10 Best Stock Trading Platforms for Auto-Trading & Free Trades

Incredibly Detailed Comparison of Trading Platforms: Stock Charts, Screening, Portfolio Mgt, Backtesting, News + AI Trading Signals & Algorithms

The three best trading platforms providing free stock trades, trading from charts, and powerful screening are TradingView, Trade Ideas, and Firstrade. The leader in AI automated trading bots and AI Signals is Trade Ideas. The best free trading broker is Firstrade.

We have tested stock trading platforms, software, and apps for over ten years. We share the finest platforms available today, from proven A.I. Auto-trading to systems using machine learning for backtesting and forecasting. We have you covered if you are a beginner looking for a trading community to learn from or an experienced trader looking for an edge in the market.

The Best Trading Platforms
The Best Trading Platforms, Compared, Tested & Reviewed In-Depth

What is a Trading Platform?

A trading platform is either a downloadable application or a web-based service that lets you view stock charts, perform stock screening, execute backtests, and ultimately trade. You should also be able to see the latest stock news, perform in-depth stock research, and manage your portfolio.

Finally, a new breed of software powered by A.I. and Automation will help you find the most profitable trading opportunities.  

No single trading platform perfectly performs every function; each has its own strengths, so we have selected the seven most important factors and rated all the software against each other.

7 Rating Factors for Trading Platforms

  1. Live Trading: Does the platform allow you to execute trades on an exchange from the charts
  2. Charts: Are the stock charts interactive, with many indicators & drawing tools for analysis?
  3. Screening: Does the platform have powerful technical scanning or fundamental screening
  4. Backtesting:  A great trading platform allows you to backtest systems to assess future trading risk/reward
  5. News & Research: Do you get either real-time news or in-depth stock research reports
  6. Portfolio Management: Can you manage, correlate, rebalance your portfolio, and report profit and loss?
  7. A.I. Signals & Automation: Does the platform provide automated chart analysis or artificial intelligence-driven trade signals

Top 10 Trading Platforms Compared & Rated

Trading Platform RatingsLive TradingChartsScreeningBacktestingNews & ResearchAI Signals/Auto-tradingPortfolio Mgt
Trade Ideas★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
M1 Finance★★★★★★★★★★★★★
Interactive Brokers★★★★★★★★★★★★
Yahoo Finance★★★★★★★★
Best Trading Platforms Comparison Table & Ratings

Top 10 Best Stock Trading Platforms


1. TradingView:  Winner Best Trading Platform Globally

Tradingview is the best trading platform for all international stock, Fx, and Crypto traders because it has the biggest community, free stock trading, screening, and backtesting.

TradingView Platform Rating
⚡ Features Charts, Trading, News, Watchlists, Screening, Backtesting, Mobile App
📈 Trading Platform Live Trading From Charts
💰 Free Stock Trading
🤖 Auto-Trading Bots
🎯 Best for Stock, Fx & Crypto Traders
🆓 Free Version TradingView Free
🎮 Premium Trial Free 30-Day
✂ Premium Discount -50% Discount
🌎 Markets Covered Global

Tradingview has over 160 different stock chart types, chart indicators, and drawing/annotation tools. Even better, you can like, follow, and share your ideas with other traders across the globe; it is the ultimate learning and social trading community. Tradingview also scores very well on screening as you can easily screen on hundreds of technical and fundamental criteria. They also have the best technical screeners for stocks, ETFs, Cryptocurrency, and Forex.

The TradingView backtesting engine is powered by pine script, enabling you to easily develop your own indicators and backtested systems to report on your trading strategy’s risk-reward.

TradingView has implemented an innovative automatic technical analysis rating system, which accurately suggests if an indicator is Buy, Sell or Neutral
TradingView has implemented an innovative automatic technical analysis rating system, which accurately suggests if an indicator is Buy, Sell, or Neutral.

The TradingView backtesting engine is powered by pine script, enabling you to easily develop your own indicators and backtested systems to report on your trading strategy’s risk-reward.

With TradingView in the USA, you get great broker integration and free trading with TradeStation for stocks. In Europe, you have integration FXCM and Saxo Group for currency and stock trading. You can place trades directly from charts, taking care of profit & loss reporting and analysis. The only thing it does not cover is stock options trading.

Regarding portfolio management, you can see your trades and the profit and losses. To do this, you must either paper trade with TradingView or select one of their integrated brokers for your region. There is no way to import your existing portfolio into a detailed watch list manually.

