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Vanguard vs. thinkorswim – A Detailed Comparison

Discover our detailed comparison of Vanguard 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 Vanguard and thinkorswim across the internet and compiled it all in this article. 

Overview of Vanguard

Vanguard was founded by the legendary investor John Bogle. Bogle is also credited with creating the first retail index fund, providing retail investors with a low-cost vehicle to invest in the broader stock market. Vanguard is known for offering low-cost mutual funds and ETFs with trillions of AUM.

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 Vanguard and thinkorswim

FeatureVanguardthinkorswim
Platform TypeBrokerage PlatformTrading Platform (Schwab)
Tradeable AssetsStocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Options, BondsStocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Options, Index Options, Futures, Futures Options, Bonds
Charting FeaturesPrice history for Vanguard fundsDownloadable desktop platform and web app
DataReal-time data with funded accountReal-time data with funded account
Premium PricingNo premium featuresNo premium features

Who is Vanguard Best For?

Vanguard is best for long-term investors who want a low-cost set-it-and-forget-it investing approach. It is not great for active traders due to its lack of charting and trading tools. While Vanguard is an excellent and well-established brokerage, it is somewhat dated and not suitable for those who want a lot of control over their investments.

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

FeatureVanguardthinkorswim
DRIPYes, no feesYes, no fees
Margin TradingYesYes
InsuranceSIPC InsuredNot a broker
Mobile AppYesYes

Trading Costs and Commissions Compared

Fee TypeVanguardthinkorswim
Equity CommissionFreeFree
Option Commission$0 + $1-per-contract fee$0.65 per contract
Futures CommissionNo futures$2.25 per contract
Futures Options CommissionNo futures options$2.25 per contract
Option Exercise FeeNoneNone

Vanguard vs thinkorswim – Bottom Line

Choosing between Vanguard 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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