ThinkorSwim vs TradeStation vs eSignal: Stock Trading Software Compared

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TradeStation is a poplar choice in trading platforms. They offer a brilliant and in depth trading platform but they do require a hefty start up deposit and also have fees if monthly trading minimums are not met. This might not be the best choice for the

When choosing a trading platform, it is very important to review all aspects of the service. After all you are not just investing in the software: you are using the software as an investment. Below is a review of 3 of the top trading platforms: TradeStation, NinjaTrader, and ThinkorSwim.


  •  Stocks, mutual funds, IRA's, futures, Forex

Meet TradeStation

Trade Station is a subsidiary of Japan Moxes group which was founded in 1982.Trade Station's trading platform is not for the technically challenged. The platform is advanced in comparison to some of the other ones offered by other sites. This is not necessarily a downfall. If you are quick to learn it is possible you could adapt to the code TradeStation is written in, Easy Language. Trade station is technologically advanced but customizable. This could allow traders to increase efficiency through modification.


  • TradeStation offers automated trading.
  • TradeStation has an iPhone app.
  • TradeStation allows you to give commands.
  • TradeStation has some of the lowest commissions for futures trading.


  • If you do not meet monthly trading minimums you will be charged additional fees.
  • TradeStation requires that you have a minimum $5000 deposit.
  • TradeStation may be difficult for to learn for those who are not familiar with the advanced technology.


If you meet the minimum trading requirement you will be charged a monthly data stream fee of $25.

  • Stocks- 2 choices
    • Starting a .6 cents per share
    • Flat rates starting at $4.99 per trade
  • Options- 2 choices
    • Starting at $1.00 per contact
    • Flat rates starting at $4.99
  • Futures
    • Unbundled - 25 cents per side per contract
    • Bundled - 25 cents per side per contract

Customer Reviews.

 "The new dynamic array functions will not accept static arrays as inputs. Note that this is due to the fact the dynamic and static arrays are treated differently internally."

"I joined up almost a year ago and have played with the 9.0 platform since then. For data, back testing, speed and overall ease of use, and live executions I'm very happy with what they provide. The productivity improvement alone makes it worth the cost. I haven't had any reliability issues. I tried a couple other popular platforms and TradeStation has been superior all around. The monthly fees are a minor expense to the profitable trader. "


TradeStation is a BBB accredited business and holds an A+ with the Better Business Bureau.


  •  Stocks, Forex and Futures

Meet Ninja Trader

Established in 2004 and headquarters in Denver, Colorado. The program that that allows you to allows you to use market analytics, trade system development and trade. NinjaTrader™ is FREE to use for advanced charting, market analytics, trading system development and trade simulation. This a great feature for those who are just starting out. Ninja Trader also gives you the ability to simulate historical data now. This is a unique feature.


  • Offers free educational tools to aid users in using ninja trade
  • You can take a lengthy tour of the software, test and experiment with all of the different features.
  • NinjaTrader is stated to be friendly for all levels of traders.


  • Ninja Trader does not allow you to trade Options, Mutual Funds or IRAs.
  • NinjaTrader Is not set up for automatic trading.
  • Ninja Trader Pricing are as listed on site

Lifetime License

  • Single broke
    • Single payment $995
    • 4 monthly payments $449
  • Multi-broker
    • Single payment $1495
    • 4 monthly payments $449
  • Lease
    • $600 annual
    • $50 monthly
    • $330 semiannual
    • $55 monthly
    • $180 quarterly lease
    • Auto renewal

Customer Reviews

"I have been using Ninja trader and Multi-charts for several years. With NT I mostly associate frustration. Once you start developing seriously you start running into bugs, oddities and limitations which you are forced to spend time working around. eg. Back test on BID/ASK, just doesn’t work reliably. Impossible to get the same back test results as in Multi-charts. Which has been verified to reflect reality? For discretionary traders NT can work though. But if you want to trade automated, avoid it and you will avoid lots of frustration with the software and the customer service."

"This program is an all-around good trading platform with great tech support via their forums. It is not too difficult to find resources and indicators. The system is intuitive. Due to my lack of coding skills, I may be unable to unlock this platforms true potential. The auto trading wizard is good, but could be improved. However, blood hound is a great companion for non-coders to use together with ninja."


Ninja Traders does not have a listing with the Better Business Bureau. Businesses are not required to be accredited by the BBB.


  •  Stocks, options, mutual funds, Forex, futures

Meet ThinkorSwim

ThinkorSwim is an online trading platform powered by Ameritrade.Its introduction to the trading world was in 1999. Prior to their merge with Ameritrade, ThinkorSwim was voted #1 online broker by Barons Online Brokers.


  • Offers mobile apps for four different devices
  • High quality of research amenities
  • ThinkorSwim allows you the option of opening a demo account.
  • Think or Swim has low fees.


  • $500 dollar account balance minimum
  • The platform is slightly delayed.


  • Stocks and EFT $9.99
  • Options $9.99 +$0.75 cents per contract
  • No load mutual funds $49.99
  • Futures $3.50 per contract

Customer Reviews

"The best Option platform in the market that offers all the tools needed to have a chance to succeed at trading. The commissions are high, but you only pay for what you get: a quality platform. Not an ideal as a day trading tool but great for swing trading. Lastly, I am satisfied with the customer service; I never had any issue that wasn't resolved to my satisfaction."

"I see all these people giving TOS a hard time and I don't understand, platform is free, data is free charts are free. You get what you pay for. I never have experienced freezing or delays, yes the platform has just totally crashed a couple times but who hasn't? I recently started Using Advantage Futures and CQG data, I pay out the ass for all this stuff and yeah the commissions are dirt cheap but unless you're doing 40 rts + a day it isn't worth the aggravation. And as I mentioned before if you are an active trader TOS will negotiate commissions on futures trades."


ThinkorSwim is not a Better Business Bureau accredited business and currently holds an F rating. They have only had to claims. One of the factors of their rating is their failure to respond.