TradeStation Review

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by Gavin in Blog
March 23, 2024 5 comments
tradestation review

Since the introduction of Robinhood in the late 2010s, there has been an explosion of low-cost or no-cost brokers in the trading scene.

But before these discount brokers arrived, you had fewer choices.

One of the original choices was TradeStation.

TradeStation was a one-stop shop for execution, charting, automation, and custom indicator development.

They have continued pushing resources into their platforms and offerings, but are they still worth the commission compared to some other brokers?

Let’s take a look.


Accounts and Services

To use their platform, you will need to have an account with them, and they offer the standard account types: Individual, Joint, Retirement, and Entity.

All accounts have no minimums to get started, but the usual margin requirements are $2,000 for margin, $5,000 for futures, and $25,000 for Pattern Day Trading.

Outside of that, there are $0 commissions on most products and just the exchange fees for the trade.

In addition to the accounts, TradeStation also offers several services to higher net worth accounts, such as Private brokerage, which allows for higher levels of stock and futures data, dedicated support, and upgraded transfer services.

They also offer institutional accounts, margin services, and Fully Paid Securities Lending.

The Securities Lending service allows you to loan out your shares and collect a portion of the interest received on them.

These shares are basically the other side of a short-sale trade; you get paid to allow it.

This is just another way to boost the yield on your account.


There is almost nothing that TradeStation does not let you trade.

Depending on the account type, you can trade equities, options, futures, futures options, mutual funds, bonds, CDs, and even Crypto.

So, whatever you are looking for, TradeStation can trade it.


The main platform that TradeStation utilizes is its desktop program, which is one of the main reasons you would use it as your broker.

This platform is extremely overpowered; you can create custom scans, watchlists, charts, chart intervals, indicators, automated trading programs, and layouts.

In addition, you have access to a customizable Level 2 and Tape, Options tape, and large trade alerts.

The image above comes from the TradeStation website and shows just a small fraction of what is possible with the desktop platform.

tradestation review

In addition to their robust desktop platform, they also have a web and mobile platform.

The Web platform contains many of the same features as the desktop version but hosts them all, so you can just log in and go.

It offers less in terms of customization and automation, but all of the core functionality is identical.

Finally, there is their mobile platform.

This is pretty much on par with the other brokers’ mobile apps. As stated in the beginning, the desktop platform is the main reason to use TradeStation. It is just a powerhouse.


Another really cool feature of TradeStation Desktop is the ability to use additional apps in the environment.

Below are a few of the more beneficial apps:

Options Station Pro: This is their built-in options trading tool. This allows you access to all available options chain data, such as the Greeks, volatility, and volume. It also allows you to visually build out spreads and view their risk profiles in real-time to see if the trade will meet your needs. Finally, you can execute the trade directly from the Options Station Pro interface. This is one of the largest benefits of trading options with TradeStation.

tradestation review

Easy Language: This is more of a niche app but is TradeStation’s own programming language. It can be used to build indicators, automated trading strategies, custom scans, and custom data fields. This is the technical interface to all of the data behind TradeStation.

Matrix: The Matrix is their version of a Depth of Market (DOM) on other platforms. This allows a trader to see the day’s range, bid and ask depth, volume executed at each price level, and, finally, the recently executed trades. This tool is a scalpers paradise.

There are many other apps that you can utilize with the TradeStation desktop, including some third-party ones that require additional subscriptions.

But the trading possibilities are really endless with the desktop environment.

Pricing, Fees and Rates

No review would be complete without touching on costs associated with the broker.

While they do not have any direct commissions for most instruments, there are some potential fees that you could incur.

The first of these is margin Fees.

For any balance less than $50,000, the margin rate is 13.5%.

This is slightly higher than some other brokers, but this can be negotiated down as your account grows.

Next are some service fees to be aware of; first and foremost are wire fees.

Incoming wires have no fee attached, but outgoing wires are $25 for US accounts and $35 for international ones.

These are pretty standard across most brokers.

There is also an account inactivity fee of $10/month if you do not meet the minimum activity requirements, but these requirements are pretty easy to meet, so for an active trader, this shouldn’t be an issue.


We have looked at a lot of potential positives about the platform and the brokers, but there are also some potential drawbacks.

First on the list is the complexity of the platform. While there are many possible uses, this comes at the cost of complexity.

There are a lot of menus and setups to get done before you are ready to trade.

This brings us to the second drawback, which is related to the first: the learning curve. Tradestation has a steep learning curve to get started, especially if you are from a strictly online broker.

One positive here, though, is that they have an entire education section revolving around how to use the platform and its features.

Just don’t expect to be trading the day you download it.


Now that we have seen some of the things TradeStation has to offer and looked at some potential drawbacks, what’s the verdict?

There is no real cut-and-dry answer here, but it’s worth the time getting set up if you are a short-term trader or scalper.

The available tools are market-leading for a free platform that gives you market data as long as you have an account. It’s also geared towards larger account sizes, with margin rates and other fees negotiable over certain thresholds.

If you have a smaller account or plan to stick to a simple trading scheme, then this might not be the broker for you.

Still, if you plan on making it a full-time career or want the best available information you can get with free access, then TradeStation is worth the time investment.

We hope you enjoyed this TradeStation review.

If you have any questions, please send an email or leave a comment below.

Trade safe!

Disclaimer: The information above is for educational purposes only and should not be treated as investment advice. The strategy presented would not be suitable for investors who are not familiar with exchange traded options. Any readers interested in this strategy should do their own research and seek advice from a licensed financial adviser.


  1. Anonymous says:

    I believe trading options is $.60 per contract on trade station.

    1. Gavin says:

      Thanks for confirming.

  2. William Ray says:

    Note: I believe trading options on Trade Station is .60 per contract, which will equate to about a $5 round trip on an Iron Condor, Butterfly, or Double Calendar, or any 4-leg strategy.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately foreigners got to pay a surcharge of $ 5.00 per trade!

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Options Trading 101 - The Ultimate Beginners Guide To Options

Download The 12,000 Word Guide

Get It Now