Best Charting Software

CHAPTER

03

Best Charting Software for Day Trading [2020]

As you begin evaluating charting software you’re going to find there’s a ton of options. Your charting software is one of the key tools in your toolbox so you need to spend some time finding what charting platform will work best for you.

The charting software you ultimately choose will depend on what products you plan on trading as well as your trading style. Some of the charting packages reviewed today will be best for intraday or day traders looking to trade order flow whereas others will better suit the pure technical trader.

About Our Charting Software Reviews

I’ve been trading professionally for over 15 years and I am NOT being compensated in any manner by any of the charting software companies reviewed here.

Thus, you’re about to read a truly unbiased review based on what I believe are the strengths and weaknesses of every platform. Then it’s up to you to decide what’s best.

Every platform reviewed here is a great platform or I wouldn’t bother reviewing them.

I’ve traded using Sierra Charts for about the past 7 years and the 8 years prior to that I used eSignal. The primary reason I made the switch was I went from trading equities to index futures and Sierra Charts offered more of what I was looking for at the time to trade futures.

Although I have not traded live with every single platform, I have extensively demoed all the platforms reviewed.

Charting Software Components

There’s several components we considered when reviewing the best charting software platforms. If you’re evaluating any other software not reviewed here today you’re going to want to take all of these key factors into consideration.

All components are scored on a scale of 1-5. (5 being best)

Indicators: Not every charting platform has the same trading indicators. Most packages will include your basic indicators but more advanced indicators or charting types like footprint charts sometimes require a third party add-on which you will have to pay for.

Charting Types: Some platforms offer more advanced chart types such as footprint charts as well as different bar period types. Some of your more advanced bar periods that go beyond just time based bars are volume per bar, number of trades per bar, and range per bar to name a few.

Brokerage Integrations: In an ideal world you want your platform to directly connect to your brokers data feed. This allows you to trade directly from your charts. If you have a charting package that doesn’t directly connect to your broker you can always pay for a separate data feed.

The only downside if not having a direct connection is you want to be able to trade from your charts, something I rarely do anyways.

Pricing: Sometimes you get what you pay for, but with any business you always have to pay attention to your overhead.

Available Products: Some charting platforms are geared towards a particular class of securities like futures or options while others are more broad.

Innovation & Support: Having been trading for a long time I’ve watched over the years how different charting software companies have adapted and rolled out new indicators and features. In terms of support, a large portion of this is determined by the size of the community of traders providing support not only forums but in terms of third party add ons.

Additional Components

The following components each account for one point if the charting platform includes the component.

  • Simulated Trading
  • Mobile Application
  • Trade from Charts
  • Free Demo
  • Works on Windows and Mac
  • News Feed

SO…We’ve crunched the numbers… without further ado here’s how we rank the best charting software packages.

Best Charting Software [2020]

NinjaTrader Review

Ninja Trader Review

Website: https://ninjatrader.com/
Demo: https://ninjatrader.com/GetStarted
Price: $1099 for Lifetime License
Score: 31 of 37 Points

Topping off our list for 2020 is NinjaTrader. Founded in 2003, Ninja Trader has quickly become one of the most popular trading platforms especially among derivative traders.

NinjaTrader always seems to be an innovator when it comes to charting technology. The platform is lightweight and fast which is ideal for scalpers or day traders.

Best For:
-Trading Futures
-Advanced Traders

Pros:
-Extremely fast
-Great Order Flow Suite including footprint charts (3rd Party Add-On) and volume delta
-Well thought out DOM (depth of market) which includes volume profiles

Cons:
-To gain the full power of the platform you have to purchase a lifetime license as they offer no monthly plans.
-Primarily for derivative traders

NinjaTrader Score Break Down

Indicators: 4 of 5

Chart Types: 4 of 5

Broker Integrations: 5 of 5

Price: 3 of 5

Available Products: 4 of 5

Innovation & Support: 5 of 5

SIM Trading: Yes

Mobile Application: Yes

Trade from Charts: Yes

 

Market Scanner: Yes

Free Demo: Yes

OS: Windows

Free News Feed: Yes

Indicators: 4 of 5
Chart Types: 4 of 5
Broker Integrations: 5 of 5
Price: 3 of 5
Available Products: 4 of 5
Innovation & Support: 5 of 5
SIM Trading: Yes
Mobile Application: Yes
Trade from Charts: Yes
Market Scanner: Yes
Free Demo: Yes
OS: Windows
Free News Feed: Yes

Total Score: 31

MotiveWave Review

Motive Wave Review

Website: http://motivewave.com/
Demo: http://motivewave.com/free_trial.htm
Price: $24 – $99 Per Month
Score: 30 of 37 Points

Coming in a very close second is MotiveWave. MotiveWave is highly customizable and yet still easy-to-use, and also specializes in advanced analysis tools like Elliott Wave, Fibonacci, Gartley, Gann and Ratio Analysis.

MotiveWave offers most complete charting packages for order flow traders who are looking to trade different markets.

A huge bonus works is their software can run on several operating systems including Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Best For:
-All Markets
-Mac Users

Pros:
-Trade any Market
-Great Order Flow Suite included already. No need for add-ons.
-Great pricing and a huge selection of broker integrations.

