Best Day Trading Software for Beginners & Crucial Trading Tools
What Day Trading Tools, Software, and Brokers to Use?
You can’t be a profitable trader without proper day trading software, broker, platform and tools. Why? Because the market is made up of millions of other traders taking action in front of their computers and often equipped with the best tools, ready to take your money. And without the best charting software, excellent execution, tools you wouldn’t have a chance in highly competitive world of day trading. In day trading you really only are as good as your trading tools – and this, first and foremost, means stock trading software, broker, and tools.
And do you want just any trading tools? No, you want the best value options. Not always expensive is good, often expensive tools and softwares are too much for what you need and a bad investment for you trading. This is why we’re going to show you what we think of as:
- DAS Trader Pro: the best day trading platform and stock charting software
- Trade Ideas: our favorite stock analysis scanner software for finding stocks to trade on any given day
- CenterPoint Securities, Interactive Brokers, and CMEG: brokeage firms depending on where you live and money you want to trade
- Affordable hardware trading tools such as screens, laptops and trading stations
A friendly note to our traders: some of the links to products and services that you will find on this page are affiliated links. This means that if you decide to use their service, we may receive a referral fee from them as their gratitude toward us. This does not mean that we recommend those products and services to you simply to make a profit. By no means we recommend any product or service that we do not believe is in your best interest. The moderators and other leaders of the Bear Bull Traders team personally use many, if not all of these products and services, and we are certain, as much as anyone can be, about their quality. We of course encourage you to do the best possible due diligence for yourself in order for you to make the best decision. If you do choose to use any of the links and mention Bear Bull Traders to the service providers, we thank you in advance.
1. Best Stock Scanner Software
This is a famous expression in the trading community. You can be the best trader, have the most proven strategies, but if you are in the wrong stock, you will lose money. There are too many new traders who do not know what a good stock to day trade is nor how to find one, and they waste too many trading days mistakenly believing that the market is impossible to day trade in.
Understandably, one of the common challenges that new traders mention is not knowing what to trade. Thousands of stocks are moving in the market every single day, but finding a setup that is both consistent and a good fit is really hard.
That’s why I use the scan software by Trade Ideas: I can just input the parameters of stocks I’m looking for (like price, volume, and the price amount it moves on average) and Trade Ideas will show me a list of stocks adhering to my criteria.
As such, Trade Ideas is the foundation of what where doing in our chatroom each day when we’re building a list of stocks to watch for the day. And the best thing is: we’ve negotiated a discount with Trade Ideas, so you can get their scan software for 15% off. Just click the button below and use “VANCOUVER15” at the checkout.
2. DAS Trader Pro: Charting, Analysis, and Trading Execution Platform
Stock analysis and charting software is usually combined into what is called a trading platform. Your trading platform will consist of charts that visualize the price movement of a given stock, they will also include information on the orders that other traders are placing (the so-called “Level 2”) and they will give you the buttons and text fields necessary to place your own trades. Finally, a trading platform will enable you to apply lots of indicators to your charts that helps you determine when to place a profitable trade and when to sit tight.
In our view, however, the most important characteristic of a trading platform is to get in and out of trades very fast. For in day trading you might hold your shares for very short times only – and sometimes a second more or less can cost you valuable cents (which multiplied with your share size might translate into dozens or even hundreds of dollars). So we recommend you get a platform that (1) features hotkeys, so you don’t have to type in your price and share size before placing an order – but can just push a predefined button and (2) is as closely linked to the market as possible.
In our community, most of the traders are using DAS Trader. We also recommend it as it is one of the best day trading platform available for retail traders. DAS is Nasdaq Platinum Certified Platform. DAS servers are also collocated with the Nasdaq data centers so you cannot be any closer to the market for trading than this.
DAS Trader is not a stock broker, only a trading platform software, but you can link your brokerage account to it for fast order execution. Some brokers, such as CenterPoint Securities or CMEG, offer you the DAS platform when you open an account. Some other brokers such as Interactive Brokers will give you the option to trade on DAS platofrm. Most importantly, DAS provides one of the best real time simulator packages for beginning traders. Many of our new traders have had great experience using DAS Trader simulator.
* Please Note: DAS Trader is designed for Windows machines. Mac iOS or other operating systems users should use interfaces for running DAS on their machines. Please read this post.
IMPORTANT: DAS has offered the members of the Bear Bull Traders community an exclusive deal on data for use with their platform for IB users. You will now have access to the following data as part of your normal $150/month data fee (with no additional cost to you). Click here for more info.