TradingView does have a reasonable news service, with integrated delayed news from MT Newswire, Reuters, and Yahoo. However, if you need real-time news, you should evaluate MetaStock or Benzinga Pro.

Try TradingView For Free Now Read the Full TradingView Review


2. Trade Ideas: Winner Best AI Signals & Auto-Trading Platform

Trade Ideas is the best AI power trading platform using 3 AI bots to signal high probability trades and enable auto-trading. Trade Ideas demonstrate a proven track record of trading profitability.

Trade Ideas Platform Rating
⚡ Features Charts, Trading, Watchlists, Screening, Backtesting
📈 Trading Platform Live Trading From Charts, Auto-Trading, AI Bots
💰 Free Stock Trading ✔ – Etrade
🤖 Auto-Trading Bots
🎯 Best for Stock Day Traders
🎮 Trial Live Trading Room Free, Free Weekly AI Trade
✂ Premium Discount -15% With Code “Liberated”
🌎 Markets Covered USA

Trade Ideas is a web & desktop-based software platform for finding day trading opportunities. Historically specializing in real-time scanning for trade opportunities, Trade Ideas now incorporates cutting-edge AI algorithms that backtest every stock in the USA & Canada for high probability trading opportunities.

The true genius of Trade Ideas is that it uses Artificial Intelligence algorithms to continually monitor and backtest all 8,000+ stocks on the US & Canada exchanges.

The A.I. program is called Holly, and she runs over 70 different strategies on every stock to supply you with high probability trades every single day. Those trades are typically day trades lasting between a few minutes and a few hours.

Trade Ideas - Trades & Buy & Sell Signals By Holly A.I.
Trade Ideas – Trades & Buy & Sell Signals By Holly A.I.

Believe me, you have never seen anything like the Trade Ideas Holly A.I.

The reason why Trade Ideas features on our winner’s list is because of the platform’s unique benefits:

  • Live Trading Room – Get full access to the live trading room for Free.
  • A.I. Virtual Trading Analyst Holly – 4 different constantly evolving A.I. algorithms
  • Chart Based A.I. Trade Assistance & Entry and Exit Signals
  • Risk Assessment – Detailed information on the backtested performance of the recommended trade.
  • Build and Backtest any Trade Idea – Extremely powerful point & click backtesting system.
  • Autotrade w/ Brokerage Plus and A.I. – Advanced auto trading using Interactive Brokers.
Get 15% Off Trade Ideas Read the Full In-Depth Trade Ideas Review

As a partner of Trade Ideas, I requested a discount for all our readers. Use the discount code “Liberated” to get 15% off your first purchase, worth $340 when going for the premium service.

3. Firstrade: Winner Best Free Stock Broker & Trading Platform

Firstrade is a great trading platform for commission free $0 trading, no hidden charges, and the largest number of commission-free ETFs with excellent stock and options tools.

Firstrade Platform Rating
⚡ Features Charts, Trading, News, Watchlists, Screening
📈 Trading Platform Live Trading From Charts
💰 Free Stock Trading
🤖 Auto-Trading Bots
🎯 Best for Stock Day Traders
🎮 Try Now Try Firstrade

Firstrade is great for traders & investors seeking FREE ZERO Commissions trading on Stocks & Options, plus the industry’s best 2,200+ Commission-Free ETFs. Full MorningStar access and 5-star customer satisfaction, plus a full suite of IRA accounts, mean Firstrade is a great choice for brokerage services.

Firstrade Optionsplay Dashboard
Firstrade Optionsplay Dashboard

Commissions: Firstrade vs. TDA vs. E-Trade vs. Schwab vs. Fidelity

Commissions & Fees Firstrade TD Ameritrade E*Trade Charles Schwab Fidelity
Online Stock Orders $0 $0 $0 $0 $4.95
Online Option Orders $0 $0 + $0.65/Contract $0 + $0.65/Contract $0 + $0.65/Contract $0 + $0.65/Contract
Online Mutual Fund Trades $0 $49.99 $49.99 $49.95 $49.95
Broker-assisted Stock $19.95 $25 $25 $25 $19.95
& Options Trades (+$0.50/contract) (+$0.65/contract) (+$0.65/contract) (+$0.65/contract) (+$0.65/contract)
Minimum Initial Deposit $0 $0 $500 $0 $0

Table 1: Firstrade Commissions vs. Competitors

Firstrade Trading Platforms

Firstrade has rebuilt its trading platform from scratch, and the improvement is dramatic. Gone are clunky java programs, replaced by a fast HTML 5.0 platform. This platform is future-proofed and highly scalable. The user experience is clean, intuitive, and easy to learn.

