Investing > Best Brokers for Day Trading

Best Brokers for Day Trading

Day traders are excellent risk takers. One area where they can't afford taking risks however, is the trading platform they utilize.

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Updated January 03, 2024

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Day traders typically know exactly what they want when it comes to online brokers…

They pick brokerages with fast, high-quality execution, reliability, and low costs. Day trading platforms are designed to attract traders that are very active during an average stock market day. They start off with zero positions in their typical portfolios, and they trade so frequently that by the end of the day, they have closed all of their transactions.

Some day traders operate manually, making trade by trade hour by hour using a chart. Others set up an automated process that generates orders to buy and sell for them. While day traders don’t really look at fundamental data, they are interested in liquidity, trading volume, price volatility, and breaking trends of the day that will change a stock price considerably.

A general rule of thumb for a day trader is to pick a broker that charges per share. Typically, investors like brokerages that charge per trade. However, traders want to see real-time margin and hourly buying power updates.

This means that day traders must be able to enter orders quickly by entering a custom size of trades and even forgoing the trade confirmation step. Day traders are also known to use a large amount of capital.

There are some amazing benefits if you are a successful day trader. As the author of Trading for a Living Alexander Elder said, “You can be free. You can live and work anywhere in the world. You can be independent from routine and not answer to anybody.”

So what brokers are best for day trading? Let’s find out. 🔍

FTC Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

Top Day Trading Platforms

Here’s our list of the top platforms for day trading:

  1. Firstrade
    Best Overall
  2. TradeStation
    Best Technology
  3. Interactive Brokers
    Most Reliable Platform for Day Trading
  4. TradeZero
    Best Tools for Short Selling
  5. TD Ameritrade
    Superior Tools for Desktop Trading
  6. Lightspeed
    Best Trading Tools for Advanced Traders
  7. tastytrade
    Superior Research and Education Options

What is the Best Broker for Day Trading? 🥇

We based our selections on brokerages that were known for fast and reliable trade executions with benefits for day traders, such as placing multiple orders at the same time and allowing day traders to designate which trading venues finalize the order. The brokerage should also have custom trading defaults so that day traders can buy and sell even faster.

Here’s our list of the best online brokers for day trading:

1. Firstrade – Best Overall

Screenshot of Firstrade website with Fees Page selected
The Firstrade platform is best for beginners who seek fee-free trading.

Since day trading requires you to execute trades on a daily basis, it’s natural to look for the brokerages that require low or no commissions and fees per trade. Aside from free trades, good analytics and research tools are crucial for successful trading. So, if you’re seeking fee-free trading and outstanding research tools, Firstrade has you covered on all fronts. 


  • $0 commissions on stock and options trades
  • $0 commissions on ETFs and mutual funds
  • Intuitive trading platform design
  • Good research tools.


  • Accessing advanced tools requires Firstrade Premier accounts, which need $10,000 account minimum
  • Customer support isn’t accessible via phone or live chat outside of normal business hours

Visit Firstrade on Firstrade’s website

However, you can’t start trading with Firstrade if you don’t have some funds already prepared since the brokerage requires an account minimum of $500. Although this initial fee may discourage some from the very beginning, it should be looked upon more as an investment than a fee. 

Unlike some brokerages that require no account minimum and also provide fee-free trading, Firstrade offers a robust and fast trading platform along with the competitive quality of research tools. This way, the $500 account minimum figures like a relatively small investment that gives you access to free trades and an outstanding platform.

The Firstrade web-trading platform comes with an intuitive U.I. design which helps beginner traders get a comprehensive overview of all the crucial data and quickly execute trades. In case you want to day trade options via Firstrade’s platform, the options trading section is easily accessible and all options contracts are free.

Firstrade lets you trade stocks, options, mutual funds, fixed income, and ETFs, while forex, futures, and cryptocurrencies are unavailable. It’s good to have in mind that Firstrade’s platform is ideal for rookie day traders but lacks features that benefit experienced traders. In case you want to get more info on Firstrade, check our in-depth review here.

2. TradeStation – Best Technology

Screenshot of TradeStation website with Trading Products section selected
The impressive technology behind TradeStation makes it a top platform for day trading.