3. Top Brokerage Accounts
Right now, you can choose from dozens and dozens of potential brokerage accounts out there. But how do you chose? Well, first and foremost, it’s about execution speed. Your brokerage firm is your vehicle to trade and they execute your orders. Yet, if you have a bad broker that fills your order late, you lose money, even if you are trading properly and accurately. The second characteristic of a top broker is their commission structure. Any brokerage asks a certain amount of money in return for executing each of your orders. This varies from broker to broker and can make or break your trading profits – especially if you’re trading in small accounts. In these 2 respects – execution speed and commission – many brokers are either terrible or expensive or both. So we’ll show you some afforadble and quality brokerages you can open an account with. Before, though, you should know about one more caveat: the pattern day trader rule.
How To Avoid Pattern Day Trader Status?
The pattern day trader (PDT) rule, stipulated by the U.S. Government, states that U.S. residents will need a minimum of $25,000 in their brokerage accounts if they want to place more than 4 trades within 5 business days. And to give some context here: most day traders would place more than 4 trades on a single day. Therefore, all U.S-based brokers are legally obliged to enforce the pattern day trader rule for all U.S. residents. But not to fear: you can day trade with less than $25,000 in your account and many people do. You only have to use a non-U.S. based broker such as CMEG: Capital Elite Market Groups.
3.1. Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers (also known as IB) is also an inexpensive yet powerful broker with commissions as cheap as 0.0035 c per share *. IB is not offering DAS Pro platform to their users directly. IB offer its own trading platform called TWS (Trader’s Work Station). Interactive Brokers too has to enforce the pattern day trader rule for U.S. residents.
- PDT restriction: US traders need minimum $25,000
- Margin: Offering a 4:1 margin only. That means that you may trade stocks worth 4 times more than you have in your account. A $10,000 account can have up to maximum $40,000 buying power for trading. Brokers can limit margin on some volatile stocks.
- Default Platform: Traders WorkStation (TWS).
- DAS Platform: offered by DAS Trader directly on their website: $150 per month (separate subscription is needed).
- Commisison: $0.0035 per share (minimum $0.35 per ticket) plus routing and regulatory fees. This is an incredibly low fee compared to all other U.S.-based and off-shore brokers.*
IMPORTANT: To use DAS Trader Pro for your IB live trading account, you need an additional subscription directly with DAS Trader. Check DAS Trader Website to see subscription prices for Interactive Brokers accounts which ranges between $150 to $200 per month. DAS Trader Pro has offered members of the Bear Bull Traders community an exclusive deal on data for use with their platform for IB users. You will now have access to the following data as part of your normal $150/month data fee (with no additional cost to you). Click here for more info.
* Please note: Commissions are at the broker’s discretion and subject to change. Check brokers commission agreement at the time of sign up.
3.2. CenterPoint Securities
CenterPoint Securities is a low-cost but powerful trading broker for U.S. and international active traders. For U.S residents, the pattern day trader rule applies to any account opened with them meaning that you need to deposit at least $30,000 to open an account with them.
In terms of commission, they are offering our members an exclusive and extremely competitive rate of 0.005 per share commission including ECN routing fees (min $0.35 per ticket) except regulatory fees.* This is a very attractive fee structure for active traders. In addition, there are more advantages on using CenterPoint Securities as your broker such as:
- PDT Restriction: US traders need at least $30,000 to trade with them.
- Margin: Offering 4:1 margin
- DAS Platform fee: $120 per month but free DAS Pro platform for active traders (with trading over 300,000 shares a month).
- Commission: $0.005 per share (including all routing fees) except regulatory fees. Minimum per ticket is $0.35 per trade.*
For further details please check their website. In order to receive the discount on your commission structure, please mention that you’re a member of Bear Bull Traders in your CenterPoint Securities application.
* Commissions are at the broker’s discretion and subject to change. Check brokers commission agreement at the time of sign up.
3.3. CMEG: Capital Markets Elite Group
Capital Markets Elite Group is a relatively new broker located in Trinidad and Tobago. The good thing about this is that they aren’t bound by the pattern day trader rule.
- No PDT restriction: US traders can day trade with less than $25,000
- Margin: Offering a 6:1 margin for account with over $2,500. That means that you may trade stocks worth 6 times more than you have in your account. A $10,000 account can have up to $60,000 buying power for trading.
- DAS platform fee: $150 per month but free DAS Pro platform for active traders (with generating over $500 commisison per month). Free DAS Pro simulator with your live account
- Discounted commisison: 0.0065 per share (minimum $0.5 per ticket) including all ECN routing and regulatory fees. This is an astonishing low rate for traders who have less than $25,000 for trading.
