Best Futures Trading Software in 2023
Want to jump straight to the answer? The best futures brokers for traders are Tradestation and Tradovate
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Futures are financial contracts that mandate a trader to buy or sell a defined quantity of an asset, at an agreed price and on a future date. The buyer must buy while the seller must sell at the predefined market price on the set date irrespective of the current market prices.
‘Futures trading’ is very popular with agricultural products like cocoa, wheat, corn, etc, and hard commodities like Gold, Silver, crude oil futures, etc. But, you can also trade futures on other assets classes like stock index futures, currency futures, mutual funds, US treasury futures, etc.
Futures traders comprise speculators, hedgers, and investors who trade futures contracts in the futures markets. Standardized exchanges such as the New York mercantile exchange (NYMEX), Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), etc make up the global futures market.
In several countries, different authorities regulate the operations of the futures markets in their jurisdictions. For example, the American futures exchanges are regulated by the Commodities Futures Trading Commissions (CFTC); FCA regulates exchanges in the UK.
In the futures market, quantities of assets are standardized and auctioned among buyers and sellers. The exchange provides the contracts, physical or electronic trading floors as well as real-time market data. Retail investors and traders can have access to trade futures contracts through futures brokers who offer futures derivative contracts that are cash-settled.
In this review, we will examine the best futures trading platforms in relation to a trader’s personality and trading preferences. We will also analyze the benefits and risks of futures trading as well as how to choose a futures trading platform. The review will round off with the best forex trading course and best futures brokers.
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Table of Contents
Best Futures Trading Software
#1. Best for All Trading Levels: Tradestation
TradeStation (TS) is a multi-asset broker that has been around for over 30 years. With its powerful trading platform and premium brokerage services, it is regarded as one of the most popular futures trading brokers. TS has innovative pricing plans which include no commissions on stocks, equity options, and futures trades. The account minimum deposit required to commence trading futures is zero.
The trading platform available to all clients is the TradeStation proprietary platform which is available as WebTrader, windows desktop application, and mobile apps. The desktop platform allows traders to create, test, automate and optimize their strategies. It also supports complex charting tools, ultra-speed trade executions, and advanced order management. Traders can place orders or monitor their trades on the go with the android and iOS apps of the platform.
Daily market insights and educational resources are provided on the website. The dedicated client support desk is always ready to assist. Over the years, TS has won numerous awards from several industry stakeholders.
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securely through TradeStation website
#2. Best High Volume Traders: Tradovate
Tradovate is an online broker that provides secure and innovative trading environment for its teeming clients. The brokerage was launched in 2015 by ‘Rick Tomsic’ after he assembled a team of experts with a mission to deliver a seamless trading experience, powered by modern technology in order to minimize trading costs.
Traders are offered a proprietary futures trading platform that is robust, sophisticated, and available on the web, desktop application, and mobile apps; android and iOS. It supports over 40 trading tools, third-party charting integrations, and a proprietary market replay tool. You can also build custom tools with Tradovate’s API tools. Educational resources are provided in form of training videos, heatmap, and trading insights presented by industry experts.
Tradovate has a membership structure that favors experienced traders who place high-volume orders. There are 3 account types as follows:
- Free membership: there are no monthly fees. Traders only pay commissions when they trade futures. Standard futures contracts attract a commission of $0.79 per side.
- Active trader plan: The monthly fee is $99 and the commission per side on a standard futures contract is $0.19.
- Commission-free membership: For a monthly fee of $199 which is prepaid annually, traders can trade without commissions on all types of futures contracts. This is perfect for high volume frequent traders.
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securely through Tradovate website
#3. Best for Trading Micro Futures: Optimus Futures
Optimus Futures is one of the best brokers suitable for retail traders who love trading micro-sized futures. What are micro futures? It is a small-sized futures contract designed for retail traders with smaller trading capitals. It comes with a lower margin which means higher leverage and less capital. Though the contract sizes are much smaller than the standard sizes traded on exchanges, the broker insists that they come with the same efficiency, diversification potential, and flexibility.
Optimus Futures is a broker that offers multiple futures trading software; in fact, there are about 30 of them. But, its proprietary platforms are Optimus flow, Optimus Trader and Optimus News. Other platforms available include TradeStation, R Trader Pro, MT5, CQG QTrader, etc. Optimus Trader deploys Rithmic data feed and execution; it is suitable for all traders including newbies while Optimus Flow is more sophisticated with advanced analytics and pro charts. Optimus news is a platform that presents up-to-date market news, analytics, notifications, and charts. A minimum of $100 is required to commence trading and you can try out demo accounts at no cost before going live.
Founded by an American futures market veteran, Optimus Futures has been providing affordable brokerage services for over ten years. Its mission is to help its clients to achieve their trading goals by offering them efficient and affordable services. Traders enjoy competitive commissions, fast order executions, educational resources, expert guidance, and connection to global exchanges.
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securely through Optimus Futures website
#4. Best for Active Traders: Ninja Trader
You are considered an active trader if you open and close trades frequently with the aim of profiting from short-term market fluctuations. Trading fees are charged on every trade; this means that active traders pay a lot of money as trading fees. Also, they need to trade on a very fast and reliable trading platform with a robust charting package since they mostly rely on technical analysis. NinjaTrader is the best platform for frequent traders because of its complex charting tools and low futures trading commissions.
The NinjaTrader group LLC, is an American company that offers trading platform and brokerage services to over 500,000 clients from over 150 countries. $400 is the minimum amount required to commence futures trading but if you can fund your account with up to $1,000; the platform becomes available at no cost. NinjaTrader platform features over 100 technical indicators, market analyzer, chart trading, advanced trade management, etc. Demo trading is also available for practice purposes before actual trading with real money.
NinjaTrader can be customized or even personalized to suit any trader’s preferences. If you are a developer, you can create plug-in apps that can be installed on NinjaTrader to automate your strategies, add indicators or other trading tools to the platform. With the NinjaTrader ecosystem, traders can search for third-party apps and services that have been designed to work with NinjaTrader. Webinars and training articles are also provided.