In my early days trading, I remember searching long and hard for the best stock analysis software.
It seemed like every successful trader I came across had dozens of computer monitors on their desk, each one displaying a different piece of stock charting software.
But there wasn’t a lot of reliable information on which was the best stock trading software for beginners…
Now that I’ve spent 20+ years trading and trying out different platforms, it’s more clear to me why there are so many stock research tools available to traders.
I’ve noticed that a major reason most traders fail is that they cannot separate their emotions from their trades.
This is why reliable stock analysis software is a critical item in a trader’s toolbox.
But with so many choices, I’m sure you’re wondering which stock trading software is the best for you.
Let’s look at some of the most popular platforms in the industry and see how they stack up against each other.
Table of Contents
- 1 Which Software Is Used in the Stock Market?
- 2 Stock Analysis Software: Features and Tools
- 3 The Top 7 Stock Analysis Software Platforms
- 3.1 Top Free Trading Software: thinkorswim
- 3.2 Top Stock Trading Software for Beginners: Webull
- 3.3 Top Stock Analysis App: TradingView
- 3.4 Top Stock Prediction Software: VectorVest
- 3.5 Top Stock Chart Analysis Software: freestockcharts.com / TC2000
- 3.6 Top Stock Analysis Software for International Traders: InteractiveBrokers
- 3.7 Top Technical Analysis Software for Day Traders: StocksToTrade
- 4 The Bottom Line on Stock Analysis Software
Which Software Is Used in the Stock Market?
When I first started trading, there were nowhere near as many stock software choices as there are today.
This is in many ways a good thing — it provides traders with a wide variety of options that suit many different trading styles. But it can also be overwhelming when trying to decide which trading software to use.
Before we dive into contenders for the best stock analysis app, you must understand the basic features that experienced traders look for in stock market software.
Stock Analysis Software: Features and Tools
In my experience, there are three really important functions you should be looking for in any top stock trading platform…
If you ask someone with no experience to draw you a picture of what they think a trader does … they’d probably scribble a nerdy guy sitting at a desk with a bunch of screens displaying charts. Those charts are key…
Day traders rely on trading charts every day. Candlestick charts help traders visualize price action. Without them, we’d probably be looking at a massive spreadsheet of opening and closing prices each day.
Sounds tedious and annoying. It would also be nearly impossible to get a visual grasp of the stock’s action.
That’s why trading charts help so much … They tell a visual story and give insight into stock’s personality.
Successful traders work to be GREAT at identifying patterns and setups in trading charts.
They see certain patterns over and over. So when setups come along, they can give traders more confidence to pull the trigger — or not — on a trade.
See why charting software is important? So what should you look for in a software’s trading charts?
For one, clean and easy-to-read charts. The best stock analysis software has great features but isn’t overwhelming or difficult to use.
You want to break down charts into different time frames and layouts with a few clicks.
A toolbar is useful for basic technical analysis indicators (moving averages, MACD, RSI, Fibonacci retracements, etc.) on top of your trading charts.
From there, a lot of it comes down to personal preference.
Another key thing to look for in stock trading software is the quality of the stock screeners or scanners.
They’re search filters that help you sift through tons of tickers with specific criteria.
You can input these studies into your scanner’s filters and run the search…
Within seconds you’ll have a sortable list of stocks with nice, fat dips.
Searching the stock market can be overwhelming without scanners. They’re an important tool to help narrow down the avalanche of choices we have as traders.
But they also help traders discover names they may not know otherwise. AND … scanners can save traders A LOT of time.
A clear and effective stock scanner can make all the difference for beginners and help them identify potential trades.
This is why the best stock analysis apps have built-in scanners.
But remember … even with the help of scanners and charts, you still have to do your homework.
And by that, I mean you need to study hard, develop reliable strategies, and learn to execute on them.
But back to our stock analysis software and my favorite thing to look for…
At the end of the day, platforms all come down to trading. Only price pays.
You can analyze charts and scan stock tickers until the cows come home … but that won’t do you any good if you can’t take action and trade on your setups.
The best stock trading software ideally integrates your charts, scans, and trades all in one easy-to-use platform.
For instance, say you run your scans and decide on a trade, you should be able to trade right from the platform.
And remember that there isn’t a single platform that will work for everyone. Do your research. Try some things. That’s the best way to figure out what works best for you. Don’t just listen to me!
