Best Futures Trading Platforms In 2023

Futures trading, mainly created to aid commodity producers, has become an attractive avenue for seasoned and novice traders to earn high returns. The platforms for this trade are highly leveraged and allow a buyer to purchase an asset, such as physical commodity like oil, precious metals like gold, agricultural products like soybeans, and financial instruments, at a predetermined future date.

Futures offer returns with only a small percentage of the total value of positions required to be set as Margin. Due to this, futures trading can lead to large profits and losses relative to the money required for building a strong position. Therefore, choosing the right futures trading platform is crucial for success in this dynamic trading market.

In this blog post, we will explore the best futures trading platforms, considering factors such as user-friendliness, fees, features, and overall trading experience.

What is Futures Trading, and How do you trade in futures?

Before learning how to trade futures, let’s explore what these assets actually are. Futures is a collective term designated for futures contracts, which are standardized transactions between a contract buyer and a contract seller. In a futures contract, two trading parties agree to purchase and sell securities, commodities, or other financial instruments, respectively. When the contract expires, the seller must deliver the assets in question, and the buyer must receive them at the pre-agreed date and price.

How to Trade in Futures?

If you want to trade futures, you will need an online broker to open and maintain a position that will deposit a certain percentage of the contract’s value, called Margin.

Futures are highly leveraged, meaning that you borrow money from your broker to be able to open a large position while investing a smaller amount of your money. Leverage significantly increases the risk profile of futures as both your potential gains and losses are increased.

People choose futures trading for one of these two reasons: speculation and hedging. Speculators profit from price fluctuations without considering the physical delivery of the underlying asset. Hedgers, on the other hand, use futures contracts to compensate for potential losses due to price fluctuations by locking in a predetermined price.

Futures trading can be both lucrative and risky due to the involvement of leverage. Therefore, only engage in the future with a full understanding of the underlying market and proper risk management strategies.

Best Futures Trading Platforms

In the following section, we will examine the best futures trading platforms present in the market.

1. Plus500: Best Futures Trading Platform for Beginners

Plus500 is a great futures trading platform that offers a variety of futures contracts for trading, including the S&P 500, NASDAQ 100, and other indices. It also helps in trading commodities like gold, old, and copper, and even cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The platform offers numerous training resources, including detailed articles explaining the pros and cons of futures trading, as well as free video training courses.

Plus500 is a futures broker offering low intraday Margin, starting at just 2%, where clients can trade futures contracts, resulting in amplified profits and losses. Moreover, Plus500 aids traders with a variety of advanced trading tools like technical charts and indicators to help them make informed decisions. Plus500 is user-friendly and thus suitable for beginners.

2. TradeStation: Best For Desktop Futures Trading

TradeStation is a reputed futures trading platform designed for more advanced traders. The platform helps traders with excellent charting, analytics, and trader management that includes control over order placing and advanced order capabilities.

TradeStation has competitive commission rates of $1.50 per side. Furthermore, there are lower margin rates, especially for intraday futures traders. Other notable features of this trading platform include simulated trading, ensuring full customer support before putting real capital on the line.

In addition to futures trading, TradeStation also helps traders trade in multiple asset categories, including ETFs, stocks, cryptocurrencies, options, futures, and options on futures.

Key Features:

  • Fast platform offering good order execution
  • Support trade of numerous asset classes
  • Simulated trading
  • Advanced trading automation
  • Offers Free data for non-market professionals

3. NinjaTrader:

NinjaTrader is another famous futures trading platform that offers self-directed futures traders. Its cloud-based, mobile, and web platforms allow seamless trading across all of them. In January 2003, the platform launched a custom-built trading tool to support event-based futures. Moreover, the platform is free to use and offers excellent charting and real-time analysis. It also allows trading directly from charts.

NinjaTrader is a trading platform that provides users with a $50 intraday margin on equity index E-mini futures and $500 for standard futures contracts. This low margin rate makes NinjaTrader one of the best futures brokers.

