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Given how easy it is to find an online stock broker, determining which online broker is best for you can take some research. You can choose best stock broker from this and find the best trading platform for you. From penny stocks to an ETF, you want online trading to be as user-friendly as possible.
Remember, however, that the best brokers should match your needs. The broker your neighbor loves may not work for you, and that is why there are several options available to you. Stock trading is subjective in many ways, and you want a trading tool, investor support and more in an online brokerage account.
Best Online Stock Brokers and Platforms
Once you know what you’re looking for in an online broker, you can make an informed decision on which stock broker to choose. For example, if you plan on making investments in foreign stock markets and already have considerable experience operating in the financial markets, Interactive Brokers might make a good choice.
The best stock trading platform should dovetail with your needs and investment goals. Moreover, a brokerage firm should offer a level of service that helps you feel comfortable when you spend your money. Plus, you want the site to have all the information you need.
For example, the site should explain an options trade so that you understand what that sort of investment entails. You should also expect your online trading account to link back to your dashboard where you can quickly check your account stats, read the news, etc.
After you’ve researched and selected a stockbroker, you can usually open a paper trading or demo account without a deposit. This lets you practice and check out the broker’s services and online platform. This is the perfect time to invest in something like a mutual fund if you’re unfamiliar, or you may want to try unique products that you want to study. Without question, this is one of the biggest advantages of an online stock brokerage.
To help make your search easier, we have selected the best online stock brokers in 10 different categories after reviewing their platforms, research tools and supported asset classes. Many online brokers also offer their investing services free of commissions, although other charges and inactivity fees may apply. Remember, a brokerage firm should not charge a standard trading fee that you feel cuts into your margins.
Intermediate Traders and Investors
1. Best for Mobile Traders: Webull
Webull offers both a mobile-based and desktop app that are highly intuitive and perfect for intermediate and advanced traders. The Webull platforms feature fundamental and technical analysis tools that include advanced charting and technical indicators.
Consumers can trade over 5,000 stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs,) stock trading or options trading on Webull’s platforms free of commissions. You can also open an account without an initial deposit and try out their platforms in a paper trading account that lets you practice without risking your money.
You can even open a margin account where you can short stock — although you’ll be required to deposit a minimum of $2,000. In addition, Webull’s promotional offers include 1 free share of stock for successfully opening an account determined by random selection using Webull’s lottery system.
2. Best for Advanced Banking Products: SoFi
SoFi started as a lending and banking outfit that helps consumers refinance expensive loans, obtain personal loans or mortgages and manage their money. SoFi also allows you to invest in low-risk savings products or invest in the markets. You may use automated trading options or actively manage your account through the app or desktop application.
Automated trading from SoFi ensures that your portfolio is diversified and safe. Plus, you can invest with as little as $1.
With active investing, you can try ETFs, bonds and stocks with zero fees. You can also use SoFi to get financial news, create a watchlist of stocks you may want to invest in or cash out your earnings when you’re ready. You can even transfer from the online trading platform to your SoFi bank account.
Check the FAQs and About Us section to learn more about the company or click Contact Us at the bottom of each page. You can call or email with questions, and the company has several phone numbers that help you reach the appropriate associate.
3. Powerful Services at a Low Cost: TradeZero
TradeZero is a platform positioned so that it can serve all those who want the chance to trade with zero commissions, scale their portfolios and avail themselves of high-quality services. With TradeZero, you get direct market access at low to no cost, including:
- 24/7 live customer support
- Powerful mobile app
- A free version of what other brokers charge quite a lot of money for
If you step up to Zero Pro, you get more functionality, but the Zero Free dashboard is just as complex and rich with options and nuances. Review how TradeZero offers free trades and confine yourself to those securities or branch out if you like. From professionals to novices, TradeZero helps you get started, save money and increase your net worth.
Read through the FAQs to learn more, check out the Platinum service if you’re trading with over $50,000 in your account and refer a friend from a bonus or two.
4. Lowest Cost Overall: Interactive Brokers
Interactive Broker’s award-winning platform and services were designed with professional international traders in mind. You get market access 24 hours a day, 6 days a week, and can trade in 135 different markets in 33 countries with 23 currencies via this truly interactive broker.
The company’s trading platforms include a basic Client Portal, its flagship platform, the Trader Workstation (TWS) and a mobile application. The IBKR Application Programming Interface (API) is available in Excel and the powerful FIX API.
