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

TradeStation vs. tastytrade Introduction

Are you looking for a futures, crypto, and securities broker with the absolute best in trading software? If so, tastytrade and TradeStation should be at the top of your list. Be sure to read over our research before choosing one over the other.

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 $250 for each person you refer with this referral link. Get up to $3,500 for making a deposit at TradeStation.

Category 1: Tradable Products

TradeStation customers have access to a wide range of investment vehicles. The broker’s lineup includes:

  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Options
  • Exchange Traded Funds
  • Closed End Funds
  • Mutual Funds
  • Futures and options on futures
  • Stocks, including over-the-counter and foreign equities
  • Fixed Income

tastytrade clients lose the bonds, OTC and foreign stocks, and mutual funds. The other asset classes remain.

Neither brokerage firm has any managed accounts, so everything is self-directed.

Winner: TradeStation

Category 2: Mobile Platforms

It’s possible to place trades of securities or futures contracts on either broker’s mobile app. The TradeStation app delivers an order ticket with some really advanced trade types. Examples we found include:

- OSO with bracket
- Trailing stop (% or $)

TradeStation vs tasty

Charts on TradeStation’s app have lots of tools, including indicators, drawing gadgets, themes, and an export tool. The downside is that a rectangle with bid and ask prices sits at the top of the chart, and on iPhone 6, it takes up about a third of the visible space.

This problem is mitigated on the tastytrade app. A graph is visible on most of the screen in horizontal mode. However, there are no tools at all, which obviously limits the use of charts.

Tastytrade or TradeStation

tastytrade’s order ticket doesn’t have the advanced order types we found on TradeStation’s app. However, there are bracket orders.

Digital currencies can be traded on the tasty app but not on TradeStation’s app. TradeStation customers must use a mobile-enhanced website.

Winner: tastytrade

Category 3: Websites

Display problems with TradeStation’s mobile charts are easily solved on the broker’s web-based trading platform. Launched from its website, it is simple on one hand but powerful on the other. A graph with a lot of the same tools we have already seen can be displayed full-screen with just a small ribbon across the very top. It has a settings menu and a trade button.

tradestation vs tastyworks

Clicking on the trade button pulls up the platform’s order form, which has lots of pro-level trade types. Other highlights on the platform include a trade ladder and integrated option spreads.

Cryptocurrencies and options on futures are traded on discrete platforms with their own set of features and tools.

tastytrade’s website platform is used for all asset classes, so there is only one platform. It’s easy to switch between bullish and bearish trades with a click of a mouse. The trade ticket has multiple interfaces, which create different ways of entering a trade. And we really like tastylive, which delivers live programming every market day from over 25 personalities.

Tastytrade or TradeStation

The major downside of tastytrade’s browser platform is the lack of any decent charting system.

Winner: tastytrade

Category 4: Desktop Programs

But tastytrade does come through with charting on its desktop program. We counted 200+ technical studies. Examples include:

- CAM Indicator
- AlphaJensen
- Leavitt Convolution

Tasty vs TradeStation

Order entry reaches an even higher level than we have already seen with multiple trade tickets. The following interfaces are available:

- Table
- Curve
- Active
- Grid
- Crypto
- Pairs

The active trade ticket is a price ladder.

Over at TradeStation, we found another really advanced desktop trading system. Once again, we found over 200 indicators. This time, the platform offers very advanced widgets for a variety of functions. Here are some samples:

- Quick button trade ticket
- Time & sales data
- OptionStation Pro
- Walk-Forward Optimizer

tradestation vs tastyworks

Winner: TradeStation


Tastytrade: Get $250 for each person you refer with this referral link.

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

Category 5: Margin

Margin accounts are available at both firms. Only tastytrade offers portfolio margin.

TradeStation customers pay either 13.5% or 12.5% for borrowed money, depending on the amount. Debit balances above $500k receive negotiated rates.

tastytrade clients pay somewhere between 11% and 8% , depending on the amount borrowed.

Winner: tastytrade

Category 6: Swing Trading and Day Trading

Extended Hours: Pre-market and after-hours trading sessions are available for stocks and ETFs at both brokerage houses. TradeStation has longer hours on both ends. Digital currencies trade around the clock.

Level II Quotes: Available only at TradeStation.

Direct Access Routing: Orders placed inside a TradeStation account can be sent to specific ECNs. In fact, all three of the broker’s platforms offer this ability. None of tastytrade’s platforms do.

Shorting: Both firms permit short positions. TradeStation, but not tastytrade, has an equities desk that will locate shares for shorting. There is no charge for the service.

Routing Fees and Rebates: TradeStation has them.

Winner: TradeStation

Last Category: Extra Services

Banking Features: Neither brokerage house in this competition offers any significant cash management tools, like check writing or debit cards.

Initial Public Offerings: TradeStation offers access to IPOs and secondary offerings through ClickIPO.

Dividend Reinvesting: Cash dividends from securities can be reinvested as additional shares at tastytrade.

IRA Lineups: An Individual Retirement Account can be opened at either broker-dealer, and futures can be traded in an IRA at either firm. TradeStation charges a $35 annual fee on securities IRAs. tastytrade does not. Both firms charge IRA closeout fees.

Fractional Shares: Neither brokerage firm offers whole-dollar purchases of stocks or ETFs. Digital currencies, however, can be traded in whole dollars at either firm.

Winner: tastytrade


Tastytrade: Get $250 for each person you refer with this referral link.

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

Our Recommendations

Mutual Fund Investing: TradeStation is it (trades must be placed on the website and not the web-browser platform).

Small Accounts: TradeStation has an annual maintenance fee, so we would go with tastytrade, who has no such recurring charge. Neither brokerage firm is ideal for small IRAs due to their IRA fees. We would go with Schwab instead.

Stock and ETF Trading: The highest-level experience will be found on TradeStation’s desktop platform.

Beginners: We defend TradeStation because all three of its platforms (mobile app, desktop program, and browser platform) offer simulated trading with a practice currency. tastylive’s educational resources would be good, too.

Retirement Savings and Long-Term Investing: Neither brokerage house is really designed for long-term retirement planning. We would skip both and head to Fidelity.

TradeStation vs Tastytrade Summary

The primary strength of each firm is crypto, futures, and securities trading all in one account, or at least all at one broker. tastytrade appears to have an overall edge, primarily due to better pricing.

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