Best Futures Trading Platform 2023: Top 7 Picks & Reviews

Bizreport - Bailey Schramm
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Reviewed by Kristina Knight, Journalist , BA
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Interactive Brokers

Interactive Broker

Best Overall

4.8 stars - votes

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade

Best Desktop Platform

4.7 stars - votes

Tradestation

TradeStation

Lowest Commissions

4.6 stars - votes
Best Futures Trading Platform

Traders who want to access the futures exchange and execute futures contracts for crude oil or other commodities will need to access a futures trading platform. 

They can come with many additional resources to help you trade commodity or stock futures like company-level research or other analysis tools, though finding the one that’s right for you is very important. Continue reading below as we cover the top platforms for accessing the futures exchanges. 

7 Best Futures Trading Platforms 2023

What is Futures Trading? 

Futures trading involves an agreement that traders make to buy or sell a given asset at a future date. This must be done with a futures trading broker. 

What is Futures Trading Platform? 

A future trading platform is a place online where you can access a futures broker and trade futures contracts. These trading platforms may even include other helpful features, though this is the basic idea of such programs. 

What Do Futures Trading Platforms Do?

Futures trading platforms offer help to investors so they can take advantage of the futures markets, and gain other insights from the investment advice or trading tools and resources available on the platforms as well.

Read more: Best Forex Trading Platforms 2023

Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers

  • Great customizable tools, research, and learning tools
  • Can trade in foreign markets
  • They have a mobile app
TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade

  • Ability to do $0 trades
  • Great customer service team
  • Excellent education and training resources
Tradestation

TradeStation

  • They offer futures trading from a number of locations 
  • Access to a large number of financial instruments
  • Low futures trading commissions
Optimus Futures
  • Very low trading fees
  • No inactivity fee
  • Excellent customer service team
Tickmill

Tickmill

  • Low fees
  • Fast and easy to open up an account
  • Free deposits and withdrawals
NinjaTrader

NinjaTrader

  • Great charts and technical tools to analyze futures contracts
  • Access to thousands of different apps and third-party plug-ins
  • Vast video library for resources
E*TRADE

E*TRADE

  • Access to many different markets and mutual funds
  • They have apps to support mobile trading
  • Great reputation among investors

Top 7 Best Futures Trading Platforms January 2023

Best Futures Trading Platform

Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers

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Read Interactive Brokers Reviews

This is the best futures broker for serious futures traders. It continues to be the favorite among professional and active traders given its top-of-the-line desktop trading platform to access the financial markets and get futures contracts traded. 

  • Great customizable tools, research, and learning tools
  • Can trade in foreign markets
  • They have a mobile app
  • Trading permissions can be pretty restrictive
  • More of a focus to institutional investors and professional traders over hobbyists
  • Bare bones platform without a ton of branding or personality

Interactive Brokers continues to be among the best futures brokers out there, considered the best by many. With their excellent desktop trading platform and great margin rates, Interactive Brokers comes with a lot of value, even given its higher price ticket. 

Their mobile app means that even everyday traders can take advantage of the platform and access other helpful trading tools to help them with trading a futures contract or analyze any underlying asset.

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade

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Read TD Ameritrade Reviews

TD Ameritrade is one of the best futures trading platforms that allow you to do $0 trades, access great market research, top of the line education materials for beginners, and a great customer service team. 

  • Ability to do $0 trades
  • Great customer service team for futures investors
  • Excellent education and training resources for analyzing an underlying asset
  • They don’t support the purchase of fractional shares
  • No automatic enrollment in the cash sweep program

TD Ameritrade is among advanced traders’ favorite online futures brokers. This is supported by the fact that they have great resources and research tools for those who have a trading account with them, which is especially great for beginners who want to start trading futures and get involved in the futures market.

Even still, traders at all levels can get a lot of value from this futures trading broker, even professionals.  

TradeStation

Tradestation

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Read TradeStation Reviews

TradeStation is a futures trading platform built for traders at all levels. Experienced futures traders love TradeStation given its excellent technology that supports futures trading on web browsers and beginners like its desktop app. 

  • They offer futures trading from a number of locations 
  • Access to a large number of securities
  • Excellent technology
  • Not great for in-depth company research tools
  • Educational materials could be more robust

They are known for having the best desktop app to trade futures on, which many love. Plus, they have a browser-based platform and mobile app for trading, meaning investors can access this platform to trade a futures contract from nearly anywhere. 

They have a robust offering of investment options and assets available, which is something many active traders look for from online brokers like TradeStation.

Optimus Futures

Optimus Futures

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Read Optimus Futures Review

Optimus Futures is a futures trading platform that is based in the United States. They have very low fees compared to others, which futures traders will enjoy. Plus, they don’t charge an inactivity fee if you haven’t made trades within a certain period of time. 

