ZacksTrade vs TD Ameritrade Thinkorswim in 2022


Costs


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Thinkorswim $0 $49.99 ($0 to sell) $0 $0
ZacksTrade $1+ $27.50 $0.75 per contract $0 $0


Services


Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
Thinkorswim
ZacksTrade


Promotions


ZacksTrade: Get as low as 3.56% margin rate + $150 ACAT fee refund.

TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.



Overview of thinkorswim and Zacks Trade


If you’re an active trader of stocks or options, you really have to consider Zacks Trade and thinkorswim from TD Ameritrade. Good software tools await, although there are some notable differences. This article will help you pick the right broker.


Desktop Platforms


Zacks Trade’s desktop platform is aptly named Zacks Trade Pro. The software delivers some really fantastic tools, one of which is professional-level charting. During our test drive, we found several drawing tools, roughly 100 technical indicators, and the ability to save a graph as a template. Also available is right-click trading.


Zacks Trade Platform


The order ticket on Pro incorporates many sophisticated features, including direct-access routing and several advanced order types. These include snap, adaptive, and on-the-close.

TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform has a lot of the same features. Its highly developed charting program offers drawing tools, right-click trading, and the ability to save a graph. It was easier for us to find multiple display styles and to adjust the timeframe compared to Zacks Trade’s software. thinkorswim also delivers around 400 technical studies.


Compare ZacksTrade and think or swim


Moving to the order ticket, we find direct-access routing and several advanced choices, such as trailing, on-the-close, blast all, and order cancels others.

thinkorswim is the victor of the opening category.


Websites


Zacks Trade customers can use a client portal that offers simple order entry and account management. We found tools for portfolio analysis, deposits and withdrawals, setting up margin preferences, and downloading statements.

Although thinkorswim isn’t a website, we can take a look at TD Ameritrade’s site. It offers much more than Zacks Trade’s client portal. For example, there is a trade bar that is able to quickly send orders to the major exchanges. In addition to the basic account management that Zacks Trade’s site offers, TD Ameritrade’s site offers high-level investment research.

Zacks Trade loses again.


Mobile Apps


Zacks Trade offers a very good mobile app with several great features, not least of which is an advanced order ticket. It provides market-if-touched, relative, trailing, and on-the-close orders. More advanced options such as brackets, a wheel order entry system, and a profit taker are available.


ZacksTrade vs TD Ameritrade


Charting on the Zacks mobile app offers three graph styles, up to five years of price data, and about 40 technical studies. Horizontal mode can be used as well. Other great features include alerts, a watchlist, and iBot, a pretty good artificial intelligence.

TD Ameritrade offers thinkorswim in mobile version, and somehow manages to include the same 400 technical studies. This is the largest selection on any mobile system we have seen. Other charting features include up to 10 years of pricing data and several drawing tools, including regression lines and Fibonacci retracements.


thinkorswim or Zacks Trade


The thinkorswim order ticket delivers advanced orders, multiple duration choices, and the ability to send an order at a specific time. Other features on the app include an economic calendar and alerts.

We’ll call it a tie here.


Extended-Hours Trading


Zacks Trade offers extended hours, pushing the total trading session from 4 o’clock in the morning until 8 o’clock in the evening, EST. thinkorswim has a pre-market session that lasts from 8:00 until 9:15; and an after-hours period that goes from 4:15 until 8:00.

Zacks Trade provides more hours and so wins the category.


Level II Quotes


On thinkorswim, a Level II window can be added to the platform (it’s not included by default). A similar layout exists on Zacks Trade Pro. The window needs to be added, but it’s there, just as on thinkorswim.

Pretty even here.


Margin


It’s possible to use margin at either brokerage firm. Zacks Trade Pro displays initial and maintenance figures for individual securities. The broker follows Reg T requirements (50% initial margin and 25% maintenance). Accounts with at least $110,000 can get up to 6:1 leverage. TD Ameritrade has a higher maintenance margin figure of 30%; and it doesn’t offer 6:1 leverage.

We like Zacks better here.


Option Tools


Option contracts can be traded at either brokerage firm. Zacks Trade’s browser platform offers direct-access routing and multi-leg strategies. Pro delivers the same features plus several very sophisticated option tools and the ability to add a stock leg to an order.

thinkorswim has an option scanner that can look for contracts based on several criteria, including Greek values. The mobile platform offers direct-access routing. Some multi-leg strategies are available on the desktop, and it’s possible to create your own on the mobile app.

This category is awarded to Zacks because we found its tools easier to use.


Financial Education and Research


Zacks Trade Pro offers tremendous researching power. We found an economic calendar, time & sales data, advanced stock and bond scanners (including foreign markets), analyst research, news articles, and professional-level option search tools. Missing on the platform is live streaming of financial video news.

On thinkorswim, we did find video news (courtesy of CNBC and TD Ameritrade’s own video channel). The platform also delivers stock and option search tools, an economic calendar, a backtesting tool, and several heat maps.

Overall, it’s pretty even here.


Other Services


Both Zacks and TD Ameritrade offer Dividend Reinvestment Programs. Zacks Trade charges for the service, whereas TD Ameritrade doesn’t.

Both companies in our survey also have IRA’s. TD Ameritrade customers can open a SIMPLE IRA, which Zacks Trade doesn’t offer.

TD Ameritrade offers automatic investing for mutual funds, but Zacks Trade does not.

Zacks Trade has a browser platform in addition to its desktop software and client portal. TD Ameritrade has retired its browser platform.

TD Ameritrade seems to have the edge in this category.


Our Recommendations


New traders should go with TD Ameritrade and thinkorswim. Long-term investors, mutual fund traders, and retirement savers should do the same.

For stock, option, and ETF trading, it’s not so easy. Zacks Trade has a commission schedule that is best used with trades that have a small number of shares or contracts; whereas TD Ameritrade would be better for trades with a large number.


Promotions


ZacksTrade: Get as low as 3.56% margin rate + $150 ACAT fee refund.

TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.



Judgement


thinkorswim and Zacks Trade offer a lot of trading power. With this article, you should be able to choose the best broker for your trading needs.



About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for Brokerage-Review.com, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.