Blain has been quoted in The New York Times, Forbes, and the Chicago Tribune, among others.


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. 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.

TD Ameritrade, Inc. and StockBrokers.com are separate, unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for each other’s services and products. View terms.

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