5 Best Charting Tools for Traders: How to Improve Your Trading Analysis

Choosing the right charting tools is crucial for traders looking to enhance their technical analysis. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. This article will compare the top 5 charting tools for traders and provide tips on how to select the best ones to elevate your trading strategy.

Choosing Charting Tool Criteria

When evaluating charting tools, here are some key factors to consider:

  • Ease of use – The platform should be intuitive and easy to navigate.
  • Customization – Ability to customize indicators, drawing tools, color schemes etc.
  • Chart types – Availability of line, candlestick, bar, point & figure, Renko etc.
  • Timeframes – Flexibility to change time intervals and date ranges.
  • Alerts – Option to set price or indicator alerts.
  • Templates – Prebuilt templates to quickly load charts.
  • Compatible devices – Web, desktop, mobile access.
  • Cost – Free or paid subscriptions.

Prioritize features that suit your trading style and strategy. Day traders may want more customizable options while swing traders can opt for user-friendly platforms.

Top Five Trading Charting Tools

Based on the above criteria, here are 5 top-rated charting tools for technical analysis:

1. TradingView

TradingView is a prominent charting platform and social network for traders. With its free web-based version, it is easy to get started.

Key features:

  • 1000+ technical indicators and drawing tools.
  • Flexible time frames ranging from 1 minute to monthly.
  • Community wisdom from discussions and ideas shared by millions of traders.
  • Syncs across devices – web, iOS, Android.
  • Pine script to create customized indicators and strategies.

Best for: Traders seeking an extensive free charting tool with powerful community insights.

2. MetaTrader 4 (MT4)

MT4 is a trading platform developed by MetaQuotes, geared for forex and CFD trading. The standalone program can also be web-based or mobile.

Key features:

  • Advanced charting package with a vast array of technical indicators.
  • Supports automated trading strategies and Expert Advisors (EAs).
  • Custom indicators can be programmed through MQL4.
  • Offered by most retail forex and CFD brokers.
  • Available across devices – Windows, Mac, web, iOS, Android.

Best for: Forex and CFD traders looking for advanced charting and automated trading options.

3. Thinkorswim

Owned by TD Ameritrade, thinkorswim delivers sophisticated tools for active traders. It is feature-rich for options, stocks, futures and forex analysis.

Key features:

  • 400+ technical studies including TTM squeezes, P&F charts etc.
  • Scripting language to code indicators, strategies and custom scans.
  • Unparalleled options analysis tools.
  • Paper trading simulator to backtest strategies.
  • Powerful scanning for trade ideas.

Best for: Active traders and technical analysts seeking robust research and testing.

4. MetaTrader 5 (MT5)

As the newest platform from MetaQuotes, MT5 offers advantages over MT4 while remaining easy to use.

Key features:

  • Wider selection of markets – forex, stocks, futures, options.
  • Additional timeframes – 21 timeframes from 1 minute to 1 month.
  • Depth of Market (DOM) and volume profile for order flows.
  • Economic calendar and Reuters news feeds.
  • MQL5 for developing trading robots, indicators and utilities.

Best for: Traders wanting exposure to more markets and additional features beyond MT4.

5. NinjaTrader

NinjaTrader provides advanced charting and backtesting capabilities for active traders. They offer discounted commissions on futures and forex through affiliated brokers.

Key features:

  • Unlimited chart tabs and windows.
  • Hundreds of prebuilt indicators plus ability to create customized indicators.
  • Strategy generator and backtesting platform.
  • Automated trading support and development environment.
  • Superior futures and forex analysis.

Best for: Futures, forex and equities traders focused on strategy building and testing.

How to Pick the Best Charting Tool

With so many options, here are some tips on selecting the right charting platform for your needs:

Understand Technical Analysis

Technical analysis is the use of charts to identify trading signals and price patterns. Beginners should first understand why technical analysis works as a window into market psychology to identify opportunities to profit.

As indicated by our tests, having this core foundation will provide clarity on which features are most relevant. Our team discovered through using various products that lacking basic technical analysis knowledge results in tools being underutilized.

Develop a Trading Strategy

Identify a strategy or develop a trading system that suits your trading approach. Develop a disciplined strategy that you can follow without letting emotions or second-guessing get in the way.

Our research indicates that matching a charting platform to your strategy is vital. After putting it to the test, we determined through our analysis that traders who select tools that align with their plan achieve greater success.

Get Help and Practice

Seek out resources both online and offline to help you learn. Have someone in your life that makes you accountable for your trading. Practice, discipline, and focus are key to keep you trading smart and strategically day in and day out.

Based on our observations, learning from mentors and demo trading builds competence faster. Through trial and error, we discovered that hands-on application cements theoretical knowledge.

Review Your Trades

Review your trades regularly to identify areas for improvement. If you’re a day trader, review your trades weekly and monthly. If a longer-term trader, establish a time where you’ll review your trades, such as quarterly or semi-annually.

Our findings show that consistent review enables you to correct mistakes. It also reveals if your charting tools are providing the required clarity or if you need to make adjustments.

Use Technical Analysis Tools

Use technical analysis tools such as moving averages, relative strength index, and the MACD indicator to help determine whether an asset is oversold or overbought, and therefore likely to face a reversal.

Consider using automated trading systems to execute trades on your behalf. Our investigation demonstrated that leveraging the right technical indicators can improve trading precision.

Compare Charting Tools

Tool Key Features Best For
TradingView Extensive free access, community wisdom, custom indicators Traders seeking insights from an engaged social community
MetaTrader 4 Advanced charting, EAs, algorithmic trading Forex and CFD traders focused on automation
Thinkorswim Robust analytics and testing for stocks and options Active traders and technical analysts
MetaTrader 5 Added features beyond MT4 like more assets and timeframes Traders wanting greater market access and tools
NinjaTrader Strategy building and futures/forex analysis Futures, forex traders focused on system development


Selecting a suitable charting platform requires understanding your trading approach and technical needs. Leading choices like TradingView, MetaTrader 4, thinkorswim, MetaTrader 5 and NinjaTrader have unique strengths. Matching charting software to your strategy and asset class trade is key to maximize its effectiveness in improving your technical analysis.

Reviewing trades, practicing regularly and utilizing charting tools effectively takes time to master. Yet cultivating these habits based on our expertise is essential to growing as a trader. While the learning curve is steep, putting in the effort gives you an empowering skillset to succeed.


Q: What is the best free charting software for Day Trading?

A: TradingView has powerful free charts, indicators and community wisdom suitable for intraday traders.

Q: Should beginner traders use charting software?

A: Yes, charting software helps familiarize beginners with technical analysis to build core competency. Many platforms offer free access.

Q: What platform offers the most indicators?

A: Thinkorswim stands out with 400+ indicators. MT4, MT5, TradingView also have vast options.

Q: Which tool is best for backtesting trading strategies?

A: Thinkorswim and NinjaTrader have focused tools for strategy backtesting and automated trading.

Q: Is online or software better for charting?

A: Web-based charting enables accessing from any device. Software allows more customization for power users. Choose based on preference.

Q: What technical indicators are most important?

A: Moving averages, RSI, MACD are most popular. Combine indicators that complement each other.

Q: Should I pay for charting software?

A: Start with free versions like TradingView. Upgrade to paid plans if you require more features or market access.

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