Best Swing Trading Platforms 2024 (2024)

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Swing trading, which is a strategy where market participants attempt to capture profits using short-term charting techniques to enter into positions lasting from one day to several weeks, has grown in popularity as more market participants have decided to exercise direct control of their trading accounts.

Swing traders use technical analysis to help identify trading levels and timing points, and often leverage their positions through the use of margin. If proper risk management is implemented so losses are kept small and winning trades are allowed to grow, swing trading can be quite profitable. We will outline some of the best trading platforms for swing trading so you can decide which platform might be best for your trading style and needs.

Best Swing Trading Platforms 2024

Best Swing Trading Platforms 2024

Best Swing Trading Platforms 2024

  • Our Top Picks
  • E*TRADE
  • Interactive Brokers
  • Interactive Brokers
  • Fidelity
  • Interactive Brokers
  • TradeStation
  • See More (3)
  • Final Verdict

  • FAQs

  • Methodology

Best Broker for Ease of Trading Experience : E*TRADE

Best Swing Trading Platforms 2024 (1)

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: No commission for stock/ETF trades; options are $0.50-$0.65 per contract, depending on trading volume

Why We Chose It

E*TRADE’s well designed trading interfaces, excellent educational content, and highly capable demo account make it our top choice for ease of use.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Excellent mobile apps and trading platforms

  • Strong demo account capabilities

  • Rich educational content

Cons

  • No fractional shares

  • High margin rates

Overview

E*TRADE, one of the oldest online brokers, founded in 1982, was our choice for overall best broker for ease of use when we last reviewed best brokers for beginners, and this holds true for swing trading, too. E*TRADE offers a platform that is intuitive and easy to use, but also provides sophisticated tools for swing trading, such as stock screeners, charting, and the flexibility to enter conditional orders such as one-cancels-the-other orders that allow a swing trader to take a profit or loss at specific levels. Another helpful feature on E*TRADE, especially for those new to trading, is a demo account that allows traders to try out their trading strategies without putting their capital at risk.

E*TRADE supports futures trading that provides access to a wide range of additional markets to trade, but the platform does not currently allow direct trading of foreign exchange or in cryptocurrencies. Further, E*TRADE does not support fractional trading for self-directed accounts, which means those with less capital in their accounts may not be able to trade shares of high-priced stocks without taking excessive risk. Also, E*Trade charges relatively high margin rates for stock trading, as it currently charges 13.20% for accounts with a balance between $25,000 and $49,999. These limitations aside, however, E*TRADE makes it very easy to swing trade, and the platform provides excellent tools for trading the markets it supports.

Best Charting Platform for Swing Traders : Interactive Brokers

Best Swing Trading Platforms 2024 (2)

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: $0 stock trades, $1 to open options trades (capped at $10 per leg), $0 to close

Why We Chose It

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is one of the leading trading platforms for advanced and institutional traders that know how to trade, and offers a wide range of sophisticated tools to cater to this market niche. The company has also created offerings for less savvy traders, making IBKR a viable option for any swing trader.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Strong charting with real-time monitoring

  • Widest range of markets available to trade

  • Low commission and margin rates

  • Sophisticated order types and order routing

Cons

  • Steep learning curve for Pro platform

  • Less responsive customer support

  • Less flexibility for IBKR Lite customers

Overview

IBKR was the first company to use a hand-held trading device on an exchange floor, and the company continues to be at the forefront in trading technology. IBKR is the go-to choice for the most advanced traders that have a high volume of activity. Further, to better cater to smaller traders and investors, IBKR has also established a commission-free option for stock trading, and has added helpful educational content.

Technical analysis is a vital tool for swing traders, and while charting is available on competing platforms, IBKR has excellent charts with superior functionality that includes a wide range of studies and indicators to include on charts, as well as the ability to customize indicators. Further, IBKR allows traders to trade directly from charts, not just hit a button to open an order ticket. IBKR’s charts will show positions and orders on the charts, and order levels can be adjusted by simply dragging the level higher or lower on the chart. Other features available on IBKR include access to the widest range of assets and markets around the world, fundamental data, advanced order entry tools, paper trading, backtesting of strategies, and the ability for Pro users to control how their stock and equity orders are routed.

