Using a stock scanner is one of the best ways to take your trading to the next level. Stock scanners can help you identify technical setups in real-time or find growth and value stocks that the market has overlooked.
While there are plenty of premium stock scanners to choose from, you don’t have to pay anything at all to get a lot of functionality. In this guide, we’ll highlight four of the best free stock scanners that you can use to find your next trading opportunity.
Why Do You Need a Stock Scanner?
Before we dive into the best free stock scanners, it’s worth answering one simple question: do you really need a stock scanner?
For most traders and investors, the answer is yes. A stock scanner streamlines the process of finding new stock ideas. For short-term traders, a real-time stock scanner can help you spot technical setups in real-time. For long-term investors, a scanner can help you sort companies based on their financial performance or potential growth.
You can focus only on stocks that meet the criteria for your strategy and quickly identify the most promising candidates to trade or invest in. In addition, a scanner might turn up stocks that you’ve never heard of or that have flown under the radar of financial news outlets.
Free vs. Paid Stock Scanners
You might be surprised at how powerful a stock scanner you can get for free. Still, there are some limitations on what stock research platforms will give you without a paid subscription.
The main limitation is that you may not have access to all of the same financial and technical metrics available to paid users. For example, you might be able to screen stocks based on a wide range of fundamental ratios, but not based on an algorithmically-determined score. In other cases, you’ll have full access to a platform’s built-in scanning parameters, but you won’t be able to create your own custom filters.
Another thing to keep in mind is that many free scanners offer delayed market data only. This might not matter if you’re scanning for long-term investments, but it’s a big deal if you’re scanning for technical setups to day trade.
Best Free Stock Scanner for Investors: Stock Rover
Stock Rover is a feature-packed stock scanner for medium- and long-term investors. You get access to more than 260 financial metrics to use as parameters for scanning. Some of these are very in-depth and cover things like free cash flow per share and return on equity.
There are also plenty of price-based filters, which is helpful for identifying value and growth stocks with current entry points. Stock Rover displays the 10th percentile, median, and 90th percentile across all US stocks for each parameter, which is helpful if you don’t know what values to use in your filters.
Another thing that makes Stock Rover great is that it covers more than just the major US exchanges. You can also scan OTC markets and Canadian stocks.
You can save any of your screens within Stock Rover to return to them later. However, you won’t be able to export data with a free account, and you don’t have much control over the results table to enable quick comparisons between stocks that met your criteria. A Premium subscription, which costs $17.99 per month, also unlocks more than 90 additional screener parameters, premade scanners, and custom filters.
Most Customizable Free Stock Scanner: FinViz
FinViz gives you full access to its powerful stock screener for free. The main limitation is that price data is delayed by several minutes.
FinViz offers one of the most customizable free stock scanners we’ve seen. You can choose from more than 65 filters that span fundamental and technical metrics. For each metric, there’s a drop-down menu with options for what values you’d like to include in your scan.
What’s really nice about FinViz is that you can don’t have to search the entire universe of US stocks. Instead, you can restrict your scan to only stocks that make one of FinViz’s many daily lists. These lists include the most volatile stocks, the biggest gainers and losers, the highest volume stocks, stocks with insider trading activity, and even stocks with common technical setups.
In FinViz’s results table, you can simply hover over a stock to bring up a small candlestick chart. The table itself is fully customizable, enabling you to compare stocks based on the metrics that matter most to your strategy.
Best Free Scanner for Sophisticated Traders: StockFetcher
StockFetcher is an unusual stock screener that’s worth a look if you want more advanced technical filtering tools. What makes this screener unique is that instead of picking filters from a list, you can simply type out your scan criteria in text. The platform has a list of specific phrases it recognizes, but most indicators, candlestick patterns, and logical operators will work without any problems. Still, there’s a bit of learning curve before you can dive into this stock screener.
What’s really neat is that StockFetcher can display your scan results as individual charts. By default, these candlestick charts are blank, but you can include instructions for what indicators or drawings to include as part of your text-based scans. Of course, you can also display your scan results in a table and customize the columns.
The drawback to using StockFetcher for free is that you can only scan based on the previous day’s price data. The platform’s most impressive indicators center around chart patterns and technical indicators, so this delay may mean that StockFetcher won’t work for many traders without a paid subscription (starting at $8.95 per month).
Best Scanner for Simplicity and Charting: TradingView
TradingView offers an excellent free scanner for US and international stocks, forex, and crypto. Free users have access to all of the platform’s more than 150 built-in filters, and you can even create your own indicators to use with the stock scanner.
The TradingView scanner is easy to set up. Filters are grouped by type and you can search for indicators or financial metrics by name. There’s a balanced mix of fundamental and technical parameters to use as filters. The results table is also noteworthy for how easy it is on the eyes. You can customize the data columns and sort based on whatever parameters make the most sense for your analysis.
You can’t export results with a free TradingView account, but you can save any number of screens. The platform also offers a wide range of free stock research tools, including advanced charts. So, it’s a one-stop platform for both scanning and analysis.
A stock scanner is a key research tool for many traders and investors. Thankfully, you don’t have to pay anything at all to get access to powerful scanning features. Stock Rover, FinViz, StockFetcher, and TradingView each offer free stock scanners that you can start using today.