Best Trading Platforms
Richard Montana | August 4, 2022
An electronic trading platform is a piece of computer software that allows users to place orders for financial products over a network with a financial intermediary, such as an online broker. These products include instruments such as stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities, cryptocurrency and derivatives.
With an online trading platform, you can analyse the markets, open, manage and close positions all conveniently from your desktop, web and mobile devices. This means that anyone with an internet connection can get quick and easy access to the global markets.
However, with the increasing popularity of investing and trading online, there are many platforms to choose from. This can seem overwhelming at first, which is why we have compiled this handy trading platform guide to help you decide which trading platform is best for you.
Top 10 Trading Platforms
Here you will find our best trading platforms, based on thousands of hours of extensive research, testing and analysis across hundreds of brokers. Upon conclusion of each of our broker reviews, we have assigned each trading platform with a rating.
Some of the most important factors that contribute towards a good platform for trading and investing online have been considered including the features and functionality. We have carefully examined things such as the financial instruments, tools, fees, usability, education, versatility, funding options, regulation, customer service and more.
Each of our chosen trading and investing platforms have undergone and passed our stringent broker reviews with flying colours, based on what we consider to be amongst the most important considerations when choosing a platform for trading online. These platforms are well-established within the online brokerage industry, providing top trading conditions to traders and investors of all experience levels.
Having the best platforms according to our findings listed in one place, can help you save time when looking for the best trading platform for your own individual needs.
ADGM FRSA, ASIC, BVIFSC, CBI, FFAJ, FSCA, IIROC, JFSA
Min $100 Deposit
ASIC, BaFin, CFTC, DFSA, FCA, FINMA, FMA, FSA, FSCA, JFSA, MAFF, MAS, METI, NFA
Min $250 Deposit
AvaTrade are one of our top online trading platforms as they offer a great selection of financial instruments across multiple markets and user-friendly trading platforms. They are one of the world’s largest brokers in terms of volume with some of the best trading conditions available to traders around the globe. This includes low fees, zero commission fees and reliable execution speeds. They are also regulated in an impressive range of jurisdictions including Europe, Australia and South Africa. Their regulatory licenses span multiple continents, making them one of the most well-regulated brokers you will find anywhere.
AvaTrade provide traders of all experience levels with a choice of free online trading platforms that can be used on multiple devices including desktop (Windows / Mac), web and mobile (iPhone / iPad / Android / Tablet). These platforms have a wide range of trading tools and indicators for a convenient and efficient online trading experience.
The trading platforms are the industry standard MetaTrader, AvaTradeGO, AvaOptions, DupliTrade and ZuluTrade. Beginners may prefer the ease of use of MetaTrader whilst those who want to trade whilst on the go may opt for the convenience of the broker proprietary AvaTradeGO app to trade from anywhere in the world at any time. AvaTrade also provide you with a nice selection of copy trading platforms so that you can copy other traders, these are DupliTrade and ZuluTrade. This can be a good solution for those who do not have the time or knowledge to trade by themselves.
Founded in 2006, AvaTrade are still one of the most popular trading platforms available to traders and continue to innovate their trading services. I think they can be a great choice for anyone who is looking to access an excellent range of trading products and services in a regulated environment with minimal fuss.
We consider IG to be one of the best trading platforms due to the leading online brokerage services that they offer via a vast range of powerful yet user-friendly trading platforms. The platforms you can choose from are IG’s proprietary trading platform, ProRealTime (PRT), L2 Dealer or the ever popular MetaTrader 4 (MT4) trading platform. The broker also offers direct market access (DMA) for professional traders who would like to deal directly into the order books of major equity exchanges.
IG also offer excellent in-platform support that can help you to make decisions in moments using the free powerful tools built into the platforms. These tools can be used to help reinforce decisions with buy and sell signals, react to events with up-to-the-minute news from the fantastic Reuters and inform your trading with expert market analysis.
IG give traders around the globe access to a super range of over 18,000+ markets for trading online with tight spreads, low fees and rapid trade execution speeds. The brokers trading instruments include Forex, Commodities, Cryptocurrency, Stocks, Shares, Indices, Metals, Energies, Options, Bonds, ETFs, CFDs and even spread betting in the UK.
The broker also provides the IG Academy which is a free resource that helps you to develop your trading skills and knowledge. It contains an abundance of learning materials such as trading guides, webinars, tutorials and videos. There is everything you need to help educate you on the markets and guide you along your trading journey.
Furthermore, IG is a multi-regulated trading platform that can accept traders in the USA, has 24-hour customer support and facilitates a good variety of convenient account funding options. I think they are a perfect choice for anyone looking to trade on top platforms with one of the best brokers in the industry.