If you are a frequent trader, you probably have tried TradeStation before. The platform has made some changes to its charting tools, and you can use technical triggers for your automated strategies.


  • Excellent charting tools and technical analysis options
  • Huge database of historical data
  • Portfolio Maestro helps you fine-tune your trading strategies
  • Easily customizable real-time market scanners


  • No trading for forex
  • Cannot use on mobile or browser
  • Account minimum of $500
  • No commission-free trades unless you sign up for TSgo and trade in equities, which have $0 fees
  • Difficult learning curve if you don’t know trading languages to develop your own automated process
Visit TradeStation on TradeStation’s website

TradeStation is a little behind when it comes to their fee structure. However, they make up for it with the best charting tools and trade testing strategies.

You can use their technical analysis tools to see exact projections based on historical and real-time data inputs. There are a ton of features that make it a great option for frequent traders who trade at high volume and don’t mind the account minimum.

You can also route all of your orders yourself, use a specific trading venue, or use the smart order routing engine on TradeStation. The best part about this platform is the ability to create, backtest, and execute an automated trading strategy based on a technical trigger.

Traders can also set up real-time streaming data, and they are extremely accurate. You never have to worry about an erroneous feed that costs you a ton of money when it’s wrong. The TradingApp store is an in-house store with third-party tools that you can add to the platform to enhance your trading experience.

TSgo is their latest platform, and you don’t have to pay any commissions on trading for US-based equities, which includes OTCBB and penny stocks. However, it’s still $0.50 for options trades. All other commissions also have fees and higher margin rates. Our TradeStation review can provide you with more useful info on the TS platform and tools.

3. Interactive Brokers – Most Reliable Platform

Screenshot of Interactive Brokers website homepage
Interactive Brokers is frequently regarded as the best overall platform for day trading.

For many years now, Interactive Brokers is the go-to platform for day traders. The brokerage leads in low-cost trading, and it is geared for extremely active traders. Currently, they charge a measly $0.005 per share with their traditional platform, but you get $0 per share on IBKR Lite.


  • Very low fees
  • Very customizable platform with hundreds of watchlists, you can add 450 columns to your dashboard
  • Access 120 technical factors for charting
  • Excellent and most accurate market scanner that helps you stay on top of the market
  • Use algorithmic, automated trading via the API


  • Very difficult learning curve
  • Accounts need to have more than $100,000 each month or else you will incur inactivity fees
  • Not enough technical analysis tools
Visit Interactive Brokers on Interactive Brokers’ website

Interactive Brokers or IBKR is the platform for frequent day traders who want fast executions at reliable accuracy. Their fees are also notably low. If you’re looking for the cheapest brokerage for day trading, there’s a good chance IBKR is for you.

The brokerage’s main priority is keeping fees low while helping traders execute at a faster rate. You can use their desktop platform for speedy trades called Trader Workstation, which allows you to access professional trading algorithms and automated trading options.

You can customize any algorithm to fulfill your market orders, thereby making it easier to seek opportunities within a spread and get pennies more for your profits.

There are some drawbacks to trading this way if you are not used to the platform and don’t know how to automate your trades as expertly as another trader, so you may need to look at their YouTube tutorials and other educational resources to help with this part of the platform.

IBKR has very low margin rates for those who like to borrow and bid. If you use more than $100,000 on margin, then you’ll like the low-interest rates at IBKR. You can also set up an automated strategy using the API on IBKR or you can pick up a strategy from their Investors’ Marketplace.

With the onslaught of no commission trading, Interactive Brokers launched IBKR Lite that lets clients pay no commissions on US-based trades, but they can only make these trades using the desktop client portal or the mobile app.

4. TradeZero: Best Tools for Short Selling

Trade Zero
TradeZero’s competitive commissions and powerful platform make it a wise choice for day traders.

Founded in 2015 in the Bahamas, TradeZero is one of the more interesting brokerages that have appeared as of late. In 2019, the company expanded its business to the U.S. by opening a FINRA and SEC-registered brokerage for U.S. clients – and it offers a lot of features that appeal to day traders.


