StockCharts.com is one of the most popular free charting services. They offer a wide range of charts, technical indicators, and trading tools. Most traders are familiar with StockCharts’ free services. Is the paid version worth it? Read this review to find out.
StockCharts.com is a web-based stock charting package. The website is run by father-and-son duo Gatis and Grayson Roze. Much of the site’s popularity can be attributed to StockCharts’ free service, which allows traders to save images of charts which have the StockCharts watermark on them.
StockCharts Free vs. StockCharts Premium
The main difference between StockCharts Free and Premium is that the free charts are not real-time. You must refresh the charts to see up-to-date price action.
The free plan is quite barebones, while offering enough functionality for many swing traders and investors. They strike the perfect balance of their paywall-to-free ratio, allowing you to experience the platform and see if you like it, but not enough to solely rely on the free charts. This is in contrast to their main competitor, TradingView.com, who allows free real-time charts with much less restrictions.
Other limitations from the free plan are limited historical data, alerts, scanner, intraday charts, and others.
StockCharts has three paid plans: Basic, Extra, and Pro. They’re all quite similar, but there are some key differences that will dictate which plan you choose.
Paid plans have faster data. In the free plan, you must manually refresh your charts in order to update them. Unlike most charting packages, none of the paid plans are truly real-time data. Basic refreshes automatically every 15 seconds, Extra every 10, and Pro every 5 seconds. This is crucial information for day traders, as a few seconds can make a break a trade for them.
Additionally, the paid plans allow you more technical indicators and overlays per chart, larger chats, more historical data, members-only commentary, and other features.
Here is the breakdown of each paid plan:
Members of paid plans get a dashboard full of tools to use.
The dashboard is full of basic features that any broker’s website will have, like daily Market Movers, daily Market Overview, watchlists, alerts, and a scanner. While nothing is groundbreaking, StockCharts’ execution of these tools is above-average. For example, their scanner is syntax-based, meaning you can code write out your own criteria which allows for thousands of different scan combinations.
My main gripe with StockCharts is that instead of a dynamic chart, you deal with images. That means no zooming in/out or enabling/disabling indicators on the fly. Each time you want to change the time frame, lookback period, or indicators, you must change all of the settings and generate a new chart image. While this is great for journalists and writers to easily insert charts into their articles, it does not seem like a charting solution for a serious trader.
Outside of their standard candlestick charts, StockCharts has some very interesting chart types for doing market analysis. By far the most useful, especially for momentum traders is their Relative Rotation Graph chart. It shows the relative strength of a group of stocks compared to a given benchmark over a given lookback period.
Another chart that isn’t often included in other platforms is their Seasonality chart. This chart shows the historical trend for the stock performance for each month of the year. You can additionally compare stocks to each other.
Charts are the main feature you’re looking for when considering a StockCharts membership, so do they stand up to the competition? StockChart’s main competitors are TradingView.com and Yahoo Finance. In our comparison, we are going to look for a comfortable intersection between value and quality.
First, let’s break down the prices of each platform, prices are based on monthly rates:
StockCharts.com – $15 – $40 per month
TradingView.com – $15 – $60 per month
Yahoo Finance – free (charts by ChartIQ)
This feature is only practical for some but, it’s a really cool feature. You can upload .csv data and create a StockChart out of it. Perhaps you track your weight, or the weight you can bench press, how cool would it be to perform some technical analysis on it? Ever wonder what the 200-day moving average of your daily weight looks like? Start tracking!
I’m a big fan of StockChart’s stock scanner. It is syntax-based so, as long as you’re within StockCharts’ scripting language, you can write out your own scans. The scanner allows you to add almost unlimited criteria to find the exact stock you want.
StockCharts members get access to daily technical analysis reports from StockCharts staff, as well as Decision Point. This includes:
- Daily market summary
- Daily sector summary
- Daily industry summary
- SCTR reports (SCTR is StockCharts’ proprietary technical ranking algorithm
- Ticker Cloud (Top 200 most popular tickers on StockCharts)
- DecisionPoint chart gallery
Is StockCharts.com Better Than the Competition?
A membership to StockChart definitely has merit, but this depends on what type of trader or investor you are. I don’t think a day trader will get much value out of StockCharts paid services, as the charts aren’t real-time, nor are the charts dynamic. A day trader’s money is better spent on a platform like TradingView, or a full trading platform with strong built-in charts.
StockCharts is much better for swing traders and investors, for whom the second-to-second market movements don’t matter. The multiple analysis tools for computing relative strength and seasonality are also great for positional traders who put on spread trades and sector-based views.
While StockCharts has some useful and unique tools, one must look at the entire picture. What features are most important to you? Personally, I like speed and workflow. I want clean, responsive charts. Hence, StockCharts is not for me. I love the modern feel of TradingView, the built-in scripting language, the simple watch lists, and the SMS/email alerts.
If you’re an O’Neill style relative strength trader, StockCharts is probably a much better choice, as you can plot the trend of the relative strength of multiple stocks at once.
In my opinion, unless a few specific features uniquely appeal to you as a trader, you would likely be better off using either a free subscription to Yahoo Finance or TradingView, or paying for TradingView.