Pepperstone are one of our best trading platforms for many reasons. They offer a wide range of financial instruments including Forex, Commodities, Cryptocurrency, Stocks, Shares, Indices, Metals, Energies, Bonds, CFDs and ETFs, all across powerful online trading platforms that are suitable for traders of all experience levels. They offer the popular MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) trading platforms along with the slightly more advanced cTrader platform. These user-friendly platforms can be used on desktop and mobile devices for trading whilst on the go.
Each of the trading platforms have an abundance of built in tools for conducting detailed chart analysis to find potential trading opportunities. You can also further enhance the platforms capabilities with a plethora of free and paid add-ons available to purchase from the marketplace which is accessible within the platform. You will find trading signals, indicators, automated systems, scripts and more. You can even develop your own trading tools of you have the coding skills to do so or hire a freelancer to help bring your ideas to life. Whatever your plan for a trading strategy, chances are you can build it in the Pepperstone platforms.
If you are looking for a social trading platform, Pepperstone have you covered with two of the leading providers in DupliTrade and Myfxbook. In addition to providing you with free easy to use trading platforms, Pepperstone also offers low cost trading fees, tight spreads and fast trade execution speeds. They are regulated by top regulatory authorities and have an award-winning customer service team. These factors amongst many others make them easy to consider as one of our best trading platforms.
IC Markets make it onto our list of best trading platforms for a providing extremely competitive trading conditions via some of the top trading platforms in MetaTrader and cTrader. They have both the entry level MetaTrader 4 and the more advanced MetaTrader 5 platforms for all of your devices. You can choose to run the trading platforms via desktop or directly in the web browser which requires no software downloads or installations. There are also mobile trading apps for this who need convenient access to their trading account from within the palm of their hands.
The provided platforms are well known in the online trading industry and used by traders from all across the globe. They have intuitive user-interfaces along with a vast array of built-in trading tools for conducting in-depth market analysis. Just like with other brokers who provide these platforms, you can further improve their possibilities with plenty of innovative add-ons available.
As a brokerage service, IC Markets are one of the world’s largest true ECN trading brokers, offering you thousands of trading instruments across multiple markets with tight spreads, low commission fees and high liquidity for fast trade execution at the best available prices with low slippage and low latency.
IC Markets implements over 50 liquidity providers (LPs) which allows traders of all levels to trade on institutional grade liquidity with no dealing desk interference from a diverse range of large LPs such as investment banks, hedge funds and dark pools venues.
The broker has a great selection of additional trading tools such as trading signals, economic calendars, market analysis, price alerts, technical indicators, market data, free VPS and more. They also offer a range of educational materials including trading guides and video tutorials for traders of all experience levels.
I think IC Markets are one of the best brokers for anyone who is looking to day trade and use scalping systems. This is because I find them to have some of the lowest overall costs when you consider the spreads and commission fees. The powerful technology that they implement within their platforms mean that you can get your trades executed at the prices you expect.
XM Group are easily one of our top choices when it comes to the best trading platform. They offer traders across the globe a large range of trading instruments including Forex, Commodities, Cryptocurrency, Stocks, Shares, Indices, Metals, Energies and CFDs. Whatever your interests, there is something for everyone to trade and build a diversified portfolio.
All of the instruments that they offer can be traded from one online trading account on an impressive selection of robust platforms including all variations of the popular MetaTrader 4/5 trading platforms, available on desktop (Windows / Mac), web and mobile (iPhone / iPad / Android / Tablet). There is a platform to suit all types of trading strategy and traders of all experience levels. The platforms are versatile as they can be used on desktop, web and mobile devices (iOS and Android). This means you can seamlessly access your account when and where you need to.
As a client of the established XM Group brokerage firm, you can also gain free access to high quality proprietary trading tools that enhance the already powerful MetaTrader 4/5 trading platforms even further. These tools can help to quickly and easily perform technical analysis across multiple markets to identify possible trading opportunities and assist with making informed decisions.
The broker has won multiple awards for their trading services which is a testament to the quality that they deliver with very competitive pricing. The platforms have a no-requote policy, tight spreads, fast execution speeds and reasonable commission fees. Traders have peace of mind as XM Group are regulated by some of the most respected regulatory authorities and have support on 24/5 who respond in a prompt and polite manner.
JFD Brokers is an established, multi-regulated online broker offering a great selection of more than 1,500+ instruments over 8 asset classes, including physical stocks and commission free trading. They have a good selection of powerful trading platforms and robust trading tools for comprehensive market analysis.
