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TradeStation Review

Chris McKhann

Written by Chris McKhann, Blain Reinkensmeyer
Edited by Carolyn Kimball
Fact-checked by Sam Levine

Last updated September 26, 2022
Published January 10, 2022

As a trading technology leader, TradeStation supports casual traders through its web-based platform and active traders through its award-winning desktop platform, all with $0 stock and ETF trades.

TradeStation
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  • Minimum Deposit: $0.00
  • Stock Trades: $0.00
  • Options (Per Contract): $0.00
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Trade Stocks, Options, Futures, & Crypto.

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Top Takeaways for 2022

After spending three months testing 15 of the best online brokers for our 12th Annual Review, here are our top findings on TradeStation:

  1. In our testing, we found that TradeStation has one of the most robust desktop platforms we've seen. As a leader in trader technology, it has earned our top award for Platform Technology for 10 years running.
  2. TradeStation offers great tools through a platform suite that includes desktop, web-based, and mobile variations. All three are terrific. Top that off with $0 trading through TS Select and TS Go accounts, and there is a lot to like.
  3. Like some of its other active-trader-focused competitors, TradeStation is lacking in its offering of fundamental company research for casual investors. Education is also a mixed bag, making it just an OK choice for beginners.

Overall summary

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Overall starstarstarstarstar_border
Investment Options starstarstarstarstar_border
Commissions & Fees starstarstarstarstar_border
Mobile Trading Apps starstarstarstarstar_border
Platforms & Tools starstarstarstarstar_border
Research starstarstar_borderstar_borderstar_border
Customer Service starstarstar_borderstar_borderstar_border
Education starstarstarstar_borderstar_border
Ease Of Use starstarstarstarstar_border

Offering of investments

TradeStation gives its customers access to a robust offering of trading products, with full access to stock, ETFs, futures, and options trading, including comprehensive direct-market routing, numerous advanced order types, IPO access, and more.

Drawbacks: Dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs) are not offered at TradeStation and all orders for mutual funds must be phoned in. The broker does not offer fractional shares or forex trading, nor is there international trading.

Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrency trading is offered through TradeStation Crypto and allows users to trade the following cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and USD Coin (USDC).

Retirement services: TradeStation offers traditional, Roth and rollover IRAs. There is an administration fee of $35 per year for an IRA.

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Stock Trading Yes
OTCBB / Pink Sheets Yes
Options Trading Yes
Complex Options Max Legs 4
Bonds (US Treasury) Yes
Futures Trading Yes
Forex Trading No
Mutual Funds (Total) 4357
Advisor Services No
Crypto Trading Yes
Crypto Trading - Total Coins 4

Commissions and fees

TradeStation offers a variety of commission structures, which can be confusing. Fortunately, its most commonly used pricing plans, TS Select and TS Go, offer $0 trades, are easy to understand, include free market data and incur no monthly platform charges.

TS Select: TradeStation's most commonly used pricing structure requires a $2,000 minimum deposit and includes access to all three of TradeStation’s trading platforms. With TS Select, all stock trades, including ETFs, are $0, options trades run $.60 per contract, and futures are $1.50 per contract (per side).

TS Go: With no minimum deposit required, TS Go offers unlimited $0 stock and ETF trades alongside options trades for just $.50 per contract and futures trades for $0.85 per contract (per side). A limitation to using TS Go is that while all three trading platforms are available, any trades placed with TradeStation desktop incur a $10 fee ($1.40 for trading futures).

Professionals: $0 trades aside, TradeStation offers two different commission structures for professional traders: per share and unbundled.

TradeStation Salutes: Unique to TradeStation, active military personnel, veterans, and first responders can sign up for the TradeStation Salutes program, which offers free stocks, ETFs and options trades.

Penny stocks: Under TS Select and TS Go, penny stock trades are $0 for the first 10,000 shares and $0.005 per share after that (and an extra $0.005 per share if you direct the order to a specific venue).

Cryptocurrency trading: If you want to invest in bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies, TradeStation Crypto offers competitive fees starting at 0.5% per trade. These commission rates drop even further for account balances beyond $100,000. TradeStation Crypto also offers you the ability to earn interest when holding certain cryptocurrencies in your account. In 2022, TradeStation again won our award, No. 1 Crypto Technology.