Key Features:

  • Very low intraday commission rates
  • Offering desktop, web, and mobile platforms
  • VIP charting system
  • 24-hour customer support during the trading week

4. TD Ameritrade: Best For Mobile Futures Traders

TD Ameritrade is a full-service online broker founded in 1975 and is considered one of the best online brokers. Charles Schwab took control of this trading platform in 2020, and the d is expected to be completed in late 2023. After the deal’s completion, TD Ameritrade will become a Schwab account.

TD Ameritrade has higher margins and commission rates than others. Therefore, it is an easy option for owners of the 11 million customer accounts on the TD Ameritrade platform to access futures trading on a single platform.

Key Features:

  • Offers Strong analytical tools
  • Well-designed Trading platforms
  • Provides Good educational content

5. Interactive Brokers: Best for Professional Futures Traders

Founded in 1978, Interactive Brokers was the first company to use a hand-held computing device on an exchange floor. The platform offers the best and most sophisticated trading tools to facilitate traders.

Interactive Brokers has also developed tools to appeal to less sophisticated traders, such as introducing IBKR Lite to offer commission-free stock trading. This way, the company continues to create advanced tools for its professional trading clients.

Among its advanced features, the platform offers backtest trading ideas, sophisticated options analysis tools, and a very wide array of order methods. These methods include one-cancels-other (OCO) and a multitude of conditional orders.

Along with these drop-down order entry tools, IBKR also helps traders develop their trading algorithms using a multitude of fundamental and technical indicators. Moreover, traders can also develop automated entry and trade management instructions for trading all markets, including futures.

Key Features:

  • Useable for most markets
  • Backtesting of trading strategies
  • Complex and automated futures trading strategies
  • Low commission rates

6. E*Trade: Best for Futures Education

E*TRADE was established in 1982 and bought by Morgan Stanley in 2020. The company offers new and up-to-date trading strategies to all traders. While better known for retail brokerage operations for those self-managing their accounts, E*TRADE also supports futures trading. The platform supports multiple U.S. asset classes in a consolidated platform, both for novice and experienced traders alike.

The E*TRADE platform provides intuitive desktop, web, and mobile platforms, especially for checking how much content is available for trading and learning about markets.

E*TRADE requires a 50% margin for day trades but 100% for strong positions held overnight. For individual retirement accounts, day trading futures require 100% of Margin and 200% of Margin for positions held overnight.

Key Features:

  • Support trade for multiple U.S. asset classes
  • User-friendly platforms
  • Provides Excellent educational materials and content
  • Demo account for beginners
  • Free CME Group and CFE data for non-professionals

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7. Tastytrade: Best for Casual Futures Traders

Tastytraders is one of the best choices for casual traders with its below-average pricing, sleek interface, good analytics, and efficient workflow across all platforms. Options trading, including futures options, is the speciality of this trading platform. They charge commissions only for opening a position, not for closing positions.

Key Features:

  • Super responsive platforms
  • Very good pricing
  • Feisty upstart founded by industry veterans
  • Live market commentary

Frequently Asked Questions

Which platform is the best to trade futures cheaply?

Charles Schwab’s TD Ameritrade and Thinkorswim are excellent choices for traders who want to trade futures cost-effectively on a great platform. Schwab charges a flat rate of $1.50 per contract on both futures and futures options trade.

Is trading in futures profitable?

Yes! Trading in futures is profitable because traders trade with ten times as much exposure as with normal stocks.

Do I need a margin account for futures trading?

Yes! Having a margin account is necessary to trade futures with an online broker. The commission for the margin account will vary depending on the instrument being traded.


Choosing the right futures trading platform or broker is the main decision that can significantly impact your trading success. Through meticulous examination of the top contenders in the industry, we have listed 7 best futures trading platforms here, each offering a unique set of features, platforms, and pricing structures. These distinctions cater to diverse trading needs, from the newbie seeking help to the seasoned trader demanding advanced tools and research capabilities.

Thus, read our blog post carefully, explaining platforms like NinjaTrader, Plus500, TradeStation, E*TRADE, and others. Choose the one that aligns with your trading requirements.

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