Best Unusual Options Activity Scanner 2024

Jeremy Biberdorf Image
May 30, 2024
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Quick Breakdown

Best Unusual Stock Options Activity Scanners

Are you looking to gain an edge in options trading? Unusual options activity can be a goldmine for traders who know how to interpret it. These spikes in trading volume can often signal big upcoming moves in stock prices. By monitoring these unusual activities, you can potentially enjoy higher returns. In this article, we will explore the best unusual options activity scanners to help you make informed decisions.

Whether you're a retail trader or an institutional investor, these platforms offer a range of powerful tools. We'll cover features, costs, and benefits to help you pick the best option for your trading style. Get ready to level up your trading strategies.

In this guide, we'll look at seven leading platforms: Market Chameleon, InsiderFinance, Cheddar Flow, OptionStrat, Barchart, Unusual Whales and Market Rebellion. We will break down their pros and cons to give you a full view of what to expect.

The Best Unusual Options Activity Scanner in 2024

InsiderFinance Logo


4.7 stars
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Cost Structure Variable
Active Traders Yes
Best For Institutional Trader Data
  • Real-time data
  • Focus on institutional traders
  • Powerful tools
  • Custom alerts
  • Financial performance insights
  • Breakout signals
  • Daily basis updates
  • Interactive charts
InsiderFinance offers an edge by focusing on institutional investor data. You'll find real-time tracking of large options contracts, allowing you to follow the big players in the market. The platform offers powerful tools for both retail and institutional traders. Custom alerts can be set, so you don't miss out on any unusual activity.

The interface is intuitive, offering financial performance charts for comprehensive analysis. Breakout signals are another feature that sets this platform apart. These signals help identify the most profitable options. Daily basis updates ensure that you are always in the loop.

This scanner is not just for observing; it's for active trading. Interactive charts allow you to do your technical analysis right on the platform. This makes it a complete package for any serious options trader.

InsiderFinance was founded with a focus on transparency in financial markets. The company aims to democratize options trading by providing real-time institutional trader data.

Over the years, InsiderFinance has gained a solid reputation. It is now considered one of the top platforms for monitoring unusual options activity, especially for those keen on following institutional traders.

Market Chameleon Logo

Market Chameleon

4.4 stars
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Cost Structure Freemium
Active Traders No
Best For In-Depth Analysis
  • In-depth analysis
  • Dark pool prints
  • Technical indicators
  • Market makers insights
  • Options volume
  • Potential trades
  • Daily basis reports
  • Financial performance charts
Market Chameleon is for the trader who loves to dive deep into analytics. With features like dark pool prints and technical indicators, this platform offers more than just unusual options activity tracking. It also provides insights into market makers, giving you an edge in your trading strategies.

Options volume and potential trades are regularly updated daily, ensuring that you have all the information you need. The platform is perfect for those who rely on detailed analysis before making trading decisions.

Unlike some other platforms, Market Chameleon offers financial performance charts. This can help you understand the financial strength of the companies behind the options. It's a platform designed for those who like to consider every angle before trading.

Market Chameleon was founded by a team passionate about data analytics. They believe that the key to successful trading is comprehensive, in-depth information.

Over the years, the company has built a solid reputation for its detailed market analysis tools. Whether it's dark pool prints or market maker activity, Market Chameleon aims to offer insights that are not easily available elsewhere.

Unusual Whales Logo

Unusual Whales

4.4 stars
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Cost Structure Freemium
Active Traders Yes
Best For Real-Time Data
  • Real-time alerts
  • Custom alerts
  • Trading days focus
  • Financial markets insights
  • Real-time data
  • Options flow
  • Exit signals
  • Options order flow scanners
Unusual Whales excels in providing real-time data and alerts. This makes it the go-to platform for traders who need up-to-the-minute information. The custom alerts ensure that you're notified immediately when unusual options activity occurs. The service even focuses on trading days, giving you insights into short-term market movements.

The platform provides a detailed look into the financial markets, making it easier for you to make informed decisions. Real-time data is complemented by options flow and exit signals, giving a rounded view of the market. If you're focused on options order flow, this platform has scanners for that too.

Unusual Whales is designed for those who trade actively. It's a platform where real-time information is the priority. This makes it ideal for day traders or those who trade in a very short timeframe.

Unusual Whales was founded to bridge the gap between retail traders and institutional investors. They believe that real-time data is the key to leveling the playing field.

The company has grown quickly due to its focus on timely information. This commitment to real-time data has made it a favorite among both novice and experienced traders.

Barchart Logo


4.5 stars
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Cost Structure Freemium
Active Traders Yes
Best For Comprehensive Market Data and Analysis
  • Wide range of financial instruments
  • Real-time market data
  • Powerful technical analysis tools
  • Customizable screeners
  • Real-time news updates
  • Trading strategies and tips
  • Charting features
  • Active trader community

Barchart stands out as a comprehensive platform offering real-time data on stocks, options, commodities, and even cryptocurrencies. It goes beyond simple tracking, providing robust technical analysis tools to help traders make informed decisions. The platform is user-friendly, allowing both novice and expert traders to navigate easily.