If you open an account with them, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and mention code BearBullCMEG2018 to get access to the discounted rates.
* Commissions are at the broker’s discretion and subject to change. Check brokers commission agreement at the time of sign up.
4. Trading Laptop, PC, and Stations
To conclude this article, we’ll leave the realm of day trading software and recommend some hardware trading tools that we think are no less important. Day trading is a fast business and your profit depends not only on your broker’s execution speed, but also:
- how much room for charts and information you have on your computer screens.
- how fast your computer processes all the data sent by your broker and platform – and how fast it communicates your actions
Therefore, we’ll recommend our favorite screens and laptop for day trading – along with the accessories you need to set up those things. For a sneak peak, have a look at the trading stations of some of our members here:
The highest quality and most affordable screen for trading I have found on the market is the 2017 Newest Acer Business 23.8” Full HD 1920 x 1080 IPS LCD/LED Widescreen Monitor. They are amazingly high quality and very affordable (only $134 as of the time of writing). I have 6 of them for my station. Please note that they are also VESA compatible, so if you will be considering mounting them on your stand one day, you will not have any problem.
I use an Ergotron WorkFit-D Sit-Stand Desk, a standing desk, for my trading hours. It is hard to sit all day long, I hate it! People say sitting is the new smoking, and that we must get rid of it soon. I have no opinion on that, but I found standing is much better for my knees and back and most importantly, it keeps me alert and awake during the day. I love my desk. It is a bit pricy, but I strongly recommend it for anyone who can afford it. This desk encourages healthy movement, and you can adjust it if you want to sit. If you do buy this desk, make sure to buy a standing desk pad (such as this one I use) for it as well. It is a must to have a high quality pad to stand on.
Well, I know perhaps not too many new traders need this accessory, but if you ever decide to upgrade your trading station and want to have a stand for all of your screens, you may need a desk mount. I have a 6 monitor VIVO Hex LCD Monitor Stand and I love it. Since I am using 6 screens, I of course have a stand for 6 screens, but you can also find ones for 2 or 4 screens. It is incredibly cheap (only $103 at the time of writing), but it is of very high quality. I am very happy with this purchase. It is very stable and robust. You will see a picture of my station below. Please note that your screens need to be VESA compatible for this mount. If your screens are not, then you may want to buy a mounting adapter for them. If you douse the screens recommended above, you will need adapters like this here. The adapters are not necessary if your screens are already VESA compatible.
LG 34UM88-P 34″ Flat Ultrawide (top)
LG 34UC88 34″ Curved Ultrawide (bottom)
LG 29WK500 Flat Ultrawide (sides)
Middle: Vivo STAND-V002T Dual Monitor Vertical Desk Mount
Sides: Mounting Dream MD2463 TV Wall Mount Bracket
ASRock DeskMini GTX 1060 (barebones)
Keyboard – MechanicalEagle Z88 RGB Backlit
Desk – Ikea Malm White
Chair – Vertagear S-Line SL2000
Glorious Extended Gaming Mouse Mat
ALED LIGHT 5050 LED Strip for ambient backlighting
Quartet Infinity Magnetic Glass Dry Erase Board, White, 3 X 2 Feet
I am always being asked for my recommendation for a trading station. There is no easy answer to this because it depends on your budget and many other factors.
My trading PC is a custom-made +$3,000 system that supports 6 monitors. But you do not need to have such a station to start with in order to be successful in trading. However, a fast and reliable working station is important.
The laptop I use for my mobile trading station is an Alienware 17 R5 VR Ready 17.3″ LCD Gaming Notebook. This is a powerful 17-inch gaming laptop with NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 10-Series graphics and Tobii Aware software. You really don´t need a very powerful laptop but I chose this one because of its big screen and because I work with very resource demanding video editing software for my day trading recaps.
Please check out this forum post to learn even more about the requirements for trading computers
- Alienware 17 R5 VR Ready 17.3″ LCD Gaming Notebook
- CPU (Intel i7-8750H)
- RAM: 8GB DDR4 SDRAM
- Hard Drive: 1TB + 256GB SSD
- Display Ports: 1 HDMI + 1 VGA
Of course, there is no upper limit for buying a PC and you can spend thousands and thousands of dollars on your PC, but I encourage new traders to keep the cost of their business down as much as possible at the beginning. You in particular need several screens for your trading laptop or PC because more screens give you more flexibility in watching the market, setting up your platform and scanners, and such.