Cons:
-Smaller community

MotiveWave Score Break Down

Indicators: 4 of 5

Chart Types: 5 of 5

Broker Integrations: 5 of 5

Price: 3 of 5

Available Products: 4 of 5

Innovation/Support: 3 of 5

SIM Trading: Yes

Mobile Application: No

Trade from Charts: Yes

Market Scanner: Yes

Free Demo: Yes

OS: Windows, Mac, & Linux

Free News Feed: Yes

Indicators: 4 of 5
Chart Types: 5 of 5
Broker Integrations: 5 of 5
Price: 3 of 5
Available Products: 4 of 5
Innovation & Support: 3 of 5
SIM Trading: Yes
Mobile Application: No
Trade from Charts: Yes
Market Scanner: Yes
Free Demo: Yes
OS: Windows, Mac, & Linux
Free News Feed: Yes

Total Score: 30

eSignal Review

Website: https://www.esignal.com/index
Demo: None, but they do offer a 30 day money back guarantee
Price: $54 – $359 Per Month
Score: 30 of 37 Points

Tied for second place is the first charting platform I used when I started my trading career back in 2003, eSignal.

eSignal is one of the most elite trading packages for stock traders. Out of all the platforms reviewed they hands down have the best scanners.

Best For:
-Stock Traders
-Advanced Traders

Pros:
-Trade any Market
-Tons of indicators and tools but a lot of them are add-ons.
-Largest selection of broker integrations.

Cons:
-Expensive
-Poor Order Flow Package

eSignal Score Break Down

Indicators: 4 of 5

Chart Types: 4 of 5

Broker Integrations: 2 of 5

Price: 2 of 5

Available Products: 5 of 5

Innovation/Support: 5 of 5

SIM Trading: Yes

Mobile Application: Yes

Trade from Charts: Yes

 

Market Scanner: Yes

Free Demo: Yes

OS: Windows

Free News Feed: Yes

Indicators: 4 of 5
Chart Types: 4 of 5
Broker Integrations: 2 of 5
Price: 2 of 5
Available Products: 5 of 5
Innovation & Support: 5 of 5
SIM Trading: Yes
Mobile Application: Yes
Trade from Charts: Yes
Market Scanner: Yes
Free Demo: Yes
OS: Windows
Free News Feed: Yes

Total Score: 30

Sierra Charts Review

Sierra Charts Review

Website: https://www.sierrachart.com/
Demo: https://www.sierrachart.com/index.php?page=doc/setup.php
Price: $26 – $35 Per Month
Score: 28 of 37 Points

Sierra Charts comes in at a solid third place but don’t let third place scare you. Sierra offers some of the best pricing and a proven platform especially for Order Flow Traders.

I switched to Sierra Charts several years ago primarily because I was looking for a lightweight platform I could trade on my Mac using Parallels and I have never been disappointed.

Sierra offers a strong order flow package including footprint charts and volume delta with their Level 5 package.

Best For:
-All Markets
-Order Flow Traders

Pros:
-Extremely lightweight and fast
-Great Order Flow Suite included already. No need for add-ons.
-Best pricing

Cons:
-Interface could use updating
-No live support unless provided by your broker.

Sierra Charts Score Break Down

Indicators: 5 of 5

Chart Types: 5 of 5

Broker Integrations: 4 of 5

Price: 5 of 5

Available Products: 4 of 5

Innovation/Support: 2 of 5

SIM Trading: Yes

Mobile Application: No

Trade from Charts: Yes

Market Scanner: No

Free Demo: Yes

OS: Windows

Free News Feed: No

Indicators: 5 of 5
Chart Types: 5 of 5
Broker Integrations: 4 of 5
Price: 5 of 5
Available Products: 4 of 5
Innovation & Support: 2 of 5
SIM Trading: Yes
Mobile Application: No
Trade from Charts: Yes
Market Scanner: No
Free Demo: Yes
OS: Windows
Free News Feed: No

Total Score: 28

Choosing the Right Charting Software

I want to reiterate that I have been professional trading for over 15 years and would be happy with any of the platforms reviewed here today. You simply have to pick what platform best fits your budget, trading style, and preference.

Oddly enough I still use Sierra Charts today which came in last place. In the near future I may consider giving MotiveWave a shot because because of their Order Flow Suite and the fact they can connect directly to Interactive Brokers which is my preferred broker.

If you are currently trading don’t just jump ship and switch to a new platform immediately. You will have some growing pains when you make the transition to a new platform. Having used Sierra Charts for almost a decade I know I will find it difficult to make the transition even due to simple things like it will look different.

Remember, as a day trader you’re staring at your screen all day long every day.

Most of the charting software reviewed today offer a demo version, so start testing them out.

Conclusion

Your charting software alone won’t make you a profitable trader but it’s a step in the right direction when looking for an edge.  

Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage by not extensively testing a platform before making your final decision.

Ultimately if you’re looking to trade several markets eSignal or MotiveWave will be your best bets. If your looking to just trade derivatives I would give Sierra Charts or NinjaTrader a shot.

Let us know your personal thoughts on any trading platforms you have experience with in the comments below!

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CHAPTER

05

Futures Trading Strategies

Coming Soon

CHAPTER

06

Trading Plan

Coming Soon

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