Options trading is an advanced investing strategy that allows investors to take their portfolios to the next level. Options have more risk than most investments, but also offer an excellent opportunity to increase your profits or hedge your portfolio risk.
But if you’re ready to start trading options, you might notice that this trading strategy isn’t available through every online brokerage firm, and the fees can vary from one broker to the next. Here are some of the best options trading platforms on the market right now.
Best Options Trading Platforms
E*TRADEE*TRADE was founded in 1982 and began online trading just a year later, making it a veteran in the online trading space. The company, now owned by Morgan Stanley, offers commission-free trading and affordable options contracts that make it an attractive option if you're looking for an options platform.
Low fees for equity and index options contracts: You pay just $0.50 a contract when buying more than 30 trades a quarter. If buying less, it’s $0.65 per contract.
$1.50 fee for futures options contracts: If trading futures, E*TRADE charges a reasonable fee.
Advanced trading tools: E*TRADE offers award-winning trading tools for options including the ability to weigh risk and rewards, create a customizable options chain, hone your strategy and more.
Dime buyback Program: E*TRADE allows you to close short options positions without a contract fee if they’re priced at $0.10 or less.
Cryptocurrency trading: With E*TRADE, you can also trade cryptocurrency future options for $2.50 per contract.
Who It’s For
Like TD Ameritrade, E*TRADE is well-suited to advanced options investors who can take advantage of its analytics and scenario tools. Because E*TRADE offers discounts for high trade volume, it’s also best for those who plan to trade 30 or more options contracts per quarter.
TradeStationTradeStation has one of the most powerful online trading platforms on the market. Like many other platforms, it offers commission-free trading and some of the most advanced trading tools. TradeStation specifically offers a robust options trading tool with plenty of educational resources to help you get started.
Fee structure: TradeStation charges between $0.50 – $0.60 for equity and index options contracts, and $1.50 fee for futures options contracts.
Multiple account structures: When you sign up for TradeStation, you can have either a TS GO or TS SELECT account depending on your initial deposit. TS GO customers get cheaper options contracts.
OptionStation Pro: TradeStation’s desktop platform provides advanced trading analytics and the ability to run different scenarios before quickly placing trades.
Educational tools: TradeStation offers plentiful educational tools and resources to help you learn options trading, including a free downloadable guide.
Who It’s For
TradeStation offers plenty of advanced analytics features, making it perfect for investors who can take advantage of them. Because TS SELECT customers get cheaper options contracts, TradeStation is especially affordable for those who can meet the funding requirement for a TS SELECT account.
Fee structure: Tastyworks charges a $1.00 fee to open a stock or exchange-traded fund (ETF) option, $2.50 to open a futures option and $1.50 to open a micro futures contract.There is no closing commission on options trades.
In-app trading inspiration: Tastyworks allows you to see exciting new trades to help inspire you for your next options trade.
Tech features: Tastyworks has a variety of trading and analytics features, including curve analysis, quick roll, order adjustments and more.
Who It’s For
Tastyworks has a unique pricing structure where you pay a commission to open a contract, but not to close one. They also cap the commission at $10, which can reduce costs for higher-volume options traders.
Interactive BrokersInteractive Brokers consistently ranks as one of the top trading platforms for options and other securities because of its transparency, low trading fees, and trading tools and analysis. They offer both tiered and fixed pricing structures, where you’ll either pay a fixed per-contract amount or an amount that’s based on your options trading volume.
Fixed and tiered pricing: Interactive Brokers charges a $0.65 fee for options contracts with fixed pricing, and $0.15 – $0.65 fee for options contracts with tiered pricing.
OptionsTrader: OptionsTrade is Interactive Broker’s robust trading tool where you can create and manage your options orders.
Options Strategy Builder: The company has strategy tools to help you plan your next trade, access different trade combinations, forecast, and more.
Who It’s For
Interactive Brokers is ideal for sophisticated active traders who can take advantage of their robust tools, as well as those with IBKR Pro accounts who can enjoy the tiered pricing.
RobinhoodRobinhood is a well-known trading platform used by retail investors. Its commission-free investing made it popular during a time where few were offering that. It focuses on the investments enjoyed by active traders, including stocks and options contracts. Robinhood has the simplest platform of all the brokers with the fewest tools and resources, but it has the benefit of entirely free trading.
No commission or contract fees: Unlike other platforms on this list, Robinhood does not charge fees for options trading.
Easy to use app and interface: While many companies offer robust but complex interfaces for traders, Robinhood's app is streamlined for ease-of-use.
Who It’s For
Robinhood is for the investor who wants a simple platform and no commission or contract fees.
Webull is a simple online brokerage firm that offers commission-free trading on select types of securities, including Webull. The service appeals to investors who prefer to do their trading on the app. Despite its simplicity and mobile-first attitude, Webull still offers an in-depth analysis tool to help you plan your trades.
No commission or contract fees: Webull does not charge fees for options trading.
In-depth analysis tool: Webull partners with Nasdaq to bring premier market data to its customers.
Who It’s For
Webull offers the simplicity and fee-free trading that Robinhood offers, but with more in-depth analysis tools to help investors learn the market.
How Did We Choose Them?
With all of the trading platforms on the market today, you may be wondering how we choose the trading options platforms on this list. Two of our priorities when crafting this list were fees and analysis tools.
Some platforms like TD Ameritrade, E*TRADE and TradeStation really shine in both areas. Each offers affordable contracts with excellent digital tools. Other platforms, such as Robinhood and Webull, have less robust tools but fees that simply can’t be beaten.
Where Can You Practice Options Trading?
Options is an advanced trading strategy that comes with more risk than simply trading stocks. Because of that, it’s important that you fully understand how these investments work before you get started. Options trading simulators allow you to practice trading options. You’ll get to know exactly how these contracts work, how to execute them and what the potential risks are.
Two of the best platforms to practice trading options and learn the ropes are TD Ameritrade’s paperMoney platform and E*TRADE’s Power E*TRADE. If you plan to use TD Ameritrade or E*TRADE for your options trading, you’ll already have a good understanding of the platforms.
Find out more >>> An Overview of Options Trading
The Bottom Line
Options trading can be confusing and definitely isn’t right for beginner investors, but it can be an exciting investment strategy once you’re prepared. Part of being prepared for options trading is finding the best options trading platform.
While not every online broker offers options trading, there are many excellent choices to choose from. Each one has something unique to offer, so when you’re choosing a platform, be sure to consider your specific needs. Some platforms are better for beginners, thanks to their educational resources. Others are perfect for experienced pros and offer advanced analysis tools. The good news is that there’s a platform for every options trade.