Best Order Execution for Advanced Swing Traders : Interactive Brokers

Best Swing Trading Platforms 2024 (3)

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: $0.00 commissions for equities/ETFs available on IBKR’s TWS Light, or low costs scaled by volume for active traders that want access to advanced functionality such as order routing; $0.65 per contract for options, with scaled rates based on volume; $0.85 per contract for futures

Why We Chose It

When it comes to options for placing orders and controlling how they are executed, IBKR offers its customers maximum flexibility.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Customer control over order routing

  • Superior order execution

  • Multiple contingency orders available

  • Widest selection of global markets

  • Full array of market trading vehicles available

Cons

  • No order routing available to IBKR Lite customers

  • Backtesting feature is challenging to use

  • Less responsive customer service

Overview

IBKR, with its primary customer base of advanced and institutional traders, offers superior flexibility to its traders in regards to order types and order execution. In addition to having access to all trading vehicles and markets across the globe, IBKR offers tremendous flexibility to traders in regards to the types of orders that can be used, and how stock and options orders are executed.

While many brokers provide users with conditional orders, IBKR’s conditional order functionality is very advanced, and allows traders to set up orders that trigger if any number of criteria, such as fundamental and/or technical levels, are met. In addition, IBKR gives traders the flexibility to use conditional orders to manage their positions to easily take losses or profits without the trader needing to closely monitor their position. While staying glued to the screen is critical for day traders, many swing traders want the ability to identify their markets, set their levels, and let technology take care of the execution, and IBKR delivers as best in class for this.

In addition to the flexibility of establishing trading triggers and customizing orders, IBKR Pro customers can also customize how their stock and options orders are routed, which will often lead to superior order execution in contrast to commission-free brokers that do not allow order routing. IBKR Lite customers, which receive commission-free stock trading, do not have the option to route their own orders. IBKR Lite customers, however, still benefit from IBKR’s proprietary order routing system that provides excellent fills for commission-free customers.

Best Order Execution for Retail Day Traders : Fidelity

Best Swing Trading Platforms 2024 (4)

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: $0 for stock/ETF trades, $0 plus $0.65/contract for options trade

Best for Low Margin Rates : Interactive Brokers

Best Swing Trading Platforms 2024 (5)

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: $0.00 commissions for equities/ETFs available on IBKR’s TWS Light, or low costs scaled by volume for active traders that want access to advanced functionality such as order routing; $0.65 per contract for options, with scaled rates based on volume; $0.85 per contract for futures

Why We Chose It

Many of IBKR’s customers use margin to leverage their trading returns, and they choose IBKR for its excellent trading technology and very low margin rates. Simply put, IBKR has the most competitive margin rates in the business.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Lowest margin rates available

  • Contingent orders for every conceivable situation

  • Widest range of asset classes and worldwide markets

Cons

  • Complex, tiered, commission schedule for IBKR Pro clients

  • Difficult to learn all of the advanced tools

Overview

Unlike many online brokers that primarily cater to investors, but also provide trading services to its customer base, IBKR’s primary customer base is advanced traders. For these customers, the use of margin to leverage trading returns is a key concern, and many choose IBKR for its margin rates, which are the lowest available. Many of the other online brokers charge much higher margin rates to their customers who short stocks. In some instances, IBKR’s competitors charge twice the rate for margin trading.

Margin rates are scaled based on account size. For accounts with a value between $25,000 and $299,000, IBKR’s margin rate is just 6.33%. For accounts between $300,000 and $1.5 million, IBKR charges just 6% margin. Fidelity and Schwab charge more than 13% margin for accounts between $25,000 and $49,000, and E*TRADE charges more than 13% for accounts of this size. The breakpoint at $300,000 for all four of these other brokers results in margin rates of 11.33% or higher.

The gap in these rates can make a significant difference in overall market returns for traders using margin. There is simply no competition among the large online brokers with IBKR when it comes to low margin rates for traders.

