9.75
/ 10
9.65
/ 10
9.53
/ 10
9.43
/ 10
9.35
/ 10
9.03
/ 10
8.98
/ 10
8.90
/ 10
8.63
/ 10
7.83
/ 10
Platform & Tools
PreviousNext
Platform Ease of Use
A+
A-
A
A
B+
A
A
A-
B+
C
Mobile App Functionality
A+
A+
A+
A+
B+
C
C
A
B+
C
Option Strategies
15
12
15
16
12
8
3
2
11
3
Analytic Charts
35
63
300+
69
39
27
34
29
26
31
Automated Trading
Forecasting
Risk-vs-Reward
Stock Analysis Review: For 10 years, we have reviewed several stock analysis programs in the industry. Over the past year, we devoted hundreds of hours testing and evaluating 15 brokers to find you the best.
With the right stock analysis software, you can sharpen your strategy and find great stocks poised to outperform.
Fees & Commission
PreviousNext
Average Trader's Yearly Cost
$84.15
$84.15
$118.15
$118.15
$84.15
$84.15
$84.15
$118.15
$85.00
$84.15
Online Stock Trades
$4.95
$4.95
$6.95
$6.95
$4.95
$4.95
$4.95
$6.95
$5.00
$4.95
Options Base Fee
$4.95
$4.95
$6.95
$6.95
$4.95
$4.95
$4.95
$6.95
$5.00
$4.95
Options Per Contract
$0.50
$0.65
$0.75
$0.75
$0.65
$0.65
$0.75
$0.70
$0.50
$0.75
10 Options Trades
$9.95
$11.45
$14.45
$17.49
$11.45
$11.45
$11.45
$13.95
$10.00
$14.45
Options Exercise & Assignment
$4.95
$7.95
$19.99
$19.99
$8.95
$9.95/$4.95
$0.00
$17.00
$14.95
$14.95
Broker-Assisted Trade Fee
$25.00
$32.95
$44.99
$25.00
$0.00
$20.00
$25.00
$32.00
$50.00
$19.95
Margin Rates
8.00% - 3.50%
8.825% - 4.00%
9.50% - 6.75%
9.25% - 5.75%
8.25% - 6.00%
9.25% - 4.50%
8.5% to 6%
8.25% - 5.50%
8.50% - 6.25%
8.25% - 4.5%
Minimum Investment
No Minimum
$2,500
No Minimum
$500
No Minimum
No Minimum
$1,000
$2,500
$5,000
No Minimum
Education & Resources
PreviousNext
Investor Education
A-
A-
A-
A+
A-
B+
A-
A-
C
D+
User Training
A+
B-
A
A-
A-
A-
A
A+
A-
B-
Simulated Trading
Broker Support

Stock Analysis Review

Why Choose Stock Analysis Software?

At the top of the charts, so to speak, is OptionsHouse, with its incredibly easy-to-use platform, low-cost trades, well-thought-out mobile app functionality and numerous tools. It not only helps you analyze stocks, options and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), it also offers educational resources if you're new to online trading. This is one of the many stock market analysis software programs that don’t require a minimum investment, so you can get started trading right away.

Another benefit to newcomers in trading stocks is the simulated training, or paper money account, option. It allows you to test your strategy with faux cash to see how you'd fare in the market before you pull the trigger on a trade. It also offers 15 preset option strategies, which means you can experiment with strategies easily. These are the main reasons why OptionsHouse receives our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.

Best Stock Analysis Software: OptionsHouse

Best Mobile App for Stock Analysis

More of us are more mobile than ever, and that's not just to check news and Twitter feeds. On-the-go stock trades are possible with many of the stock analysis programs that are available, but Fidelity does it the best, and that's one reason why it was named Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner. You can quickly and easily add funds to your account – simply snap a photo of a check with your smartphone and follow the steps to deposit money.

You can essentially perform almost any function through the mobile app that you can through the desktop version of this platform. It’s easy  to set up alerts and to trade stocks, options, ETFs and more. Plus, you can quickly connect to a Fidelity representative through the app. Fidelity has one of the highest minimum investments of $2,500, which may be a deal breaker for you.