JFD Brokers let you trade on a great selection of flexible and powerful trading platforms. You can opt to trade on the popular MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) platforms. They also offer the intuitive third-party Guidants platform which is equipped with an abundance of custom add-ons and indicators. All of these platforms can give you comprehensive market access via user-friendly interfaces.
NinjaTrader Group, LLC together with its subsidiaries provides award winning trading software and brokerage services to active traders. They are an industry leading trading platform and futures broker with all of the resources you need to trade multiple financial instruments with relative ease.
NinjaTrader supports traders across the globe via their powerful trading platform featuring a great selection of 100+ day trading indicators and award-winning brokerage services. The platform is always free to use for advanced charting, backtesting and trade simulation. In addition to their fantastic proprietary platform, NinjaTrader supports both Continuum powered by CQG and Rithmic for live futures trading.
Zacks Trade is a USA broker offering day traders a selection of powerful platforms, comprehensive tools and market insights to ensure a professional trading experience in a retail environment. I was impressed with the robustness of each trading platform. Not only are they easy to use, they are also fully loaded with all of the tools and features you need for conducting professional market research. You can seamlessly switch between the platforms and customise the interfaces to be as simplistic or complex as you need them to be.
Lightspeed offers active and professional traders highly accurate market data, complex order management, fast executions, and over 100 routing destinations for trading stocks, ETFs, futures and options. They have a great selection of powerful and intuitive trading platforms for you to choose from. The robust trading software is highly customisable, allowing you to see key information in real time with low latency.
There are five primary trading platforms to choose, each platform coming with its own unique benefits. All of the platforms enable you to trade options and equities with user-friendly navigation and plenty of tools. Whether you are an active or professional trader, institution or hedge fund, you can opt for the platform that is most suited to your needs and try them out on demo to begin with if need be.
AMP Futures is a US regulated Chicago-based Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) providing access to the global electronic futures markets for individual traders, as well as US and foreign Introducing Brokerages from 150+ countries around the world. When it comes to trading platforms, it is hard to beat AMP Futures.
The broker offers you a fantastic selection of 50+ trading platforms, some are free and some charge a fee. There are platforms suitable for beginners and platforms for professional traders who run demanding strategies and need access to the best tools and connectivity in the market.
Trading Platforms Guide
What is an Online Trading Platform?
An online trading platform allows traders to access different global markets for speculating on the price movements of various trading instruments. This can include Forex, Commodities, Cryptocurrency, Stocks, Shares, Indices, Metals, Energies, Options, Bonds, ETFs and CFDs.
In the past, investors and traders would have had to go through an offline broker which meant that the markets were less accessible than they are today. As technology has improved over the years, there are now many online brokerages to choose from. Anyone aspiring to be a successful trader can open a trading account with an online broker and gain access to the brokers trading platforms for online trading from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Most brokers provide these platforms free of charge and for use on desktop and mobile devices.
Through a trading platform you can view real time bid/ask prices of various assets and load charts that show the historical and current prices of chosen assets over multiple timeframes ranging from tick to yearly charts. You can add technical indicators to these charts to help identify potential trending and ranging market conditions. These indicators can provide trading signals and are often used as part of an overall trading strategy that involves technical, fundamental, sentiment and price action analysis. When you find a suitable trading opportunity, you can execute, manage and close your buy or sell position directly through the trading platform.
Choosing a Trading Platform
Following on from our best trading platforms list, we will now look at what trading platforms are used for and the most important factors to consider when looking for a reliable trading platform.
When you choose an online trading platform it is very important to ensure that the brokerage providing the platform is regulated by a respected government authority. Investors have more protection when using a regulated broker as they have to conduct business according to strict rules and regulations put in place to protect investors. If a broker claims to be regulated, you can verify this by checking the broker’s license number with the relevant authorities to ensure the regulation is legitimate and up to date. Some of the most well known regulatory authorities to look for include the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom.
Each broker will offer you a range of different markets and trading instruments to trade via their online trading platforms. If you wish to trade a particular asset class such as forex, stocks, cryptos, futures, etc, you should check whether the broker offers that market through its platforms. It may also be wise to consider if you plan to diversify your investment portfolio in the future. If so, the more trading products and markets offered by the broker, the easier it could be to expand your portfolio when the time is right. You can choose from brokers who offer a combination of financial instruments.
All trading platforms come with a range of free built in trading tools to assist with your online trading, helping to improve overall efficiency and performance. These can include technical indicators for analysing charts such as a moving average, MACD, Bollinger Bands, RSI, CCI and many more. Some platforms offer fundamental analysis tools such as built in economic calendars to efficiently keep track of the latest market news releases. They may also have trading calculators to help with planning your trades. The more advanced platforms will have depth of market (DOM) with level 2 pricing and sentiment tools that show how many traders are buying/selling a particular instrument.
