thinkorswim® was acquired by TD Ameritrade in 2009 and remains one of the best trading platforms for active traders, especially options traders.
The reason thinkorswim® stands head and shoulders above most of its competition is its platform was originally built by traders for traders.
One of its original founding team members, Tom Sosnoff, is renowned in options trading circles as walking the talk, meaning he actively trades. And the thinkorswim® platform reflects his deep expertise of equities and options trading strategies with advanced order entry, access to portfolio margin and tools galore.
thinkorswim® is one of the most well respected trading platforms for serious traders. And while its interface can seem overwhelming at first glance, it is well worth taking the time to peer behind the veil where you will discover an extensive tool suite capable of advanced screening, charting, and back-testing.
Table of Contents
- thinkorswim® Spotlight
- thinkorswim Features
- Is thinkorswim® Right For You?
- thinkorswim® Promo Deal
- thinkorswim® Review: Trading Tools
- thinkorswim® Pros and Cons
- thinkorswim® Securities
- thinkorswim® Fees
- thinkorswim® Platform Features
- thinkorswim® Summary
5 out of 5 stars
via thinkorswim secure site
For active options traders, thinkorswim® has few rivals.
thinkorswim® stands out among its competitors with highly customizable screening tools, a support staff with deep knowledge and understanding of options strategies, extensive research capabilities and advanced charting capabilities.
|Options Commissions||$6.95 + $0.75 per contract|
|Broker-assisted Trades||$34.99 – $44.99|
|Better Business Bureau Rating||A+|
Is thinkorswim® Right For You?
thinkorswim® trading platform is best for traders who are active, self-directed and proficient in options trading.
thinkorswim® carved out a position in the marketplace as a trading platform with fast, accurate execution, very affordable commissions structure, powerful screening tools, advanced charting capability, real-time quotes, and a focus on options and futures trading.
thinkorswim®’s trading platform caters to an audience who is:
- Interested in customizing chart settings
- Rigorous about backtesting strategies
- Proficient in options trading
- Price sensitive
thinkorswim® has an options trading platform that caters to a wide range of options trading strategies, including:
- Covered call options strategy
- Married put options strategy
- Collar Trade options strategy
- Bull put spread options strategy
- Bear call spread options strategy
- Credit spreads options strategy
- Debit spreads options strategy
- Bull call spread options strategy
- Bear put spread options strategy
- Ratio put backspread options strategy
- Ratio call backspread options strategy
- Iron butterfly options strategy
- Iron condor options strategy
- Straddle options strategy
- Strangle options strategy
- Combination trades options strategy
thinkorswim® also has a sophisticated virtual trading platform so traders who wish to practice any of the above strategies can easily simulate a real-life trading environment without incurring any capital risk.
thinkorswim® Promo Deal
thinkorswim® is offering a promo deal to new account holders:
- Open an Account with thinkorswim® and trade free for 60 days, based on $3,000 deposit.
- Get $100 cash bonus when depositing $25,000 – $99,999
- Get $300 cash bonus when depositing $100,000 – $249,999
- Get $600 cash bonus when depositing $250,000 or more
thinkorswim® Review: Trading Tools
Create your own technical indicators, view over 300 chart studies, screen and scan for stocks and options, view heat maps, automate the sale of covered calls, and practice your trading strategies risk-free.
The first impression traders who are new to the thinkorswim® platform often have is that a thinkorswim® tutorial is needed. How to use thinkorswim® is perhaps the most common first question in the minds of newbies. But take a deep breath and don’t be overwhelmed. Mastering the thinkorswim® platform is worth the effort.
thinkorswim® Charts & Technical Studies
No other platform comes close to thinkorswim® when it comes to feature rich charts and the number of technical studies available.
Most traders select time charts but you can also select tick charts to view intraday action, as well as range charts that display price accumulation.
And you can pick standard chart modes, monkey bars, or a wide variety of other chart types so you can view price action over various time periods.
Seasonal charts are available too so, if some stocks have an unusual tendency to rise or fall at certain times of the year, you can spot the seasonality.
And once you are done customizing your charts, you can look to place a trade on your favorite security, whether stocks, options, futures, or forex.
Virtually any trader no matter how proficient will be impressed and served well on the thinkorswim® platform. Advanced traders may like the Thermo Mode that provides lookback visibility at various time intervals.
You can even draw on charts, whether standard or Japanese candlestick charts.
When stocks break out of historical trends and become more volatile, how do you analyze them? The idea behind Fast Beta, a TD Ameritrade trademarked service, is to weigh recent price action more heavily with a view to gleaning insights that may otherwise be undetectable.
If you are a trader who likes to hunt for stocks that are breaking out or making big moves caused by earnings announcements or other fundamental catalysts, the Fast Beta trading tool is well worth checking out to help you spot trading opportunities.
Covered call options traders may fall in love with Strategy Roller for the amount of time it saves scouting for opportunities to generate premium.
