Thinkorswim vs MarketPro


Merrill Edge MarketPro vs TOS: which trading platform is better in 2022? Compare MarketPro vs TD Ameritrade active trader software.


Thinkorswim vs. MarketPro Overview


Merrill Edge offers experienced traders a very advanced desktop program called MarketPro, while TD Ameritrade has thinkorswim. Which trading platform is the better of the two? That’s what this article is going to show you.


Downloading, Installing, and Launching


MarketPro is compatible with computers running Windows or Mac. In order for the program to successfully launch, ICE WebStart must first be downloaded and installed. Once this is done, a file must be downloaded from the Merrill Edge site. Double clicking on this file launches MarketPro. Every time you want to launch MarketPro, you must download the file from the website. ICE WebStart is a one-time download.

From the time we logged into the Merrill site to the time we had MarketPro open was about 40 seconds. This does not include the time required to download and install ICE WebStart.

thinkorswim operates on Windows, Mac, and Linux, which is the first advantage over MarketPro. The software functions as a regular desktop program. This means you download and install the software and launch it from your desktop from that point forward. There is no need to log into the TD Ameritrade website every time, another advantage over MarketPro.

But here’s a disadvantage. It took thinkorswim 1 minute and 55 seconds to launch after we entered our login credentials. The software automatically performs updates at this time, so it usually takes a while for the program to launch.

The login window for thinkorswim has a toggle switch for live trading and simulated trading. MarketPro does not have a practice mode.

Winner: thinkorswim


Navigating and Ease of Use


There are 9 main tabs in the top menu on thinkorswim. This of course is the starting point for most trading regimens. But before that, it’s a good idea to build a layout that you’re comfortable using. This can be accomplished through the Setup menu, which is located in the upper-right corner.


Thinkorswim vs MarketPro


Layouts can be created, saved, and edited on thinkorswim. The same is true of hot keys. It’s easy to switch between Chinese and English languages on the platform. There are just two color themes for thinkorswim: light and dark. Font size can be easily changed on the platform.

There is a left-hand column of small windows on thinkorswim. It can be hidden by clicking on an arrow in the middle of the dividing line between the column and the middle workspace. The windows here can easily be changed from one widget to another (e.g., from charting to news articles).

MarketPro is a very different beast. First off it has 32 tabs in the top menu. This makes it much more difficult to navigate than thinkorswim. It does, however, have more color themes than its rival: three instead of two (the extra one is blue).


Marketpro Review


Like thinkorswim, font sizes on MarketPro can be changed, and layouts can be saved and loaded. There is only one language available, though.

Winner: thinkorswim


Charting


Both software programs have very good charting. On both MarketPro and thinkorswim, it’s possible to detach a graph and blow it up full screen. Both platforms have right-click trading. The drop-down menu on MarketPro has more links.

MarketPro and thinkorswim have lots of technical indicators. On MarketPro, we counted roughly 100. thinkorswim has more than 300. It’s possible to edit colors of indicators on both platforms.


Marketpro Charting


thinkorswim has 11 display styles, with monkey bars and candle trend being two options. MarketPro delivers 13 choices, with point and figure being one. Each platform has over 20 drawing tools.





One really important difference between the two programs in this category that we found to affect the trading experience is in order entry. MarketPro doesn’t have a trade ticket on the charting screen when a chart is shown in full-screen mode. This means you have to go back to the default program screen where the order ticket is shown. On thinkorswim, by comparison, a trade ticket appears at the bottom of the charting screen, so you can stay on the charting screen and submit an order.

Winner: thinkorswim


Order Entry


Speaking of order entry, the trade ticket on thinkorswim has no less than 18 order types. These include some really advanced ones like blast all, first triggers OCO, and limit on close.


Thinkorswim Charts


A gear icon is located in the upper-right portion of the trade ticket. This opens up lots of customization features. An order can be saved or analyzed. An order can be submitted at a specific date and time, or cancelled at a future point.

A limit order can be locked or unlocked. In unlocked mode, the limit price will adjust with changing market conditions.

Over on MarketPro, we found just 8 order types. Four of these are trailing orders, and the other 4 are some pretty basic stuff like stop and limit. So there aren’t really any advanced trade types on the platform.

There is an extended-hours trading option on both order forms. On the thinkorswim ticket, there is drop-down menu to select a specific venue. MarketPro does not offer direct-access routing, one of its major weaknesses.

On the flip side, the trade ticket on MarketPro can submit orders for mutual funds. This is not possible on thinkorswim.

Winner: thinkorswim


Promotions


TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.

Merrill Edge: Get up to $600 when you open a new Merrill Edge account with at least $20,000.



Options Trading


On MarketPro, there are profit-loss diagrams thanks to OptionsPlay. This software integrates with no problems on the platform. Just enter a ticker symbol and choose your trade sentiment, and OptionsPlay will give you some trade ideas. Don’t like any of them? You can adjust the hypothetical trades by editing various trade fields like contract size or expiration date.


Marketpro Options Trading


Besides OptionsPlay, MarketPro also provides chains for puts, calls, and a few spreads.

Winer: MarketPro


Research and Education


Both trading platforms in this contest provide resources to help learn the programs. On thinkorswim, these will be found on multiple places (particularly the Support, Help, and Education tabs). On MarketPro, these materials will be found under the Help and Getting Started tabs. thinkorswim has a larger selection of resources.

For security education, both programs offer screeners, although MarketPro links to the Merrill Edge site. thinkorswim’s screeners are located within the platform.

Both trading programs provide fundamental data on stocks. While they are about even here, thinkorswim has backtesting and simulated trade tools that MarketPro lacks.

thinkorswim users can watch CNBC and TD Ameritrade Network for free. MarketPro does not have any video news.

Winner: thinkorswim


Futures and Forex


thinkorswim has discrete windows for futures and forex trading. Just click on the Trade tab and then select Forex Trader or Futures Trader in the sub-menu. The program displays forex and future trading boxes by default. The ticker symbols can easily be changed. A red button is for sell, while green is for buy. These buttons can be edited, and it’s even possible to modify what tools appear in the dealing boxes.


TOS vs MarketPro


Merrill Edge does not offer any futures or forex trading at this time.

Winner: thinkorswim


Promotions


TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.

Merrill Edge: Get up to $600 when you open a new Merrill Edge account with at least $20,000.



Verdict


Both desktop programs analyzed in this comparison deliver a high level of trading. We have to lean towards thinkorswim as the overall winner primarily due to its simulated trading mode, which MarketPro unfortunately lacks.


Updated on 1/12/2022.
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.