Customizable screeners offer traders the ability to filter stocks based on various financial metrics, making the hunt for the next big opportunity more accessible. Whether you're looking at market capitalization, trading volume, or price changes, Barchart provides the tools to find what you're looking for. Real-time news updates and trading strategies add another layer of depth, giving traders an all-in-one resource for all their market research needs.

For active traders, the platform offers a real-time market data feature that updates instantaneously, providing the most up-to-date information available. It's a one-stop shop for trading data, from option flow to futures contracts. Whether you're looking to monitor your current investments or spot new opportunities, Barchart has you covered.

Founded over two decades ago, Barchart has consistently focused on delivering high-quality market data and analysis tools to retail and institutional traders. The company's commitment to innovation and user-centric design has helped it become a go-to resource for investors looking for reliable market data.

Barchart has continued to evolve its platform, incorporating new tools and features to cater to the ever-changing financial landscape. The company's reputation for accuracy and comprehensiveness makes it a solid choice for traders seeking a reliable stock analysis platform.

Cheddar Flow Logo

Cheddar Flow

4.4 stars
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Cost Structure $85/month (Standard)
$95/month (Professional)
$891/year (Professional)
Active Traders Yes
Best For Options Order Flow
  • Easy to use
  • Real-time data
  • Options trades
  • Retail investors focus
  • Charting tools
  • Unusual volume
  • Trading volume
  • Options strategies
Cheddar Flow is the platform for traders who want things simple and straightforward. With an easy-to-use interface, this scanner offers real-time data for quick trading decisions. The platform focuses on options trades, making it ideal for retail investors.

Cheddar Flow also provides various charting tools for quick technical analysis. This can help traders make informed decisions without having to leave the platform. You can also find information on unusual volume and trading volume, offering more insights into the market.

The platform is tailored for those who like to get in and out quickly. With real-time data and a focus on options trades, Cheddar Flow offers everything a retail investor might need in a straightforward package.

Cheddar Flow was developed with the modern retail investor in mind. The company aims to make options trading as straightforward as possible, without compromising on the quality of information.

The company has quickly become known for its user-friendly interface and real-time data. This focus on ease of use has made it a popular choice among retail investors.

OptionStrat Logo


4.4 stars
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Cost Structure Freemium
Active Traders Yes
Best For Interactive Charting
  • Interactive charting
  • Technical criteria
  • Custom watchlists
  • Options screener
  • Trading options
  • Active traders focus
  • Financial markets trends
OptionStrat offers a unique mix of interactive charting and technical criteria. This makes it a great choice for traders who like to perform their own technical analysis. Custom watchlists allow you to monitor specific options or stocks closely.

With its options screener, the platform provides a more focused way of finding potential trades. This feature helps you filter out options based on your custom criteria. The focus here is on active traders who need real-time data to make quick decisions.

OptionStrat is geared towards those who are serious about trading options. With its real-time updates and focus on financial markets, it's a tool for those who want to be actively involved in their trading decisions.

OptionStrat was developed to provide retail traders with institutional-quality tools. The company focuses on giving users the ability to perform deep technical analysis.

Over the years, OptionStrat has built a strong following. Its commitment to real-time data and in-depth analysis has made it a top choice for active traders.

Market Rebellion Logo

Market Rebellion

4.6 stars
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Cost Structure Variable
Active Traders Yes
Best For Learning Options Strategies
  • Educational content
  • Trading strategies
  • Real-time data
  • Trading ideas
  • Custom watchlists
  • Interactive charting
  • Technical analysis tools
  • Options volume focus
Market Rebellion stands out for its educational focus. The platform not only offers unusual options activity tracking but also educates its users on trading strategies. This makes it a perfect choice for those who are looking to learn while they trade. Real-time data is another significant plus, helping traders make quick decisions.

The platform offers custom watchlists, allowing you to keep tabs on specific stocks or options. Interactive charts and technical analysis tools are also provided, enabling you to study the market trends in-depth. Market Rebellion focuses particularly on options volume, giving traders insights into where the market might be heading.

Whether you're new to trading or an experienced player, Market Rebellion offers tools and information to help you succeed. The real-time data coupled with educational content makes this a complete package for any trader.

Market Rebellion has a unique ethos: empower the average person to trade with the skill and confidence of a professional. Founded by experienced traders, it brings institutional-quality tools and training to the retail investor.

Over time, Market Rebellion has become known for its focus on educating traders. This has led to a community of informed traders who not only use the platform for its tools but also for its educational content.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Unusual Options Activity?

Unusual options activity refers to options contracts being traded at a higher volume than usual. This can often be a signal that a large player is entering or exiting a position. Monitoring such spikes in activity can help you make more informed trading decisions.

Typically, unusual options activity is thought to precede significant moves in the underlying stock prices. This is why both retail and institutional traders pay close attention to such activities. Various tools and scanners are designed to track and alert you about these activities in real-time.

How Do Unusual Options Activity Scanners Work?

