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6 Best Online Brokers for Futures Trading and Commodities of January 2021

Chris DavisDecember 22, 2020
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Futures trading is a complicated business, even for experienced investors, and so is shopping for a brokerage to use for futures and commodities trading. It’s not just about contract fees and trading platforms (although both are important factors to consider).

Trading in futures requires looking for a broker that offers the highest level of real-time data and quotes, an intuitive trading platform, an abundance of charting and screening tools, technical indicators and a wealth of research — plus the ability to leverage your account with reduced day-trading margin requirements. All of that, and you still want low costs and high-quality customer support.

These are the features and services we focused on in our rankings, concentrating on the world of online discount brokers that serve self-directed traders (not pros) seeking to quickly execute their own futures strategies.

One note before we dive into the top-ranked brokers for trading futures: Investing in futures is a strategy that earns a few caveats from NerdWallet. It comes with risk, as do all investing strategies. But futures trading is even riskier: You’re making a bet on the direction a market is going to go, an outcome that is difficult for even professional analysts to predict correctly. In other words: You can do a lot of research, feel confident in your prediction and still lose a lot of money very quickly.

If you’re new to futures trading and want to dabble in this strategy, you should understand how to trade futures, determine the risks involved, and have your financial bases covered. And if you decide you’d rather stick to stock trading, which — while still risky — is vanilla compared to futures? Check out our list of the best brokers for stock trading instead.

Summary of Best Online Brokers for Futures Trading and Commodities of January 2021

E*TRADE Futures

on E*TRADE's website

E*TRADE Futures

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
E*TRADE Futures

Fees

$1.50

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

$50 or more

when opening an account, with code: WINTER21

on E*TRADE's website


Promotion

$50 or more

when opening an account, with code: WINTER21

Why we like it

E*TRADE has long been one of the most popular online brokers. The company's low commissions and strong trading platforms appeal to active traders, while beginner investors benefit from a large library of educational resources.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use tools.

  • Large investment selection.

  • Excellent customer support.

  • Access to extensive research.

  • Advanced mobile app.

  • Commission-free stock, options and ETF trades.

Cons

  • Website can be difficult to navigate.

Read Full Review
TD Ameritrade Futures

on TD Ameritrade's website

TD Ameritrade Futures

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
TD Ameritrade Futures

Fees

$2.25

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

on TD Ameritrade's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Why we like it

TD Ameritrade meets the needs of both active traders and beginner investors with quality trading platforms, $0 commissions on online stock, options and ETF trades and a large selection of mutual funds.

Pros

  • Commission-free stock, ETF and options trades.

  • Free research.

  • High-quality trading platforms.

  • No account minimum.

  • Good customer support.

  • Large investment selection.

Cons

  • No fractional shares.

Read Full Review
Interactive Brokers Futures

on Interactive Brokers's website

Interactive Brokers Futures

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Interactive Brokers Futures

Fees

$0.25 - $0.85

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

on Interactive Brokers's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Why we like it

Interactive Brokers' IBKR Lite is a strong option for frequent traders: The broker offers international trade capabilities, no stock-trading commission and a quality trading platform.

Pros

  • Large investment selection.

  • Strong research and tools.

  • Over 4,300 no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

  • NerdWallet users who sign up for IBKR Pro get a 0.25 percentage point discount on margin rates.

Cons

  • Website is difficult to navigate.

  • Inactivity fees on IBKR Pro.

Read Full Review
TradeStation GO Futures

on TradeStation's website

TradeStation GO Futures

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
TradeStation GO Futures

Fees

$0.85

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

N/A

on TradeStation's website


Promotion

N/A

Why we like it

TradeStation is a strong choice for active stock, options and futures investors who rely on the broker’s high-octane trading platform, reams of research and sophisticated analytical tools. Trades of up to 10,000 shares are commission-free.

Pros

  • High-quality trading platforms.

  • Comprehensive research.

  • Commission-free stock, ETF and options trades.

  • Advanced tools.

  • Active trader community.

Cons

  • Free trading on advanced platform requires TS Select.

  • No transaction-fee-free mutual funds.

  • Plans and pricing can be confusing.

Read Full Review

Want to compare more options? Here are our other top picks:

Disclosure: The author held no positions in the aforementioned securities at the time of publication.

Last updated on December 22, 2020

Methodology

NerdWallet's ratings for brokers and robo-advisors are weighted averages of several categories, including investment selection, customer support, account fees, account minimum, trading costs and more. Our survey of brokers and robo-advisors includes the largest U.S. providers by assets under management, plus notable and/or emerging players in the industry. Factors we consider, depending on the category, include advisory fees, branch access, user-facing technology, customer service and mobile features. The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Online Brokers for Futures Trading and Commodities of January 2021