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TradeStation Review

TradeStation – Our Verdict

tradestation review summary table
tradestation review summary table
Easy to learn programming language

free software and free market data

Lowest latency and better fills

slow customer service

TradeStation is the best day trading platform for beginners and intermediate traders using technical analysis or algorithmic trading.

TradeStation weakness is its customer support and account opening process. Many Quant Savvy users have had delays with opening accounts, contacting technical support or even registering the IP address of a computer.

best day trading platform review scores

* Trading platforms achieved above ratings in Best Day Trading Platform Review, where we compared several trading platforms and brokerages

History of TradeStation

TradeStation is an online securities brokerage, integrating software’s backtesting and automated functions. Tradestation provides real-time market data from all major exchanges and trade order placement and execution with those exchanges for both the securities and futures markets. This professional-grade platform offers charting capabilities, advanced tools and trading strategies backed by research and development by many 3rd party vendors.

Several TradeStation reviews have demonstrated the undeniable advantage of this day trading platform and brokerage.

 

Who uses TradeStation? Predominantly Day Traders and Fully Automated Traders

Affiliations and Secondary Platforms

TradeStation API is compatible with nearly all best day trading platforms and software.

TradeStation Global – in partnership with Interactive Brokers, TradeStation Global offers a direct access to 125 markets and exchanges in UK, Europe, Asia and North America, including global equities, forex, futures and more.

TradeStation US – offers to trade US markets to access US equities and ETFs, futures and options.

1. TradeStation Review Summary

TradeStation is the best day trading platform for beginners and intermediate traders using technical analysis or algorithmic trading. The EasyLanguage for programming has a flat learning curve and even beginners should be able to pick it up within one week.

TradeStation weakness is its customer support and account opening process. Many Quant Savvy users have had delays with opening accounts, contacting technical support or even registering the IP address of a computer.

TradeStation offers free software and free market data which is wonderful news. You can load 90 days of historical tick data for Futures markets which can easily be exported and stored in a database to be used later. There are no restrictions on historical data and we find we can easily load a 1-minute chart all the way to 1999 within a couple of minutes.

Automated Trading has some limiting features and we still cannot easily trade a portfolio without placing an individual system on its own chart. Despite this we find you can create a strategy with Easylanguage, test it on free historical data (the backrests are slow relative to Multicharts to AmiBroker) and run it live or in Simulation fully automated – the whole process is so smooth. Even beginners looking for their typical moving average crossover systems can most certainly code, test and run a system live within an hour with ease.

TradeStation review has revealed that as a broker TS is very competitive with trading fees and commissions. TradeStation, when compared to Interactive Brokers, has higher commission fees and it has limited access to market exchanges. However, for the average US Futures, Crypto, Stocks or Options Trader it has all major market access you will need. If you are an institutional investor our advice would be to try Interactive Brokers – we perceive that as brokers Tradestation and IB are competing in a different space. We’ve also compared TradeStation vs NinjaTrader vs MultiCharts, where TradeStation has also achieved the overall winner award.

The mobile app is exceptional as shown by the high reviews comparable to the other platforms. It has a very intuitive well-designed user interface that allows quick easy access to place trades, monitor a portfolio, or check account balances in realtime.

TS offers a 1-stop shop (charting, testing, data feed, broker). We have yet to find a system that cannot be implemented with Tradestation – our advice at Quant Savvy to new traders is not to develop your own trading platform it is not going to magically make you money. Your time is best spent developing automated trading systems using already built and tested 3rd party software, if you cannot be successful with a Multicharts or Tradestsation then we question whether your strategy will perform on your own custom-built platform.

Tradestation review has proved that TS is a clear winner when it comes to the Mobile app, easy live Automated Trading, extensive free historical data, free 90-day tick data and a strong charting package.

