Robinhood vs Thinkorswim


Thinkorswim (TOS) or Robinhood: compare charts, stock broker mobile platforms, online trading fees. Which company is better?



Robinhood vs. thinkorswim Introduction


Although Robinhood offers $0 commissions, it doesn’t deliver very much in other areas. TD Ameritrade, for example, also provides zero-commission trading; plus, it has a very advanced desktop platform called thinkorswim. Here’s everything you need to know:


Broker Fees


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Thinkorswim $0 $49.99 $0 + $0.65 per contract $0 $0
Robinhood $0 na $0 $0 na


Services


Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
Thinkorswim
Robinhood


Promotions


TD Ameritrade/Thinkorswim: Get $0 commissions and ACAT fee reimbursement.

Robinhood: Get free stock with $3-$7 value when you open an account.



Robinhood’s Website vs. thinkorswim


Robinhood doesn’t have a desktop platform. Instead, the broker delivers a simple website. Although rather elementary in many ways, the software does provide a decent trading experience.


Robin Hood vs TOS


During our examination, we found the site’s charting system to be on a very basic level. There are only 2 graph styles and 4 technical studies. Comparisons cannot be made to any security or index, and there is no right-click trading.

Robinhood’s trade ticket has 6 order types and 2 time-in-force choices. The site has no paper trading.

thinkorswim, by comparison, does have a practice mode. Called Paper Money, it can be selected at login.


thinkorswim or Robin Hood


thinkorswim is pretty much the exact opposite of Robinhood’s platform with incredibly advanced charting and a sophisticated order ticket. A graph has a right-click menu with several choices, including buy and sell. Over 400 technical studies are incorporated, and there are 7 graph styles.

The order form on thinkorswim has several advanced trade types, including blast all, 1st triggers OCO, trailing stop limit, and more. There are 4 duration choices, and direct-access routing is included.

Winner: thinkorswim easily


Mobile Apps


thinkorswim continues its excellent performance with a mobile app cousin. Although TD Ameritrade has a regular mobile app with impressive trading tools, the broker-dealer also has manufactured a thinkorswim app. This second platform delivers the broker’s most advanced trading experience.


TOS vs Robin Hood


Amazingly, thinkorswim has the same technical studies that its desktop cousin boasts. It’s easy to add studies (just tap on a chart and a small menu appears on the left-hand side). Drawings can be added to a chart as well, further increasing the software’s potential.

The trade ticket on the thinkorswim app is even easier to use than the desktop software’s order form. The app has a convenient Trade icon in the bottom menu, and a toggle switch makes switching between sell and buy exceptionally easy. They are color coded as well.

Other features on the thinkorswim app worth mentioning are alerts, CNBC, and a watchlist.

Robinhood’s app has a watchlist, but the mobile platform doesn’t have alerts or video news. The app has even simpler charting than its website cousin with no tools and no horizontal capability.


Robin Hood vs Thinkorswim


The same 6 order types make an appearance on Robinhood’s mobile trade ticket. This time, they have descriptions, which may help beginners. Unlike the thinkorswim mobile app, there is no practice mode on Robinhood’s app.

Winner: thinkorswim


Available Investments


On thinkorswim, it’s possible to trade these assets:

- Forex
- Futures
- Stocks, including over-the-counter instruments
- Options
- ETFs
- Closed-end funds

Robinhood offers these investments:

- Option contracts
- ETFs
- Cryptocurrencies
- Stocks, not including most OTC securities

Winner: thinkorswim


Margin Trading


It’s possible to trade at Robinhood and on thinkorswim with other people’s money. Yes, this really can be done. You just need to add margin capability to your account and pay fees for the borrowed money.

On thinkorswim, a margin debit below $10,000 costs 9,5% per year. The more you borrow, the lower the rate gets, reaching 7,5% for balances above $250,000.

Robinhood has a $5 monthly fee for every margin account. This fee is assessed whether the account borrows money or not. The charge includes Level II quotes (which are free on thinkorswim for both margin and cash accounts) and the first $1,000 in borrowed funds. Larger margin debits are charged 2,5% annually.

Winner: Robinhood


Education and Research


During our test drive of Robinhood’s website and mobile app, we found just a few security details like earnings history, news articles, and analysts’ recommendations. This latter category doesn’t come with any pdf reports, but there are trade recommendations from multiple followers. Because the platforms are so simple, there is no need to supply software learning tools.

thinkorswim is in an entirely different category. Because the software is so complex, TD Ameritrade has created learning sections on both versions of thinkorswim. On the desktop system, just click on the Education tab in the top menu; on the mobile app, tap on the More icon and then select Help & Learning.

There really are no security profiles to speak of on thinkorswim. Instead, TD Ameritrade places them on its website. Website profiles include pdf reports on many stocks, including small-cap companies. Other details include SEC filings and fundamental analysis.

Winner: thinkorswim


Options Trading


Both Robinhood and thinkorswim provide effective tools to trade option contracts. Robinhood’s software, both on the website and mobile app, provides the capability of creating multi-leg trades. This is a good thing as the broker has failed to include any integrated spreads. If you want to trade complex strategies like collars or straddles, you’ll have to create those yourself by manually adding legs to an order (up to 4 are allowed).

thinkorswim has some spreads already integrated, and it’s a straightforward process to right click on a spread and trade it. There is no need to manually create the strategy, which obviously saves time and effort. Integrated spreads include calendars, diagonals, and butterflies.

Besides integrated strategies, thinkorswim offers another tool that won’t be found at Robinhood: an option screener. It can look for contracts using many criteria, including:

- Open interest
- Days to expiration
- Greek values
- % in the money

Before you conclude that thinkorswim definitely has the better options trading system, be aware that profit-loss diagrams will only be found on Robinhood’s website (and not its mobile app). For some reason, neither version of thinkorswim (desktop or mobile) has these valuable derivative-trading tools.

Winner: thinkorswim overall


thinkorswim or Robin Hood


Additional Services


Individual Retirement Accounts: thinkorswim can be used with an IRA from TD Ameritrade. Robinhood still doesn’t offer IRAs, but we’re waiting.

Cash Management Features: Robinhood has a debit card, while TD Ameritrade has a debit card and checks.

DRIP: Available through thinkorswim and Robinhood.

Fractional Shares: Available only at Robinhood.

Initial Public Offerings: Both firms in this survey offer IPO access. TD Ameritrade has a $250,000 account minimum, while Robinhood imposes no minimum.

Extended Hours: It’s possible to trade before the market opens and after it closes on thinkorswim and with a Robinhood account. thinkorswim offers more hours.

Winner: thinkorswim


Robin Hood vs think OR Swim


Our Recommendations


ETF & Stock Trading: thinkorswim easily.

Beginners: Robinhood is simpler, although thinkorswim’s practice mode would be good for newbies.

Long-Term Investors and Retirement Savers: It’s possible to use thinkorswim with an IRA or individual 401k.

Small Accounts: thinkorswim because TD Ameritrade offers Level II quotes for free.


Promotions


Thinkorswim/TD Ameritrade: Get $0 commissions and ACAT fee reimbursement.

Robinhood: Get free stock with $3-$7 value when you open an account.



Robinhood vs Thinkorswim Recap


Although Robinhood’s software is easier to use and learn, thinkorswim delivers the more advanced trading experience.