TradeStation Review 2022

By Traders, for Traders

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TradeStationYou never want to overstate the case on anything, but TradeStation may well be the gold standard in online investment brokerage platforms. The platform takes features and applications formerly available only to brokers and puts them in the hands of everyday investors, often at ridiculously low cost.
Commissions & Fees - 9
Customer Service - 8.5
Ease of Use - 7
Tools & Resources - 9
Investment Options - 9
Account Options - 7.5

8

TradeStation may be a bit on the pricey side, but it's a decent trading platform for active traders. It has a great selection of investments, including stocks, bonds, ETFs, funds, foreign securities, options and other instruments.

TradeStation is best known as a professional electronic trading platform for financial market traders, and for its analysis software and electronic trading platform.

TradeStation Features

Minimum Investment$500
Stock/ETF Trades$0
Options Trades$0.60 per contract
Mutual Funds$14.95
Investment TypesStocks, OTC/Penny Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Options, Forex, Cryptocurrencies, Futures
Accounts Types
  • Taxable
  • Joint
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Rollover IRA
  • SEP IRA
  • SIMPLE IRA
  • 401(k)
  • Solo 401(k)
  • Trusts
  • Limited Partnerships
  • Partnerships
  • Coverdell
  • 529
  • Custodial
  • Non-Profit
  • Annuities
  • Checking
  • Savings
  • Money Market
  • CDs
Broker Assisted Trade$0
Virtual Trades

Customer ServicePhone, email and chat: M-F 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. ET; hours vary based on service required

What Is TradeStation?

TradeStation is an online brokerage service, best known for its analysis software and electronic trading platform. It services primarily the institutional trader markets and active traders. It offers a robust investment platform that provides real-time trading, as well as the ability to automate, monitor and optimize trades, and the opportunity to create your own custom features.

The platform provides the ability to have both traditional broker accounts as well as individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and allows for trading of stocks, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), bonds, foreign securities, options, cryptocurrencies and futures.

Based in Plantation, Florida, the company began operations in 1982, making it one of the better-established platforms available. It has been owned by Monex Group of Japan since 2011.

Before we get into specific TradeStation features, let’s first review what is typically the greatest source of interest to traders and investors alike — fees.

TradingApp Store

TradeStation's new TradingApp™ Store is jam-packed with useful apps that amplify the power of your investing. You can choose from custom trading apps to use within TradeStation's own mobile or online software.

It's built by traders for traders, so there's no doubt you'll find the right app to make placing orders and trades easier (and more convenient) than ever.

HighlightsAlly InvestTD AmeritradeTradeStation
Rating9.5/109/108/10
Min. Investment$0$0$500
Stock Trades$0/trade$0/trade$0/trade
Options Trades$0.65/contract$0.65/contract$0.60 per contract
Crypto Trades
Mutual Funds
Virtual Trading

What Makes TradeStation Different?

What TradeStation does, it does extremely well. In fact, the platform offers the level of trading technology typically available only to brokers and professional investors. The highlights:

  • Low trading fees: As indicated above, you can trade stocks and ETFs for $0 commission and options for $0.60 per contract. Futures also charge $0 commission and $1.50 per contract, per side. This is a godsend to high volume traders.
  • “RadarScreen” feature: This is a real-time search and tracking function allows you to identify new investment opportunities quickly. You can also customize it to follow and chart investments and market trends. This enables you to take advantage of trading opportunities ahead of the market masses.
  • “Hot Lists”: This feature is included in the TradeStation platform, and it enables you to act on unusual activity. There are more than 100 Hot Lists that will enable you to instantly see which symbols may break above the 52-week high, which symbols may gap up at open, which symbols are showing unusual activity and much more.

TradeStation also offers significant educational material to help users understand the platform and investing at large:

  • TradeStation University and TradeStation Labs: Whether a novice or a seasoned investment veteran, everyone can stand to learn more about investing. TradeStation provides excellent resources to do just that. TradeStation University provides free video tutorials, e-books and articles that will help you learn about different investment products, as well as how to best use the TradeStation platform. TradeStation Labs will help you apply what you learn about investment analysis and investment strategy.
  • A solid trader community: The platform offers substantial trader community forums, participating in hundreds of topics on issues ranging from investment strategies to how to make better use of the TradeStation platform.
  • The TradeStation aimulator: This feature allows you to test risk-free before you trade, and to do it in real time. This can be especially important if you have never done real time trading before; the simulator will give you a chance to learn how effective real time trading can be. It can also enable you to investigate new strategies and markets, all without risking your own money.
  • “EasyLanguage” feature: If you want to step outside the box and create your own custom analysis tools and trading strategies, you can do it with TradeStation’s EasyLanguage feature. EasyLanguage is a TradeStation-specific trading programming language that you can use to create or modify indicators and trading strategies in the TradeStation platform. With this feature, if you aren’t happy with certain applications, you can either modify them or create entirely new ones.

In Barron's survey of online brokers, TradeStation was previously ranked as one of the top platforms in the following categories:

  1. Best For Frequent Traders (No. 2 in the category)
  2. Best For Options Traders (No. 5 in the category)
  3. Best For International Traders (No. 2 in the category)

One of the best features of TradeStation is that the platform is constantly expanding to offer new apps and to improve on existing ones. Whatever they have that isn’t quite right will be soon enough.