Best Mobile App: Fidelity

Best for Technical Analysis

If you're an experienced trader, one of the most important features you're looking for is a variety of analytic charts. The Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award winner, TD Ameritrade, offers free stock market technical analysis software that includes more than 300 charts through its thinkorswim platform, so you can forecast a stock based on several variations of its past momentum, trend, price, supply and so on. You also have the option of keeping things simple on the web platform or mobile app.

Best Technical Analysis: TD Ameritrade

How We Determined the Best Stock Analysis Software

To choose the best stock analysis software, we studied the available software and focused on the most reputable brands. It was a requirement that each platform included online access and a mobile application. It's important to traders to have access to platforms with analytic tools and options trading, so if a program didn't include these, we didn't consider it for our comparison. Our reviewers received full access to the trading platforms so they could test each one beyond what a demo allows.

What We Tested, What We Found

Our reviewers spent several hours using the desktop platform and the mobile apps for each stock analysis program. We started with a trade and then set up alerts and watch lists. Then we tried out advanced trades and option chains. We also tested the analysis tools and charts, all while testing the simplicity of setting up a bank account and tax program with the software. All of these tests were also conducted on the mobile app for each broker.

Ease of Use

Making a trade should be easy, whether you do it through the trading platform or through a watch list. The programs with the simplest trading process scored highest. We also favored the stock software that allowed us to set up more than one alert based on more advanced measures than just prices rising or falling. We considered the ease of use in setting up and managing option chains as well since advanced traders appreciate easy-to-execute features too.

Mobile App

Even if you prefer to use the desktop software for stock and options trading, you know how important it is to have a mobile app for quick decisions. Whether you're out and about, commuting or just waking up in the morning, having a miniaturized version of the desktop platform is helpful. If a broker's app allowed us to set up multiple alerts and made it easy to deposit money into our trading accounts, it received a higher score.

Trading Tools

Pardon the pun, but one of the most important features of an online stock trading platform are the tools of the trade. That means the best stock analysis software offers a variety of technical indicators so you can consider the market trends. Although you're unlikely to use the more than 300 offered by TD Ameritrade, it's good to have options. For those traders who don't have time to constantly monitor the market, many of the platforms we tested include automated trading, so trades are made for you if they meet your designated parameters and rules.

Pricing

You want to make money on the stock market, not lose it to trades or options fees. That's why we carefully considered the costs and fees of each broker in our comparison. The competition here is fierce, so the commission price has dropped considerably in the last year – by almost a dollar on average. Simply choosing a broker based on per-trade cost isn't enough to get the lowest price. The range is $4.95 to $8.99, depending on how many trades you make per month. Options range from $0.40 to $1.50 per contract, so this can add up if you’re trading dozens of contracts.

Another important number to consider is the minimum investment for an account. Most of the stock analysis services we looked at have no minimums, but there are a few that do. The lowest minimum of the platforms we tested is $500 from E*TRADE, while TradeStation requires you have $5,000 deposited, the highest on our list.

You should keep margin rates in mind when you're choosing a broker, but we did not factor the rates into our scores. You are required to pay interest on the amount you have in your account, but these rates vary with different economic changes. Generally, higher account balances are eligible for lower interest rates.

Education & Training

How stock brokers approach educational materials is important, whether you're a beginner, novice or expert in the field. Investment education is a great way to get acquainted with the terms of the industry, if you're a beginner. A thorough knowledgebase that you can easily search is great for traders of any level who want to learn or brush up on certain strategies. We gave more credit to the brokers that also included video tutorials, blogs and webinars that go beyond teaching you how to use the platforms. Two brokers that scored high in offering helpful, searchable training sections are E*TRADE and Scottrade.

What Stocks Should I Invest In?

