tradestation reviews for trading stocks

Tradestation Review: Customized Trading in Stocks, Forex and Futures

Note: Post may contain affiliate links.

The Tradestation platform offers custom trading in stocks, forex, futures and options to fit your trading strategies

Tradestation is one of the few trading platforms I’ve reviewed since the blog isn’t really about stock trading. I’ve done some trading in the past including a six-month trading seminar for an employer but I don’t do much active trading anymore.

Still, I get a lot of questions from stock traders about platforms and how to trade so I thought I would look into one of the most popular trading sites.

Tradestation is easily the most customizable trading platform I’ve seen and the best for active, professional traders. It’s desktop trading software is best-in-class and will impress even institutional-level traders.

For individual investors, especially buy-and-hold investors, Tradestation isn’t your best bet. It’s recently dropped the monthly trading fee so costs are similar to other online investing sites but the platform is really set up for traders. You’ll get more research and commission-free investments on sites like TD Ameritrade.

If you are looking to trade stocks, check out this special promo offer on Tradestation. Open a new account and save 20% on commissions – limited time.

What is Tradestation?

Tradestation has been servicing brokerage clients since 1982 and was one of the first platforms to bring trading online to retail investors. The brokerage offers two platforms, a browser-based system that doesn’t require download and a full-feature desktop platform.

The browser-based trading platform will be enough for most investors and casual traders but active traders will want to use the desktop version. The browser system is easier to use and more intuitive but the desktop version includes everything an active trader will need.

Tradestation used to be only available to institutional and professional traders. As a professional trader platform, it developed the most customizable system and highest-quality trader experience I’ve seen available. With the growth in retail investors and online trading, the company made its platform available to everyone.

How Does Tradestation Work?

The Tradestation desktop trading platform is everything a professional trader could want including 40 years of historical stock data, back-testing of trading strategies, customized scanning for market opportunities and charting that includes over 270 indicators.

Nearly everything in Tradestation charting is customizable with all the indicators and patterns easily reworked to your own trading strategies.

Through Tradestation Arsenal, you can set real-time streaming watch lists with 318 customizable columns. The feature also includes an advanced strategy tester, ladder trading and a custom screener.

Tradestation review active traders
Tradestation Platform for Active Traders

For the most professional traders, Tradestation offers its own proprietary coding language tool to allow you to set up your own automated indicators and trade-strategy customizations. This is the kind of thing you used to only get at an institutional trading desk but it’s now available to everyone.

The options trading platform offers everything you would expect of professional-level trading. The software was rebuilt last year to focus on streamlining and ease-of-use. Traders can view profit & loss charts in 2D and 3D plus real-time streaming greeks and advanced position analysis.

I would like to see the ability to show corporate events on the charts, at least scheduled events like dividends and earnings. It might not be as important to active traders that are in and out of a stock within a day or two but it’s important for longer-term traders.

Current Tradestation Promotions for Active Stock Traders

Tradestation is running a limited-time discount promotion on trading fees. New traders opening an account can get 20% off trading fees up to $1,500 or until the promotion ends.

The Tradestation promo also includes a free one-on-one platform customization session and use of the platform’s RadarScreen feature.

Only new accounts are eligible for the Tradestation promotion and get all the features and tools available to regular accounts. The promotion works out to about 15,000 options contracts or about 30,000 futures contracts to get the maximum discount so even active traders might not be able to max it out.

Click for this special offer to save up to $1,500 in commissions

Tradestation Platform Fees

Tradestation offers a simple commission and fee structure and has recently dropped its monthly trading fee. The platform charges a flat $5 fee for stocks and options trades along with a $0.50 per contract fee on options.

Futures traders pay between $0.25 per contract (active traders >20,000 monthly) up to $1.20 per contract for less than 300 monthly contracts. You can also get by bonds through Tradestation for $14.95 plus $5 per bond.

These are all similar to other trading platforms and online brokerage accounts. Tradestation used to charge a $99.95 monthly account fee but dropped it recently. Traders on the flat-rate plan get real-time market data for free.

The platform also offers an unbundled pricing plan to customize fees according to your trading needs. This is going to be the best option for active or professional traders.

Finally, Tradestation is the only brokerage I’ve found to offer a veteran’s program. With the Tradestation Salutes program, active military personnel can trade absolutely free. That’s 100% free stock trades, ETFs and options. There are no minimums and you still get free real-time market data. Even if you aren’t trading stocks, military personnel will save hundreds in commissions with Tradestation.

tradestation promotion offer
Tradestation Promotions


Tradestation Minimum Requirements

To open an account on Tradestation, you’ll need a valid social security number or Tax ID along with your basic contact information. For international traders, you’ll need a valid passport and address verification.

According to FINRA day-trading rules, pattern trading account must maintain a minimum account net worth of $25,000 both real-time and at the beginning of the day.

The Tradestation browser version is available on all major browsers including Safari, Chrome, IE and Firefox. You’ll need at least Windows 7 or OS X 10.9 but that’s just about everyone these days.

What Kind of Investors Should Use Tradestation?

Tradestation is best for active and professional traders. If you have the discipline to sit at your computer for at least six hours a day and understand how to develop unique trading strategies, then Tradestation will definitely give you the tools you need.

best stock trading website tradestation
Tradestation Customizable Trading Platform

Tradestation will work for less intense traders as well and its educational features are great for trader development from new traders to those with some experience. The platform is one of the least expensive for less active traders.

Where Tradestation won’t work is for long-term, buy-and-hold investors who want the kind of research and ETF options you’d get on other brokerage accounts. Tradestation does allow for ETF investing and has nearly 5,000 funds you can choose from but none are commission-free and you won’t find the free analyst research. That’s not a problem for traders, who aren’t looking at fundamental analysis anyway, but is something longer-term investors might want.

Tradestation Complaints

For active traders, there isn’t much not to like about Tradestation. The multiple pricing plans for stocks, options and futures can get a little confusing but easily manageable. There are some charting features I would have liked to see but they weren’t necessarily related to active trading.

tradestation reviews for trading stocksIf you aren’t spending at least a couple of hours a week learning trading strategies and the programming language to customize trading, you’re going to be missing out on the full power of the platform. It can take a little while to get familiar with all the features, tools and how to use the charting but you’d get that on any trading platform.

The most common Tradestation complaints are by investors that probably shouldn’t be on the platform. It doesn’t offer the tools or research needed for long-term investors and probably never will.

Tradestation Review Summary

Tradestation is one of the best trading platforms and easily the most customizable for active traders.

The web-based version seems a little unnecessary since active and professional traders will want to be on the desktop platform for its extended features, but it’s a passable product if you’re out of the office. The mobile version doesn’t include all the trading features but enough to check in on your positions.

Get started with this special promo code for 20% off on Tradestation

The Tradestation promotion is solid offer and its veterans’ program is unique among online trading platforms. If you ever thought about becoming a professional stock trader, the platform’s features and desktop version offer a way to get the same institutional-quality but in your own home office.

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