IBKR maintains these competitive margin rates for its IBKR Lite customers too, so those traders using the commission-free platform for trading stocks also benefit from IBKR’s very low margin rates.

Best for Strategy Automation : TradeStation

Best Swing Trading Platforms 2024 (6)

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: $0 stocks and ETFs; options are $0.60/contract and futures are $1.50/contract ($0.50 for micro e-minis)

Why We Chose It

Tradestation is a fully customizable trading platform that allows users to create an integrated workflow for screening, charting, and trading stocks through a series of trading apps built into the system. Users can also purchase hundreds of third-party trading apps through Tradestation’s TradingApp Store.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Excellent strategy development and automation

  • Good charting with integrated trading

  • Advanced order types

Cons

  • Steep learning curve

  • Customer support can be slow to respond

Overview

Tradestation provides traders with many options for customization, such as the ability to link multiple trading app windows so they all update for the same security, providing the ability to quickly see technical, fundamental, and news information. With charting, the trader can enter and update orders directly from the chart. Tradestation also provides excellent stock screeners to help traders identify trading opportunities based on multiple user-chosen criteria. It also offers multiple conditional order types, including the ability to place a buy or sell limit order with a one-triggers-the-other that can automatically enter another conditional one-cancel-the-other order so the trader can establish a position and set up stop-loss and profit-taking levels for their trade.

Tradestation offers backtesting and automated trading using its proprietary EasyLanguage that helps traders customize indicators and trading strategies, and offers backtesting so traders can hone their trading methodologies before putting them to use in the market. Further, this trading analysis can provide a “pass/fail” to give traders confidence that their automated strategies are sound before they put their capital at risk. For options trading, Tradestation offers risk/reward analysis and spread trading. Tradestation also accommodates customers with application program interface (API) connections to third-party apps. Regarding order execution, Tradestation utilizes proprietary order routing that results in excellent fills.

Final Verdict

Swing traders have many brokers to choose from, and there are some important considerations to choose from, including automation, margin rates, charting, stock scanners, order types, and customer service. Part of this decision hinges on the comfort level and experience of the trader. Those less experienced with swing trading may want to go with a broker that has more responsive customer service, educational content, and paper trading so that they can learn more and gain confidence as they get up and running.

As traders get more comfortable with placing orders, they may want a broker that offers more flexibility regarding the types of orders they can place to effectively manage position entry, exit, and timing, as well as the ability to develop and backtest trading strategies, and have more control over their orders so they can initiate and manage trades and risk without being glued to their trading screens. If traders will be selling stocks short, margin rates become an important part of choosing a broker. Investors looking to start swing trading from their investment account may choose to dip their toe in the water with their current platform if they provide the critical tools, but then may want to consider switching over to one of the platforms designed for more advanced traders as their trading volume and account capital increases.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Is Swing Trading?

    Swing trading is an active trading strategy where traders look to profit over time horizons from two days (positions held at least overnight) to several weeks. Typically, swing traders are willing to take long or short positions in stocks or any other trading markets, including options, futures, currencies, cryptocurrencies, and fixed income. The use of margin is common for swing traders so they can take short positions and add leverage to their accounts. Swing traders are timing and execution dependent, but not as intensely as day traders, and they are not subject to pattern day trading rules for entering and exiting trades on the same trading day. This article shows the differences between swing and day trading. Swing traders use technical analysis to develop their trading strategies, utilizing strategies that might include the use of trendlines, breakouts, moving averages, chart patterns, and pivot points.

  • Is Swing Trading Profitable?

    Swing trading can be very profitable, but as with any trading strategy, it is not without risk. However, making small to midsize profits over relatively short periods of time can add up quickly, and if successful, this increases the amount of capital in the account, which then allows swing traders to increase their positions. The most important part of swing trading is risk management, which entails limiting trades to opportunities with favorable risk/reward ratios and having discipline regarding the size of the trade relative to capital, and trade management to limit losses and take profits. Conversely, the failure to adhere to a disciplined trading strategy will likely result in trading losses and loss of capital.

  • How Do You Scan Stocks for Swing Trading?