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Best Automated Trading Platform

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Best Market Data and Software Costs

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Best Day Trading Platform

TradeStation has achieved the above titles in Best Day Trading Platform Review, where we compared Interactive Brokers, TradeStation, eSignal, AmiBroker, NinjaTrader, Trading Technologies and Tastyworks. Quant Savvy has compiled a comprehensive list of features, user reviews rankings, and screenshots. We also provide sources for our information and useful links to help you conduct additional research.

Recommended Reading

Which broker has the highest fees? Who offers the highest quality data? Which platform is the best for day traders and beginners?

Mobile trading apps become increasingly popular among young people and inexperienced traders. But are they really trustworthy and able to generate profits?

We provide a breakdown for software comparison between NinjaTrader, TradeStation and MultiCharts which is intended to help you make the right choice.

2. TradeStation Platform Tools

Scanners, Screeners, Watch Lists, Software tools, Alerts

OptionStation Pro: toolset allows you to build, evaluate, and track just about any options strategy you can think of. Tools are geared to active traders, such as time and sales, market depth, and snapshots that show how your positions are performing.

Radar Screen: Continuously monitors and ranks up to 1,00 symbols in real-time, based on more than 180 fully customizable technical and fundamental indicators, as well as virtually unlimited amounts of custom criteria, through Easy Language (link to the programming language subsection).

3rd Party Data: Plot 3rd party data in a Chart Analysis or RadarScreen window from previously created ASCII or MetaStock (9.x or greater) data files. This allows you to use proprietary data that may have been generated through another application (such as Excel) or that was obtained for exotic markets not currently supported by the TradeStation Data Network.

Trading Apps: Choose from 100s of products which can be downloaded directly to the Tradestation platform offering full compatibility. Options include ffron end order entry apps or uniques indicators or even fully automated trading strategy.

tradestation screener review

Placing Live Trades and Trading Technology

Matrix: Combined benefits of a detailed market depth window, a highly advanced order-entry tool, and precise order-tracking systems. The Matrix is the fastest way to enter or change an order, with a single click and/or drag and drop simplicity.

TradeStation’s smart order router: elements of both spray and sequential order routing methodologies, depending on the order placed and market conditions at the time. Order logic seeks out and captures as much price improvement and hidden size as reasonably possible within a reasonable period of time.

tradestation live trading review

Research and News Feeds

News feed: Offers Market Insights, the news is categorized based on the products and sectors. On the trading platforms, you can filter the news based on several categories, channels, and you can also search for a symbol.

 

• TradeStation is not built for performing in-depth company research.

• No traditional fundamental research for stocks

• No mutual funds or fixed income research

• Nearly non-existent ETFs research experience.

 

Tradestation Market Insights: Provides news and up to date commentary on the markets.

Tradestation Research: App built directly into the website is very dated but provides some info on symbols you want to track, still very limited on what can be achieved.

Portfolio, Risk Management and Software Tools

Trade Manager: this is the only portfolio tool and it displays trade and account activity. All orders are logged to the TradeManager window on a real-time basis when TradeStation is open. Orders are color-coded so you can differentiate between different order statuses at a glance. The colors are updated in real-time as the status of your orders changes. You can also quickly close positions and cancel orders from the TradeManager window, as well as view your order history.

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Robot Speed

Humans can never react as quickly as a machine, algorithms make decisions in microseconds & easily execute multiple trades simultaneously. While you are getting ready to click the mouse, our systems are already in a trade.

Risk Management

Never experience Fear or Greed. Never average down a losing trade. The risk is predefined before any trade is placed. Algo bot calculates the odds on each trade and manages risk during a trade.

Multiple Market Strategies

Algo systems can trade multiple market strategies simultaneously without making any errors. Without trading bots, it would be unimaginable to trade 7 different markets at the same time.

Backtesting

All algorithmic trading strategies can be applied to historical and real-time data to determine the viability of the data. Careful backtesting allows traders to evaluate and fine-tune a trading idea, and to determine the system's expectancy.