Also, what we like is its price – Free. The trading platform has several components. The web-based platform is available for all clients. If you have an account balance over $10,000, you will have complimentary access to download the Firstrade Navigator software; this compelling trading experience runs locally on your PC or Mac.

The Firstrade App for Android & IOS has two cool features:

  • Swipe left to quickly Buy or Sell right from the Positions page or watchlist.
  • Face ID and fingerprint recognition feature ensures that you’re the only one who can access your account.

No product set would be complete without the ability to scan and screen for stocks based on the fundamental data. Firstrade’s attempt at this is pretty good. It does not match the offerings from TradingView or TC2000, but it is adequate for most investors.

A new event calendar is also available, neatly broken into tabs for Earnings Announcements, Dividends, Ratings Changes, Economic Indicators, IPOs & Splits.

Open An Account With Firstrade Read the Full Firstrade Review

4. TC2000: Brokerage Integrated Platform

TC2000 is a leading technical analysis and stock market screening platform with integrated stock trading from charts with TC2000 brokerage.

TC2000 Platform Rating
⚡ Features Charts, Trading, Watchlists, Screening
📈 Trading Platform Live Trading From Charts
💰 Free Stock Trading ✘ $4.95 per trade
🤖 Auto-Trading Bots
🎯 Best for Day Traders
🎮 Try Now Try TC2000 Brokerage

A good selection of stock charts, indicators, and fundamental scanning makes it a very mature service. Voted Best Software by Stock & Commodities magazine for 25 years straight, it is a great option for US investors.

Endlessly Configurable Stock Screening & Watchlist Management in TC2000
Endlessly Configurable Stock Screening & Watchlist Management in TC2000

Make no mistake about it, if you want fundamentals stock screeners in real-time layered with technical screens all integrated into live watch lists connected to your charts, TC2000 is a power player. I selected TC2000 as my tool of choice back in the year 1999 because it offered back then simply the best implementation of fundamental scanning, filtering, and sorting available on the market. Twenty years later, they are still a leader in this section.

TC2000 offers a huge selection of fundamentals & technicals to choose from, 192 to be exact, but even better than that, what makes it truly unique is the fact you can, with a few clicks, create your own indicators based on the fundamentals.

You can then overlay the indicators directly on the charts, opening up a new world of technical and fundamental analysis.

TC2000 also offers a nice implementation of options trading and integration; you can scan and filter many options strategies and then execute and follow them directly from the charts.

Worden Brothers, who created TC2000, have also launched the TC2000 Brokerage, which was also a review winner in our Best USA Stock Brokers Review; it has some incredible benefits, meaning:

  • You can trade directly from the charts.
  • You can scan fundamentals and customer technical conditions and initiate a trade in seconds.
  • You get a first-class experience on mobile.

Good profit and loss tracking reporting round off the package as a well-implemented solution.

Try TC2000 Brokerage Read the Full TC2000 Review


5. Interactive Brokers: Excellent Global Broker

The Interactive Brokers (IB) trading platform is huge. IB is ideal for active investors and day traders seeking low trading costs, direct market access for fast execution, and best-in-class margin costs.

IB Platform Rating ★★
⚡ Features Trading, Watchlists, News, Portfolio Management
📈 Trading Platform Full Global Brokerage
💰 Free Stock Trading ✔ – USA
🤖 Auto-Trading Bots
🎯 Best for International Investors
🎮 Try Now Try IB

Interactive Brokers (IB) is the grandfather of online discount brokers. Not only are they a long-established company, but it is also big. It has a complete set of services, enabling you to trade practically anything on any market. Stocks, Options, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Foreign Exchange, and even futures and commodities.

Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation TWS
Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation TWS

Interactive Brokers has a genuinely excellent trading platform based on Trader Workstation (TWS). It is free to download and use as a client, and it is the single place to be able to trade any and every one of the vehicles on offer from IB.