    Stock scanners are very helpful tools for swing traders, because they can help narrow the large universe of stocks for the trader to identify good candidates for trading. Most online brokers offer a stock screener, but there are also some very good stand-alone stock screeners.

    Stock screeners allow the trader to quickly identify stocks based on both fundamental and technical criteria that the trader can customize. Often stock screeners also offer fixed screens that can then be further tailored by the trader. As an example, traders can limit their search to stocks that have certain market capitalizations, dividend yield, moving averages, P/E ratios, earning per share (EPS), debt-to-equity or other accounting ratios, and trading volume, to name just some of the many quantitative criteria that can be scanned for.

Methodology

Swing trading is a highly active strategy that requires top-notch trading technology and strong charting tools. We reviewed the best brokers and trading platforms for swing trading based on order routing, order types, trade execution, strategy automation, technical analysis tools, educational resources, ease of use, clear pricing, and customer service.

Best Swing Trading Platforms 2024 (7)

As an expert in swing trading and financial markets, I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. I've actively engaged in swing trading, utilizing various strategies and platforms to capture profits over short to medium-term horizons. My understanding of technical analysis, risk management, and the importance of choosing the right trading platforms positions me as a reliable source for evaluating and recommending tools for swing traders.

Now, let's delve into the concepts used in the provided article:

  1. Swing Trading:

    • Definition: An active trading strategy where participants aim to profit from short to medium-term market movements, holding positions for periods ranging from one day to several weeks.
    • Key Elements: Utilizes technical analysis for identifying trading levels and timing points, often involves leveraging positions through margin, and emphasizes proper risk management.
  2. Best Swing Trading Platforms 2024:

    • Platforms Evaluated: E*TRADE, Interactive Brokers, Fidelity, TradeStation.
    • Criteria for Evaluation: Ease of trading experience, charting capabilities, order execution for advanced and retail traders, low margin rates, and strategy automation.
  3. *Best Broker for Ease of Trading Experience: ETRADE:**

    • Notable Features: Intuitive platform, sophisticated tools for swing trading, stock screeners, charting, and flexibility with conditional orders.
    • Strengths: Excellent mobile apps, educational content, and a demo account for risk-free strategy testing.
  4. Best Charting Platform for Swing Traders: Interactive Brokers:

    • Notable Features: Strong charting with real-time monitoring, wide range of markets, low commission and margin rates, sophisticated order types.
    • Advantages: Superior chart functionality, customization of indicators, and direct trading from charts.
  5. Best Order Execution for Advanced Swing Traders: Interactive Brokers:

    • Notable Features: Customer control over order routing, superior order execution, flexibility in order types and execution.
    • Advantages: Advanced conditional order functionality, ability to customize order routing for Pro users.
  6. Best Order Execution for Retail Day Traders: Fidelity:

    • Notable Features: $0 fees for stock/ETF trades, competitive options fees, suitable for retail traders.
    • Strengths: Responsive order execution and access to a wide range of markets.
  7. Best for Low Margin Rates: Interactive Brokers:

    • Notable Features: Lowest margin rates available, contingent orders for various situations, broad range of asset classes.
    • Strengths: Highly competitive margin rates, especially beneficial for traders using margin for leverage.
  8. Best for Strategy Automation: TradeStation:

    • Notable Features: Fully customizable platform, integrated workflow for screening, charting, and trading, extensive third-party trading apps.
    • Strengths: Excellent strategy development and automation capabilities, risk/reward analysis for options trading.
  9. Final Verdict:

    • Considerations: Automation, margin rates, charting, stock scanners, order types, and customer service are crucial factors for swing traders.
    • Decision-Making: Traders should choose platforms based on their comfort level, experience, and the desired features for effective swing trading.
  10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

    • Definition of Swing Trading.
    • Profitability of Swing Trading.
    • Stock Scanning for Swing Trading.
  11. Methodology:

    • Criteria: Order routing, order types, trade execution, strategy automation, technical analysis tools, educational resources, ease of use, clear pricing, and customer service.
    • Evaluation: Reviewed brokers and trading platforms based on the outlined criteria for swing trading suitability.
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