What Trading Platform Is the Best? The Agony of Choice (2021)

Trading platforms comparison – which is the best? This article provides a brief overview. What are the most important trading platforms for daytrading and swing trading?

AMP Futures offers more than 60 platforms

I have been using the MotiveWave platform for already for some time. I’ve tried out all the other trading platforms that are compatible with my broker, AMP Futures.

AMP Futures offers more than 60 trading platforms, which is not necessarily an advantage. As a trader, you should always be open to new ideas, try to improve and get an edge over other market participants. So it’s clear to me that I need to find the best platform for my needs. This means trying out and taking a closer look at all the platforms suitable to my trading style.

After all, it’s often the small things in trading that can improve your performance, including your trading platform – whether it’s because one platform has better charts, a more user-friendly interface, better analysis options for trades, or more trading tools.

Traders should think like business owners

Many trading platforms charge a fee for use, but sometimes they’re available for free. This has its appeal, but it’s not the most important point. As a trader, you should see yourself as a business owner and realize that investments can sometimes make sense. On the other hand, you should also try to maximize your profit and reduce unnecessary costs. By choosing the right trading platform, you can save money without sacrificing performance.

My first trading platforms were MultiCharts and TradeStation

I first used MultiCharts because it was the featured platform on AMP Futures. I knew it normally cost 99 USD a month and I was pleased that my broker made it available for free. In addition, I used to develop my own trading systems with the help of the TradeStation platform. Because these two platforms are very similar and use EasyLanguage, I figured it would be a good choice. That’s why MultiCharts was one of the few platforms that immediately appealed to me.

But the free version offered by my broker is not the same as the standard version of MultiCharts. It’s a slimmed down version that is made available especially to my broker’s customers. I was dissatisfied with it from the start and often had data problems. For example, charts were displayed incorrectly or not displayed at all. For a technical trader, that’s unacceptable. In addition, I couldn’t even implement my own trading systems because the version I had didn’t contain the usual EasyLanguage package.

A large selection of trading platforms

So I took at look at other trading platforms. It was important to me that I get real added value from my broker (in other words: save money, if possible). I also wanted to be able to display charts accurately even in the smaller timeframes, access all the tools of technical analysis, and trade easily from the DOM (depth of market).

Finally, I wanted an attractive user interface because I spend a lot of time on the platform and want to feel comfortable using it.

eSignal and FutureSource

I eliminated most trading platforms right away because they’re unable to display charts accurately in smaller timeframes. A number of trading platforms weren’t available at a discount from my broker. These include eSignal and FutureSource, which are otherwise excellent products. Naturally, you shouldn’t skimp on your platform, but if there’s a chance to use a great one for free, why not take advantage of it?

I also think that a monthly fee of 250 EUR for a platform is excessive if consistent profitability isn’t a given.

Sierra Chart

That’s what led me to Sierra Chart, which has the reputation for being a very good platform for technical analysis. I must say, though, that I didn’t like this platform at all. I found the user interface and the charting highly impractical.

What’s more, on the Sierra platform, historical charts and intraday charts are separated. To be honest, that confused me a bit – I don’t want to have to switch between charts when looking at the same market. I also found the registration process and program setup cumbersome.

The platform normally costs only 20 EUR a month and is free at AMP Futures, but I’d rather pay for a platform rather than work with Sierra Chart. I know there are many traders who like this trading platform, but I personally didn’t like it at all.

Footprints 

I tested a few other platforms, but none appealed to me right off the bat or met all of my expectations, which aren’t actually too high, but apparently too high for many. Also, some of the trading platforms specialize in “footprints” (order flow). They include VeloxPro, ATAS, OFA, and Volfix.

But since I’m a purely technical trader, these platforms were of little use to me. Sure, you can work with charts on them, but not as intensively as with the trading platforms that focus on technical analysis. By the same token, there are a number of platforms that are better suited for spread trading (e.g. CQG Spreader or ADL) or for automated trading (e.g. SmartQuant or TickerQuant).

All of these platforms are out of the question for a discretionary technical trader. I still have trading systems and I wanted to run them on MultiCharts, but today my trading approach is no longer geared toward automated trading, because I don’t think it brings any real advantage over pure discretionary trading. My trading setups have become too detailed to program. In the past, I only traded with indicators, which I was able to implement quite easily myself, but now I try to use the whole range of technical analysis – charting analysis including various indicators.

MotiveWave is the best choice as a trading platform

So I tried the MotiveWave platform, which, to be honest, I wasn’t familiar with. This platform has different versions. The cheapest lifetime version starts at 99 USD and goes up to 1,595 USD.  At my broker, AMP Futures, you can use the professional version for free, a 995 USD value. So you have a huge benefit right there. Of course, this in itself is meaningless if everything else isn’t right.

But I was pleased that I had such a big advantage as an AMP customer. However, if you’re a heavy trader, you have to keep in mind that each contract costs an additional 0.25 EUR, so there are savings only for people who don’t trade a lot, because otherwise the additional costs per contract quickly exceed the cost of the lifetime version. But that isn’t a problem if you’re still working on your profitability and are apt to skip a trade. In addition, I saw in the description that this platform not only specialized in technical analysis, but also offered all the other usual features such as screening, backtesting, trade simulation, walk-forward testing, etc.

One of the best tools for technical analysis

The charting tool of MotiveWave is one of the best compared to all the trading platforms I know. You can trade very easily and it’s a cinch to create shortcuts. You can quickly switch between the different timeframes that overlap in technical analysis. For example, if you draw a trend line, you can see it in other timeframes. You can also change all the settings and templates down to the smallest detail. It’s very easy to use, yet highly effective.

You can choose from among 275 indicators and also book additional modules, including Elliott Waves or Harmonic Shape. You have to pay for these modules, but they’re relatively inexpensive. So you have everything you need in just one trading platform. As a technical trader, you have the best tools at your fingertips.

A great trading platform with many advantages and extra features

The platform has many other advantages and extra features that I don’t need for my trading, such as predefined options strategies and special options data (Greeks, time value, etc.).

It’s also good to have a platform that includes everything you need or might need in the future. That way you don’t have to look around for a new platform if your needs change.

For me, MotiveWave is an optimal solution because it meets all my requirements. In my opinion, MotiveWave is one of the best trading platforms for technical traders. It also includes everything offered by other platforms that aren’t focused on technical traders.

NinjaTrader is the best value for your money

There are currently a large number of trading platforms on the market, but only a few of them are really worth using. Another good, inexpensive, and highly recommendable platform is NinjaTrader. Unfortunately, I can’t use this platform with my broker, but in my opinion, it’s the best value for your money.

NinjaTrader has a very simple structure, but it provides all the basic tools of technical analysis and features a great community where you can find almost anything you need, such as special indicators and strategies. In addition, NinjaTrader works with the data provider KineTick, which is a white label of Telvent DTN, one of the best and most expensive data providers. As a result, you get the highest data quality at a very reasonable price. 

For traders who are willing to invest a little more, eSignal is still the best platform for technical analysis. However, if you trade a lot of markets or just want to look at these markets, it’s expensive.

Conclusion: Of all the platforms offered by AMP Futures, MotiveWave is the only one I seriously considered. Here’s a screenshot of the MotiveWave platform.

Screenshot of the MotiveWave trading platform
Screenshot of the MotiveWave trading platform

Trading platforms we have reviewed

AgenaTrader

ATAS Orderflow trading

Bracket Trader – Order Management Software

Finviz charting & stock screener

MotiveWave – Review of Elliott Wave Software

ProRealTime

Sierra Chart

StereoTrader

TeleTrader

TradeStation – Test and Review

TradingView

Volfix