  • Competitive pricing
  • Access to direct routing
  • Sophisticated tools available for active day traders
  • Wide array of tradable investments


  • No forex or futures contracts
  • Lower priced equity ($3 and under) features a number of restrictions
Visit TradeZero on TradeZero’s website

TradeZero offers advanced charting and drawing tools, lightning-fast execution, and level 2 quotes. Combine that with commission-free trading, a wide array of tradable investments, and a well-made mobile app, and it’s easy to see why the brokerage has steadily been gaining popularity with both day traders and short-sellers. 

TradeZero’s account opening process is quick and simple – although U.S.-based clients will have to meet a minimum deposit requirement of $2,500. Many international clients, on the other hand, will only have to put up $500 in order to open an account.

The brokerage offers several platforms – although the free option, ZeroFree is quite functional and decent, the premium ZeroPro platform is a better choice overall. ZeroPro offers watchlists, level 2 quotes, complex order types, custom layouts, as well as a stock screener. The premium platform comes with a $59 per month fee, although that’s fair when considering the bang that you get for your buck.

Although outgoing wires incur a $50 fee, there are no inactivity or account maintenance fees. When it comes to commissions, however, TradeZero knocks it out of the park. Stocks with a share price over $1 that are listed on major exchanges can be traded commission-free.

Stocks that don’t meet these criteria can still be traded, although this will incur a small $0.003 fee per share. But stocks aren’t the only tradable securities that this brokerage offers – clients also have access to exchange-traded funds, as well as options if they opt for a ZeroPro subscription.

TradeZero carries SIPC insurance and is regulated by FINRA and the SEC. This holds true for the U.S. brokerage – the Bahamian or international broker complies with Bahamian regulations, although it too carries excess SIPC insurance through Lloyds.

Now that all of that is out of the way, let’s get to the meat of the matter – performance. Day traders have different priorities compared to buy-and-hold investors. TradeZero offers level 2 quotes that provide a better insight into market depth, spreads, momentum, and liquidity, as well as fast execution speeds. 

Clients can gain access to direct routing if their account worth exceeds $30,000, and the brokerage also supports various complex order types, a vast array of drawing and charting tools, as well as around 100 technical indicators. In the fast-paced world of day trading, where chart patterns and technical analysis are top priorities, these features make a huge difference.

Investors will also gain access to decent margin and leverage rates, a short locate feature, a powerful mobile app, as well as real-time news streaming. The brokerage’s features are a good fit for day traders of all types, but the powerful analytic tools and fast execution speeds make it a particularly good fit for short sellers. Learn more about this broker in our extensive TradeZero review.

5. TD Ameritrade – Best for Desktop Trading

Screenshot of TD Ameritrade thinkorswim trading platform
We say TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim is the best desktop platform for day trading.

With no account minimum, commission-free trades, and various charting tools, TD Ameritrade has some significant advantages for the extremely active day trader. (Not to mention, their $600 bonus when you open and fund your new account.)


  • Extensive research and streaming dashboard capabilities for real-time updates
  • Commissions were removed as of October 2019
  • Extremely customizable thinkorswim platform is best for day traders
  • Mobile apps make it easy to access your trades on the go


  • Not as streamlined for fast automated, algorithmic trading but the options exist if you are savvy enough
  • Too many education options that don’t apply to day traders typically

The best way to day trade with TD Ameritrade is through their Thinkorswim platform. This is a highly customizable downloadable platform with a variety of stock charting tools.

You can customize this as much as you want, and you can stream real-time quotes through intra-day charts. Day traders who like to purchase right from the chart can easily do so within this platform.

If you want to follow multiple stocks at once, you can tile the charts across your screen. You can also automate a trading strategy using the thinkScript language. You can pick from 300 built-in strategies or create your own using technical indicators included with thinkorswim. There are hundreds to choose from.

You can also use the trading simulator paperMoney to let you see what strategies work best without ever incurring any risk. The best part is that TD Ameritrade is the larger brokerage arguably, so they have the best commission-free trading options for ETFs, equities, and options if you are a US-based client. While there are a number of top stock trading apps available, we believe TD Ameritrade offers the best day trading app.