Accuracy

Because trade rules are established and trade execution is performed automatically, discipline is preserved even in volatile markets. While trading manually, discipline is often lost due to emotional factors such as fear of taking a loss.

3. Charting, Indicators and Tools

TradeStation Charting:TradeStation charting is very simple and practical. On both the browser-based platform and desktop application focuses on keeping things simple. We find the layout designs are clean and practical. Web trading is well designed, and chart trading functionality is superior to many other brokers. In the previous TradeStation review, we’ve compared this trading platform with NinjaTrader and MultiCharts. However, TradeStation fell a bit behind on the charting spectrum and let MultiCharts win.

At Quant Savvy we load our systems into TradeStation automated software, where systems generate trading orders automatically which are then transmitted in real-time to your broker.

Indicators: There are 274 indicators/studies available with Tradestation. Clients can also share and sell their indicators via TradeStation TradingApp Store, many products are free, but others can range between $50 per month to $200 per month. There is at this time over 1000 products available on TradeStation app store.

As you well know, TWS charting is a total nightmare. In a few words, its faulty, clumsy, and heavy. Not saying you can't use it (I do), but it's full of problems. Some of them are horrible, especially for what I need it to do. I love the IB API though.
TradeStation has really great charting, indicators, a language of its own, and reasonably decent fills... but also has sucky tech support/poorly-informed trade desk staff and abysmal software quality, so crashes and freeze-ups are common.
tradestation broker review charting

4. Automated Trading and Backtesting

Backtesting

If running a strategy with lots of loops on timeframes over ten years, it can take a long time and has been known to freeze. We have had Tradestation 9.5 crash if we perform backtest optimisations using a lot of data.

Tradestation offers Walk-forward analysis as well as Monte Carlo analysis to be able to evaluate your strategy using historical data distributions.It can be challenging to run a portfolio backtest as Portfolio Maestro is needlessly complicated.

Backtests with large amount of data also take time (unlike AFL – except that tool is not made for live trading).

Backtesting with bid and ask size is not possible.

Live Automated Trading

Live Trading Performance: At Quant Savvy we trade our Chimera Algo Bot live on both Tradestation and Multicharts connected to Interactive Brokers/Gain/AMP etc. We use every major broker for live trading for our users. The same strategy is traded on different Servers located in the same location. I feel this puts us in a unique position to compare the actual live performance (nearly all other forums and debates on this topic do not see daily live fill comparisons for automated systems). We have calculated the fills difference between brokers when trading the same automated trading strategy, and we find Tradestation has the lowest latency and better fills, this can sometimes be as much as two tick better with common Emini instruments – read more.

Trade Management and Historical Trades

Tradestation TradeManager: App window displays trade and account activity. All orders are logged to the TradeManager window on a real-time basis. Orders are color-coded so you can differentiate between different order statuses at a glance. Colors are updated in real-time as the status of your orders changes. You can quickly close positions and cancel orders from the TradeManager window, as well as view your order history. Source

TradeManager Analysis: is used to evaluate the performance of trades completed (open and closed) from one or more TradeStation accounts during a specified date range. You can also filter the report to include/exclude symbols of your choosing. When you click Generate, selected data from your account is polled and a summary report is produced. Once generated, the TradeManager Analysis Report enables you to view information such as total net profit, total number of trades, largest losing trade, and more.

Data Stability and Speed

Can be left open for weeks at a time without any issues. Automated Trading systems have no problem working day after day. They have worked on platform stability considerably with recent updates and this shows with the performance.

Live data and historical data is accurate. We have heard from other traders that the workstation for Tradestation 9.5 has frozen many times with as little as four workspaces and total seven charts open – we have not had this occur on our servers ever!

In our experience, the primary grievance is when an automated strategy encounters an error mid trade and turns off – there is no alert for when this happens which can be an issue especially if you have a day job.