If you require a specific set of trading tools or would like access to as many as possible, you should check what trading platforms the broker offers along with the trading tools included. Some trading tools are stand alone and thus will not be incorporated into the platforms but can still be very useful.
Most brokers will provide traders with free online trading platforms although there are some who charge monthly and volume-based fees, usually for specialised trading platforms that have specific features a professional investor may need. That being said, the free platforms will most likely be sufficient enough for the average retail trader.
In addition to potential fees for gaining access to the brokers trading platforms, you should consider other online trading costs. Most online brokerages will charge a commission for placing trades in addition to the spread and overnight swap fee. These costs can vary significantly from broker to broker so it is important to consider the overall costs you will incur and the affect that will have on your money management.
The spread is the difference between the buy and sell (bid/ask) price which can vary depending on the volume of liquidity and quality of liquidity providers that an online broker has. Some brokers offer fixed and variable spread accounts, some will offer commission free accounts but instead mark up the spread to make up for this. In general, the more liquidity that the broker has, the tighter the spreads can be. It is important to account for the spread when planning your trading strategy, especially if you are planning on using scalping strategy.
If you hold a position with your online broker overnight then you will probably need to pay a swap fee. This is an interest fee for the procedure of moving open positions from one day to another, also known as the rollover. This is another cost to factor in to your money management planning. Some brokers offer swap free Islamic trading accounts that conform with Sharia law which allows Muslims to engage in online trading through their platforms.
Along with trading platforms, spread, commission and swap fees, most online brokers will charge additional fees that should be checked and clearly understood. Other fees that are worth considering include withdrawal and inactivity fees. Discount brokers should have some of the lowest fees which can help you to save on trading costs in the long term.
If you are already familiar with a specific trading platform then it could be a good idea to choose an online broker that offers that platform. However, if you have yet to use a trading platform then it may be a good idea to start with a broker that offers a user-friendly trading platform which has plenty of tutorials available to help you learn how to trade online. MetaTrader 4 (MT4) platform is often considered as one of the most intuitive and easy to use trading platforms which makes it a popular choice amongst new traders. You will find that there are lots of MetaTrader brokers which gives convenient market access for manual and automated trading strategies. If you don’t have the time or skills to trade and want to copy trading signals, you should look for a social trading platform.
Nearly all online brokers offer leveraged trading via their platforms. Leverage basically means that you can open a position larger than you could without it. If for example you had leverage of 1:50 and a trading account balance of $1,000, you could effectively open a position size of $50,000 (1,000 x 50 = 50,000). Although leverage can increase profit potential, it also increases trading risk and thus, can lead to large losses. It is imperative that you have a thorough understanding of leverage and the significant risks involved before you start trading online. Check the broker offers a leverage that you require via your preferred trading platform.
Some brokers also provide traders with educational resources such as videos and trading guides to help them improve their trading knowledge and skills. They may include detailed tutorials on how to use trading platforms which could be helpful for those who are new to online trading and need help to familiarise themselves with the different platforms available to them. If you are new to trading and need as much guidance as possible, you might want to explore our best brokers for beginners.
You will need to make sure that the trading platform will run on your computer, VPS or mobile device by checking the specification requirements. Each online broker trading platform will have a minimum deposit requirement which is worth considering.
Each online broker will offer different options for making deposits and withdrawals to and from the trading platform. Most brokers accept bank wire transfers and credit/debit cards but some traders prefer online payment processors such as Skrill, PayPal, Neteller, etc. Ensure that the trading platform supports your preferred funding method.
If you have an issue with your trading platform that you need help with, it is important that the broker has a prompt and efficient customer service team. Online chat is often the quickest way to speak with someone whilst other options include telephone and email. The more hours the brokerage support team is available, the better. Some run 24/5 whilst others are available 24/7. You should also consider the brokers office locations as they may be in a different time zone to you which could affect the response time. Check that the broker has a method of contacting support that is most convenient for you and available in your language.
In this trading platforms guide, we have covered what we consider to be the best trading platforms and some of the things that you can look out for when choosing the best trading platform for your own individual needs.
Whilst there are many trading platforms to choose from, you will find that most brokers provide a similar choice, MetaTrader being one of the most common platforms. You will find it being offered by the majority of brokers whilst others may have their own proprietary platform or other industry standard platforms such as cTrader.
It is important to remember that you choose a trading broker and platform that meets your requirements and use this information only for educational purposes and not as advice. Take your time to research and conduct your own due diligence.
You can even test a trading platform with a free demo account to see if they are suitable before making a commitment. Please feel free to use our broker comparison tool if you need some further inspiration.