The Top 7 Stock Analysis Software Platforms
Now, let’s take a look at some popular stock analysis software platforms and discuss their different pros and cons.
Top Free Trading Software: thinkorswim
These days it’s not hard to find trading software offering commission-free trades on U.S. stocks and ETFs.
Ever since one particular app came out, commission-free trading is all the rage…
If you’ve read any of my other posts, you probably know that the elephant in the room — Robinhood — isn’t my favorite trading app. They recently got slapped with a $70 million fine for “significant harm suffered by millions of customers.”
If that doesn’t raise some red flags, I don’t know what will.
When looking for alternatives, I think it’s impressive how much functionality you can get out of TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim trading platform without spending a penny.
All you have to do is create a TD Ameritrade account and download the desktop platform … All of its features will be available to you.
Keep in mind, though, that if you trade options, there are fees … But if you trade stocks, you can enjoy everything thinkorswim has to offer.
Top Stock Trading Software for Beginners: Webull
If you want no-cost trading software in a less complex setting, maybe check out Webull.
It has zero commissions or account minimums, and a lot of traders seem to like it.
It’s also not overly complicated, which I think makes it a logical choice for some beginners.
Like most free trading software, Webull restricts OTC penny stocks trading, which are my favorite stocks to trade. It’s frustrating. But hey, you get what you pay for!
Top Stock Analysis App: TradingView
Another stock charting software platform to consider is TradingView. Its interface is clean, slick, and, most importantly, simple.
The charting portion of the platform is also free, which is always a plus.
But if you want to trade, you’ll need to use a separate platform entirely. TradingView is a pure stock analysis app, not a trading platform itself.
Top Stock Prediction Software: VectorVest
Unfortunately, it isn’t free. You have to be willing to cough up some dough to use the service.
VectorVest gives its users trade ideas based on a proprietary analysis of the stock’s market value and current market conditions.
While I wouldn’t personally put my trust in an app to pick my trades for me, the reviews around this feature seem positive. Take that for what it’s worth.
Top Stock Chart Analysis Software: freestockcharts.com / TC2000
If you’re looking for a platform with deep functionality like thinkorswim, an alternative could be freestockcharts.com, which is now a part of TC2000.
TC2000 has been around for decades, and many top professionals in the industry use it.
I hear traders talk about the technical analysis capabilities on freestockcharts in particular, but many of its features look sleek and on par with thinkorswim, functionality-wise.
A word of caution to Mac users … TC2000 was made for Windows, and while they do have a Mac version … let’s just say it leaves a little to be desired in the speed department.
Top Stock Analysis Software for International Traders: InteractiveBrokers
If you’re a frequent international traveler, you may want to look into InteractiveBrokers.
InteractiveBrokers prides itself on being used by clients in more than 200 countries and being “the #1 stock trading app for international trading.”
Another reason it’s GREAT for traveling is that its mobile app has the full functionality of the desktop app.
So, if you’re on the go and trading on your phone, you won’t miss out on any features you may need at a moment’s notice.
Top Technical Analysis Software for Day Traders: StocksToTrade
StocksToTrade is one of the most consistently well-reviewed trading platforms and for good reasons.
To me, it’s the crown jewel of stock analysis software platforms.
The Bottom Line on Stock Analysis Software
Now you have my thoughts on the top stock analysis software platforms in the industry, how do you determine which one is right for you?
Unfortunately, I can’t make that decision for you … And there are no shortcuts.
You have to spend time researching to see which one fits your particular trading style.
It’s also important to remember that no stock analysis software will turn you into a successful trader…
I’ll say it again: You still have to do your homework. Study, study, study!
The bottom line: you need to find a platform you like and you also need to study hard … Get to work!
What do you think is the best stock analysis software? Let me know in the comments … I LOVE hearing from my trading students!
*While Tim Sykes has enjoyed remarkable success trading stocks over the years, his primary income derives from the sale of financial education products and subscription services offered by various businesses and websites in which he has an ownership stake.
This level of successful trading is not typical and does not reflect the experience of the majority of individuals using the services and products offered on this website. From January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020, typical users of the products and services offered by this website reported earning, on average, an estimated $49.91 in profit.
**Tim Sykes has a minority ownership stake in StockstoTrade.com.