Portfolio Testing and Trading

Portfolio Maestro: It can be challenging to run a portfolio backtest as Portfolio Maestro is needlessly complicated. We ran a simple strategy test of 100 lines to run on 1800 equity symbols. Portfolio Maestro many many painful times, and there are two comments to make: a. Portfolio Maestro’s local database cannot keep all the downloaded data – so you have to reload a lot (or all of it if your computer was just turned on) every time! For me, downloading 1800 symbols of daily data (not intraday) takes about half an hour. b. Including the aforementioned half hour, the total backtest takes about 2 and a half hours.

best day trading platform: tradestation portfolio maestro layout

Nothing beat AmiBroker backtesting speed, however, the lack of API broker plugins and need for more expert coding knowledge to ensure live automated trading functions correctly prevent AmiBroker from being the overall winner for automated trading section. TradeStation, on the other hands, can be nominated as the best day trading platform for automated trading and backtesting.

Tradestation is a one-stop-shop and it is very easy to backtest on an individual market, run a portfolio test, and turn systems on for live trading with 1 click. The platform is both automated trading software and live brokerage. We recommend Tradestation as the best automated day trading platform at Quant Savvy and it is used by nearly 70% of all our users. This TradeStation review, as well as our personal experience, have proved that TradeStation can be left open for weeks at a time without any issues.

5. Programming language

EasyLanguage: full-featured programming language designed for traders. Commands consist mostly of regular English words, which makes EasyLanguage easier to learn than more complex programming languages.

Ease of Use: Easylanguage is “limited” compared to C#. Mostly you can get around limitations and you could extend the capabilities via external DLLs. Tradestation has improved there a lot since Object-Oriented EasyLanguage was introduced.

Functionality: Easylanguage is an amazing tool for learning, but problems arise when you have a very large portfolio of systems traded, functions get a little clunky, slow, need a lot of memory. Backtests with a large amount of data also takes time (unlike AmiBroker AFL which is blazing fast). EL doesn’t have good compiler/debugging support in either of the platforms that support it. Many traders use tools like the sharedvar server to expand this functionality to be able to debug subtle mistakes faster and make development a little more fluid.

best day trading platform: tradestation easy language programming language code example

Support: Tradestation forum is extensive and active community which has been around for many years. Regular updates by the Tradestation developers.

Learning: App such as Tradestation University is available. There is plenty of learning resouces on the Tradestation Market Insights: Source

Videos: YouTube video learning channel for Tradestation is comprehensive as up to date. Source

Compatibility and Design: Tradestation 9.5 workspaces are not compatible with Tradestation 10 which is very annoying. Tradestation is forming a relationship with other brokers like Interactive Brokers through International services such as Tradestation Global. With Global, Tradestation can be used as a data source for charting and automating systems and place orders directly to an Interactive Brokers account – this is nice addition especially for many Europeans who already have IB accounts.

Speed and Performance Considerations: EasyLanguage is faster than Python when placing trades (which is slow and primarily used for testing). With Easylanguage it is simple to create and test ideas without wasting time on complex coding exercises. Time spent programming can now be spent testing strategies which will yield better longer-term results. If you want to trade to make money then don’t waste all your time developing custom platforms like so many software engineers. Making money should be the priority.

Resiliance and Limitations: Tradestation EasyLanguage also known as Powerlangue is cross-compatible with Multicharts. The majority of our users use Multicharts with TradeStation. Therefore, learning EasyLanguage does give you the ability to use it on Multicharts which can easily be connected to many different brokers including Interactive Brokers.

Tradestation will be limited for overly complex high-frequency arbitrage type models. It is also relatively difficult to trade a portfolio of systems which can be controlled by a master system (this can mostly be achieved by using Global Variables of ELL collections)

My personal experience is that easylanguage sucks. Years ago I was new to coding and decided to learn easylanguage for Tradestation to code several different strategies. After learning the language and working for months coding the strategies, I ran into several limitations of EL. EL was the first programming language that I learned. I am still pissed off about wasting so much time.

