TradeStation Review

Written By Jeff Hindenach
Last updated November 15, 2017

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September 8, 2017

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

TradeStation Review: TradeStation is one of the most-used trading tools for experienced traders, but also is easy enough to use that it can be a perfect fit for beginners. The online investing site, though, is not a household name in trading, so we’ve done an in-depth review to see what makes TradeStation tick, comparing everything from price to features to customer service.

TradeStation Review

TradeStation website

TradeStation Review image
  • Best for: Serious traders. TradeStation is a top-of-the-line choice for those who are serious about investing, such as advanced traders, active stock traders, and stock, options and future traders. It is a favorite platform for frequent traders and international traders.
  • Price: The minimum investment of $5,000 is a deterrent for some investors. But for those who are serious and willing to put their money where their mouth is, the initial investment opens a top-notch trading platform with a set per-trade fee of $5.00 for most transactions.
  • Features: TradeStation is geared toward the experienced trader who wants to trade in high volumes. It is a popular platform for investors whose trading includes a diverse range of products, such as futures, stocks, forex and options.
  • Customer Service: Support is available via email or telephone, and those manning the customer service desk are quick to deal with problems or concerns you need addressed. Unfortunately, customer support is not available 24/7; customer service is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

TradeStation gives customers a choice of two platforms: a browser-based platform and a desktop platform. The browser-based platform is geared toward keeping things simple. High-level traders can manage their open orders, keep track of active positions, manage watch lists, analyze stock charts and place basic trades.

The TradeStation platform for the desktop gives an active trader everything needed and more. The tools offered here cater more to the professional investor, such as institutional investors like hedge funds. A trader can access up to 40 years of charting and studies of historical data to gauge equities trading.

TradeStation was established in 1982 and initially focused on developing software for trading strategy. Fast forward, and you find TradeStation enjoying a solid reputation for their rich, in-depth and highly functional platform. TradeStation’s trading tools are like catnip to active and professional traders. Few competitors can offer as much in trading features to customers as TradeStation. They offer an extensive selection of products and are continually improving their offerings to their customers.

Affordable Trading Fees

With TradeStation, trading stocks and ETFs are at a low price of $5.00 per trade. If you’re a high-volume trader, this is a boon for you.

“RadarScreen” Function

This part of the TradeStation platform is a real-time search and tracking feature that allows you to recognize investment opportunities as they occur. It is a customizable feature that lets you follow opportunities, chart your investments and track market trends. This lets you stay a step ahead of the market masses when trading opportunities occur.

Trader Community Forums

TradeStation’s platform offers robust community forums with hundreds of topics discussed on investor and trading issues, such as investment strategies and tips to make the most of the TradeStation platform.

Educational Resources

The TradeStation platform offers excellent resources that anyone, whether a novice trader or a seasoned professional, can learn more about investing. TradeStation University offers free e-books and articles, as well as free video tutorials that can help users learn how to best use the TradeStation platform. You can apply what you’ve learned about investment strategy and analysis with TradeStation Labs.

TradeStation Simulator

This handy function gives you the opportunity to test in real time before you trade, and it is risk-free. If you’re new to real-time trading, this simulator gives you the chance to learn real-time trading and investigate new markets and strategies without placing your own money at risk.

“Hot Lists”

The TradeStation platform lets you take advantage of unusual market activity. With the Hot Lists feature, you can instantly see symbols that may break above the 52-week high. You can see the symbols that are at risk to gap up at open and which are showing unusual activity.


TradeStation’s EasyLanguage feature lets you create your own custom tools for analysis and trade strategies. EasyLanguage is specific to TradeStation’s programming language, which allows you to modify or create indicators. You can customize your trading strategies and modify the applications in the TradeStation platform.

TradeStation reviews are easily found around the web, and by far the majority are positive. TradeStation’s platform stands out from the competition because of its wide range of analytical charts and available resources for research. The tools for monitoring stocks in the TradeStation platform are superior.

Some TradeStation fees may be higher than the competition, including the minimum investment requirement, but TradeStation remains one of the best values out there. It gives its customers a solid platform from which to launch active trading.

TradeStation Reviews

One review of TradeStation put it very succinctly: TradeStation is the gold standard for hardcore traders. This TradeStation review highlighted three decades of serving hedge funds, brokers and institutional investors. It is the go-to tool for those who are sticklers for accuracy, want fast trade execution and demand customization ability for charting tools.

The TradeStation platform is appealing to an experienced, active trader who deals in high-volume trades. The tools and features included with TradeStation are comparable to those found at large financial institutions. There is a learning curve associated with the platform, but once mastered, TradeStation’s tools can help you maximize your profits from your investments.

Another review pegs TradeStation as a stand-out for its ease of customization. Users can add windows and different gadgets, individualize the information, and even customize the size of the windows. TradeStation’s platform lets you create option chains with bid, ask and strike prices. You can generate charts and reports to track stocks, your positions, your orders and your account balances.

If mobile capability for trading is important for you, there is a mobile stock trading app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. These are scaled-down versions of the full trading platform but include access to quotes, symbol search and analytic charts. The mobile app allows you to place trades, monitor positions and check your watch lists.

TradeStation pricing is reviewed depending on what type of trading the user practices. TradeStation comes highly recommended for those whose trading practices can meet the monthly minimum trading activity. If you don’t meet this threshold, you may get hit with some TradeStation fees you weren’t expecting.

TradeStation has received multiple awards for its trading platforms. It is considered one of the best trading platforms according to online brokers because of its powerful strategy creation features, its effective testing tools and its custom-built analytics.

If you prefer to keep things as simple as possible, then TradeStation may not be the platform for you. This is an advanced software platform, but don’t rule it out if you’re a techno-novice. TradeStation makes everything available to you to learn how to use the platform effectively. There will be a learning curve, but it could be time well spent in the long run.

TradeStation gives serious, active traders access to an excellent platform that was previously available only to brokers. It can be expensive, depending on what type of trading you plan to do and the volume of your trading. The multiple levels of TradeStation pricing can get confusing, and that may result in your paying a higher fee than you should if you’re not on top of the various price structures.

TradeStation targets active investors, such as day traders, and is a popular choice among futures traders. The software’s great trading and analysis functions, combined with low futures commissions, make it a favorite for active investors across the board.

The TradeStation commissions are flexible and dependent on trade volume in most cases. If you prefer a flat-rate commission on trades, regardless of volume, you’ll probably feel a bit swamped by TradeStation’s varying commission tables.

At the end of the day, the simple fact is there is no one-size-fits-all brokerage platform that will meet the needs of every type of investor. TradeStation, however, comes very close.

About the Author

Jeff Hindenach

Jeff Hindenach is the co-founder of Simple. Thrifty. Living. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He has a long history of financial journalism, with a background writing for newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Examiner, as well as writing on personal finance for The Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Newsday and The Street. He believes in giving readers the tools they need to get out of debt.

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