To get a good start investing in stocks and options, you need to know which tools are going to be right for you. We can share what we discovered in our tests of each of these platforms, but we can't tell you which stocks to trade or when the right time is to buy or sell. Our team has spent hours upon hours testing and researching these brokers and learning the best investing methods. Take a look at our articles on investing to learn about various strategies and all about ETFs. If you're curious about various strategies, start with the bull call spread. It's a vertical spread that helps minimize risk.

  • Playing It Safe: If you're wary of investing in stocks right away, but you still want your money to work for you, consider index fund ETFs. They’re like mutual funds but with lower costs. When you buy an index fund ETF, you get a piece of each stock within the index. Because they diversify your money across numerous companies, ETFs are considered safer than investing in an individual stock. But since some indexes are riskier than others, be sure you invest in an ETF that tracks a broad index like the S&P 500.
  • Slow and Steady: A long-term investment strategy is also a lower-risk way to go. Stocks are usually reliable – especially if you choose stocks with long histories. Buy the stock and hold it. Over time, you'll collect dividends, which is essentially a slice of the company's pie.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street: If you're more interested in a riskier approach to investing, you can try your hand at trading currencies, also known as forex trading. You could also look into day trading or options trading.

What Do I Need to Know About Trading Stocks Online?

There's more to becoming your own stock broker than knowing what stocks to invest in and how to find your entries and exits. Once you've chosen the stock analysis software that's right for you, it's a good idea to read everything you can find on strategies, the risk-to-reward ratio and why diversifying is important.

  • Diversify Your Portfolio: One of the most important pieces of advice you'll get from almost any financial advisor, fellow investor or broker is to make sure your portfolio is diversified. It should be full of various investments to minimize your risk. If you put all of your money into one stock and it sinks, recovery is going to be a long and hard road.
  • Determine Your Risk Tolerance: You need to decide how involved you want to be with the trading process. Are you going to actively check your portfolio daily or multiple times per day? If you plan to buy and sell like crazy, then you're looking for high-risk, low-stability trading, like day traders. Whatever style of trading you choose, a stop-loss can keep you from trading emotionally. It's tempting to hold on to a stock that's plummeting, hoping it'll recover, but it may be wise to set up a limit.
  • Entries: Finding the best moment to buy a stock can be tricky, and it'll take time for you to learn how to spot the floor. You can read plenty of how-to guides that will teach you strategies for finding the floor of a price for the best entry point. It's usually a mix of technical and fundamental analysis. Look at the history of the stock price, but also study the financials and news on the company itself. And when it comes down to it, realize that it’s impossible to see the future, so don’t expect to find those perfect troughs that seem so obvious in hindsight.
  • Exits: Getting out at the right time is also important, especially if you're day trading. Like finding the best time to buy a stock (the floor), you need to figure out the best time to sell a stock (the ceiling). This is where you should lean heavily on stops that you can set up through your stock analysis platform so you don't get in over your head.

Other Recommendations

Although we highly recommend the top three award-winning brokers in our lineup, we consider the whole lineup to be full of excellent choices for free stock market analysis software with reasonable and competitive prices on trades and fees.

Best Education Offerings

All traders can benefit from more education about investing, but it's especially important for newcomers. E*TRADE offers one of the best combinations of investment knowledge in the form of courses, webinars and blogs. Not only does it include searchable archives for users – it also updates its resources often.

The training guides from E*TRADE include step-by-step training, videos and tutorials that are meant to help you learn its platform as well as trading in general. The visual guides and large knowledgebase are particularly helpful.

Best Education: E*TRADE

Best Simulated Trade Tools

Most of the stock analysis software we tested offers a simulation tool, but our reviewers preferred optionsXpress' paper trading tool. You start with $25,000 of fake money to test strategies. You can also use its forecasting tools and the risk vs reward analysis tool to figure out which strategies you want to try.

Best Simulator: optionsXpress

Choosing a stock trading platform is almost as important as choosing the stocks you want to invest in. In a way, the broker is your partner in your short- and long-term investments. Each of these 12 stock analysis programs offers online and mobile platforms with tools and strategies to help you grow your money. We've tested each of the platforms and tools and compared the prices to rank them fairly and help make your decision easier.