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Best Options Trading Platforms for 2024: A Detailed Review

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 1/31/2024 11 min read

Like other trading strategies, options trading needs a trading platform that fits your needs. And the needs of options traders can vary wildly.

Some options traders are basically swing traders, trading on a stock’s current movement. Charts will help them as much as any other stock trader.

Some are super technical. Platforms with options-specific technology often appeal to them.

Whether you’re a new trader looking for your first broker or an advanced trader looking to switch, this guide is for you. Read on to see my favorite platforms for options trading!

What is Options Trading?

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First things first, let’s talk about options trading. Options are financial contracts that give the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell an asset (like a stock or ETF) at a set price (strike price) on or before a certain date. A call option gives you the right to buy, while a put option gives you the right to sell. Remember, trading options is a strategy for more advanced investors, and it carries substantial risk.

Options trading is a complex yet rewarding strategy when done right. If you’re interested in diving deeper into this topic, check out this comprehensive guide on Options Trading.

Options trading is a great way to diversify your portfolio, manage risk, and generate an income stream. It’s a market that attracts many people due to its flexibility and versatility, but it’s not for everyone. It requires a deep understanding of the financial markets and a robust risk management strategy. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get to the meat of the matter: the best options trading platforms for 2023.

My Top Picks for the Best Options Trading Platforms

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Here are my top picks for the best options trading platforms:

No trading platform or broker is perfect — luckily, you don’t have to choose. You can try as many as you like, and see which one fits you best.

When evaluating options trading platforms, I’ll look at a platform holistically. If you’re options trading on a platform, it’s likely that you’ll be stock trading on it too. I never want a platform to limit my trading choices.

I want you to do your own research. Maybe Fidelity suits your options strategies better than the competitors on this list; maybe the web-based products offered by Merrill Edge or Tastyworks better suit your purposes.

Choosing the right platform for options trading is crucial. It should offer the tools and features you need to execute your trading strategies effectively. But remember, you’re not just limited to trading options. Many platforms also allow you to trade stocks, and having a good stock trading app can be a game-changer. If you’re interested in exploring this further, here’s a guide on the best Stock Trading Apps.

Your investments are your responsibility. I have my own criteria, opinions, and recommendations — but I don’t have a dog in this fight.

Let’s get into my options trading platform picks!

1. TD Ameritrade (Merging with Charles Schwab)

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Kicking off our list is TD Ameritrade. They’re a heavyweight in the brokerage and banking industries, and their platform thinkorswim is top-notch for options trading. With an impressive range of analytics tools, charts, and a highly customizable interface, thinkorswim is a great platform for both beginner and advanced options traders — including Schwab clients by the end of 2023.

2. Robinhood

Next up is Robinhood, a pioneer in commission-free trading. Their platform is user-friendly, making it a solid choice for beginners. While their options trading tools aren’t as extensive as some competitors, the free trades make it an attractive choice for investors looking to keep costs low.

3. Ally Invest

Ally Invest is known for its customer service and easy-to-use platform. They have a wide range of investment options and offer a good balance between user-friendliness and comprehensive data. They also offer managed portfolios for those looking for a more hands-off investment strategy.

4. E-Trade

E-Trade is a long-standing player in the industry, offering a robust platform for options trading. With Power E-Trade, users get access to a plethora of tools and resources, including risk analysis tools, real-time data, and customizable charts.

You can see the E-Trade account Mark uses to train his Evolved Trader students here:

5. TradeStation

TradeStation offers a powerful platform for options traders. It’s jam-packed with features, including advanced charting, real-time market data, and fast order execution. It’s suited for serious traders who need high-quality tools and are willing to pay for them.

6. Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers, or IBKR, is well-known for its low-cost trading. Their Trader Workstation platform provides advanced features and tools, making it a good choice for experienced traders. They also offer a simpler mobile and web platform for beginners.