Not only that, there are a considerable number of advanced add-on tools that plug into TWS, such as:

  • ChartTrader – for trading directly from charts.
  • Continuous Futures – for commodity futures scanning and analysis.
  • DepthTrader – for in-depth analysis of market liquidity
  • OptionTrader – more in-depth Options Analysis with specific Options strategies
  • ProbabilityLab – to test the Probability Distribution of a particular trade
Open An Account With Interactive Brokers  Read the Full Interactive Brokers Review

6. Scanz: Real-time News Scanning & Trading Platform

The Scanz trading platform specializes in scanning for L2 liquidity and real-time news. Scanz occupies a unique space in the trading platform market, including broad broker integration for trading from charts.

Scanz Platform Rating
⚡ Features Charts, Trading, Watchlists, Screening, Real-time News
📈 Trading Platform Live Trading From Charts
💰 Free Stock Trading
🤖 Auto-Trading Bots
🎯 Best for Day Traders
🎮 Try Now Try Scanz

Scanz specializes in providing real-time data and news fast directly to your screen. Data speeds are excellent, and it has excellent U.S. data coverage, including extensive Over-The-Counter markets (OTC: BB, OTCQX, OTCQB, OTCPINK, GREY)

Scanz Streaming News
Scanz Streaming News Scanning Platform

The Scanz Team has a fantastic set of integrations with brokers to enable chart trading, which includes RealTick, Sterling Trader, LightSpeed, and, most importantly, TD Ameritrade and Interactive Brokers, two of the powerhouses of the brokerage world. So, the chances are that your broker of choice is already covered.

Scanz has the “Chart Montage” functionality, enabling an ultrapowerful way of trading off the charts. This single window contains a wealth of critical trading information, including real-time streaming news, and level 2 data, including time and sales.

The deal news section in Scanz is very good. I like the simple implementation; you can get the low down on contracts and deals struck between companies. This can give you an edge if you can quantify the deal’s impact on the company’s bottom line. Scanz also strongly focuses on news services, but it is let down by having no social integration.

Visit Scanz Read the Full Scanz Review

7. M1 Finance: High Performing Robo Advisor

M1 Finance is a Robo Advisor that can build your portfolio and execute the trades for you for free. M1 Is a complete trading platform for automated investing.

M1 Finance Platform Rating
⚡ Features Charts, Trading, Watchlists, Screening, Real-time News
📈 Trading Platform Automated Trading Robo Advisor
💰 Free Stock Trading
🤖 Auto-Trading Bots
🎯 Best for Investors
🎮 Try Now Try M1 Now

If you do not have the time to perform stock research, screen, analyze and place your trades, then you should be using a Robo-Advisor.  M1 is simple the best Robo Advisor we have tested.

Stock Portfolio Management in the M1 Finance Dashboard
Stock Portfolio Management in the M1 Finance Dashboard

It is unfair to test M1 against the others in this review. M1 does not provide powerful stock charts or detailed backtesting and forecasting. Neither does it provide real-time news. It does not need to because it does two things so well that you do not need anything else.

M1 will manage your portfolio, trade your stocks, and report to you your earnings. Not only that, but it will rebalance your portfolio and perform year-end tax-loss harvesting.

M1’s investing approach is based on expertly curated portfolios. Each portfolio is called a “Pie”; each pie comprises multiple stocks with specific weightings based on what risk or exposure you seek.

There are close to 100 expert pies to choose from with varying levels of return and past performance. You can select an expert pie or even build your own. The great thing is that when you send funds to your account, the money is automatically fully invested into your pie based on your allocation rules, and because there are no fees, this will not impact your account’s bottom line.

M1 Investing Performance

M1 provides many different expert portfolios to choose from and depending on when you open an account and decide to invest, the returns on your investment can vary. Suffice to say, M1 claims that, on average, their expert portfolios (pies) are within or slightly above the underlying market return. Of the 20 Robo Advisors we researched, M1 appeared to have the best returns: typically within or above the underlying index by 1-2%.

Visit M1 Finance Read the Full M1 Review


8. VectorVest: Full Auto Trading Platform

The VectorVest trading platform provides many benefits to traders and investors, primarily simplifying finding stocks to trade based on their proprietary system. While it is quite expensive for the premium package, it may be worth it if you invest a significant amount of money.

Vectorvest Platform Rating
⚡ Features Trading, Watchlists, Signals, Portfolio Management
📈 Trading Platform Full Auto-trading
💰 Free Stock Trading
🤖 Auto-Trading Bots
🎯 Best for International Investors
🎮 Try Now Try Vectorvest

VectorVest software is incredibly easy to use because it promotes the Value, Safety, and Timing system. This means they have a minimal variety of stock market indicators; they provide only what is needed to trade within their VST system parameters.