If you do not have a programming background, then do not reinvent the wheel and waste your time trying to develop your own platform. You need to use off the shelf packages like Tradestation, Multicharts or AmiBroker. We’ve compared TradeStation programming language with others, and all TradeStation reviews have proved the advantage of EasyLanguage. Easylanguage will allow 95% of traders to achieve their indicator and automated trading systems development goals. Moreover, the language is easy to learn and will help you pick up other advanced codes like Python and C++ when your require something more powerful.

6. Mobile App

Apple Store Rating: 4.6 Android Rating: 4.2

Funtionality: TradeStation’s mobile app offers a full day trading functionality, thanks to Matrix (ladder trading) and complex options trading support. Note: Matrix requires Level II market data, which is available for an additional $11 per month.

Charting: TradeStation mobile is robust, clean, and includes everything a demanding trader could want: full chart type and date range flexibility, after-hours visibility, active and filled order visibility, and 43 optional indicators, to name a few. Even drawing tools are available so you can draw anything from trend lines to Fibonacci retracements on charts.

QuoTrek Mobile: Streaming quotes, charts and news from the world’s markets on your smartphone, so you’re always in touch with the markets in real time for $35/month.

Watch list syncing: While mobile watch lists automatically sync with the Web Trading platform, they do not sync with the TradeStation desktop platform.

tradestation tradig app review
Really happy with the platform. Very user friendly.
Not only TradeStation the most user-friendly platformn for professional traders, it constantly is upgraded and improved. The app version is simply fantastic because it gives the user all the information and tools needed to trade fast when opportunities arise on the go.



7. Market Access for Live Trading

Stocks

Forex

Futures Options

Futures

Mutual Funds

IPOs

Options

Bonds

Crypto

Tradestation provides direct access to markets and offers individuals with Individual, Joint with Right of Survivorship, Joint Tenants in Common, Custodial, Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, Simple IRA, Trust, Corporation, General Partnership, Limited Partnership, LLC, Sole Proprietorship. Institutions have access to brokerage services, securities lending, institutional execution services, advisory services.

Stocks

All Major US markets EuroNext Indices, Commodities Derivatives, Interest Rate Eurex and German Stock Exchanges

No Asian Stock Exchanges, No access to London Stock Exchanes

Futures

CBOT, CME, NYMEX, COMEX, CBOE, MGE, ICE U.S

Traders worldwide use futures to easily reduce risk or seek profits on changing markets. To maximize your profits, trust algorithmic trading systems that can trade multiple market strategies simultaneously without making any errors.

Options

US Stock Exchanges

Forex

Forex Exchange data only

Mutual Funds

Access to over 2000 mutual funds, including Allianz, BlackRock, Fidelity etc. See full list

Bonds

You can trade government, corporate and municipal bonds for a commission of $14.95 plus an additional $5 per bond.

Futures Options

CBOT, CME, NYMEX, COMEX, CBOE, MGE, ICE U.S

Crypto

Bitcoin (BTCUSD), Bitcoin Cash (BCHUSD), Ethereum (ETHUSD), Litecoin (LTCUSD), XRP (XRPUSD)

IPOs

ClickIPO‘ app allows Tradestation clients to access IPOs. Clients can place a conditional order for shares through their TradeStation account, and if shares are allocated, they will be placed directly into their account

8. Market Data and Software Costs

Minimum account opening balance TS Select: $2000 TS Go: $1
Time to open account Time to open TradeStation account: 1-3 days
Inactivity fee $50 per year
Withdrawal Fee From $25
Desktop Free except for TS GO where trading surcharges apply
Mobile App Free
Web Trading Free
Stocks & ETFs TS Select: $0 TS Go: $0
Stock Options TS Select: $0.60 per contract TS Go: $0.50 per contract
Futures TS Select: $1.50 per contract TS Go: $0.85 per contract Historical Tick data: 6 months of tick date for @ES
Futures Micro E-mini TS Select: $0.50 per contract TS Go: $0.50 per contract
Futures Options TS Select: $1.50 per contract TS Go: $1.50 per contract

9. Customer Support and Learning Resources

Online, Telephone, Email and Account Services Support

TradeStation customer service is slow: Talking with Quant Savvy system users directly who use Tradestation we often get the same response of very slow service, often call wait times of 1 hour. Brokerage support or technical support has always been negative for Tradestation, many users complain about excessive wait times and lack of customer support.