7. Webull

Webull is a newer player in the brokerage space, but it’s quickly gained popularity with its commission-free trades and robust trading tools. They offer a wide range of investment options, including options trading. Their platform is user-friendly, and they offer in-depth market data and real-time quotes.

8. Tastytrade

Next is Tastytrade. This platform is focused on options and futures traders and offers a unique approach to trading with its “trade small, trade often” philosophy. It offers a wealth of educational content, making it a great choice for traders wanting to learn more about options trading.

9. StocksToTrade

My last pick is StocksToTrade — but don’t be surprised if it moves up the list.

It isn’t an option right now. But when StocksToTrade finishes building options trading into its platform, it’s likely that my favorite stock trading platform will become my favorite options trading platform.

I helped design StocksToTrade with some of the best tools available in any platform. It continues to help my trading every day — here’s how:

  • Clear, customizable charts — charting is trading’s lifeblood, and StocksToTrade’s charts are intuitive, powerful, and beautiful
  • A wide-ranging news scanner — I used to have to check 20 different windows to find what StocksToTrade delivers in one window. Its social media tool deserves its own mention
  • The incredible Breaking News Chat — the two analysts behind Breaking News Chat continually pump out info of the highest quality. They’ve given me ideas for countless trades. It’s my secret weapon — and it should be yours too!

Get your 14-day StocksToTrade + Breaking News Chat trial here — only $17!

Trading Fees Comparison of Top Rated Options Trading Platforms

When it comes to trading fees, they can vary from one platform to another. Here’s a brief overview of the fees for some of the top-rated options trading platforms:

  • TD Ameritrade: $0 base commission and $0.65 per contract.
  • Robinhood: No commissions on options trades.
  • Ally Invest: $0 base commission and $0.50 per contract.
  • E-Trade: $0 base commission and $0.65 per contract.
  • TradeStation: $0 base commission and $0.50 per contract.
  • Interactive Brokers: $0 base commission and $0.65 per contract.
  • Webull: No commissions on options trades.
  • Tastytrade: $1 per contract to open positions, $0 to close.

Remember, lower contract fees doesn’t always mean a better bottom line. Consider the tools, resources, and overall platform experience when making these decisions. That’s what the professionals care about — the total package for their assets, not just the charges on them.

What to Look For in the Right Options Trading Platform

Choosing the right options trading platform should tackle a number of criteria:

  • Trading fees and options commissions
  • Reviews and ratings research
  • Platform functionality — including desktop, mobile, and online options
  • Range of investment options and shares available for trading
  • Competitive margin rates
  • Customer service
  • Educational content
  • Research tools
  • Real-time data
  • Advanced charting

If you’re a day trader, there’s another important factor to consider: the platform’s suitability for day trading. Not all platforms are created equal, and some are better suited for day trading than others. To help you make an informed decision, here’s a guide on the best Trading Platforms for Day Traders.

Key Takeaways

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To wrap up, the best options trading platform will depend on your individual trading needs and experience level. There are many platforms to choose from, each offering different tools, fees, and features. It’s important to do your research and choose a platform that aligns with your trading goals and strategies. And remember, options trading carries a high level of risk and isn’t suitable for all investors.

Even if you’re just formulating your options strategy, it pays to look ahead. Looking at the platforms that will be processing your orders is something you should be investing your time into.

If you’re at the start of your options trading journey, I recommend getting some expert guidance. In the options world, I think there’s no better mentor than my former student Mark Croock.

Mark has racked up $4 million in career earnings, mostly from trading options. He’s done this by adapting my penny stock trading strategies to options. Before he was a teacher, he was one of my best students — watching every single webinar in my Trading Challenge 2 or 3 times!

Now he’s got his own mentorship program, called the Evolved Trader. Check it out for strategy and information sessions, trade alerts, a great team in his chat room, and more!

What’s your favorite options trading platform? Let me know in the comments — I love hearing from my readers!

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Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (888) 878-3621 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”