Looking for the best platform to trade stocks? Two of the top options for advanced market analysis are TradingView and Thinkorswim. Both platforms offer comprehensive and highly customizable technical charting and come with built-in script editors so you can build your own studies. However, the two platforms differ in how easy they are to use, whether you can interact with other traders, and how much they cost.
In this guide, we’ll compare TradingView vs. Thinkorswim head-to-head so you can decide which platform is right for you.
About TradingView and Thinkorswim
TradingView is an online charting and market analysis platform founded in 2011. The original intent behind the software was to take the same analytical tools that used to require a trading terminal and to make them available via the cloud. Today, TradingView boasts more than 30 million monthly users.
Thinkorswim was created in 1999, originally as a brokerage platform specializing in options trading. In 2009, the company was acquired by TD Ameritrade. Thinkorswim’s brokerage services were discontinued, but the trading platform became available to TD Ameritrade brokerage customers. TD has 11 million client accounts and manages more than $1 trillion in assets.
TradingView vs. Thinkorswim: Compatible Brokers and Assets
There are big differences between TradingView and Thinkorswim when it comes to who you can trade with and what you can trade. TradingView is a pay-to-use service that integrates with a variety of different brokers, including Tradovate, AMP Global, OANDA, Forex.com, and Gemini. Thinkorswim, on the other hand, is only available to TD Ameritrade customers and can only be used to trade within a TD Ameritrade account.
Since TradingView works with a wide variety of brokers, the software provides coverage and trading for most asset classes. That includes stocks, bonds, commodity futures, currencies, and cryptocurrencies. You can find options trade ideas on the platform, but TradingView doesn’t support options trading and doesn’t provide options analysis tools.
Thinkorswim only offers trading on asset classes available through TD Ameritrade, but that includes stocks, bonds, commodity futures, and currencies. You can also trade Bitcoin futures, although you cannot trade cryptocurrencies directly or see price data for them. Notably, Thinkorswim supports options trading and includes options chain data and P&L charts for multi-leg options strategies.
TradingView vs. Thinkorswim: Technical Analysis
While technical analysis is at the heart of what TradingView and Thinkorswim do, we won’t dwell on it too much in this comparison. That’s because although there are some differences between the two platforms’ chart offerings, the differences are relatively minor compared to what TradingView and Thinkorswim have in common.
Both platforms offer an exceptional range of tools, including hundreds of built-in technical studies, strategy backtesting, customizable alerts, and multiple chart types. If you can’t find something you need, each platform has its own script editor that you can use to build custom indicators or develop a custom data feed. Each software also comes with an extremely comprehensive stock screener that you can further customize using the script editors.
TradingView vs. Thinkorswim: Ease of Use
When it comes to ease of use, TradingView has the clear upper hand over Thinkorswim. TradingView’s web interface is well-organized and relatively straightforward to dive into, even if you’re completely new to stock trading. Drawing tools and technical studies are easy to find within the charting window, and you can save any set of analyses as a layout for reuse in the future.
Thinkorswim, in contrast, is confusing even for many experienced traders. The platform’s design does have a rationale behind it, but it takes a significant amount of time to fully explore all the windows and toolbars. To make things worse, the desktop, web, and mobile platforms all have different layouts and feature sets. The good news is that Thinkorswim has tons of tutorials and videos to help walk newcomers through the platform and a forum where more experienced users can get assistance.
TradingView vs. Thinkorswim: Trading Community
One of the key aspects of TradingView is its trading community. On TradingView, any user can share ideas or trading strategies to help fellow traders. Ideas can include specific trade ideas, complete with an annotated chart and a written thesis, but they’re not limited to just that. Under the ‘Ideas’ page on the platform, you’ll find trend analysis, tips for how to customize your charts, and even macroeconomic discussions.
Trading strategies are typically offered in the form of TradingView scripts that load user-created indicators. These scripts can be copied directly into TradingView’s charting interface.
Thinkorswim doesn’t come with the same built-in community, but the platform’s popularity means that you can find groups of other Thinkorswim users. For example, Futures.io and Reddit both have Thinkorswim-related forums where you can find custom scripts and tips on how to use the platform. However, since these groups are organic, it’s not as easy to search for specific scripts or ideas as it is within TradingView.
TradingView vs. Thinkorswim: Pricing
One huge advantage to Thinkorswim is that it’s completely free to use for TD Ameritrade customers. Even better, TD Ameritrade doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open a new account or charge monthly account fees. So, there’s essentially no cost to using Thinkorswim.
TradingView, on the other hand, runs on a software-as-a-service model. You can view basic charts, access community trade ideas, and use the stock screener for free.
Try TradingView for Free
A Pro plan costs $14.95 per month and lets you add five indicators per chart and view two charts per window. Pro+ and Premium plans are available for $29.95 and $59.95 per month, respectively, and give you more indicators, more charts per window, and features like second-based chart intervals.
TradingView vs. Thinkorswim: Which Service is Better?
TradingView and Thinkorswim both bring a lot to the table when it comes to technical analysis. TradingView is the better option if you’re new to trading or still expanding your knowledge of technical trading. The platform is much easier to use than Thinkorswim. Plus, having access to trade ideas and indicators from fellow traders is a huge advantage when you’re starting out.
That said, the fact that Thinkorswim is free is a major draw. Thinkorswim is a good option if you want to trade with TD Ameritrade and don’t mind the steep learning curve. If you want to trade options, then Thinkorswim is far superior to TradingView.
Alternatives to TradingView and Thinkorswim
One additional service that’s worth comparing with TradingView and Thinkorswim is StockCharts. StockCharts offers technical charts with hundreds of built-in indicators, plus a stock screener and alerts.
The platform has a lot in common with TradingView, but we think TradingView is the better platform. StockCharts doesn’t have a built-in trading community or a script editor, and you can’t integrate a brokerage account with the platform.
Conclusion: TradingView vs. Thinkorswim
TradingView and Thinkorswim are two of the top trading platforms for technical analysis. TradingView’s ease of use, built-in trader community, and support for cryptocurrency give it a slight edge over Thinkorswim. However, Thinkorswim is still a great platform for traders who don’t want to pay for technical analysis and for options traders. Still looking to learn a little more about each option? Check out our full review of TradingView here and our full review of Thinkorswim here. Now get trading!