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Robinhood and TDA offer different trading experiences, but that may not be a surprise considering the two brokers' target customers. Robinhood's trading platform has limited functionality compared to many brokers including TDA. You can't customize anything, stage orders, or trade directly from the chart.

Moreover, while there's a simple trade ticket for equities, the order entry process for options is complicated. More importantly, Robinhood has been the subject of scrutiny and litigation due to recurring platform outages and trade restrictions. TDA offers a more robust and reliable trading experience. Casual traders will find everything they need on its web-based trading platform. Thinkorswim is fully customizable, modern-looking, and offers a full suite of analysis tools.

There's also a trading simulator that lets you create and test studies using the thinkScript programming language. Overall, TDA has a solid lead in terms of features and functionality. While Robinhood offers a web-based platform, it's a mobile-first company. The app targets investors who want a simple trading experience without any bells or whistles.

It's extremely easy to use, but you won't find many of the same tools that larger brokers offer. Still, you can trade all available asset classes and access streaming real-time quotes and charts. Both are robust and offer a great deal of functionality, including charting and watchlists. Streaming real-time data is included, and you can trade the same asset classes on mobile as on the other platforms.

Robinhood has a 4. Overall, we found that Robinhood's app is more straightforward and fun to use, while TDA's app is superior in features and functionality. Robinhood supports a narrow range of asset classes. TD Ameritrade offers more products, including mutual funds, bonds, futures, forex, and a Robo-advisory service. Unless you're looking for crypto, TDA takes the win here. With Robinhood, you can place market, limit, stop limit, trailing stop, and stop orders on the website and mobile platforms.

It doesn't support conditional orders on either platform. The default cost basis is first-in-first-out FIFO , but you can request to change that. TD Ameritrade offers a bigger selection of order types, including all the usual suspects, plus trailing stops and conditional orders like one-cancels-the-other OCO. There are no restrictions on order types on the mobile platform, and you can stage orders for later entry on all platforms.

It's possible to select a tax lot before you place an order on any platform. Robinhood doesn't publish its trading statistics, so it's hard to rank its payment for order flow PFOF numbers. While the industry standard is to report PFOF on a per-share basis, Robinhood uses a per-dollar basis.

The company doesn't disclose its price improvement statistics either. Nevertheless, its target customers tend to trade small quantities, so price improvement may not be a big concern. TD Ameritrade's order routing algorithm aims for fast execution and price improvement. Robinhood's trading fees are uncomplicated: you can trade stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies for free.

Overall, Robinhood may be cheaper if you trade a lot of options. Otherwise, the costs are the same if you mainly trade stocks and ETFs, making this category too close to call. Predictably, Robinhood's research offerings are limited. There are no screeners, investing-related tools, or calculators, and the charting is basic. The advanced charting tools should be more than adequate for most retail investors and traders, and you'll also find backtesting capabilities.

TDA offers real-time streaming news from a large selection of in-house and third-party sources, along with more than hours of live broadcast trader-focused content each day. If you are looking for a versatile lineup of account and research amenities, TDA is by far the better choice. Robinhood's portfolio analysis tools are somewhat limited, but you can view your unrealized gains and losses, total portfolio value, buying power , margin information, dividend history, and tax reports.

TDA clients have access to real-time buying power and margin information, internal rate of return, and unrealized and realized gains. Monthly tax reports are accessible directly from the website, and you can combine holdings from outside your account to get an overall view.

Overall, TDA has the edge over Robinhood in the portfolio analysis department. Robinhood's educational articles are easy to understand and even entertaining but don't expect any deep dives. It can be hard to find what you're looking for because the content is posted in chronological order and not organized by topic. There aren't any videos or webinars, but the daily Robinhood Snacks newsletter and minute podcast offer useful and lively information.

TD Ameritrade provides a robust library of educational content, including articles, glossaries, videos, and webinars. It averages several hundred webinars a month and hosts live events each year. Overall, TDA comes out ahead due to its breadth of topics and multiple delivery formats.

