Other options trading platforms tested
Some brokers don’t charge commissions for options. We’ve found that the $0 commission brokers skimp on features and research. Some of the $0 commission brokers we tested include Firstrade, Robinhood, SoFi Invest , and Webull. Of these, we prefer Webull for its silky-smooth desktop platform.
Best options trading platform tools
Tastytrade, our top pick for options trading for 2024, is an options trader’s dream. The platform is lightning-fast and the workflow is super efficient. Analytics appear intuitively when and where they matter most and adjusting trades on the fly is a piece of cake. Don’t miss the videos and ideas from tastytrade’s corporate affiliate tastylive, as it’ll make you feel as if you have knowledgeable friends on the trading floor.
Our other winners also offer excellent platforms. Web-based Power E*TRADE is a bit friendlier to newer options traders, and the tools are well laid out. E*TRADE’s attention to detail shows in automatic spread groupings, effortless scanning in StrategySEEK, and easy-to-understand risk/reward data through tradeLAB.
Charles Schwab’s thinkorswim platforms, available on both desktop and mobile, provide all that you could want for successful options trading and is easier on both eyes and brains compared to Interactive Brokers’ Trader Workstation. Strategy Roller enables clients to create custom rules and roll their existing options positions automatically.
For professionals, Interactive Brokers takes the crown as the best options platform. Its margin rates are outstanding. The trading platform, Trader Workstation, is exceptionally powerful, but is also one of the most challenging platforms to learn out of all the brokers we tested for our 2024 review.
Merrill Edge is our top recommendation for beginners, due to the ease of use of its options tools and because of Merrill's unique way of presenting stocks and ETFs through their "Story" formats. Its industry-disrupting Stock Stories make researching stocks an absolute joy for people who don’t live for financial statements. Some brokers offer more tools and others have quicker order entry, but for beginners looking for the whole package, Merrill makes the most sense to us.
Where can I practice options trading?
Options trading platform tools comparison
Options trading platform pricing comparison
What is options trading?
Options trading involves buying and selling the rights to buy or sell securities at specific prices at certain dates. Picture betting on a sports game and being able to buy and sell that bet as the game progresses. That, in a nutshell, is how options trading works, though of course it’s a bit more nuanced than that. Option prices fluctuate on the price and volatility of their underlying investments and the time remaining until the options expire. Traders use options to speculate, reduce risk, or generate income.
How do I choose an options broker?
The best options broker for you will depend on:
- how frequently you trade.
- your knowledge level.
- the strategies you use.
For example, a broker that caters to beginners will use less jargon and provide more visuals to help you evaluate a trade before you hit the submit button. A broker that caters to experienced traders will pack as much data onto a screen as it can and assume that you know what all that data is telling you.
Which trading platform is best for options?
Based on our testing and analysis, here are the best trading platforms for options in 2024.
- Tastytrade - 4 Stars - Best options trading platform and tools, great pricing
- Charles Schwab - 5 Stars - Industry standard thinkorswim platform, equity tools and research
- Interactive Brokers - 4.5 Stars - Best for professional options traders
- E*TRADE - 5 Stars - Best web-based platform and provides equity tools and research
- Merrill Edge - 4.5 Stars - Best for beginners
Is Robinhood good for options trading?
While Robinhood offers free options trading and is very easy to use, it did not make it into our top five top-rated options platforms. It doesn’t have the comprehensive research and education of our beginner's top pick, Merrill Edge; nor does it offer the rapid-fire trading and analytics offered by our overall options favorite, tastytrade.
Is Fidelity good for options trading?
Current Fidelity customers will find Fidelity’s options tools are fine for occasional use and the $0.65 per contract fee is in line with what other large online brokers charge. Active options traders can find brokers with lower options fees and more responsive platforms. If you are willing to accept sparse tools, some brokers don’t charge anything for options trades.
Which is the cheapest options trading brokerage?
Firstrade, Robinhood, SoFi Invest, and Webull do not charge options commissions, exercise or assignment fees. For sophisticated traders who demand cutting-edge technology and analytics, we suggest tastytrade, which charges $1 per contract round-trip but has a cap of $10 per leg ($10 to open, $0 to close), making it relatively inexpensive for traders who take larger positions.
Which broker has free options trading?
Instead of calling their revenue per trade “commissions,” many brokers charge per-contract fees (including some brokers who claim to have "zero commission" options trading). The exceptions are Robinhood, SoFi Invest , Firstrade and Webull, which charge no commissions or fees for options. Of these, we prefer Webull, which has a silky-smooth desktop platform.
What is a call option?
A call option locks in the right to buy a stock (or other security) at a certain price (called the “strike”) until a specific date (the expiration). If the price goes above the strike price, then the call owner can buy the stock for the strike price and sell it for the market price. The premium is what the call buyer pays the call seller for this privilege. If the stock doesn’t rise above the strike price before expiration, the call buyer loses the whole premium. Investors can also sell call options to earn premiums. A contract usually represents a call on 100 shares of stock.
What is a put option?
A put option locks in the right to sell a stock (or other security) at a certain price (called the “strike”) until a specific date (the expiration). If the price goes below the strike price, then the put owner can sell the stock for the strike price, which is higher than the market price. The premium is what the put buyer pays the put seller for this privilege. If the stock doesn’t fall below the strike price before expiration, the put buyer loses the whole premium. Investors can also sell put options to earn premiums. A contract usually represents a put on 100 shares of stock.