The VectorVest Dashboard - Easy Access to Market Signals.
The VectorVest Dashboard – Easy Access to Market Signals.

VectorVest continually evaluates every stock on the exchanges they cover to provide their propriety ratings.

  • RV Relative Value shows the estimated return versus a AAA Corporate Bond.
  • RS Relative Safety measures the consistency of a company’s financials.
  • RT Relative Timing is a technical indicator that attempts to define the short-term trend of a stock.
  • VST Value-Safety Timing indicator is an aggregation of RV, RS, and RT, essentially rolled up into one number.

Ultimately, VectorVest recommends that you should trade stocks with good fundamentals, moving in an up-trend, as the market is in an uptrend. This, to me, makes sense and is the foundation of my stock investing strategy.

VectorVest does provide buy or sell ratings for every stock they cover, which is interesting. They also have a method for suggesting the Stop Loss; this is the price at which you should sell stock to limit your losses.

VectorVest claims to be the only platform to provide buy or sell signals, but this is simply not true. Other stock software offers these signals, such as Trade Ideas, MetaStock, or TradingView.

Visit VectorVest Read the Full VectorVest Review

9. Yahoo Finance: Free News & Portfolio Management

Yahoo Finance is a trading platform allowing you to connect to your broker and execute trades from the Yahoo charts.

Yahoo Finance Rating
⚡ Features Charts, Trading, Watchlists, News
📈 Trading Platform Broker Integration
💰 Free Stock Trading ✔ – Broker Dependent
🤖 Auto-Trading Bots
🎯 Best for Beginners
🎮 Try Now Try Yahoo Finance

Yahoo has updated its interactive charting experience, it is a clean experience and full screen, so now it is quite good. With 114 different technical indicators, you are well covered with Yahoo Finance. The interactive charts allow you to draw trendlines, linear regressions, and even quadrant lines.

A strong step forward for Yahoo Charts
A strong step forward for Yahoo Charts

A nice new addition is Yahoo now provides real-time quotes and charts via the BATS system. Yahoo Finance is working hard to make its charting system a good alternative to other free vendors.

Yahoo finance does provide a news aggregation engine and contributes original news via the Yahoo Finance news team. If you opt for Yahoo Finance Premium, you will get a good selection of analyst research reports. These are static reports which could be useful, but again for the price tag of $49.99 per month, it might not be worth it because most mainstream brokers offer research reports for free. Firstrade not only offers free stock trades but additionally research reports from both Zacks and Morningstar.

10. RobinHood: A Good Free Stock Trading Platform

Robinhood is recommended for those wanting free stock trades who want to keep it super simple, do not need strong technical and fundamental analysis of stocks, and are uncomfortable with using a PC.

Robinhood Platform Rating
⚡ Features Trading, Watchlists, News, Mobile Only
📈 Trading Platform Full Brokerage
💰 Free Stock Trading
🤖 Auto-Trading Bots
🎯 Best for Beginners
🎮 Try Now Try Robinhood

Robinhood was the first Brokerage to offer free trades; starting in 2013, it has now raised through private venture capital over $500 million to fund the business.

With over one million registered accounts, it is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Free trading refers to $0 commissions for Robinhood Financial self-directed individual cash or margin brokerage accounts that trade US-listed securities via mobile devices. As Robinhood is a mobile-first company, if you trade from your smartphone on the Major U.S. listed stocks available through Robinhood, then the trade has no cost.

Clean, simple, and intuitive, the app design and interface would make Steve Jobs happy; so simple that the company claims that no user manual is required to use it.

So, all good so far. But if you are a serious trader or investor, Robinhood will be good for executing the trades. Still, any serious amount of technical analysis or even analysis of the fundamentals of a stock is impossible and would require other stand-alone applications, such as:

Of course, stock screening is also impossible on the phone, so you would want to select a great stock screener to use in conjunction with Robinhood.

Best Stock Trading Platforms Summary

TradingView is the best stock trading platform for community, trading, scanning, charting, and backtesting. Trade Ideas is the best platform for Robo Trading and AI-generated trading signals. If you simply want a free trading broker platform, then Firstrade is a good choice.

The financial industry is full of innovative trading platforms designed to provide investors and traders with the information they need to make informed decisions.


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