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Minimum Deposit $0.00
Stock Trades $0.00
Penny Stock Fees (OTCCB) 0.00
ETF Trade Fee 0.00
Options (Base Fee) $0.00
Options (Per Contract) $0.00
Options Exercise Fee 14.95
Options Assignment Fee 5.95
Futures (Per Contract) $1.50
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $14.95
Broker Assisted Trade Fee $0.00

Mobile trading apps

TradeStation's mobile app is meticulously designed and provides the functionality that active and professional traders need to succeed. Thanks to Matrix (ladder trading) and complex options trading support, full day trading functionality is incorporated. Note: Matrix requires Level II market data, which is available for an additional $11 per month. Traders can now access their TradeStation Crypto account directly through the TradeStation app.

Watch lists and hot lists: While mobile watch lists automatically sync with the Web Trading platform, they do not sync with the TradeStation desktop platform. I found dozens of predefined screeners available in the Hot Lists section to scan the market which can be further customized.

Charting: Charting on TradeStation mobile is robust, clean, and includes pretty much everything a demanding trader could want: full chart type and date range flexibility, after-hours visibility, active and filled order visibility, and 44 optional indicators, to name a few. Drawing tools are available, so you can draw anything from trend lines to Fibonacci retracements on charts (although I would recommend a large phone screen or iPad, as an iPhone XS was too small).

FuturesPlus: TradeStation offers this stand-alone app for trading options on futures. Designed in conjunction with Trading Technologies, FuturesPlus provides the variety of advanced tools one would expect from TradeStation. Highlights include price visualization, predefined and custom strategy builders, advanced contract analysis, real-time time and sales, and of course, risk management via Greeks.

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
iPhone App Yes
Android App Yes
Apple Watch App Yes
Stock Alerts Yes
Charting - After-Hours Yes
Charting - Technical Studies 45
Charting - Study Customizations Yes
Watch List (Streaming) Yes
Watch Lists - Create & Manage Yes
Watch Lists - Column Customization Yes

Other trading platforms and tools

TradeStation offers three trading platforms: TradeStation desktop, which is the company's flagship product; Web Trading, which is a browser-based platform designed for traders seeking simplicity; and TS Crypto, which is a platform dedicated solely to cryptocurrency trading. All three are excellent.

TradeStation desktop tools: The functionality provided in the TradeStation desktop platform is rich with depth and widespread. Tools in the TradeStation arsenal include Radar Screen (real-time streaming watch lists with 329 customizable columns), Scanner (custom screening), Matrix (ladder trading), and Walk-Forward Optimizer (advanced strategy testing), among others. Using TradeStation's proprietary coding language, EasyLanguage, traders can even code apps for the platform and make them available in TradeStation's TradingApp Store.

TradeStation desktop charting: More than 40 years of historical data are viewable for stock charts. Furthermore, a staggering 290 indicators/studies are available, each of which can be reworked or adjusted to your specifications using EasyLanguage. I did uncover two minor flaws with charting: there is no way to plot basic y-axis markers for corporate events such as dividends, splits, and earnings; and there is a lack of automated technical analysis.

TradeStation Web Trading: TradeStation Web Trading is easy to use and gives traders a way to manage active positions, open orders, set up watch lists, conduct stock chart analysis and place trades with ease (ladder trading via Matrix included). The chart-trading functionality alone is superior to many flagship platforms. Note that TradeStation Web Trading watch lists do not sync with TradeStation desktop, which is a bit annoying for traders who use both platforms.

Options trading: Options trading is a breeze using OptionStation Pro, a built-in tool within the TradeStation desktop platform designed for streamlined trading and robust analysis. Options tool capabilities include custom grouping for current positions, streaming real-time Greeks, and advanced position analysis.

Futures trading: Like options trading, futures traders will also find themselves right at home with TradeStation desktop. Many of the advanced tools used for trading equities apply to futures trading, creating a seamless trading experience.