  • Very low trading fees
  • No inactivity fee
  • Great customer service team
  • High withdrawal fees
  • No mobile app for stock trading unlike most trading platforms today

Many like this program as a futures trading platform because of its low fees and flexibility. For investors that want to trade a futures contract, they will enjoy access to a great customer service team, no inactivity fee, and more. 

Some users don’t like that there is no mobile app, which is especially useful for day trading futures. However, they’ll have to find another futures brokerage for this.

Tickmill

Tickmill

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Read Tickmill Reviews

Tickmill is a discount futures broker that also supports CFD trading. They have low fees and easy account opening, making it a great option for beginners. 

  • Low fees
  • Fast and easy to open up an account
  • Free deposits and withdrawals
  • Outdated design
  • The news feed could be more advanced

Tickmill is a good option for traders that are just getting started and don’t have a ton of capital on their hands. They support many easy-to-fund accounts, and withdrawals are free and simple. Many users also note that they have great research materials, a quality customer service team, and educational training and content. 

NinjaTrader

NinjaTrader

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Read NinjaTrader Reviews

NinjaTrader is a platform built for active traders who want access to tons of technical analysis and charting features. They have their own native brokerage, though traders using other brokers can also access the tools on NinjaTrader. 

  • Great charts and technical tools for trading futures contracts
  • Access to thousands of different apps and third-party plug-ins
  • Vast video library for resources
  • Basic account with basic features, though you’ll have to pay more for advanced features
  • Easy set up for futures and forex trading, though not for stocks

NinjaTrader has been around for nearly two decades now, offering great software and brokerage services for traders.They are more catering to active traders, who enjoy the thousands of integrations with NinjaTrader and third-party apps. 

The platform is free to use with a funded account for charting, market analysis, and other basic features. However, to access more advanced tools for trading futures contracts, you’ll need to pay for the premium version.

E*TRADE

E*TRADE

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Read E*TRADE Reviews

E*TRADE is one of the older brokers on this list, and they now have amazing mobile apps and a powerful platform where you can trade futures, among other assets on the stock market. 

  • Access to many different markets and mutual funds
  • They have apps to support mobile trading
  • Great reputation among investors
  • Educational materials could be better for futures traders
  • Doesn’t support crypto investing

There is a lot of brand recognition with E*TRADE, helping it to continue being one of the most widely used platforms for experienced traders and newcomers alike. Many like their quality mobile apps, in addition to their great trading and technical analysis tools. 

How to Get Started Trading Futures?

Futures trading isn’t necessarily the easiest strategy to begin with, so it may be best suited for investors who are already familiar with the markets. In any case, you’ll need to make a minimum deposit with a broker to open up an account, then decide which asset you want to trade. Then you need to understand the margin requirement of a trade to ensure you have enough deposited for the contract you’re trying to execute. Then, you’ll have to set up a trade, and wait for it to be executed. Once it’s completed, you can monitor and assess your success to make adjustments with future trades.  

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many quality options for a futures trading platform. If you want to execute a futures contract, you can consider the above platforms, though consider whether you’re looking for commission-free trading, a certain minimum deposit requirement, access to specific markets, easy integration with other apps, and more in order to find the one that’s right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)?

This is the governing body in the United States that was created to regulate the derivatives market.

What does paper trading mean?

Paper trading means you’re trading with virtual dollars, not real money. It’s a form of practice so investors can try out new strategies without any risk attached.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bizreport - Bailey Schramm
Bailey Schramm, BS
Finance Advisor
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Bailey Schramm is a writer based out of Jackson Hole, WY, primarily covering topics and trends in financial services, business, and the blockchain. With a background covering stock market developments for a major FinTech company, she now provides SEO and content strategy services to financial service companies and tech startups.

ABOUT THE REVIEWER

Kristina Knight-1
Kristina Knight, Journalist , BA
Content Writer & Editor
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Kristina Knight is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience writing on varied topics. Kristina’s focus for the past 10 years has been the small business, online marketing, and banking sectors, however, she keeps things interesting by writing about her experiences as an adoptive mom, parenting, and education issues. Kristina’s work has appeared with BizReport.com, NBC News, Soaps.com, DisasterNewsNetwork, and many more publications.

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Bizreport Advisor adheres to strict editorial integrity standards avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Bizreport, you can read more about the editorial process here.

  1. Commodity Futures Trading Commission | CFTC. www.cftc.gov. Accessed January 16, 2023. https://www.cftc.gov/
  2. Lowest Cost Online Trading and Investing | Interactive Brokers. Interactivebrokers.com. Published 2015. Accessed January 16, 2023. https://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/home.php
  3. Futures Trading | TD Ameritrade. www.tdameritrade.com. Accessed January 16, 2023. https://www.tdameritrade.com/investment-products/futures-trading.html
  4. TradeStation | Online Trading And Brokerage Services. TradeStation. Accessed January 16, 2023. https://www.tradestation.com/