Is TradeStation The Best Stock Charting App

Jeremy BiberdorfBy: Jeremy Biberdorf

October 17, 2023October 17, 2023

 TradeStation Logo

TradeStation has carved a unique niche in the expansive world of stock charting platforms. Known primarily for its sophisticated desktop platform, the company has recently ventured into the mobile app domain, providing traders on-the-go access to its suite of tools.

While most brokerage platforms offer users a gateway to track their investments and present research, TradeStation takes it further by emphasizing the discovery of new trading opportunities. Its robust analytical tools and algorithmic strategies are tailor-made for traders seeking an edge in the market.

However, while its features cater to seasoned and active traders, those who trade infrequently or maintain a low balance may face hefty inactivity fees. The question arises: does its advanced capability position TradeStation as the ultimate stock charting app in the market? The answer may depend on individual trading habits and preferences.
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TradeStation Review: A Comprehensive Look

TradeStation stands out with many trading products, including stocks, ETFs, futures and options. The platform boasts direct-market routing, advanced order types, and IPO access, among other features.

However, it needs to improve in areas like Dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs), mutual funds, fractional shares, forex trading, and international trading.

Commissions and Fees

TradeStation’s TS Select pricing plan, offering $0 trades and free market data, appeals to many. The fee structures vary based on the trading product, with options and futures having their respective charges.

A commendable initiative is the TradeStation Salutes program, which waives fees for the military community. However, the platform’s fee schedule might need to be clarified for some. For instance, penny stocks trading have distinct structures that can be intricate.

Potential pitfalls include the $10 inactivity fee levied unless certain conditions are met. Other fees, like the charge to transfer out and the annual IRA fee, are comparably higher than some competitors. The fee schedule demands keen attention from users.

A surprising policy is TradeStation’s refusal to mail paper checks, citing COVID-19 concerns. However, they do accept paper deposits, which raises questions about the consistency of their policy.

TradeStation Mobile App Review

Design & Interface

TradeStation’s revamped mobile app boasts a user-friendly design that is a significant leap from its predecessor. Although it maintains a distinct difference from the iconic desktop platform, it offers a seamless and efficient experience for traders on the go.

Trading Features

The mobile app is tailor-made for the modern-day trader. Including Matrix (ladder) trading and advanced options trading ensures swift and smooth transactions. The app’s responsiveness is commendable, allowing for hassle-free execution of bracket orders.

Watch Lists & Hot Lists

The app showcases versatility with watch lists that sync automatically with the Web Trading platform. However, the non-syncing with the desktop platform might be a minor hiccup for some. The Hot Lists section’s predefined screeners add a touch of efficiency, enabling traders to scan market trends easily.


TradeStation has heeded feedback, transforming its once awkward mobile charting into a more refined and intuitive feature. The chart area is devoid of clutter, making way for an array of essential tools.

From varied chart types and drawing tools to post-market hours visibility and a commendable range of indicators, mobile charting offers a well-rounded experience.

Though it might not match the vast indicator choices of the desktop version, it holds its own with crisp, clear visuals that make the absence of a landscape view negligible.

TradeStation’s Other Trading Platforms & Tools

TradeStation Desktop: As TradeStation’s premium offering, the desktop platform is a comprehensive trading toolset designed for sophisticated traders. However, Mac users should note its native support only for Windows, though it can be run on Mac devices using software like Parallels Desktop. Key Desktop Features:

  • Radar Screen: Real-time streaming with customizable watch lists.
  • Scanner: Allows for custom screening of market opportunities.
  • Matrix: Perfect for ladder trading enthusiasts.
  • Walk-Forward Optimizer: For those keen on advanced strategy testing.
  • EasyLanguage Integration: An innovative feature allowing traders to code and distribute custom apps through TradeStation’s TradingApp Store.

Desktop User Experience

The desktop platform is a powerhouse that demands some time to master. Its expansive features and tools might seem overwhelming, especially to newcomers.

However, once you get past the learning curve and the seemingly endless customization options, it becomes a powerful ally in trading. A slight downside is the outdated design of some widgets, reminiscent of older operating systems.

Desktop Charting

The platform’s commitment to detailed analysis is evident with over 30 years of historical stock data – a boon for backtesters. With nearly 300 modifiable indicators/studies, the platform offers unparalleled depth.

Options and Futures Trading

The integrated OptionStation Pro tool ensures smooth options trading with advanced analysis features. Futures traders are included; the desktop platform has advanced tools that facilitate a smooth futures trading experience.

TradeStation Web

The web-based version offers a more streamlined experience for those seeking a more straightforward interface. It retains most of the essential features of its desktop counterpart, from managing positions to stock chart analyses.

The chart-trading function is notably intuitive. However, we see the lack of synchronization between the desktop and web version’s watch lists as a minor inconvenience.

TradeStation’s Research Capabilities

TradeStation is a platform tailored for discerning traders prioritising trading signals over in-depth Wall Street-esque company analysis. While this approach may deter some investors from seeking traditional research reports, it’s a haven for traders who thrive on unique technical insights.

1. Stock Research

● Screening Tools

TradeStation shines with its stock and options screening capabilities. These tools help traders identify potential trades based on specific criteria.

● Backtesting

The equity backtesting feature allows traders to test their strategies using historical data, providing insights into potential future performance.

● Fundamental Data Integration

Although the platform emphasizes technical data, it doesn’t neglect fundamental data. However, this data is more suited for integration into custom indicators and rules rather than detailed stock evaluations.

2. ETFs and Mutual Funds

  • The platform must offer detailed reports on ETFs and mutual funds, commonly available at other brokers.

3. Market Commentary

● In-house Content

The Learn tab houses content crafted by in-house writers, focusing on timely, news-driven topics. Although valuable, this content seems buried within the platform and could benefit more visibility.

● News Feeds

These provide traders with real-time news updates, which can be crucial for making informed trading decisions. The filtering options are noteworthy, allowing traders to zero in on specific topics or themes.

TradeStation Education and Customer Service

Learning Center: TradeStation offers an impressive range of educational resources via the Learn tab on their homepage. Tailored primarily for novices, the resources ensure that users can comfortably navigate the intricate desktop platform.

In partnership with Confero, conducted a comprehensive review of TradeStation’s customer service. Their evaluation process involved phone tests from various U.S. locations over six weeks.

  • Results
    • Average Connection Time: Approximately 1-2 minutes.
    • Net Promoter Score (indicating customer loyalty): 7.7 out of 10.
    • Professionalism Score: 6.4 out of 10.
    • Overall Customer Service Score: 7.5 out of 10.
    • With these results, TradeStation ranks 10th out of the 14 brokers evaluated.

In Summary: Is TradeStation The Best Stock Charting App

TradeStation caters to a niche segment of traders, emphasising technical data and trading signals over traditional stock research.

Its tools are designed for those who are proactive in developing and testing their trading strategies. While its offerings in traditional research might be limited, its strength lies in its technical capabilities.

The platform caters to beginners and seasoned traders. Whether you are looking for tools and features on the desktop platform or a simpler trading experience with the web version, TradeStation ensures your needs are met.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all platform, but it’s a formidable tool for its target user base in the trading arsenal. Click here to sign up.
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Jeremy Biberdorf
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.

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