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TradingView vs. Sierra Chart – Which Is Better?

By Dave

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TradingView vs Sierra Chart

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If you’re in the market for an advanced charting platform, two of the top options to consider are TradingView and Sierra Chart. Both offer huge indicator libraries, market scanners, and tons of customization features. However, they differ significantly in usability and what types of traders they’re geared towards.

Keep reading our TradingView vs. Sierra Chart comparison to find out which of these charting platforms is right for you.

About TradingView and Sierra Chart

TradingView launched in 2011 and has become one of the most popular charting software platforms in the world. It has more than 50 million users and more than 10 million community-contributed scripts and indicators. TradingView charts are seemingly everywhere—the service is integrated into numerous financial websites and broker platforms.

Sierra Chart has been operating since 1996 and targets a much smaller audience of professional and semi-professional traders. The platform doesn’t provide information about how many users it has.

TradingView vs Sierra Chart - Sierra Chart Homepage

TradingView vs Sierra Chart: User Interface and Data Feeds

TradingView and Sierra Chart are very different in terms of their user experience and target audiences.

TradingView is a mass-market trading platform. It’s available for web, desktop, and mobile, and the user interface is modern and seamless. Real-time data feeds for stocks, forex, futures, and cryptocurrencies are included. There are dozens of ready-made brokerage integrations to enable you to trade from your charts.

Sierra Chart is a professional-grade trading software that has evolved its features since 1996, but not its user interface. The platform has a steep learning curve. It’s only available as a desktop application, and only for Windows computers (you can use it on Mac or Linux computers with a Wine virtual environment).

Sierra Chart supports stocks, forex, futures, and cryptocurrencies, but you must purchase third-party data feeds to get real-time price information. There’s a ready-made integration for Interactive Brokers, but any other brokerage integrations require you to set up a custom connection using the Data and Trading Communication (DTC) protocol. This can be complex and requires coding in C++.

TradingView vs. Sierra Chart: Charting Capabilities

TradingView and Sierra Chart both offer advanced charting capabilities. You’ll find a wide selection of chart types, including intraday Heikin-Ashi, Renko, line break, and point and figure charts. Both platforms are packed with drawing tools to help you annotate your charts and identify patterns.

TradingView vs Sierra Chart - TradingView Charts

There are some significant differences, however. TradingView comes with around 100 built-in indicators, while Sierra Chart has more than 400 indicators. You can thoroughly customize the included indicators in both platforms.

TradingView vs Sierra Chart - Sierra Chart Charts

Sierra Chart also offers more ways to manipulate data. You can overlay Level 2 data on charts to achieve an effect similar to what Bookmap offers. You can also plot volume profiles and create complex visualizations for virtually any type of market data. These customization options make Sierra Chart much more challenging to get started with, but the visualization capabilities are far beyond what TradingView offers.

TradingView vs Sierra Chart - Sierra Chart Visualizations

TradingView, on the other hand, mainly sticks to allowing you to customize traditional stock charts. It offers some useful capabilities that Sierra Chart lacks, including the ability to automatically highlight candlestick patterns and replay bars so you can see how a setup unfolded.

TradingView vs. Sierra Chart: Custom Indicators

TradingView and Sierra Chart both enable you to build custom indicators. But the process is much easier in TradingView.

In TradingView, you get access to a Pine script editor—the same scripting language used by ThinkorSwim and other charting tools. It’s fairly straightforward to create your own indicators or strategies for scanning.

TradingView also gives you access to community-contributed indicators and strategies. There are more than 10 million custom studies available, but TradingView’s team has identified top picks to narrow down the selection. You can customize any community indicators with the Pine editor or apply them directly to your charts.

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TradingView vs Sierra Chart - TradingView Community Indicators

In Sierra Chart, you must use the Advanced Custom Study Interface and “Language” (ACSIL) interface. This is based on C++, so you’ll need to be familiar with working with arrays and variables in that coding language. The advantage is that you can build extremely complex functions that aren’t possible with Pine. However, the learning curve is incredibly steep for non-programmers.

TradingView vs Sierra Chart - Sierra Chart ACSIL

A number of third-party services offer ready-made indicators and strategies for Sierra Chart. You typically have to purchase these indicators. There’s no built-in community for Sierra Chart like there is for TradingView.

TradingView vs. Sierra Chart: Pricing

TradingView and Sierra Chart are priced comparably, although keep in mind that you’ll need to spend more money on data feeds for Sierra Chart. 

TradingView starts at $12.95 per month. The most advanced non-professional plan, which unlocks second-based intervals and offers up to 25 indicators per chart, costs $49.95 per month. You can try out TradingView with its free plan or a 30-day trial of a paid plan.

TradingView vs Sierra Chart - TradingView Pricing

Sierra Chart starts at $26 per month, but the base plan doesn’t allow you to integrate real-time data. Real-time data plans start at $36 per month. You can try out Sierra Chart free for 21 days.

TradingView vs Sierra Chart - Sierra Chart Pricing

Which Service Is Better?

TradingView and Sierra Chart are both excellent charting platforms that cater to different needs.

TradingView is the better choice if you’re looking for a powerful, but intuitive charting software that will allow you to trade using modified versions of common indicators and strategies. It’s one of the best charting tools for the non-professional trader and works exceptionally well for stock trading.

Try TradingView for Free

Sierra Chart is the better choice for professional and semi-professional traders who want maximum customization and don’t mind an outdated user interface or steep learning curve. It offers data visualizations that aren’t possible with TradingView (or most other charting tools). Sierra Chart is ideal for futures and forex trading, but also works well for stock trading.

Alternatives to TradingView and Sierra Chart

Potential alternatives to TradingView and Sierra Chart include TrendSpider and MetaTrader 5.

TrendSpider has a lot in common with TradingView, but it emphasizes automated technical analysis. It’s a great tool for swing and momentum traders who want to identify trendlines, Fibonacci retracements, and candlestick patterns that could signal setups. TrendSpider has a much smaller learning curve than Sierra Chart, but offers far fewer data visualization options.

MetaTrader 5 is a stock and forex trading platform that offers advanced charts and its own scripting language for developing custom strategies. It has a large community around it, so you can purchase third-party indicators and trading bots. It’s much easier to use than Sierra Chart and is more directly comparable to TradingView.

Conclusion: TradingView vs. Sierra Chart

TradingView and Sierra Chart are both highly capable charting platforms. TradingView is best for intermediate traders who want a modern user interface, included market data, and the ability to easily code custom strategies. Sierra Chart is best for technically advanced and professional traders who want the most analytical power possible from their charting platform.

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Dave has been a part-time day trader and swing trader since 2011 when he first became obsessed with the markets. He focuses primarily on technical setups and will hold positions anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. Over his trading career, Dave has tried numerous day trading products, brokers, services, and courses. He continues to test and review new day trading services to this day.

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