Ensuring you do careful research and understand the trades you make can reduce the chance of loss. You need a broker to access the market, so you cannot trade options without one. Call options give you the right but not the obligation to buy a certain stock at a certain price by a specific date. Call options provide another way to profit on the rising price of a company's stock without buying shares. In options trading , each contract gives you the right to buy shares at a given price, so if the stock price goes up before your option expires, you can profit.

Put options give you the right but not the obligation to sell stock at a certain price in the future. If you believe a company's shares will go down in value, put options let you profit on that assumption. Christy Bieber is a full-time personal finance and legal writer with more than a decade of experience. She also ghost writes textbooks, serves as a subject matter expert for online course design, and is a former college instructor.

We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.

All investments involve risk and the past performance of a security, or financial product does not guarantee future results or returns. The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters. This device is too small If you're on a Galaxy Fold, consider unfolding your phone or viewing it in full screen to best optimize your experience. We have not reviewed all available products or offers.

Compensation may impact the order in which offers appear on page, but our editorial opinions and ratings are not influenced by compensation. Search Icon Click here to search Search For. Credit Cards Best Of Lists. Banks Best Of Lists. Brokers Best Of Lists. Crypto Best Of Lists. Mortgages Best Of Lists. Insurances Auto Insurance.

Loans Best Of Lists. Small Business Software Overview. Knowledge Knowledge Section. Recent Articles. The Ascent Best Stock Brokers. Many or all of the products here are from our partners that pay us a commission. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page. TD Ameritrade Open Account. Rating image, 5. Bottom Line Stands out as not only one of the top options brokers but also a top-rated all-around brokerage with outstanding tools and comprehensive research. Read Full Review. Robinhood Open Account.

Rating image, 4. Bottom Line Robinhood is an efficient options trading platform that captures a spot as one of the cheapest options brokers. Special Offer Get a free stock with a new account. Ally Invest Open Account. Bottom Line Caters to active traders with multiple options trading platforms, while also appealing to long-term investors with thousands of mutual funds and ETFs that can be traded for free.

TradeStation Open Account. Bottom Line One of the best platforms for options trading that's designed for active traders and cost-sensitive investors. Webull Open Account. Bottom Line Like Robinhood, Webull is essentially a no cost options broker that doesn't charge options trading fees for commissions or per contract. Special Offer Up to five free stocks. Interactive Brokers. Bottom Line The competitive base options commission and tiered per-contract pricing, alone, land Interactive Brokers a spot on this list.

Read Review. Bottom Line A true options-first broker that sprinkles in the ability to trade mostly stocks, ETFs, and futures. Overview of the best options trading platform. TD Ameritrade Best for: Experienced options traders in search of in-depth information While TD Ameritrade isn't the cheapest platform for options traders, it is one of the most full-featured.

Robinhood Best for: Options traders looking for the most affordable solution Unlike most competitors, Robinhood does not charge a contract fee for options trading. Ally Invest Best for: Options traders with little money to invest Like most brokerage firms, Ally doesn't charge a commission fee for options trades. Webull Best for: Mobile users who want to trade options on-the-go Webull is a great choice for options traders looking for the cheapest platform around.

Interactive Brokers Best for: Options traders with lots of money looking for a feature-rich platform Interactive Brokers charges a variable per contract fee for options trading, with the price based on the size of the trade. How to pick the best broker for option trading. Features of the best options trading brokers. It makes very little sense to place a trade where the only likely winner is the brokerage firm.

Commissions have come down quite a bit in recent years, and most of the best brokers for option trading offer commission-free trading on stocks as well, but there's still quite a bit of difference within the industry when it comes to options. Many of the best platforms for options trading have commission free options trading but may charge options trading fees per contract.

Platform : Admittedly, an options trading platform often has more to do with personal preference than anything else, as placing a trade through any brokerage is usually a matter of a few clicks. It's also important to note that some options brokers like TD Ameritrade offer a full-featured platform and an easier-to-use trading platform.

Resources: Many of the best options brokers offer a full range of educational resources, which can be extremely valuable for investors who are new to options. As we mentioned, options can be very complex financial instruments and it is very easy to lose lots of money if you don't know what you're doing.

