Tastytrade/tastyworks versus TradeStation - compare IRA, trading platforms, commissions, investing fees, account differences, pros and cons. Which online broker is better?

Two Rivals: TradeStation and Tastytrade

Tastytrade (aka tastyworks) and TradeStation provide competent services for active traders. But which one is the better brokerage firm? Here’s the answer:

Comparison Table

Tastytrade TradeStation Review
Rating tastytrade rating TradeStation rating
Stocks $0 $0
Options (per contract) $0.50 $0.50
Mutual Funds n/a $14.95
Initial Funding Requirement $0 $0
Inactivity Fee $0 $0
IRA Annual Fee $0 $0
Full Account Transfer $75 $125
Partial Account Transfer $75 $75
Account Closing Fee $0 $0
Trading Experience & Technology brokerage ratings brokerage ratings
Mobile brokerage ratings brokerage ratings
Research Amenities brokerage ratings brokerage ratings
Portfolio & Analysis Reports brokerage ratings brokerage ratings
Customer Service and Education brokerage ratings brokerage ratings
Open an account Get $75 for each person you refer when you sign up with this referral link. Get up to $3,500 for making a deposit.

Desktop Software

The Tastytrade website has no trading functionality. It is used for account management and for launching the company’s browser-based trading program. The software offers several watchlists, simple charting, and a basic order ticket without much complexity to it. There are stop, limit, and market orders. There are just 2 duration choices.

Charting gets much better on the firm’s desktop platform. We counted roughly 100 technical indicators, 4 graph styles, and different color choices. For some odd reason, tasty forgot to include company events. On the plus side, the software incorporates lots of drawing tools. As for the software’s trade ticket, we didn’t find any complex orders or direct-access routing.

Tastytrade vs TradeStation

TradeStation delivers similarities and differences. Like Tastytrade, TradeStation’s website has zero trading capacity. Also like tasty, TradeStation offers a browser platform. It has much better charting than tasty’s browser software, offering technical studies, drawing tools, multiple graph styles, and full-screen view (something which Tastytrade’s browser platform doesn’t offer). The TradeStation browser platform also delivers trailing and complex orders plus direct-access routing to many destinations.

TradeStation vs Tastytrade

While we were impressed with TradeStation’s browser system, its desktop software is even more advanced. Once again, complex orders make an appearance, but there are more of them. Direct access to market makers also appears again.

Charting on the desktop system comes with many sophisticated tools and full-screen viewing mode. Alerts and a watchlist are incorporated. We also liked the inclusion of hot keys, something tasty doesn’t provide.

One really unique feature the desktop system offers is the ability to purchase additional apps that can be used for a variety of purposes. Most of them are technical indicators that aren’t included in the default list.

TradeStation is the better option here.

Mobile Apps

The Tastytrade app comes with trading and charting capability. Unfortunately, we didn’t find streaming video news; and in fact, there aren’t even news articles. Also missing is mobile check deposit.

Tastytrade Mobile App

The trade ticket offers stop, market, and limit orders. Time-in-force choices are day, GTC, and good-till-a-date. Missing are complex order types and direct-access routing.

Charting on the tasty app consists of a very small graph on the trade ticket. It cannot be rotated horizontally, and there are no tools.

On the positive side, we did like the inclusion of tastytrade, an affiliated educational company. Live streaming of market commentary is available.

On the TradeStation app, we find very advanced charting. A chart can be rotated horizontally. There are technical indicators, multiple chart styles, lots of drawing tools, and different colored themes.

TradeStation Mobile App

The app’s trade ticket offers several important features. First is the number of order types, which includes trailing and stop versions. There are many duration choices, and we especially like the number of complex orders, such as brackets, OCO, and order sends order. Best of all is probably direct-access routing. And we mustn’t forget the app’s demo mode for practice trading.

TradeStation easily wins here.

Options Trading

Both broker-dealers in our study offer trading in options. Tastytrade customers can buy and sell contracts on all 3 of the broker’s platforms. There are 9 multi-leg strategies available. Besides option chains, the software also provides a graphical view with a bell curve.

TradeStation customers can trade options on any of the three platforms the broker offers. The browser platform has 15 pre-defined complex strategies. Multiple legs can be added to an order for custom-built strategies.

TradeStation’s desktop platform offers the same multi-leg strategies. It’s also possible to build your own using a custom feature. OptionStation Pro is a free app on the desktop platform that has an option search tool.

Because of lower commissions his category is awarded to Tastytrade.

Other Investment Vehicles

Besides stocks, ETF’s, and options, TradeStation customers can buy and sell futures contracts (including options on futures), bonds, crypto-currencies, and mutual funds.

Tastytrade customers have access to crypto-currencies, futures, and options on futures. Unfortunately, the broker doesn’t offer the other products that TradeStation delivers.

Obviously, TradeStation wins here.

Extended-Hours Trading

Tastytrade customers can start trading securities before the market opens. The broker’s early-bird session is from 8 o’clock in the morning until the market bell rings. At the closing bell, tasty’s after-hours period begins and last for two hours.

TradeStation has the same pre-market session. Its after-hours period is twice as long as Tastytrade’s.

Looks like TradeStation has the edge here.

Level 2 Quotes

During our research, we couldn’t find Level 2 quotes on any of Tastytrade’s platforms. Turns out that the broker-dealer doesn’t offer them, even for a fee.

TradeStation offers an elementary version of Level 2 data on its browser platform. Although the exact market makers aren’t shown, the software does display bid and ask sizes and prices. On the desktop system, an app named Matrix shows the same information along with volume at specific prices. A traditional Level 2 window with color-coded data and market makers can be used as well. The downside of TradeStation’s traditional Level 2 window is that it charges data fees.

Although TradeStation isn’t perfect here, it does outperform tasty.


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

TradeStation: Get up to $3,500 for making a deposit.

Margin Policies

Tastytrade requires at least 50% down for initial maintenance on a long stock position. The broker’s maintenance requirement is half that figure. To qualify for these leverage levels, a stock must be priced at $3 or more. TradeStation has the exact same policies.

As for short positions, Tastytrade has the same 50% for initial margin, but maintenance is a higher 30%. The price floor also increases to $5. TradeStation has a 50% initial requirement on short stocks priced above $16.67. The broker’s maintenance is 35% for most stocks; although some stocks may be restricted.

Tastytrade is the winner here.

TradeStation vs Tastytrade Summary

Tastytrade gained three victories including the Pricing category, while TradeStation won all other categories. TradeStation is the winner of our investigation by a small margin. We do nevertheless recommend Tastytrade for stock and options traders, for shorting equities, and for anyone looking to see what other professional traders are trading.

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