Online brokerage comparison

Online Brokerage Firms Comparison

2023 chart to compare discount online brokerage companies accounts on pricing, investment products, trading tools, beginner support, research amenities, and customer service.

How We Rate and Compare Brokers

We rate and compare a wide range of brokers to help our readers understand what each has to offer. To get the clearest picture possible, we use the same methodology and criteria to assess each of the brokers featured on our site.

Broker Rating Categories

Here are the categories we consider when reviewing the top stockbrokers in the U.S.

Prices (35%)

Pricing is one of the first things investors look at when comparing brokers. Since most online brokers now offer ‘commission-free’ trading, it can be difficult to tell which brokers are actually the least expensive. We look at brokerage fees like memberships and subscriptions, commissions, hidden fees, and bonus offers.

Trading Tools (15%)

Brokers offer trading tools built to meet the demands and preferences of their customer base. A broker must provide the tools you need to navigate the marketplace successfully. We look at each broker’s trading tools, such as mobile integration, advanced charting, lightning-fast order execution, robo-investing, and more.

Range of Products (15%)

Some brokers offer a simple line-up of securities like stocks and ETFs, and others provide a more varied selection of investment vehicles. We look at the available products, as well as how good of a job the broker does at delivering them.

Research Amenities (15%)

Research amenities differ significantly from one broker to the next. For this category, we look at the availability of market research tools like screeners, heatmaps, social sentiment, detailed stock and sector reporting, backtesting, corporate action calendars, and many more.

Customer Service (8%)

If you have ever needed to contact support, you know how important it is to speak with a customer service rep. For this category, we look at the quality of the FAQ, live chat availability, response times, and politeness.

Beginner Friendliness (6%)

The ability of a broker to cater to marketplace newcomers is becoming increasingly important as more first-time investors open brokerage accounts. We look at the required learning curve to use charting tech and trading platforms and how easy it is to access (and understand) a broker’s various tools and services.

Education (6%)

The quality of a broker’s educational services is an important consideration for many investors. The depth of knowledge required to invest successfully in the marketplace can be significant. For this category, we look at a broker’s library of learning content, whether courses are provided, and the availability of live webinars.

Assessment Criteria Logic and Weighting

Our reasons for weighting each category as we have is simple. The most sought-after features receive the highest weighting, and the criteria receiving less attention affects the final scoring less.

Brokerage pricing, promotions, bonus offers, and transfer reimbursements are the most competitive areas in the online brokerage industry. The switch to commission-free trading and attractive cash giveaways has created a new era in low-cost trading, and many investors have become interested in trading as a result. That is why the Pricing category gets the highest weighting.

Regarding trading activity and a broker’s ability to cater to its customers’ investment needs, the categories that get the most attention are the trading tools, range of investible securities, and market research tools.

Customer service, ease of use, and educational materials are also important aspects of a broker’s services. However, these categories often come into focus after investors create brokerage accounts. That is why these categories receive the lowest weighting.

Online Broker Comparison Chart

Top Brokers

Although you will want to select a broker with the specific features and services you require, the following are some of our favorite brokers.

Some brokers score highly in each category. While there are differences between them (read the individual reviews for more comprehensive information on them), choosing one of the top-rated brokers from our list ensures you get a ‘complete package’ regarding our assessment criteria. Webull, Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Firstrade, and M1 Finance receive our highest rating.

Then there are the brokers that score highly in nearly every category but are lacking in one area or another. For example, brokers like Robinhood, Interactive Brokers, E*TRADE, and TradeStation provide excellent services, but some investors may not like particular aspects of them.

Online Brokerage Comparison Recommendation

It is helpful to remember that the brokers we review have all undergone extensive assessment and evaluation. Each one is different and has a balance of services, features, pros, and cons that is unique. You will likely do very well with any of our top-rated brokers, but it is a good idea to read information specific to your chosen broker before making a final decision. There are cases when a broker’s rating does not reflect what is suitable for you.

About the Author
Arthur Chachuna is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of He has been an avid investor for 23 years, and has background in both applied math and programming.