The firm’s pricing depends on whether you choose IBKR Lite or IBKR Pro, although U.S. stocks and ETFs can be traded commission-free. Because investing can be scaled to your budget, you never feel as though you’re overpaying.
5. Best for Web Platforms: E*TRADE
E*TRADE was one of the original online stockbrokers and now provides commission-free trading in U.S. stocks and ETFs. You can also trade options and over 7,000 mutual funds, including more than 4,000 no-load and no-transaction fee funds.
Other offerings include 6 different types of individual retirement funds (IRAs) and 5 IRAs designed for small businesses.
E*TRADE’s web-based trading platforms are called E*TRADE and Power E*TRADE. They can both be used on your mobile device, so you can trade on the go, as well as on your desktop computer.
You can open your investing account without a deposit at E*TRADE, but you’ll need to deposit at least $500 to keep the account open. The broker also runs a bank where you can open a savings or checking account or even borrow money via an E*TRADE line of credit.
6. Best for Intuitive Trading Platforms: Tradier
When you need more intuitive trading options, take a look at what Tradier can do for you. More than anything, Tradier allows you to customize your dashboard with the Sandbox feature to meet your needs, ensuring that you can trade stocks, options and ETFs.
For $10 per month, you get all-inclusive services for all asset types and more. Whether you prefer Sandbox or TradeHawk, there is an option that’s right for you.
You can test your theories with paper trading, learn more about investing on the site or reach out to the customer service team for further assistance.
7. Best for Beginners: Robinhood
Robinhood was among the 1st online brokers to offer commission-free trading in penny stocks, trending stocks, ETFs and options. As a pioneer of the free trade model, this broker also allows action on select cryptocurrencies via its platform in some U.S. states. Plus, the company has entered the stock market with its own ticker (NASDAQ: HOOD).
The broker’s website provides a simple and web-based investing platform, in addition to its flagship mobile app that lets you access price charts and some other tools. While novices may find the platform adequate for investing, most seasoned traders will prefer platforms with more technical analysis indicators and tools. With that being said, Robinhood has moved into the options trading market, potentially attracting some seasoned traders.
Although Robinhood requires a $2,000 minimum for its Robinhood Gold account, its standard account has no minimum deposit and will suit beginners with limited funds. Fractional shares are also supported by this online stock broker, giving you spending power even if you have a small budget.
8. Best for Short Selling: Cobra Trading
Cobra Trading is the go-to broker for short selling with exceptional access to stock borrows and direct access routing. Cobra gives you the ability to take advantage of the best opportunities in the market. This brokerage firm has been in business for nearly 20 years and maintains the perks of a small firm.
With Cobra’s platform, you get:
- Active Trading Accounts over $25K
- Competitive Access to Short Opportunities
- Direct Access Routing
- Immediate and Available Client Service
- The DAS Investing Platform
Cobra exclusively opens and services any active brokerage account above $25K. Cobra allows you to trade in a way that a “free broker” cannot.
9. Best for Advanced Traders: TradeStation
TradeStation’s trading platforms were designed with the advanced trader in mind, however, new traders can access many of the features used by professionals through TradeStation’s GO account option. The broker’s wide range of asset classes include stocks, bonds, options, mutual funds, futures and cryptocurrencies.
The platform offers 0 commission stock and ETF trades, but options trades cost $0.60 on TD’s Select account and $0.50 on the broker’s GO account. TradeStation offers more than 2,000 mutual funds but charges a $14.95 commission.
Other assets offered by this online brokerage that incur commission charges are stock options, bonds, futures and futures options. Balances held in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and USD Coin (USDC) can earn as much as 8% interest at TradeStation.
10. Best for Fractional Share Trading: Charles Schwab
Charles Schwab has been providing discount brokerage services since 1971 and offers a wide range of services for traders from beginner traders to seasoned professionals, including its proprietary trading platform.
If you have limited funds, you can try penny stocks. Plus, the broker offers a fractional share service known as Schwab Stock Slices. It lets you trade in amounts as little as $5 of any stock, so if you invest $5 in a stock worth $111, then you would own a 4.5% fractional share of the company. You can try a mutual fund, options trading or you can diversify with a range of online stock products. Because the market is so expansive, there are several derivative products you may want to try.