TradeStation Screenshots

    TradeStation Pros & Cons

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    What You Might Not Like About TradeStation

    Though TradeStation packs a lot of benefits in one platform, it’s not without its downside.

    • The mobile app is subpar. The app is available for both the iPhone and Android phones, but it has limitations. If your phone is Windows-based you may not be able to access your account. The app also lacks alert and watch list features. The iPad mobile app is much more intuitive and allows for easier trading capabilities.

    Kevin Mercadante

    Kevin Mercadante is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of his own personal finance blog, OutOfYourRut.com. He has backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two teenage kids.

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    13 Comments

    1. TradeStation does not respond to customer support emails for active clients. I emailed and submitted forms multiple times and never received a response. If you are not able to call during their limited hours (9am-5pm Eastern time) you will receive zero customer support. After waiting over a month and resubmitting my questions multiple times only to receive automated “we’re currently very busy emails”, I transferred my account and was charged a punitive $150 fee.

      0/5 stars.

    2. Thanks for the honest feedback in the comments. I will keep looking. Anyone know a smaller brokerage whose margin department doesn’t sell you out?

    3. Absolutely DO NOT use TradeStation if you want to automate your trading. The platform is crashing non-stop. There’s no documentation on easylangugage, object-oriented easylanguage (OOEL) or their macros. The only documentation you can find is in their forum which is an utter mess. The technical stuff will push you to use the OOEL for whatever reason. OOEL is really quite illogical and old-fashioned which would be fine if there was any comprehensive documentation. You cannot login into the platform’s simulated account and live account simultaneously in case you’re expecting to do the testing and trade live at the same time. For that, you have to request additional login for 50$ per month. There are 3 different ways of sending an order (macros, OOEL, and strategy orders). I am still not understanding this nonsensical approach as to why are there 3 different ways of submitting an order. The language itself is like a split personality. I would really recommend avoiding this broker if you’re expecting to automate your trading. It’s an embarrasment.

    4. This platform is a joke, it crashes constantly, miserably bad, I cannot believe they refuse to fix their user problems. It has a mind of its own. absolutely terrible do yourself a favor and use a different platform until they fix this embarrassment

    5. I’ve read negative reviews about TradeStation as well, but haven’t seen actual problems from actual users.
      Disclaimer: Am using Trade Station myself 🙂

    6. tradestation is a terrible platform. 4 times I have been trapped in trades after they lost contact with the exchange. Then I spent 15 minutes on the phone waiting for service to find out if I was in the trade or not. Oh well the desk told me we just lost connection with the exchange, I guess you should just close your trade out at a loss. The whole platform is constantly glitchy and crashes at the worst times. IT is clunky and difficult to use. Run and take your money somewhere else.

    7. Runaway from this platform, as fast as you can, apparently they have a bug in their new platform which shows wrong account balance and if you trade futures, its a curse, as you are required certain min margin to carr position overnight. their was difference of 20% of real balance vs account balance showed on desktop software

    8. I am currently using TS. I am a relatively new trader. My may issue is that their Tech Support is horrendous. Many times I have tried to contact them by phone, only to be on hold for 40+ minutes. Their online tech support chat is offline more than it is online during business hours, even though they represent that “Chat Representatives are available Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. I have sent emails that have without having a response.

      I concur with Frank’s comment about the Trade Manager Analysis tool. At least 50% of the time when I access it to generate a report, I only get a message saying, “Please wait while the report is prepared….Requesting actual trade history.” That message stays on the screen without doing any thing more. Once I just let it run. An hour later still nothing. Come to think of it, it matches my experience in trying to call their technical support.
      I’m looking for a different platform because of these issues.

      I have not experienced issues with slow order execution, but that may be a matter of my trading style. I am also not at the level of using Easy Language, so I have no comment on that.

    9. Bad experience, very slow in orders excecution, NO recomended for day trading platform or scalping. Only Slow investing
      Tools as TradeManager Analysis very bad
      Very expensive platform having those problems and more….

    10. Just one addition. I held an account there for 2 years. I tried to create trading programs on the TradeStation platform but finally gave up and switched to MQL. Just to explain my background: I am not a professional programmer but made many programs in Excel VBA. Also I was capable to learn C++ within three years enough to create object based programs on Metatrader platform.

      So, if you intend to use TradeStation to create programs (in EasyLanguage) on your own then my advise is that you should forget it.

      Actually I gave up when tried to switch backtesting from on bar open only method to every tick method. Theoretically it is only one additional simple command in the program – but it did not work for me. Beside this I think EasyLanguage is simply chaotic and poorly organised. It tries to reach everybody therefore combines very different sources – there are COBOL-like syntaxes beside OOP features. The idea is brilliant but the execution is not – I felt other areas suffered because too much was aimed. You can buy books about EasyLanguage – but I could not feel that they would have been worth the price. For me, as a “kind of programmer” EasyLanguage, the implementation and the relationship to the background of the platform felt to be poorly organised, clumsy and cumbersome in overall.

      Well, you can hire EasyLanguage programmers. So if you can afford and can trust them then TradeStation still can be your choice. Also for manual trade it is an excellent platform (I agree 100% with all above in the review).

    11. Very good. Clear and concise review. Your review gave me all the insight that I needed decide.

      Thank you,
      Bill

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