Futures and Options Trading Platform Cheat Sheet

This is not an exhaustive list of offerings by our brokerage service. Nor it is a complete list of features, but this information is intended to streamline the basic overview to help traders simplify the process of narrowing down to the best fit for their individual needs. If you would like to learn more about choosing the right trading platform for your particular trading needs, click here to view "How to choose the right futures trading platform"

FREE Futures and Options Trading PlatformsZaner360dom


Zaner360 (Gain Futures/Stonex)

1. Desktop and access to the iBroker web and mobile applications.
2. Option trading friendly margin policy.
3. Option spread order capable.
4. All of the expected futures trading features (charts, DOM, custom indicators, strategy orders, futures spreads, etc.)
5. Access to live option Greeks.
6. Fast, efficient, reliable, and high-end features without the cost.
7. Option selling friendly policies.
8. Trade futures directly from a chart.
9. SPAN margin (portfolio margin) calculator for open positions and hypothetical strategies.
10. Highly recommended in the FREE category.

iBroker Web (Gain Futures/Stonex)

1. Mac compatible futures trading platform.
2. No downloads; access this commodity trading platform via your web browser (Safari, Chrome, Edge, etc.)
3. Simple and efficient user interface.
4. Live futures quotes and charts, option chains.
5. Lacks option Greeks and spread order placement. 
6. No need to be familiar with commodity symbols and months (user-friendly)
7. Option selling friendly policies and margin.
8. This platform is available as a stand-alone product, or as a backup to the Zaner360.
9. Comes with a mobile application.


1. Desktop, low-end web platform, and nice mobile application.
2. Option trading friendly, but aggressive traders charged higher than SPAN
3. No charts, not user-friendly
4. DOM panel (waterfall), sturdy
5. Time-consuming to enter option orders
6. Option trading friendly, but aggressive traders can expect margin upcharge
7. High transaction costs

Affordable and Worthy Upgrades


Track n’ Trade Live (Gain Futures/Stonex)

1. Ask us about the special monthly rate offered to our clients by Gecko Software.
2. High-end charting with unique features (seasonals, COT, autopilot trading, etc.).
3. Analytical tool AND a platform.
4. Place option orders directly from a futures chart.
5. Displays option Greeks but isn’t capable of option spreads or analytics.
6. We can set up with option friendly trading policies.
7. Built-in heat maps and news feeds.
8. Highly recommended in the "Affordable Upgrade" category.

CQG Desktop (Gain Futures/Stonex, or other clearing arrangements)

1. Simplified and convenient CQG product capable of executing futures and options on futures. 
2. Option-friendly margin policy (if using Gain Futures/Stonex for clearing). 
3. Includes a mobile application.
4. Place option orders directly from a futures chart.
5. Option spread capabilities.
6. Charting, trading, and market analytics in a single platform.
7. Highly recommended in the "Affordable Upgrade" category.

SierraChart (multiple clearing choices)

1. Easy-to-use and popular charting software.
2. Trade futures using manual, automated and simulated trading.
3. Real-time and historical futures market charts. 
4. Excellent value with low pricing starting at $24 per month.
5. Lacks option trading capabilities (futures trading only).

CTS (multiple clearing choices)

1. Charged 25 cents per trade, $25 monthly minimum.
2. Feature rich and server saved settings.
3. Desktop, web-based, and mobile application.
4. Option spreads, but Greeks and analytics require an expensive upgrade (hundreds $ per month).
5. Very convenient and affordable for low to moderate volume traders, not appropriate for high volume traders due per-trade fee.
6. Despite multiple clearing arrangements, difficult to find an option-friendly arrangement.

CQG Q-Trader (multiple clearing choices)

1. $40 per month.
2. A fully loaded platform, designed for professional traders beginning traders get frustrated with it. 
3. Not necessarily intuitive/user-friendly.
4. No web-based version, but there is a mobile application requiring an additional monthly fee or you can log in via the iBroker app (no monthly fee but 25 cents per trade).

TradingView (Gain Futures/Stonex)

1. $50 per month plus $10 monthly CQG connection fee.
2. A futures only (no options) social network trading platform.
3. Strong on charting and interaction with other traders. 
4. Web-based futures platform that can be used on a Mac computer. 

High-end Platforms


QST (multiple clearing choices)

1. Starts at $50 per month, goes up to $300 per month ($200 per month sufficient for retail trading).
2. Not necessarily well-known, but it is top-of-the-line.
3. High-end option chains, option charts, Greeks, option spreads (somewhat challenged), analytics.
4. Mac compatible.
5. Mobile app $60 per month (or iBroker)
6. Can be set up to use option trading friendly clearing.
7. Expensive, but highly recommended for serious traders.

BarchartTrader (multiple clearing choices)

1. $129 per month.
2. Web-based.
3. High-end charting and user-friendly interface.
4. Option Greeks, spread builder, and analytics.
5. Mac compatible.
6. Can be set up to use option trading friendly clearing.
7. Complimentary mobile application.
8. Settings synced to the server, convenient.

TradeNavigator (multiple clearing choices)

1. $70 per month for standard version, or $130 per month w/options package (one-time cost of $495 to $1495 for upgraded packages).
2. Massive charting and historical data package.
3. High-end features and plugins (seasonals, replay, market profile…).
4. iBroker app available depending on data feed provider.
5. Can be set up to use option trading friendly clearing.

eSignal (multiple clearing arrangements)

1. $152 per month ($47 for stock indices only, or $309 for elite version)
2. Advanced charting
3. Complimentary mobile application and web platform
4. Market screener, data export, market data and volume analyzer, etc.
5. Can be set up to use option trading friendly clearing.



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