The Best Virtual Trading Platforms

Using demo trading platforms is an effective way to practice your trading skills and gain confidence before you start trading in real-time. Practice your trading swagger without risking any real money when you use any of these five virtual trading platforms.


The Balance recommends NinjaTrader as a low-cost trading platform with a free simulation that allows you to give day trading a try at your leisure. This futures demo account gives you the option to download the data from the past few days to practice trading with relatively recent market activity You can also use NinjaTrader as a fee-based brokerage if you move beyond the trading platform demo and want to start trying your hand at real-tine trading.

TDAmeritrade: Thinkorswim

Nerdwallet recommends TDAmeritrade’s thinkorswim for frequent traders who want a virtual trading platform that provides a virtual IRA with up to $100,000 of practice money. This desktop-based virtual stock platform is best for frequent traders who are interested in foreign exchange and futures. This is an extensive trading tool that gives you data from the US and global economies directly from the Fed along with access to more than 400,000 economic points. You get a free 60-day trial to paperMoney, the virtual trading platform and a beginner-friendly environment ideal for frequent traders.


The Balance recommends Oanda as a Forex demo account, noting its competitive spreads, flexibility and commission-free live trades. If you decide to actually get in the stock market game with Oanda, you’ll notice that they charge higher bids to make up for the trade commissions that they waive. This is one of the practice trading platforms that let you continue as long as you want on the desktop platform or mobile app without any expiration dates.


Do you want to take strategy automation for a test drive? Try Nerdwallet’s recommendation for demo trading platforms: the TradeStation simulator, which is free for TradeStation clients who maintain a $5,000 minimum balance. The desktop simulator offers features based on your subscriptions. You can also access educational resources, including articles, e-books and video tutorials.


TradingView is another favorite of The Balance, which notes that you can sync the platform with several brokers if you choose to trade actual money. Otherwise, you’ll need to switch platforms for live trading. But when you’re using it as your stock demo trading platform, you get free real-time charting and demo trading, along with the capability to make simulated trades in forex or stocks. If you want to try your hand at demo trading, note that the data is delayed.