How do the best options trading platforms compare on trading fees? Commissions Most of the best options brokers have eliminated flat-rate commissions for online stock and options trades, and just use a small fee for certain options traded. Options trading fee comparison for 10 contracts Commission free options trading used to be a pipe dream for investors, but that's no longer the case with the best platforms to trade options slashing costs to attract and retain accounts.

Options trading fees for exercise and assignment for exercise and assignment Options brokers sometimes charge fees to buy or sell options, but some also charge fees if you want to exercise an option, or if an option you have sold is assigned.

A few options trading platforms will charge you a fee to exercise your options and buy the underlying stock. A few options brokers will charge you an assignment fee for this transaction. Options brokers with free options trading. Best apps for options trading. TD Ameritrade. Open Account for TD Ameritrade. Open Account for Robinhood. Ally Invest. Open Account for Ally Invest. Open Account for TradeStation. Open Account for Webull. FAQs How much money do you need for options trading?

About the Author. Blue Twitter Icon Share this website with Twitter. Email Icon Share this website with email. Ally is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Christy Bieber has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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TD Ameritrade clients can estimate the probability of an option being in the money at expiration by using options delta or the Probability ITM feature. Source: the thinkorswim platform from TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Neither is better than the other. Some traders like to see it expressed one way, and others like to see it the other way. Remember, selling a single option can expose you to significant risk, but selling a vertical spread limits your potential loss to the difference between your strikes, minus the premium you collected, plus transaction costs.

According to the Option Chain in figure 1, the strike call has a delta of 0. Rather use the Probability ITM numbers? The call shows a These numbers assume the position is held until expiration. Depending on your objectives, you could try to close or adjust this trade prior to expiration. But when structuring your trade and considering adjustments prior to expiration, understanding these probability calculations can help you more objectively manage your risk.

Picture a typical bell curve. Comparing an options delta or other probability calculation against the price at which you could buy or sell an option can help you determine your strategy for entering and exiting options trades. And with that decision out of the way, you can move on to other important matters, such as whether to have salad or pizza for lunch.

While options are definitely not for everyone, if you believe options trading fits with your risk tolerance and overall investing strategy, TD Ameritrade can help you pursue your options trading strategies with powerful trading platforms, idea generation resources, and the support you need. Key Takeaways Estimate the likelihood of an option being in the money ITM at expiration with options delta or the Probability ITM feature As expiration approaches, the delta of an in-the-money option approaches 1.

Should you cross the street now, or wait for that approaching car to pass? Going with a salad for lunch today, or is that slice of pizza calling your name? Should you sell a call option against a stock in your portfolio, and if so, which one s should you consider? Margin is not available in all account types. Margin trading privileges subject to TD Ameritrade review and approval. Please see our website or contact TD Ameritrade at for copies.

Successful virtual trading during one time period does not guarantee successful investing of actual funds during a later time period as market conditions change continuously. This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business or where such offer or solicitation would be contrary to the local laws and regulations of that jurisdiction, including, but not limited to persons residing in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UK, and the countries of the European Union.

TD Ameritrade, Inc. All rights reserved. Log in to thinkorswim Web Open New Account. Trader Offering. Investing Platforms. Mobile Trading Apps. Compare Platforms. Order Execution. You asked for it, so we streamlined it. Open new account Login. Optimized for action thinkorswim web features an intuitive interface that places the tools most essential to your trades front and center.

Log in from anywhere with easy, web-based access and use preconfigured strategies to set up orders in just a click. More to trade. More to discover. Expand your portfolio—and your potential strategies—with a wider range of products. In addition to stocks, options, and ETFs, thinkorswim web gives you access to futures and forex for more advanced trades.

Build a robust strategy with a wide array of charts Strong instincts and meticulous research has gotten you this far. Now, make even more informed predictions with a deep inventory of forecasting tools, ranging from basic charts to technical studies.

Discover the difference of thinkorswim web We offer a variety of trading platforms to meet the unique needs of every trader.