TradeStation vs NinjaTrader vs eSignal: Day Trading Software Compared

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Day trading involves trading stocks, options, ETFs or currencies every trading day. Of course the key to being a successful day trader is to have more gains than losing trades. To make your job easier and more profitable, you need the right tools. The fol


TradeStation began in 1982 as Omega Research Inc., and in 1991, they launched their main product, TradeStation. Recently, TradeStation earned the highest overall ranking in Barron's review of online brokers and best for frequent traders along with many other awards.

TradeStation Products

TradeStation sells the following products.

  • The TradeStation trading platform.
  • TradeStation web trading that allows you to trade from anywhere
  • Radar Screen allows you to monitor the stock market in real time.
  • Portfolio Maestro is a back-testing tool with advanced analytics, optimization and performance reporting.
  • OptionStation is real-time options analysis.

TradeStation Features

With TradeStation, you can trade following all on one trading platform.

  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Futures
  • Forex
  • T-bills
  • Mutual funds
  • Bonds
  • Bulletin board and pink sheet stocks

You can use TradeStation with your browser on Windows or Mac with the following features.

  • Quote View will display up to 35 symbols which are continuously updated all day.
  • Chart analysis including symbol and interval linking and create charts using many indicators.
  • Indicator Manager allows you to add and remove indicators and arrange how you want them to appear in the charts and quote windows.
  • The web trading bar lets you place a trade quickly.

TradeStation also has apps for the Apple iPhone.

TradeStation Stocks

  • Dynamic stock market scanning and institutional quality analysis features.
  • With TradeStation, you can back-test and automate trading strategies with 90 years of historical data.
  • Rapid order execution with their direct-access technology.

TradeStation Options Trading

  • You will be able to visualize any option strategy with interactive graphs.
  • Open, create and close multiple customizable spreads.
  • Dynamic options pricing and Greek calculations.

TradeStation Futures Trading

  • Have direct access to all U.S. futures exchanges and Eurex 24 hours per day.
  • Back-test strategies with 48 years of historical data.
  • The ability to scan all futures markets in one window.

TradeStation Forex Trading

  • Buy and sell any currency pair quickly with one click of the mouse.
  • Hundreds of indicators or customize your own indicators.
  • Back-test currency trading strategies with 40 years of historical data.
  • You can track 34 currency pairs in one window.

TradeStation Software Pricing

TradeStation software pricing varies per client and what type of data you want. For equity and futures accounts, you will be billed exchange fees for any real-time exchange you choose to receive. Make sure to read the fine print concerning all of their account charges and minimum trade requirements, which might not qualify for free.


Brokerage Clients

             Software Subscribers





TradeStation Platform


$249.95 per month

Simulated trading only

$299.95 per month

Simulated trading only

Web Trading






$59.95 / month

$59.95 / month

Portfolio Maestro


$59.95 / month

$59.95 / month



$59.95 / month

$59.95 / month

TradeStation Commissions

TradeStation has numerous commission plans and you should choose the one that best fits your monthly trading frequency.

Stocks and ETFs:

  • Per-share commission is 1 cent per share up to 500 shares and 0.6 cents after.
  • Flat fee commission ranges from $4.99 per trade for 200 or more trades per month to $9.99 per trade for 1-9 trades per month.

Options Pricing:

  • Per contract commission is $1 per contract with no base or ticket charge, minimum 1 ticket, market or limit.
  • Flat-fee trading ranges from $4.99 per trade plus $0.20 per contract for 200 or more trades per month to $9.99 per trade plus $0.70 per contract for 1-9 trades per month.

Futures Pricing:

Unbundled futures cost between $0.25 and $1.20 per contract per side. Commissions get lower the more monthly contracts you trade. There are also standard regulatory fees for each market.

Forex Pricing:

There are no commission fees for forex trades. TradeStation is paid from the small markup in each trade, the spread. 


NinjaTrader is a developer and seller of their high-performance NinjaTrader trading software. They were established in 2004 and have their headquarters in Denver, Colorado with offices in Germany and Amsterdam. NinjaTrader has won numerous Stocks & Commodities Readers Choice and T2W Members Choice awards.

NinjaTrader Products

NinjaTrader sells their NinjaTrader trading software and Kinetick market data service.

  • NinjaTrader is free to use for trade system development, trading simulations and advanced charting and analytics. You only pay when you use NinjaTrader to execute live trades through a broker.
  • Kinetick has real-time quotes and historical market data and is free to use for end of day data.

NinjaTrader Features

NinjaTrader can benefit all traders at every level of trading experience. NinjaTrader features include:

  • Fast order execution.
  • Trade management gives you the ability to trade without emotions with trade bracketing.
  • Advanced charting
  • Market analytics
  • Live real time trade simulator allows you to practice and test different trading strategies.
  • Customer development
  • 3rd party library lets you extend NinjaTrader with over 300 add-on products.