6. Lightspeeed – Best for Advanced Traders

Lightspeed Daytrading Desktop Platform
Lightspeed is geared toward the more advanced trader.

With a lightning-fast platform, stable trades, and plenty of customization options, Lightspeed is a highly secure day trading brokerage. However, there are some account minimums and fees to watch out for.


  • Use fast order routing and data feeds for automated trades
  • Excellent customer support and very stable platform
  • Livevol X is a free trading platform available to Lightspeed customers and works exceptionally well for options analysis


  • Low balance accounts need to generate at least $25 each month in commissions or inactivity fees are charged
  • Futures trading is available only on RealTick Pro, which has an additional cost of $325 per month
  • Cannot trade in mutual funds or forex
Visit Lightspeed on Lightspeed’s website

For day traders who want low-cost access to stock, ETF, and options trading, Lightspeed offers a very stable platform with high-quality trade execution. In fact, reports show that Lightspeed had no trouble with many of the trading surge periods over the past few years. The platform is also designed to be customized for how you like to trade.

Traders can set up real-time quotes on any assets, and the charts display and update quickly in real-time, which allows you to apply technical analysis and Level II quotes.

The other benefit of Lightspeed is security. The platform operates behind a virtual private network (VPN), which is crucial for those who trade on wireless Internet connections. You also need a soft token if you are using the browser platform. You can set up complex order entry defaults that can be executed using hotkeys if you want to execute orders extremely fast.

Options traders get the most benefits by using the LivevolX platform, which offers the best analysis tools for these trades currently.

7. tastytrade – Best for Research and Education

Screenshot of tastyworks website with Inspiration page selected
Tastytrade offers top-notch research and educational resources, landing it on the #5 spot of our best brokers for day trading.

Tastytrade was built to be a fast trading platform that offers more options analysis and commission-free stock trades.


  • New and intuitive pricing structures allow for low-cost trades
  • Fast and stable technology, rebuilt in 2017
  • Scanners allow you find securities that are increasing in volatility
  • Watchlists can be sorted by 50 different data sets
  • No throttling on quotes so loading is extremely fast


  • Fixed commissions may cause issues for some day traders
  • Margin fees also higher than average for very active traders, but you can negotiate these fees down
  • Investors are not able to place multiple orders at the same time or stage orders for later entry

Visit Tastytrade on Tastytrade’s website

While tastytrade may not be the best platform for all-day traders, particularly those who like to place multiple bulk orders at once, you can use their platform to make extremely reliable trades throughout the day. If you like securities, options, and stock trading, tastytrade has a ton of advantages. There are also no inactivity fees or account minimums.

As far as fees go, you’ll pay $0 for stock trades and $1 for open options trades, and it’s $0 to close. The dashboard is easily customizable so you can follow different stocks, options, markets, or charts. You can also use the platform right from the browser, which is different from most brokerages that make you download the platform.

The mobile apps are also powerful and let you tap into most of the tools available on the desktop or web platform. If you are a visual person who likes to prospect trades, then you’ll like the organization and flow of data on Tastytrade. The major focus is on liquidity, probability of profit, and volatility for their charting tools.

What is Day Trading? 📊

For one, day traders are extremely active in the markets that they trade-in…

They spend every day testing new strategies, automating their trades, and setting up new charts to follow other markets. They are constantly digging into trends and understand the markets very well.

When it comes to choosing a brokerage, they value the quality and speed of the trades as much as low-cost fees. The platform should have fast execution times and real-time price quotes that stream quickly.

If you are a day trader who creates their own algorithms for automated trades, then you also want extremely clean data that is highly reliable. Any data errors could cost a day trader thousands of dollars.

💡 Looking for tips and strategies? Learn how to day trade.

What is a Good Brokerage Fee for Day Trading? 🪙

Most day traders test different platforms to see which one offers the most reliable data and order execution. In addition, commissions, margin rates, and other fees are considered. Ultimately, fees will vary by broker and depend on the asset traded.