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Desktop Trading Platform Yes
Web Trading Platform Yes
Paper Trading Yes
Trade Journal No
Watch Lists - Total Fields 335
Charting - Indicators / Studies 290
Charting - Drawing Tools 23
Charting - Study Customizations 12
Charting - Save Profiles Yes
Trade Ideas - Technical Analysis Yes
Streaming Time & Sales Yes
Trade Ideas - Backtesting Yes

Research

Like its close competitors, TradeStation is not built for performing in-depth company research.

Stock research: Pros include full stocks and options screening, equity backtesting, and streaming futures and forex data. However, there is no traditional fundamental research for stocks.

ETFs and mutual funds research: TradeStation does not offer mutual fund or fixed income research, and the research experience for ETFs is nearly nonexistent.

Market commentary: While TradeStation's YouCanTrade subsidiary offers mostly educational content, its in-house analysts also provide research for TradeStation customers. Market research is a mix of written and video content for both technical and fundamental analysis, found under the Insights section within the TradeStation website. That said, the range and depth of research available across TradeStation’s platforms is limited and pales in comparison to industry leaders such as Fidelity, Charles Schwab, and TD Ameritrade.

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Research - Stocks Yes
Stock Research - ESG No
Stock Research - PDF Reports 0
Screener - Stocks Yes
Research - ETFs Yes
Screener - ETFs No
Research - Mutual Funds No
Screener - Mutual Funds No
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB Yes
Research - Bonds No

Education

TradeStation has been working to upgrade its educational experience. While education is primarily available through YouCanTrade, an independent site, there is some good basic education on various trading topics, especially options and crypto.

Learning center: Ongoing education is available through the Markets Insight Blog. There is also a series of monthly trading webinars.

YouCanTrade, an independent education-focused website run separately from TradeStation brokerage, hosts four channels operated by different educators. Each channel contains its own set of courses, including written and video content. Traders can pay to gain access to full-featured courses, including webinars, live trading room access, real-time alerts, and more. In addition to hosting over 10 webinars per month, YouCanTrade published over 430 videos on its YouTube channel, the majority of which were live streams.

Platform education: TradeStation provides thorough materials for new customers learning how to use the TradeStation desktop platform. Alongside numerous videos and help guides, advanced traders seeking personalized one-on-one training can pay $150 for one-hour private learning sessions.

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Education (Stocks) Yes
Education (ETFs) No
Education (Options) Yes
Education (Mutual Funds) No
Education (Bonds) No
Education (Retirement) No
Paper Trading Yes
Videos Yes
Progress Tracking No
Interactive Learning - Quizzes No

Customer service

To score Customer Service, StockBrokers.com partners with customer experience research firm Confero to conduct phone tests from locations throughout the United States. For our 2022 Broker Review, 159 customer service tests were conducted over six weeks. Here are the results for TradeStation.

  • Average Connection Time: >5 minutes
  • Average Net Promoter Score: 4.3 / 10
  • Average Professionalism Score: 3.9 / 10
  • Overall Score: 4.4 / 10
  • Ranking: 13th of 13 brokers

Final thoughts

While traditional stock research is limited at TradeStation, active traders will feel right at home with TradeStation's desktop and mobile trading platforms, which are loaded with trading tools. Meanwhile, casual investors will appreciate the TradeStation Web Trader platform, thanks to its focus on simplicity and ease of use.

How much does TradeStation cost per month?

TradeStation offers a variety of different commission structures, which can be confusing. Fortunately, TradeStation's two most commonly used pricing plans offer $0 stock and ETF trades and incur no monthly platform charges. TS Select requires a $2,000 minimum deposit, while TS Go has no required minimum.

Can TradeStation be trusted?

TradeStation is a well-established broker that traces its roots back to 1982. While investing and trading have obvious and inherent risks, TradeStation is regulated in the same manner as other online brokers.

How much money do you need to open a TradeStation account?

The minimum deposit at TradeStation depends on which pricing plan you choose. There is no minimum deposit to open a TS Go account. But to get the most out of TradeStation, a TS Select account provides full, no-fee access to the TradeStation platforms, and requires a $2,000 deposit.

About TradeStation

Headquartered in Plantation, Florida, TradeStation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Monex Group, Inc. TradeStation's roots date back to 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.

