Trading Platforms I Use: Pros and Cons

Let me start by saying that there are lots of trading platforms, and many these days are commission free. Robinhood pioneered the commission-free trading platform with a real focus on app-based trading from mobile devices. In the years since, many of the leading platforms have followed suit, both in eliminating trading commissions and in the area of intuitive mobile trading apps.

While my first brokerage account was on Robinhood, Webull has become my primary trading platform. In the past weeks, I have also experimented with TD Ameritrade and moomoo.


I like that it is simple and un-intimidating. It made it easy for me to do the basics: search for a stock, buy it, and sell it. It also has helpful features for novices like “Top 25 stocks” and a tag showing how many Robinhood users own the stock, and being able to see my position, my account value as a chart, and news, etc.

As I became a regular trader, I became more curious about NASDAQ Level 2 information, and I was pleasantly surprised that it was included in their $5/month Robinhood Gold subscription. Other services charge significantly higher for this.

My biggest complaint about the platform is that it does not offer full Pre-Market and After Hours trading. While Pre-Market hours start at 3 AM Central, Robinhood doesn’t allow trading until 8 AM Central, just 30 minutes before regular trading opens. At the other end, After Hours on Robinhood only runs through 5 PM Central instead of 7 PM Central.

For any serious trader, this is a serious disadvantage. A lot of stock movement happens early during the Pre-Market session and Robinhood users are locked out during that window. I have missed many trading opportunities due to this limitation.

If you are a long term investor, it may matter a lot less to you.

From a trading perspective, I like that I can queue an order outside of trading hours so that it is sent right away when Robinhood trading hours begin. On the other hand, I get very annoyed at the inability to modify an order. If I want to change something, I have to cancel the order and place another one.

Charts are basic unless you subscribe to Robinhood Gold, in which case, you can look at candlestick charts, see volume and Level 2 data. But, you cannot draw on the chart and there are limited indicators supported.

Robinhood support trading on mobile devices and using a web browser.

Restricted trading hours were already a near deal-breaker, but when Robinhood collapsed last month, I lost over $1,000 as IBIO peaked and fell during that window. In all, you could say I lost nearly $2,000 because at its peak, my unrealized gains were close to $1,000 and at exit, my loss $1,000. Robinhood has not responded to my efforts to contact them, and I see no plans to remedy my loss. To me, it is simply unacceptable and underlines the oft-stated refrain that it is a platform for amateurs. And apparently run by amateurs.

I used to maintain a $2,000 account there, but last Friday, I finally pulled the plug on it and move funds over to my bank to then transfer to Webull.

One thing to know is that all brokers seem to charge a fee of about $75 per stock if you want to move your position there without liquidating it. It can add up quickly.


Get free stocks! If you’d like to open a new Webull account, use this link and both of us can get a couple free stocks.

I was surprised at how many people were talking about and trading on Webull, and decided to give it a try.

Immediately, I was impressed by the ability to trade from end-to-end, from the first minute of pre-market to the last minute of after-hours sessions.

The Comments area of Webull is also fun and engaging, even if it is filled with a lot of people who believe they can hope and will a stock to rise. Any good news is cause for exaggerated optimism with sudden claims of ‘going to $20’ or $40 followed by multiple rocket emojis. My only grip about the Comments area is that it doesn’t seem to work with spellcheck.

On the trading side, one major con is that you cannot queue a order while the market is closed. I have to wait until minutes before Pre-Market opens to queue an order to execute on open.

Another con is that especially during pre-market and after-hours trading some stock prices do not update right away. I can see Robinhood and moomoo show a change and it can take anywhere from 30-60 seconds before I see it in Webull. This can lead to constantly chasing a stock price if it’s moving and you’re trying to catch it (bad idea, yes, but it’s true).

But the worst is that it shows some stocks as “Closed” even though moomoo shows premarket price and trading activity. This usually happens in the wee hours of the morning, but by 5 AM Central, most stocks that really are trading start to show prices on Webull.

Webull has an alerts area where I can get a notification when a stock goes up, down, etc. But they’ve shot in the foot by only supporting notifications during regular trading hours and not in the extended hours.

Unlike Robinhood, there are chart types galore with support for drawing and more.

