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Interactive Brokers vs. thinkorswim – A Detailed Comparison

Discover our detailed comparison of Interactive Brokers and thinkorswim to help determine which is best for you. Whether you’re a seasoned trader or just starting out, choosing the right platform can significantly impact your trading experience. 

To make your research easier, we manually found key data for Interactive Brokers and thinkorswim across the internet and compiled it all in this article. 

Overview of Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is a well-established brokerage firm founded in 1978, known for providing advanced trading and investing services to a diverse clientele, including individual investors, institutions, and professional traders. IBKR offers competitive pricing for options and futures, but lacks when it comes to charting and ease of use.

Overview of thinkorswim

thinkorswim was founded by Tom Sosnoff in the late 90s, and is one of the most popular trading platforms today. thinkorswim allows you to use advanced charting tools, custom indicators, screeners, trade options, and more! thinkorswim itself is not a brokerage, but is compatible with Schwab and TD Ameritrade customers.

Key Characteristics of Interactive Brokers and thinkorswim

FeatureInteractive Brokersthinkorswim
Platform TypeBrokerage PlatformTrading Platform (Schwab)
Tradeable AssetsStocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Options, Futures, Futures Options, Crypto, BondsStocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Options, Index Options, Futures, Futures Options, Bonds
Charting FeaturesDownloadable desktop platforms, web platform, mobile appDownloadable desktop platform and web app
DataMust buy real-time dataReal-time data with funded account
Premium PricingNo premium featuresNo premium features

Who is Interactive Brokers Best For?

Interactive Brokers is best for advanced traders who prefer to automate their trading strategies. IBKR is far from beginner-friendly, as the platforms are advanced and require some technical knowledge to utilize effectively. If you are looking for a modern, easy-to-use investing platform, IBKR is not your best option.

Who is thinkorswim Best For?

thinkorswim is best for traders who already use Schwab or TD Ameritrade, and want an excellent trading platform for technical analysis, options trading, news, and more!

Trading Features and Tools

FeatureInteractive Brokersthinkorswim
DRIPYes, but with feesYes, no fees
Margin TradingYesYes
InsuranceSIPC InsuredNot a broker
Mobile AppYesYes

Trading Costs and Commissions Compared

Fee TypeInteractive Brokersthinkorswim
Equity CommissionFreeFree
Option Commission$0.65 per contract$0.65 per contract
Futures Commission$0.85 per contract, $0.25 micro$2.25 per contract
Futures Options Commission$0.85 per contract, $0.25 micro$2.25 per contract
Option Exercise FeeNoneNone

Interactive Brokers vs thinkorswim – Bottom Line

Choosing between Interactive Brokers and thinkorswim depends on your specific trading needs, preferred trading tools, and the type of assets you’re interested in. 

Both platforms offer distinct advantages, but by considering the detailed comparison above, you can select the one that aligns best with your trading strategy and goals.

For more detailed reviews and comparisons, continue exploring our other articles on brokerage platform comparisons.

What is the Overall Best Charting Software?

I have reviewed and used nearly every trading platform available, and I believe that TradingView is the best overall charting software available. Here are some reasons why:

  • All of TradingView’s key features are free to use
  • TradingView provides real-time data for free whenever possible
  • You are not tied to a single broker and can use whichever you want while charting on TradingView
  • You can track all markets on a single platform, including stocks, ETFs, crypto, forex, and futures.
  • TradingView has an excellent economic calendar and various screeners

If you sign up for a TradingView account using my affiliate link, you can get a 30-day free trial of its premium features plus a $15 credit toward your subscription. However, signing up for a free trial is not required, and you can use nearly all of its features with a basic free account. You can read my full review of TradingView to learn more. 

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