The Best Brokers for Options Trading Online

Options are a useful and versatile investment strategy for investors looking to diversify.  If you’re looking for the best online brokers for trading options in addition to stocks, you need to minimize your total costs per contract or trade.  The primary difference between futures and options trading is that if an investor purchases options, this gives them the right to buy or sell the asset at a given date rather than requiring them to.  Meanwhile, an investor who holds a futures contract is obligated to carry out the contract at the time and price specified.

NerdWallet’s Top Picks: The Best Overall Online Brokers for Trading Options

competitive pricing with sophisticated tools and quality exeuction

 
  • A top option for volatility traders, it provides estimated volatility of an option chain with at-a-glance volatility graphs
  • Commission Per Trade: $9.99 +$0.75 per contract
  • Account Minimum: $200
  • Promotion: Trade free for 60 days and get up to $600 when you open an account
  • Learn more about TD Ameritrade
  • Features the most pricing flexibility as well as the top tools for traders
  • Commission Per Trade: $1/contract over 5
  • Account Minimum: $2,000
  • Promotion: OptionsHouse will provide you with 100 free trades when you fund a new account, and 30 free trades if you refer a friend
  • Learn more about Optionshouse 

Lowest Cost Options Trading

if price is the most important

  • Combines the cheapest all around pricing with a fast and powerful platform
  • Commission Per Trade: $5 per trade + $0.15 per contract
  • Account Minimum: $2,000
  • Promotion: Offers a free online trading simulator with $100,000 in virtual funds
  • Learn more about Choicetrade
  • The most advanced, complex options trading platform
  • Commission Per contract: $0.60
  • Account Minimum: $10,000
  • Promotion: None
  • Learn more about Optionshouse

Best Data Analysis Tools and Software

best data tools with easily customizable features

 
  • Rated the best platform technology overall by Barron’s, offers some of the fastest trade execution combined with powerful analysis tools
  • Commission Per Trade: $1 per contract
  • Account Minimum: $2,000
  • Promotion: None
  • Learn more about TradeStation

Selecting the Right Trading Account for Your Needs

If you know exactly what premium features you’re looking for and don’t see them listed above, there’s an easy way to search all available brokerage accounts that make trading options and futures available to you.  Just plug-and-chug: by inputting your desired features into NerdWallet’s brokerage comparison tool, it returns the best accounts that meet your requirements, so you can compare and contrast your options to find the lowest cost alternative.