Unusual options activity scanners use algorithms to monitor the options markets. They look for spikes in trading volume and unusual activity in options contracts. Once detected, they alert the user in real-time, allowing for quick decision-making.

These scanners are designed to capture data from various sources, including public exchanges and dark pools. This provides a comprehensive look at market activity, making it easier for traders to identify potential trades.

What Are Dark Pools and How Do They Affect Unusual Options Activity?

Dark pools are private exchanges where institutional investors can place large trades without revealing their intentions to the public. Since these trades don't appear on public order books, they can affect stock prices when they eventually do get reported.

Scanners with the capability to track dark pool activity offer a more comprehensive view of the market. These tools help traders see the "hidden" trades that could be driving unusual options activity, thereby providing a deeper insight into potential market movements.

What Are Technical Indicators and Why Are They Important?

Technical indicators are mathematical calculations based on price, volume, or open interest of a security. They help traders to understand current trends in the market and make predictions about future price movements.

In the context of unusual options activity, technical indicators can offer additional confirmation or signals to validate trading decisions. When used in combination with real-time data and options flow information, these indicators can be powerful tools for traders.

How Do I Choose the Right Unusual Options Activity Scanner for Me?

The choice of scanner should align with your trading style and the kind of information you value most. Do you need real-time alerts, or are you more interested in detailed analysis? Do you trade mainly options, or are you looking to incorporate stock trading as well?

Scanners differ in their features, usability, and data coverage. It's advisable to start with a free trial, if available, to get a feel for the platform's functionalities before committing to a subscription.

What Are Option Sweeps?

Option sweeps are large orders, split across multiple exchanges, to take advantage of the best available prices. They are usually executed by institutional traders and can be a sign of upcoming significant price movements.

Many scanners have the ability to track option sweeps as they happen, offering traders an opportunity to gauge market sentiment quickly and make informed decisions based on this unusual activity.

How Can Retail Traders Benefit from Using These Scanners?

Retail traders can benefit significantly from using unusual options activity scanners. These tools provide an opportunity to track the same real-time data and trends that institutional investors are watching. This can lead to better-informed trading decisions and a potential edge in the market.

Moreover, many scanners offer educational content and community forums, allowing for a greater understanding of options markets and trading strategies. These can be invaluable resources for both novice and experienced traders.

Is Real-Time Data Crucial for Trading Unusual Options Activity?

Yes, real-time data is essential for tracking unusual options activity. Options are time-sensitive instruments, and delays can significantly impact the profitability of a trade.

Scanners that provide real-time updates offer the most value as they enable traders to act quickly on new information. This immediacy can be the difference between a profitable trade and a missed opportunity.

Can I Customize Alerts on These Scanners?

Most scanners allow for a high degree of customization when it comes to alerts. Users can usually set alerts for specific tickers, options strategies, or other technical criteria.

Custom alerts enable you to focus on trading opportunities that align with your specific trading strategies, making your trading process more efficient.

What Is the Importance of Options Order Flow?

Options order flow provides insights into the specific options contracts that are being traded, including their strike price, expiration date, and the number of contracts traded. This data can offer valuable insights into market sentiment.

Understanding options order flow can help traders pinpoint potential trades that align with their trading strategies. Scanners that offer this feature give traders a more comprehensive view of the market.

Do I Need to Be an Experienced Trader to Use These Scanners?

While experienced traders may find it easier to interpret the data from these scanners, many platforms are designed with user-friendly interfaces that are accessible to beginners as well.

Most platforms offer educational resources to help novice traders understand the intricacies of options trading and unusual activity. So, no, you don't need to be an experienced trader, but a willingness to learn will certainly help.

What Are Market Makers and How Do They Affect Options Trading?

Market makers are firms or individuals that provide liquidity in the options markets by continuously buying and selling options. They can influence options pricing and trading volume.

Knowing how market makers operate can offer additional insights into the options market. Some scanners provide data and analysis related to market maker activities, which can be a valuable resource for traders.

How Do These Scanners Help with Trading Strategies?

Unusual options activity scanners can be an invaluable tool for developing and refining trading strategies. By offering real-time data, technical analysis tools, and custom alerts, these scanners allow traders to identify potential trades quickly.

The ability to track real-time options flow, dark pool prints, and market maker activity can provide a well-rounded view of market sentiment, helping traders make more informed decisions.

How Reliable Are These Scanners?

The reliability of a scanner often depends on the sources from which it draws its data. Platforms that provide real-time updates from multiple exchanges and dark pools are generally more reliable.

However, no tool can guarantee success in trading. It's essential to use scanners as part of a broader trading strategy, which should also include risk management and ongoing education.

What Additional Features Should I Look For?

Additional features to consider include interactive charting options, custom watchlists, and educational resources. These features can help you better understand market dynamics and refine your trading strategies, providing a more complete trading experience.
Jeremy Biberdorf

About the Author:

Jeremy Biberdorf is the founder of Modest Money. He’s a father of 2 beautiful girls, a dog owner, a long-time online entrepreneur and an investing enthusiast.