The customizable service lets you choose as many as 30 stocks to trade each time you enter an order. The service is available after you’ve opened and funded an account. Like Schwab’s regular brokerage service, buying stocks with Schwab Stock Slices is commission-free.
The broker has excellent research and educational resources, and you can get automated investment advice with professional guidance, plan and invest with a financial advisor or invest on your own as a self-directed investor.
11. Best Self-Directed Trading Platform: Axos Self-Directed Trading
Self-directed trading is extremely popular in today’s world, but you may not know where to look. Axos Bank provides you with a platform that offers all the options and insights you need, low fees and an easy way to take back control of your portfolio.
When you register for Axos Self-Directed Trading, you can choose between varying accounts, including:
If you want extra insights, more spending power, and a wider range of financial instruments, subscribe to Axos Elite. With Axos Elite, you get extended trading hours up to 7 pm, lower fees, more market insights, Tip Ranks and even margin trading.
Affordable trading at Axos starts with:
- $0 for stocks
- $0 for ETFs
- $1 per options contract
- $9.95 per mutual fund trade
On top of all this, you can opt out of margin trading at any time. Move your portfolio to a place where it’s cheaper and easier to invest, especially when you have a few stock ideas of your own.
Stock Research Platforms
Stock research platforms vary in what they offer. Yes, you have a brokerage account, but you need to know what to do as an active trader, new investor or traditional broker. Some focus on picking stocks, while others provide fundamental and technical analysis tools you can use to select your own stocks. You can review items like the expense ratio of a managed fund, weigh your investment options and commence with online trading when you’re ready.
For example, Benzinga Pro offers a wealth of news and research on its research platform. You can select from 3 subscription levels: Basic, Essential and Enterprise. Apply all the information you find to your stock trading pursuits, tracking your results so that you can create a trading plan that will take you from beginner investor to experienced investor.
With this level of information, you can trade on your retirement account, start trading stock with reserve cash or bolster your account with additional retirement funds. You don’t need to stop investing just because you stopped working.
In addition to a news feed, you can use Benzinga Pro to access watchlist alerts, a financial calendar, stock market movers, a stock screener, sentiment indicators, market signals, a squawk box and an options screener. You can also view either Nasdaq-delayed or real time quotes depending on your subscription level.
This highly customizable research service keeps you connected to the financial world and even lets you interact with their newsdesk when you have any questions about current financial news. It also offers exclusive content and tips that could prove invaluable to traders.
If you haven’t tried this great Benzinga service yet, you can register for a free 2 week trial today.
Which Broker Suits You Best?
All the stockbrokers mentioned above have different features that might work better for certain people over others. A discount broker might be a good place to start with online trading. However, frequent traders may prefer a more robust brokerage that costs a little bit more. The best stock trading platform is the one that optimally fulfills your particular needs, going above and beyond a brokerage account. In short, it should always make investing easy.
Many of the best stock brokers also offer demo or paper trading accounts that let you gauge their services and platforms, so you can try them out before committing any funds. In the end, ensure that your online broker makes you feel comfortable and offers quality results.
Stock Movers of the Day
Session: Nov 15, 2021 4:00 pm – Nov 16, 2021 12:35 pm
Session: Nov 15, 2021 4:00 pm – Nov 16, 2021 12:35 pm
Frequently Asked Questions
Are online stock brokers safe?
Duly regulated online brokers like those listed above are insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corp. (SIPC) that protects assets held with the broker up to $500,000, including $250,000 held in cash.
Which online broker has the lowest fees?
All of the brokers mentioned above charge no commissions for U.S. stock and ETF transactions. If you plan on trading other exchange traded assets like futures and options, you might have to pay exchange-related fees.
Does Warren Buffet use a stock broker?
Warren Buffet is not a registered broker, so he and his companies must buy exchange listed stocks through a broker just like the rest of us.
0 Commissions and no deposit minimums. Everyone gets smart tools for smart investing. Webull supports full extended hours trading, which includes full pre-market (4:00 AM – 9:30 AM ET) and after hours (4:00 PM – 8:00 PM ET) sessions. Webull Financial LLC is registered with and regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). It is also a member of the SIPC, which protects (up to $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash) against the loss of cash and securities held by a customer at a financially-troubled SIPC-member brokerage firm.