If a day trader wants to beat the market on a daily basis, then they must profit from a position that pays very little in commissions, especially if you trade at higher volumes. Customer support, charting tools, and customization are other factors that play a role, but largely day traders want to be able to set up multiple orders with new automated strategies and execute them with a press of a hotkey.

To understand more about day trading brokerages, we’ve put together the following guide.

The Guide to Day Trading Platforms: How to Use Them (and Profit) 📜

If you want to learn about day trading, the best way to do so is by practicing on a no-risk trade simulator. You can test out different strategies and use charting tools with real-time data to further understand how to track markets like a day trader.

One thing to keep in mind is that day traders understand they will likely lose money on some days, but their biggest priority is to win big on days that truly matter. There may only be a couple days a year when a day trader achieves thousands of dollars in gains, but it does happen.

Learning How to Day Trade 📚

Before getting into a brokerage too deep, you should try a stock market stimulator such as the paper money simulator on TD Ameritrade. It’s no-risk and does not require any investment. These are called paper-trading accounts because they only simulate what the market would do.

The key is also to test out your automated strategy abilities. Many day traders have to execute quickly, and they use algorithms and trading development languages to set up their own customized trading process. These can be executed with a single press of a hotkey.

Understanding Risks of Day Trading ⚠️

In short, you should not get into day trading if you don’t have money to play with on the stock market. Chances are you will likely lose money most days of the week, and the rest of the time, you will break even. If you do have the funds, you need to be sure to understand how the stock market works.

Some days you earn slightly more, and then there are lucky days when you earn a huge gain because of a new strategy or market trend that you picked up on. This is the goal of every trader, so the competition is pretty high.

Day trader analyzing hi positions.
Day trading is a careful balance of hedging risk and making consistent, small profits.

Day traders also buy and sell many stocks, options, and ETFs during the day, so if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can lose a lot of money in the beginning. Day traders make a small profit on each trade, and it’s important to have a large amount of capital to mitigate your risks.

Economics research from Yale shows that only 1 percent of day traders earn money on a consistent basis. You also need to treat it as a full-time job. You have to watch, track, and time your trades at the perfect moment to make bigger returns.

If you already have a portfolio, then you should only invest 5 to 10 percent. If you lose money, then at least your losses are capped at the amount you allocate to day trading.

How Much Money do You Need for Day Trading? 💲

While it is risky, day trading is not illegal. There are regulations imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) specifically on pattern day trading.

The SEC has defined day trading as the act of buying and selling or short-selling and buying the very same security, such as a stock, on the very same day. According to SEC rules, pattern day trading includes:

  •  Day-trading four or more times within five business days
  •  Day trades consist of more than 6 percent of their total trading activities during a five-day period

The SEC requires that you maintain a $25,000 balance of equity in your account. This can be cash or securities.

A broker must identify you as a pattern day trader according to the above criteria. You will likely be placed in a pattern day trading account moving forward, even if you don’t always meet the definition.

This means that if you ever stop day trading or don’t use pattern day trading, you will have to contact your broker to change your account status. This can be very time-consuming and causes your account to be restricted to minimum equity requirements.

What Do You Need for Day Trading 🛠️

For pattern day trading, you need to maintain $25,000 in equity in your account, a rule set forth not just by the SEC but FINRA regulation, too. This can be in securities or cash. You also need money to trade with, so essentially, you’ll need at least $30,000 to be successful as a day trader.

You also want to find a broker that has low commissions, top-notch day trading software, strategic tools, and speedy trade execution with extremely accurate data.

📈 Looking for the right software? See our best day trading software report.

You also want to learn more about markets where you can trade in large volumes at high liquidity. The best day trading stocks are ones that you know inside and out. They should also be trending or newsworthy as these will be the most volatile and offer the biggest chance to earn a profit.

All reviews, research, news and assessments of any kind on The Tokenist are compiled using a strict editorial review process by our editorial team. Neither our writers nor our editors receive direct compensation of any kind to publish information on Our company, Tokenist Media LLC, is community supported and may receive a small commission when you purchase products or services through links on our website. Click here for a full list of our partners and an in-depth explanation on how we get paid.