tastyworks versus Thinkorswim (TOS) - compare trading platforms, commissions, investing fees, account differences, pros and cons. Which trading broker is better?

Two Rivals: Thinkorswim and tastyworks

With the launch of an updated version of its desktop platform, tastyworks is trying to deliver better software—while simultaneously dropping its equity commission to $0. TD Ameritrade has matched tasty’s pricing on stock and ETF trades. So which broker now delivers the better value? This survey will find the answer.

Broker Fees

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Tastyworks $0 na $1.00 per contract ($10 max, $0 to sell) $0 $0
Thinkorswim $0 $49.99 ($0 to sell) $0 $0


Services

Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
Tastyworks
Thinkorswim


Promotions

TastyWorks: Get $75 for each person you refer when you sign up with this referral link.

Thinkorswim: $0 stock/ETF trades and transfer fee refund.



A Comparison of Desktop Software

tastyworks’ newly released desktop platform maintains the same looks and feel as the old software. Moreover, most of the features and tools are the same as well. tastyworks says the new program will be more stable than the old system.


tastytrade videos


Some of the features that users will find of value include free access to tastytrade, the company’s educational resource. tastytrade offers both live and on-demand videos. Alerts can be set up on the platform, but the software only offers a few triggers (last price, bid, ask, and implied volatility).

What we did like on the new platform was the ability to create multiple watchlists. In fact, the software incorporates many pre-selected lists, such as the CEO’s watchlist and high options volume.


tastyworks options trading


The new software has the same graphical trade feature that displays option strike prices and Greek values in pictorial format. Tables of numbers are also available.

Features that are still missing on tastyworks’ recently updated platform are direct-access routing, complex order types (besides limit and stop), and good duration choices (besides GTC and good-until-date). Extended-hours trading is possible, and of course options and futures can be traded (tastyworks’ specialty).

On TD Ameritrade’s desktop platform thinkorswim, we did find direct-access routing. There are many advanced order types, including 1st triggers OCO, market-on-close, limit-on-close, trailing, and 1st triggers seq. In addition to a general extended-hours selection (which is tastyworks’ setup), on thinkorswim it is also possible to specify the morning or evening session only.

On top of options and futures, currencies can also be traded on TD Ameritrade’s desktop platform.


TOS vs Tastyworks


Our pick in the first category is thinkorswim.


Other Software

TD Ameritrade used to have a browser platform but has retired it. tastyworks does have a browser platform, and it’s quite similar to the desktop system; so much so that we’re not sure why the broker has both of them. The tastyworks mobile app has a similar interface as the browser and desktop systems; and has much of the same capability. Missing on the mobile platform is charting.


tastyworks Mobile App


We did find charting on the thinkorswim mobile app. In fact, there are about four hundred technical indicators integrated into the mobile software. Also available is a demo mode. The tasty app, by comparison, doesn’t offer practice trading.


thinkorswim vs tastyworks


Overall, we like thinkorswim better here.


And What About Level II Quotes?

Sophisticated investors know the advantages of Level II data. Amazingly, tastyworks does not offer this vital service on any of its platforms at any price. thinkorswim, on the other hand, provides Level II data to both pros and amateurs free of charge.

Another success for thinkorswim.


Now Let’s Look at Extended-Hours Trading

tastyworks and thinkorswim both offer extended-hours trading. The latter delivers a longer late-night period, but closes its early-bird session before tasty does. There are no surcharges for placing extended-hours trades, and it’s easy to do so on software with either broker.

Too close to call here.


Buying and Selling Options

tastyworks’ platforms (desktop, browser, and mobile) offer options trading in both traditional table format and a very unique graphical format. The latter shows a bell curve with the probability of price movement in the underlying stock. Greek values can be displayed in both formats. Profit-loss diagrams can be added or removed within the pictorial format.

Over at thinkorswim, direct-access routing is available for option contracts, the first advantage over tasty. During our testing, we also found many more multi-leg strategies on thinkorswim, including double calendar, vertical roll, and collar with stock. Greek values are available, too.

thinkorswim once again is the victor.


Margin

A margin account can be opened at either broker, and in fact, one is required to trade many option strategies. Both firms offer 2:1 leverage for initial short and long stock positions. Maintenance is 4:1 for long positions at tasty and 30% at TD Ameritrade.

Margin interest at tastyworks is currently 8% for a loan under $10,000. TD Ameritrade customers pay 11% for the same loan.

tastyworks is our pick in this category.


Other Services

DRIP service to turn cash dividends into additional shares is available at either broker-dealer in this contest. IRAs are also available, although tasty charges an IRA closeout fee, whereas TD Ameritrade does not. tastyworks also doesn’t offer a SIMPLE IRA.

Forex traders will find good tools on thinkorswim for buying and sell currencies. Unfortunately, tastyworks hasn’t jumped on the currency bandwagon yet.

thinkorswim wins here.


Lastly, Our Recommendations

Newbies: If you’re a beginner, we definitely recommend TD Ameritrade and thinkorswim over tastyworks. Although thinkorswim is difficult to learn, TD Ameritrade has more educational materials and better customer service than tastyworks.

Stock Trading: With TD Ameritrade’s extensive stock research (free of charge) we choose it over its rival.

Day Trading: Because thinkorswim provides Level II data and direct access to market makers, we propose it over tasty.

Banking Features: If you need cash management tools, you’ll have no choice but to pick TD Ameritrade because tastyworks doesn’t offer any.

Social Trading: tastyworks has unique feature which allows you to easily see what individual professional traders are trading. This could be invaluable for both beginner and experienced traders.


Promotions

TastyWorks: Get $75 for each person you refer when you sign up with this referral link.

Thinkorswim: $0 stock/ETF trades and transfer fee refund.



Thinkorswim vs tastyworks Summary

Despite launching an updated platform, tastyworks has a lot of work left to do if it wants to compete against some of the heavyweights in the industry. However, it does have great options tools and an ability to follow what other professional traders are trading. With $0-commission and $0-account fees it makes sense to open accounts at both firms and take advantage of what they have to offer.


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Open TastyWorks Account

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Open Thinkorswim Account


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