What are 0DTE options?
“0DTE” stands for “zero days until expiration.” These options are inexpensive because they have only a day or less before the option expires. They are also extremely speculative because, in the short term, stocks’ movements are close to unpredictable. We at StockBrokers.com think they are only suitable for highly sophisticated options traders.
Can you get rich with options trading?
Yes, you can get rich with options trading — in theory. The attraction of options trading comes from leveraging a little money to control a lot of stock or some other investment. To become successful at it (and most don’t), you’re going to need to not only be right about the market’s direction, but also the timing. You should master profit/diagrams, implied volatility, and the options Greeks, which quantify the effects of time, price and volatility on option premiums.
How much money do you need for options trading?
You should have at least $5,000 that you are prepared to lose, and speculative options trading should only account for 10% of your portfolio. Though you can get started with as little as a few hundred dollars, that’s more or less rolling the dice. Experienced options traders maintain several positions at once that tend to offset risks, and that can’t be done with a few hundred dollars.
Can you trade options with $100?
Yes, you can. You will only be able to buy options with premiums of $1 or less. When it comes to options, that old saying “You get what you pay for” applies perfectly. Options of $1 or less are often highly speculative. They can come with little time left until expiration and need the underlying stock to move dramatically for them to pay off.
Is options trading risky?
Yes. Options trading is a form of leveraged investing and thus is inherently risky. Any time an investor is using leverage to trade, they are taking on additional risk. Many times, this risk is unforeseen and not easily quantified.
On the most basic level, investors who buy a call or put option are only risking the money they invested in the contract. However, when selling a call or put, if the trade isn't protected (also known as going naked), the investor is taking on potentially unlimited risk.
As a protective measure, there are different options approval levels (usually four), and being approved requires an application through the online broker platform to unlock. The riskier the options strategy, the more demanding the requirement will become to be approved.
Options trading platform features summary
All of the best brokers for options trading offer the following features.
|Has Education - Options
|Provides a minimum of 10 educational pieces (articles, videos, archived webinars, or similar) with the primary subject being options. All content must be easily found within the website's learning center. Platform tutorials, FAQs, etc. do NOT count.
|Option Chains - Streaming Real-time
|Option chains with streaming real-time data.
|Option Chains - Greeks Viewable
|When viewing an option chain, the total number of Greeks that are available to be viewed as optional columns. Greeks = delta, gamma, theta, vega, rho.
|Option Chains - Quick Analysis
|The ability to jump straight from the option chain to a P&L chart or probability chart for deeper analysis. Viewing a summary P&L within the chain itself also qualifies.
|Option Analysis - P&L Charts
|When analyzing a theoretical option trade, a P&L chart is available.
|Option Analysis - Probability Analysis
|A basic probability calculator.
|Option Analysis - Probability Analysis Adv
|A tool to analyze a hypothetical option position. Displays a probability histogram / chart with optional customizations.
|Option Positions - Greeks Viewable
|View at least two different greeks for a currently open option position.
|Option Positions - Greeks Viewable Streaming
|View at least two different Greeks for a currently open option position and have their values stream with real-time data.
|Option Positions - Advanced Analysis
|Ability to analyze an active option position and change at least two of the three following conditions - date, stock price, volatility - and assess what happens to the value of the position.
|Option Positions - Rolling
|Ability to pre-populate a trade ticket and seamlessly roll an option position to the next relative expiration.
|Option Positions - Strategy Grouping
|Ability to group current option positions by the underlying strategy: covered call, vertical, etc. Can be done manually by user or automatically by the platform.
|Level 2 Quotes - Options
|Level 2 options quotes available.
|Screener - Options
|Offers an options screener. Commonly referred to as a spread creation tool or similar.
StockBrokers.com 2024 Overall Ranking
Here are the Overall rankings for the 17 online brokers whose offerings we analyze and test, sorted by Overall ranking.
Popular stock broker reviews
At StockBrokers.com, our evaluations of online brokers and their products and services are based on our collected quantitative data as well as the qualitative observations and qualified opinions of our expert researchers. Thousands of data points are collected and used to score U.S. brokers and their offerings.
In order to assess the overall 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.
For this guide to the best platforms for options trading, our research team rigorously tested platform usability and quality of tools, such as options chains (e.g., optional views, total optional columns, streaming data quality, total Greeks offered), options analysis (e.g., P&L charts, calculators), and option position management (e.g., whether Greeks stream, rolling functionality, grouping availability, and advanced position analysis).
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. All research, writing and data collection at StockBrokers.com is done by humans, for humans. Read our generative AI policy here.
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.
About the Editorial Team
Disclosure: *The $4,000 bonus offer is available with a $500,000 to $999,999 deposit. Visit info.tastytrade.com/tasty-offer for full details, terms, conditions, and restrictions. Offer expires 03/31/2024. tastytrade, Inc. is a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA, NFA, and SIPC.
E*TRADE: *Other fees apply.
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.
*Webull Disclaimer View Disclaimer.
Securities trading offered by eToro USA Securities, Inc. (“the BD”), member of FINRA and SIPC. Cryptocurrency offered by eToro USA LLC (“the MSB”) (NMLS: 1769299) and is not FDIC or SIPC insured. Investing involves risk, and content is provided for educational purposes only, does not imply a recommendation, and is not a guarantee of future performance. StockBrokers.com is not an affiliate and may be compensated if you access certain products or services offered by the MSB and/or the BD.