Compare TastyWorks versus Thinkorswim (TOS) - commissions, investing fees, trading tools, account differences, pros and cons. Which online broker is better?

Overview of thinkorswim and tastyworks

If you’re a frequent trader of equities, futures, or options, you need to take a look at tastyworks and TD Ameritrade’s desktop platform thinkorswim. You will find good trading tools with either choice. This article will help you select the right broker.

Broker Fees

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Tastyworks $5 ($0 to sell) na $1.00 per contract ($10 max, $0 to sell) $0 $0
Thinkorswim $6.95 $49.95 $6.95 + $0.75 per contract $0 $0

Services

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

Available Investments

tastyworks customers can buy and sell stocks, ETF’s, closed-end funds, options, and futures (including options on futures and micro futures). The broker does not offer forex, cryptocurrencies, mutual funds, bonds, or over-the-counter stocks.

OTC stocks are available on thinkorswim. The software can also be used to trade forex, futures, options, options on futures, bitcoin futures, ETF’s, and closed-end funds. TD Ameritrade’s website can be used to trade bonds and mutual funds.

The winner of the opening category is thinkorswim.

PC Trading

tastyworks customers get to trade on a browser platform and a desktop system. The browser software provides basic charting and a trade ticket with market and stop orders. Color-coded buy and sell buttons make placing trades very easy.


tastyworks Traders


We found the trade ticket on the desktop system more difficult to use. Nevertheless, it has the same features. The software provides better charting than its browser cousin with technical studies, drawing tools, and multiple display styles. Neither platform provides direct-access routing or complex order types.

thinkorswim only comes in desktop mode. There is no browser system. Nevertheless, the software delivers a lot of professional-level features. We found close to 400 technical indicators in the software’s charting program. Other highlights include direct-access routing and complex orders like OCO and blast all.


TOS vs TAsty Works


thinkorswim is our choice here.

Mobile Apps

tastyworks provides a mobile app with a similar interface as the desktop and browser systems. There is no mobile check deposit or market news. The platform’s order ticket provides just three order types: limit, market, and stop. Duration options include GTC, good-till-date, and day. Charting is rudimentary.


tastyworks Mobile App


Moving to the thinkorswim app, we get very advanced charting with the same technical studies the desktop system has. There are many drawing tools and up to a decade of price action. Besides stocks, options, and futures, currencies can also be traded on the app.


thinkorswim Mobile


The order form provides several advanced trade types, many time-in-force options, and even the option to send an order at an exact time. Although the thinkorswim app doesn’t offer mobile check deposit, another app from TD Ameritrade does.

Another failure for tastyworks.

Extended-Hours Trading

tastyworks offers both a pre-market session and an after-hours trading period. The first starts at 8:00 am, EST. The second closes at 6:00 pm. Traders on thinkorswim can start at the same time as tastyworks’ early period; although TD Ameritrade shuts it down 15 minutes before the opening bell. The late-night session for thinkorswim closes 2 hours later than tastyworks’ period.

Pretty even here.

Level II Quotes

Level II data is not available at tastyworks, which is surprising given the broker’s emphasis on active trading. On thinkorswim, Level II quotes are available free of charge to both professional and non-professional customers. The quote window isn’t included in the default setup. To add it, click on the plus sign in the lower-left corner of the platform.

Another victory for thinkorswim.

Margin

Both companies in our survey offer margin accounts. At tastyworks, there is a 50% initial margin requirement for both long and short positions. Maintenance is 25% for long positions and 30% for short stocks.

At TD Ameritrade, the 50% stays the same, but maintenance on long stocks increases to 30%. For short stocks, maintenance is $5 for equities priced below $16.67. The figure is a flat 30% for stocks above that level.

TD Ameritrade charges 10.75% for a loan under $10k, while tastyworks charges just 8.0%.

tastyworks wins its first category.

Option Tools

Option contracts can be traded at tastyworks on any of the broker’s 3 platforms. Multi-leg strategies are pre-programmed. The platforms offer both traditional chains, and a graphical interface that shows bullish and bearish trades.

Options can be traded on either the thinkorswim mobile or desktop system. Greeks values can be accessed, and direct-access routing is available. Calls and puts can be searched, and another tool looks for spreads (such as butterflies and iron condors).

We’ll call it even here.

Financial Education and Research

Because tastyworks is affiliated with tastytrade, an investment learning portal, the broker’s customers get free access to the site. This includes on-demand videos and a live feed of market news. For analysis of specific securities, there is only cursory information on the browser and desktop platforms. During our investigation, we located just a few data points, such as volume, days to earnings, implied volatility, and 52-week range.

thinkorswim offers much more. We found an economic calendar, a stock screener, an options screener, multiple heat maps, backtesting software, and streaming of multiple video channels (TD Ameritrade and CNBC). On the TD Ameritrade website, there is even more. For example, third-party stock reports can be downloaded (in pdf format) free of charge.

We like thinkorswim better here.

Other Services

Both TD Ameritrade and tasty offer a dividend reinvestment service. Both of them also provide Individual Retirement Accounts. tastyworks doesn’t have a SIMPLE IRA, but TD Ameritrade does.

TD Ameritrade customers can sign up for automatic investing in mutual funds. As we saw, tasty doesn’t offer any mutual funds.

Besides trading boxes for currencies, thinkorswim also incorporates a currency map of the day’s major forex movers.

thinkorswim wins here.

Promotions

TastyWorks: Open account and pay no commission when selling stocks/ETFs/options.

Thinkorswim: Trade free for 60 days + Get up to $600.


Our Recommendations

For beginners, we recommend TD Ameritrade. tastyworks doesn’t have the same level of customer service or learning materials that TDA brings to the table. Same goes for long-term investing, retirement saving, and mutual fund trading.

Budget traders should choose tastyworks. Its commissions on all products are lower.

For day trading, we have to suggest thinkorswim due to its superior software and free direct-access routing and Level II quotes.

Thinkorswim vs TastyWorks Summary

thinkorswim, backed by TD Ameritrade, outperformed tastyworks in most categories. Nevertheless, the latter company offers a great value, especially for options and futures trading.

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Open TastyWorks Account

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Open Thinkorswim Account



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