NinjaTrader Advanced Analysis

With NinjaTrader, you can chart and analyze stocks, futures and forex and much more including:

  • Their advanced charting allows you to trade from your chart and use multi-series charting with different types of indicators.
  • Strategy analyzer lets you perform back testing, basket testing and walk forward optimization.
  • The market analyzer allows you to sort, monitor and rank over 150 indicators.
  • Trade performance is where you can analyze your strategies or live trades and includes more than 80 performance metrics.
  • News and alerts windows and level II market data window

NinjaTrader Manual Trading

  • Advanced Trade Management (ATM) gives you control over stop loss and profit target orders plus manage trailing stops.
  • SuperDOM gives you single click order entry, order modifications and cancellations.
  • FX Pro is the screen for active forex traders. 

NinjaTrader Automated Trading

With NinjaTrader, you can automate trading strategies whether they were developed with NinjaTrader or another application such as TradeStation.


Simulate is an important area that can sharpen your trading skills and test your strategies. You can view a tick by tick display of stock market action at user defined speeds and replay multiple markets simultaneously.


Kinetick is their preferred real time quotes and historical market data provider and is optimized for NinjaTrader 7.

  • Free end of day service or several real time intraday plans.
  • Kinetick eliminates CME data fees.

Other supported market data providers include eSignal, Metastock, TradeStation, Yahoo Finance and more.

NinjaTrader Supported Brokerage Technology

NinjaTrader Pricing

NinjaTrader gives you a choice of buying NinjaTrader with a lifetime license and free upgrades for life or you can lease it by the month. You will also have your choice of brokerage and market data feed.

The NinjaTrader lifetime license prices are:

  • For a single broker, the cost is $995 or four monthly payments of $299.
  • For multi broker use, the price is $1,495 or four monthly payments of $499 and includes all supported brokers.

Lease NinjaTrader for a cost of:

  • Single Broker prices are $600 for an annual lease, $330 for a semi-annual lease or $180 for a quarterly lease.
  • Multi broker prices are $900 annually, $495 for a semi-annual lease or $270 for a quarterly lease.

Free NinjaTrader includes all standard features. Kinetics costs $50 per month and includes streaming and historical data for stocks, futures and forex.


eSignal was established 25 years ago and has their headquarters in Hayward, California with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. They are also an Interactive Data Company.

eSignal Products

eSignal is a trading platform for all levels of traders that includes real-time streaming quotes for stocks, options, futures and forex quotes and analysis. With eSignal, you can get the streaming quotes on your PC, laptop, Android, Blackberry, iPhone and Java enabled devices. eSignal sells the following products:

  • eSignal Trading Software is for everyone from day traders to investors.
  • Advanced GET includes advanced charting, back testing, technical analysis and exclusive indicators.
  • Live Charts: Charting software is real time stock market information from around the world for a PC or a Mac.

eSignal Trading Software Features

With eSignal Trading Software you will have the following features.

  • Real time streaming quotes for stocks, options, ETFs and forex plus hundreds of indices.
  • The trading platform includes automated exit strategies, price ladders and real time market scanners.
  • Charts include hundreds of technical indicators, drawing tools and eSignal Formula Scripts to build and tweak strategies.
  • Add-on services like extended intraday and options data history and technical analysis studies.
  • You can receive alerts on any issues you have in your portfolio.
  • Add-on charts that will organize volume profiles, time/price opportunity counts, splits and more.

eSignal Advanced GET Features

At this time, there are 4 new advanced GET strategies, Elliot type 1, Elliot type 2, False Bar Stochastic and eXpert Trend Locator (XTL). eSignal Advanced GET also includes:

  • Trend analysis with Elliot Waves, Fibonacci and Gann tools.
  • Pre-recorded classes and members only events to share trading strategies.
  • Access to hundreds of charts and eSignal Formula Script to build and adjust trading strategies.
  • Compare the current market with historical data and generate objective Elliot Wave counts.
  • Ellipse tool is based on the Gann theory without the complexity of the Gann box.
  • Proprietary tools can help identify future market timing and price levels.

eSignal LiveCharts

  • Real time streaming charts and hot lists.
  • Chart analysis, technical indicators and the ability to customize and print charts.
  • NASDAQ Level II and Total View data. You can also view the limit order book for the Arca trading in listed stocks.

eSignal Live Charts AG is access to futures market information that includes streaming North and South America futures data and the ability to add real-time futures data. Live Charts AG also provides charts and charting, alerts, agriculture news and global weather maps that can affect commodity prices.

eSignal Pricing

eSignal products all have a 30-day risk free trial.

  • eSignal Premier includes real time data and the ability to view 200 symbols at a time. The cost is $137 monthly or $1,476 annually prepaid.
  • eSignal Premier Plus includes real time data, 500 symbols at a time and options data. The price is $209 monthly or $2,268 annually prepaid.
  • eSignal On Demand has intraday 15 minute delayed snapshot for $39.95 monthly or $431 annually prepaid.
  • eSignal Advanced GET costs $295 monthly or $3,995 one-time upfront costs.
  • LiveCharts and LiveCharts AG cost $26.95 monthly or $23.95 for 12 consecutive months.