Robinhood vs Thinkorswim

Robinhood vs Thinkorswim: compare charts, stock broker mobile platforms, online trading fees. Robinhood PRO vs TOS - which is better?

Overview of Thinkorswim vs Robinhood

Robinhood caters to budget-conscious traders by offering free commissions. TD Ameritrade, on the other hand, provides quality investment services including its advanced desktop software Thinkorswim. Let’s take a look at the opportunities available to traders at both firms.

The Cost of Trading at Robinhood

The brokerage industry’s lowest possible commission schedule can be found at Robinhood. The broker has reached the very bottom of the scale by offering zero dollar commissions. Yes, that’s right. Trades at Robinhood are free. All stocks and ETF’s listed on the major American exchanges cost $0 to buy and sell.

This ultra-low commission schedule comes at a price, however. There is very little trading technology available to the firm’s customers. Robinhood does not offer a desktop trading platform, for example. Furthermore, the broker does not even provide trading capability on its website. The Robinhood site is used mostly for account signup and as an informational platform for marketing purposes.

Robinhood’s Trading Tools

So where do Robinhood traders submit orders? On the broker’s mobile app, which is compatible with Apple and Android devices. It’s disappointing that this is the only trading system Robinhood offers, because it’s not capable of doing very much. Charting on the app is rather simple. Line is the only format available for a graph, for example. There are also no technical studies or comparisons.

The app also doesn’t provide much in terms of security research. There is limited financial information. The past few earnings releases and the current P/E ratio are shown. News articles that relate to the company can be accessed as well. The app also has a link to the company’s most recent conference call.

Many features are lacking on the primary platform that Robinhood offers. These include streaming business news, which other brokers, including TD Ameritrade, do provide; and mobile check deposit, which would be a convenient method of moving funds into the broker.

Robinhood does have an app for Apple Watch, and trades can be entered on it. The platform can be used to submit limit and market orders for any stock or ETF. The broker recently added stop limit, stop loss, and GTC orders to the platform’s capability. Robinhood plans to release an app for Android watches later in 2018.

Robin hood vs Etrade

What’s Missing at Robinhood

While Robinhood touts its unbeatable commission schedule, there are many features that are completely missing from the broker. It does not offer options trading, for example. This is why there are no option chains on either of its apps. Mutual funds are also unavailable at the broker, a security that many customers must sorely miss.

Bonds cannot be traded at Robinhood, because the broker doesn’t offer them. Same with futures and forex. Customer service isn’t 24/7, and in fact, the company doesn’t even have a toll-free number.

Trading on Thinkorswim at TD Ameritrade

So how does Robinhood compare to TD Ameritrade and its advanced software Thinkorswim? It’s like the difference between night and day. Thinkorswim is a desktop program, which, as we have seen, Robinhood does not offer. On top of that, Thinkorswim has many advanced features, including a very sophisticated charting application. There are 400 technical studies on Thinkorswim, one of the largest selections among discount brokers. There are also many drawing tools and graph styles. Some of the more exotic ones include Fibonacci time ratios and regression lines.

Besides stocks and ETF’s, Thinkorswim offers trading in options, futures, and forex. Dealing windows for currencies and futures contracts are conveniently laid out with red and green buttons for sell and buy entries.

There are some screeners on Thinkorswim that can scan for options, ETF’s, and stocks. Robinhood has no screeners. TD Ameritrade’s stock search tool can look at many criteria, including market cap, bid size, dividend yield, book value per share, and many other variables. Ranges can be established for all these variables, while search results can be sorted by countless variables that weren’t included in the original search.

The option screener looks at derivative characteristics, such as gamma, implied volume, and days to expiration. Like the stock screener, ranges can be set to return many or just a few results. The derivative screener can also search according to features of the underlying stock, such as return on assets.

Learn more in Thinkorswim trading platform review.

Other Trading Tools

A mobile version of Thinkorswim is available to use on Apple and Android devices. It is able to trade futures and forex, in addition to stocks, ETF’s, and options. Amazingly, many of the desktop version’s advanced charting features are incorporated into the mobile software. Users can watch CNBC in standard definition; and European and Asian versions are also available.

TD Ameritrade has launched something else that Robinhood doesn’t have: a connection with Amazon’s Alexa. TD Ameritrade Skill works with the Amazon’s AI to return market information and stock quotes. It works with more than 75,000 ticker symbols. For example, you could say, “Alexa, ask TD Ameritrade for the price of Facebook.”

Like Robinhood, TD Ameritrade provides a platform for Apple Watch. Actually, the broker has two versions, one of which can create orders. The other is able to get detailed equity quotes, view watch lists, and track indices.


Thinkorswim/TD Ameritrade: Trade free for 60 days + get up to $600.

Robinhood: Open account and get FREE stock.

More TD Ameritrade Services

Beyond technology, TD Ameritrade (learn more) provides many more services that Robinhood (learn more) fails to deliver. The broker offers a robo-advisory service that costs just 35 basis points. Human advisors are also available for less than 1.00%. TD Ameritrade provides customer service around the clock and manages a nationwide network of branch locations. With stocks trades at $6.95, and option contracts at 75 cents, the broker offers a lot at a reasonable cost.

Robinhood vs Thinkorswim Recap

Robinhood and TD Ameritrade offer different levels of service with different pricing schedules. While Robinhood customers get the lowest stock commission, they don’t get adequate trading tools or an acceptable range of securities.