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2022 Review Methodology

Our mission at StockBrokers.com is simple: provide thorough and unbiased reviews of online brokers, based on an extraordinary level of hands-on testing and data collection. Our ratings and awards are based on this data and our experts’ deep authority in the field; brokers cannot pay for preferential treatment. Here’s more about trustworthiness at StockBrokers.com.

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.

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.

TradeStation fees and features data

The data collection efforts at StockBrokers.com are unmatched in the industry. The following tables show a deeper dive into the offerings available at this broker. You can also compare its offerings side-by-side with those of other brokers using our Comparison Tool.

In addition to meticulous annual data collection by our in-house analyst, every broker that participates in our review is afforded the opportunity to complete an in-depth data profile. We then audit each data point to ensure its accuracy.

Trading fees

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Minimum Deposit $0.00
Stock Trades $0.00
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $14.95
Options (Base Fee) $0.00
Options (Per Contract) $0.00
Futures (Per Contract) $1.50
Broker Assisted Trade Fee $0.00

Account fees

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
IRA Annual Fee $35.00
IRA Closure Fee $50.00
Account Transfer Out (Partial) $125.00
Account Transfer Out (Full) $125.00
Options Exercise Fee 14.95
Options Assignment Fee 5.95

Margin rates

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Margin Rate Under $24,999.99 9.50%
Margin Rate $25,000.00 to $49,999.99 9.50%
Margin Rate $50,000.00 to $99,999.99 8.75%
Margin Rate $100,000.00 to $249,999.99 8.75%
Margin Rate $250,000.00 to $499,999.99 8.75%
Margin Rate $500,000.00 to $999,999.99 5.50%
Margin Rate Above $1,000,000.00 5.50%

Investment options

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Stock Trading Yes
Fractional Shares No
OTCBB / Pink Sheets Yes
Options Trading Yes
Complex Options Max Legs 4
Futures Trading Yes
Forex Trading No
Crypto Trading Yes
Crypto Trading - Total Coins 4
Mutual Funds (No Load) 887
Mutual Funds (Total) 4357
Bonds (US Treasury) Yes
Bonds (Corporate) Yes
Bonds (Municipal) Yes
Advisor Services No
International Countries (Stocks) 0

Order types

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Order Type - Market Yes
Order Type - Limit Yes
Order Type - After Hours Yes
Order Type - Stop Yes
Order Type - Trailing Stop Yes
Order Type - OCO Yes
Order Type - OTO Yes
Order Type - Broker Assisted Yes

Beginners

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Education (Stocks) Yes
Education (ETFs) No
Education (Options) Yes
Education (Mutual Funds) No
Education (Bonds) No
Education (Retirement) No
Retirement Calculator No
Investor Dictionary No
Paper Trading Yes
Videos Yes
Webinars (Archived) No
Progress Tracking No
Interactive Learning - Quizzes No

Stock trading apps

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
iPhone App Yes
Android App Yes
Apple Watch App Yes
Trading - Stocks Yes
Trading - After-Hours Yes
Trading - Simple Options Yes
Trading - Complex Options Yes
Order Ticket RT Quotes Yes
Order Ticket SRT Quotes Yes

Stock app features

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Market Movers (Top Gainers) Yes
Stream Live TV No
Videos on Demand No
Stock Alerts Yes
Option Chains Viewable Yes
Watch List (Real-time) Yes
Watch List (Streaming) Yes
Watch Lists - Create & Manage Yes
Watch Lists - Column Customization Yes
Watch Lists - Total Fields 335

Stock app charting

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Charting - After-Hours Yes
Charting - Can Turn Horizontally Yes
Charting - Multiple Time Frames Yes
Charting - Technical Studies 45
Charting - Study Customizations Yes
Charting - Stock Comparisons No

Trading platforms overview

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Desktop Trading Platform Yes
Web Trading Platform Yes
Paper Trading Yes
Trade Journal No
Watch Lists - Total Fields 335