Webull supports paper-trading, i.e, fake stock trading, but it only works during trading hours. I would have loved to be able to simulate a day in the evening, so I don’t have to distract myself with paper trading instead of trading real stocks.

Also, there are limitations on which types of orders are supported in paper trading. Options trading is also not supported in paper trading.

Webull has a web app that runs in your desktop browser in addition to their phone app.

Level 2 data from NASDAQ is free for users with accounts larger than $25,000, but for the rest of us, it costs $24.99 per month. I currently have Level 2 subscriptions with moomoo and Robinhood but plan to sign up for it with Webull next month.


Get a free stock! If you’d like to open a new moomoo account, use this link and both of us can get a free stock.

I stumbled across this platform almost by accident while searching through some YouTube videos. It’s a platform created by a company called FUTU, and it has MANY similarities to Webull. The mobile platform is quite user friendly, albeit a little tiny to accommodate a lot of data, but they do it without sacrificing readibility.

Like Webull, you can trade end-to-end extended and regular hours, but unlike Webull, you can queue your orders for the next trading session even when markets are closed.

I have found that it executes trades quicker than Robinhood and Webull. Webull is a close second.

In addition to the mobile app, you can download and install a Windows 10 desktop app. Trading through a web browser is not supported. While the desktop trading app has a nice interface, it is glitchy and sometimes freezes or shows $0.00 as stock price when adding a new stock to a watchlist. It also uses some inconsistent terminology for pre-market and after hours volume, etc (pre-disk, post-disk volumes are what i calls it).

Also, I hate that I can’t easily see regular and extended hours in the same chart on the mobile devices. I can – with some clicks here and there – do it on the desktop app, BUT, I can only see line charts. Candlestick charts are not supported for extended hours. This is annoying as hell.

It seems to show the most up to date stock pricing, and has great analysis tools.

moomoo is also unique in that it provides free Level 2 information from NYSE ArcaBook. For NASDAQ TotalView Level 2, you have to pay $25.99 per month. I’m not sure how this works in Webull, but it’s annoying that it only shows NASDAQ Level 2 on one device at a time. I currently have a paid Level 2 subscription with moomoo.

I almost considered moving to moomoo as my primary platform but the glitchy desktop app was a big concern. It’s possible they will fix that in the future AND add web browser trading support.

Their help documentation is also much leaner that Webull. It’s newest to the market and it shows. Still, I often have it up and running when I trade.

I maintain a small $50 account there to play with the platform every now and then.

TD Ameritrade – Thinkorswim

Advanced traders seem to love TD Ameritrade, especially their Thinkorswim app. Like moomoo, it is a Windows 10 app that you must install. TD Ameritrade also has a lighter web trading interface but it’s just clumsy.

I have found Thinkorswim to be extremely cluttered, intimidating and confusing. I’m sure experts love it. Just to place a simple trade in the desktop app was a challenge for me. Even the mobile app seems un-intuitive.

The desktop app allows you to watch financial channels like CNBC or their own trading channel.

Like Webull. it supports paper trading for stocks. But unlike Webull, you can also paper trade options.

I really wanted to like it. The pros seem t love it, but either I’m not a pro or it really is a very confusing interface. I’ve never had to look for help on using any other trading platform besides this one.

A particular pet peeve of mine on the desktop app is that I am unable to change the size of fonts and other elements. There is a setting for it, but the save button never activates.

The mobile app is also rather clumsy and drab. I still have a small portfolio of $50 there, but I don’t trade there more once or twice a week.

I can’t recall for sure, but I believe TD Amertrade also has limited Pre-Market hours. I’ll check into it later.

They do have some other benefits like a tied checking / sweep account, an account debit card for quick access to the funds, etc. None of the other brokers offer it. Robinhood is doing an account card, but there’s a long waiting list for it.

My Verdict

If i had to rank them worst to best, it would be TD Ameritrade (Thinkorswim), Robinhood, moomoo and Webull. If moomoo makes a few improvements in stability and better integrating pre-, regular, and after market hours into the charts, I may eventually make it my platform of choice.

Your Turn – What’s Your Platform of Choice?

Which platform do you like, and why? Leave me a comment or tweet at me here.

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