Forum and Community Support

Tradestation Forum: The forum even though extensive is outdated and is very difficult to navigate and search various topics. You cannot search the forum with simple google searches which makes it difficult for non-Tradestation clients to get answers on technical issues they might want answering before they join. Tradestation offers one-hour private learning sessions for $150.

In 2019, TradeStation launched

YouCanTrade: an independent education-focused website run separately from TradeStation brokerage. Traders can pay to gain access to full-featured courses, including webinars, live trading room access, real-time alerts, and more. Source

Opening an Account

In the US: regulated by FINRA

Proof of identity: ID / passport / driver’s license

Proof of residency: bank statement / utility bill Customer feedback has highlighted that opening an account with Tradestation can be a slow process. Source

Deposits, Withdrawals Process

Tradestation has a bad reputation for non-user-friendly deposit and withdrawal process and customer service.

I tried to make a tradestation account since February. I spent 40+ hour to do it. First, impression it might seem like a decent customer service but they end up rebounding you between different departments. They stole $130 dollars to me plus most importantly the time.
Spoke with a representative about have funds transferred out of the account. Never told me there would be fees, only found out when I was missing $125 after settlement. Told that I wasn't eligible for a refund because I didn't specifically ask about fees.
Contact service guys are tremendously helping every query and they go beyond to help the clients. Such a lovely platform to invest. It was my 5th payment today.

10. Security

Monitoring, Encryption

Monitoring: TradeStation constantly monitors customer accounts to detect suspicious activity. The customers are notified about significant changes made in their profile or account, such as login credentials, contact information, account setting and more.

Unique usernames and strong passwords: TradeStation login is secured by various authentication factors. All TradeStation customers are required to select unique usernames and strong passwords when they open a new account. Whenever an unknown device attempts to log in to TradeStation, the further validation of identity will be required by answering one of the security questions.

Encrypted communication: To protect customer’s account while it is accessed and managed online, TradeStation website and applications use 256-bit data encryption (TLS/SSL).

Firewalls: Advanced hardware and software firewalls help to prevent unauthorized parties from gaining access to the system and personal information.

Additional support: TradeStation is also advising clients to take necessary steps on their end to secure their accounts and information

Safety of Funds

TradeStation Futures accounts: Held at TradeStation Securities, Inc: Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) that carries customer accounts, is subject to the Customer Protection Rule requirements of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Rules 1.20 and 30.7. These rules state that the company is required to maintain enough cash and cash equivalents in special reserve accounts, and identified as such, to cover at all times the required segregation reserve amounts. The reserve requirement must be calculated daily and filed electronically through the National Futures Association’s (NFA) web-based WinJammer system. Additionally, the company must also properly segregate these funds from any other proprietary bank account of the company. As of September 30, 2019, TradeStation had $602.7 million segregated in accordance with the above CFTC requirements. For detailed information, please see the Firm’s FCM disclosures : Click here

Recommended Reading

Which broker has the highest fees? Who offers the highest quality data? Which platform is the best for day traders and beginners?

Mobile trading apps become increasingly popular among young people and inexperienced traders. But are they really trustworthy and able to generate profits?

We provide a breakdown for software comparison between NinjaTrader, TradeStation and MultiCharts which is intended to help you make the right choice.

2 Comments
  • John
    Posted at 15:11h, 06 JanuaryReply

    Great article! Are your algorithmic trading systems compatible with TradeStation?

    • Quantsavvy
      Posted at 12:57h, 14 JanuaryReply

      Yes, all systems are compatible with TradeStation.

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