Trading platform stock chart features

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Charting - Adjust Trades on Chart Yes
Charting - Indicators / Studies 290
Charting - Drawing Tools 23
Charting - Notes Yes
Charting - Index Overlays Yes
Charting - Historical Trades Yes
Charting - Corporate Events No
Charting - Custom Date Range Yes
Charting - Custom Time Bars Yes
Charting - Automated Analysis No
Charting - Save Profiles Yes
Trade Ideas - Technical Analysis Yes
Charting - Study Customizations 12
Charting - Custom Studies Yes

Day trading features

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Streaming Time & Sales Yes
Streaming TV No
Direct Market Routing - Stocks Yes
Ladder Trading Yes
Trade Hot Keys Yes
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks Yes
Trade Ideas - Backtesting Yes
Trade Ideas - Backtesting Adv Yes
Short Locator Yes
Order Liquidity Rebates Yes

Investment research overview

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Research - Stocks Yes
Research - ETFs Yes
Research - Mutual Funds No
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB Yes
Research - Bonds No
Screener - Stocks Yes
Screener - ETFs No
Screener - Mutual Funds No
Screener - Bonds No
Misc - Portfolio Allocation No

Stock research features

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Stock Research - PDF Reports 0
Stock Research - Earnings No
Stock Research - Insiders No
Stock Research - Social No
Stock Research - News Yes
Stock Research - ESG No
Stock Research - SEC Filings No

ETF research features

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
ETFs - Strategy Overview No
ETF Fund Facts - Inception Date No
ETF Fund Facts - Expense Ratio No
ETF Fund Facts - Net Assets No
ETF Fund Facts - Total Holdings No
ETFs - Top 10 Holdings No
ETFs - Sector Exposure No
ETFs - Risk Analysis No
ETFs - Ratings No
ETFs - Morningstar StyleMap No
ETFs - PDF Reports No

Mutual fund research features

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Mutual Funds - Strategy Overview No
Mutual Funds - Performance Chart No
Mutual Funds - Performance Analysis No
Mutual Funds - Prospectus No
Mutual Funds - 3rd Party Ratings No
Mutual Funds - Fees Breakdown No
Mutual Funds - Top 10 Holdings No
Mutual Funds - Asset Allocation No
Mutual Funds - Sector Allocation No
Mutual Funds - Country Allocation No
Mutual Funds - StyleMap No

Options trading overview

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Option Chains - Basic View Yes
Option Chains - Strategy View Yes
Option Chains - Streaming Yes
Option Chains - Total Columns 32
Option Chains - Greeks 5
Option Chains - Quick Analysis Yes
Option Analysis - P&L Charts Yes
Option Probability Analysis Yes
Option Probability Analysis Adv Yes
Option Positions - Greeks Yes
Option Positions - Greeks Streaming Yes
Option Positions - Adv Analysis Yes
Option Positions - Rolling Yes
Option Positions - Grouping Yes

Banking features

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Bank (Member FDIC) No
Checking Accounts No
Savings Accounts No
Credit Cards No
Debit Cards No
Mortgage Loans No

Customer service options

Feature TradeStation logoTradeStation
Phone Support (Prospect Customers) No
Phone Support (Current Customers) No
Email Support Yes
Live Chat (Prospect Customers) No
Live Chat (Current Customers) Yes
24/7 Support No

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About the Author

Chris McKhann
Chris McKhann

Chris McKhann has been in the industry for more than 20 years. He has worked for many of the top names in the online trading space, including TD Ameritrade and optionMONSTER, which later became part of E*TRADE. His work has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the Financial Times, Forbes, CNBC, Nasdaq.com and Nikkei. He has also been an advisor and outside trader for several hedge funds. He was one of the first traders to delve into the VIX tradable products and to write about them (back in 2006). Chris is also an educator who teaches high school statistics, finance and computer science.


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.


Sam Levine
Sam Levine

Sam Levine is a longtime writer, investor and educator with nearly three decades of experience in the investing industry. His specialty is making even the most complicated investing concepts easy to understand for beginning and intermediate investors. He holds two of the most widely recognized certifications in the investment management industry, the Chartered Financial Analyst and the Chartered Market Technician designations. Previously, he was a contributing editor at BetterInvesting Magazine and a contributor to The Penny Hoarder and other media outlets.


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