If you have a long-term equity position in your portfolio, like say Amazon stock, and want to sell calls regularly against your position, Strategy Roller automates the process for you by continually selling call options against your share ownership position.
Scanning & Screening
Looking for stocks that are traded with high volume? The Sizzle Index that features in the Scan Hacker scanning tool displays stocks with unusually high volume.
But that’s just the beginning of its capabilities. You can customize your own screening criteria to include or exclude stocks. For example, you could screen out penny stocks or choose large market capitalization stock only if you wish.
These are just a few examples of the numerous scanning and screening features available, but almost anything you might to screen or scan for you can find possible on the thinkorswim® trading platform.
Before diving into advanced trading strategies using thinkorswim® level 2 trading quotes, practice using the thinkorswim® paper trading section called paperMoney.
By combining thinkorswim® backtesting with paper trading, you can find the best strategies to suit your risk tolerance, capacity for risk and financial goals.
You don’t have to risk a penny during the learning phase. And if you do get stuck, you can visit the thinkorswim® learning center or contact thinkorswim® support, who we found to be very helpful. thinkorswim® paperMoney tutorials are also available.
thinkorswim® Pros and Cons
The TD Ameritrade thinkorswim® platform supports trading in stocks, futures, forex, mutual funds, ETFs, fixed-income, and ETFs at reasonable cost, and provides the most extensive range of tools, screeners, chart studies and scanners of any trading platform that we have reviewed. You get free third-party research, free real-time data, and free analysis software but with so much on offer, the platform risks overwhelming first-time users. Our recommendation is stick with it because the more you look the more value you find.
|thinkorswim® Pros||thinkorswim® Cons|
|✅ Options Trading: thinkorswim® trading platform is about as close to options trading nirvana as options traders will find with advanced strategy capability, world class charting, top notch support staff with extensive knowledge of options, customizable screening tools, powerful backtesting capabilities, and fast execution.||❌ Navigability: New traders may find thinkorswim® trading platform intimidating and even overwhelming. The extensive functionality comes at the cost of a less intuitive site navigability.|
|✅ Risk-Free Trading Platform: thinkorswim® trading platform has an excellent virtual trading platform so you can learn strategies in a simulated environment with no capital placed at risk.||❌ Commission Rates & Margin: Commissions and margin rates run on the high side but they are not excessive in our view.|
|✅ Feature Rich Charts & Studies: The thinkorswim® is unparalleled when it comes to technical studies – over 300 exist – plus feature rich charts that can be customized to your preferred mode.||❌ Download thinkorswim®:thinkorswim® is a desktop platform that you must download. Depending on your preferences, you may be frustrated that web-based version doesn’t exist.|
|✅ Screening & Scanning Tools: View stocks with high trading volume, screen out stocks you wish to avoid, and even share customizations with other traders to leverage the power of the community.|
|✅ Create Your Own Technical Studies: thinkScript is an embedded programming language that enables traders to create their own ideal technical indicator.|
|✅ Extensive Range of Securities: Stocks, options, futures, forex, mutual funds, ETFs, and fixed income are available to trade.|
|✅ Free Data, Research & Tools: Real-time data, third-party research reports, analysis software, and mobile trading is all free.|
|✅ No Account Minimum: Unlike some trading platforms, thinkorswim® has no account minimum but to take advantage of the thinkorswim promo deal you will need to deposit at least $3,000.|
|✅ thinkorswim® Mobile: thinkorswim® has advanced mobile trading capabilities that facilitate trade orders, charting, news, and even account funding.|
|✅ thinkorswim® Support: thinkorswim® phone support is available around the clock. Live chat and email support is also available. Plus you can walk into any TD Ameritrade branch and find support too.|
thinkorswim® caters to the following securities.
Mutual funds and bonds cannot be traded via thinkorswim® trading platform but can be traded via its parent company, TD Ameritrade.
thinkorswim® fees are charged on trading transactions as follows.
|Stocks & ETFs||$6.95|
|Options||$6.95 + $0.75 per contract|
|Futures||$2.25 per contract|
|Margin base rate||8.00%|
|Transfer fees||$75 (outgoing)|
thinkorswim® Platform Features
|Customer support||7 days/week 24 hours daily|
For serious options traders, thinkorswim® has virtually no peers. While competitors have caught up over the years, thinkorswim® stands alone for its combination of extensive research, advanced charting, fast order execution, knowledgeable staff, capability to execute complex options trading strategies, and comprehensive screening tools.
Whether you are looking to create your own technical studies or use any of the 300+ existing one, or take advantage of free real-time data, free third party research, free analysis software on your desktop or mobile device, thinkorswim® has got you covered.
The commissions and fees are very reasonable for the value provided, especially considering almost any security imaginable can be traded, including stocks, options, futures, forex, mutual funds, fixed-income, and ETFs.
The bottom line is if you want a 5-star trading platform designed for the active traders who is cost conscious and wants an extensive range of tools to make more informed trading decisions, thinkorswim® is worth checking out.