Best Free Trading Demo Accounts : Top Picks for 2024

When trying to pick a broker and open a trading account, a good place to start is by looking at the paper trading simulators they offer. 

In this review, we take a look at 5 free paper trading simulators as part of our series of in-depth reviews. No deposits are needed, and there are no subscription fees for any of the paper trading simulators we mention.

Please also note that all platform overviews consider the browser-based version of the platform – we are not looking at the mobile app or downloadable desktop software. This is so you can get a feel for each broker and platform without having to install anything on your phone or computer.

Throughout this article, we’ll guide you through various different platforms, highlight their strengths and weaknesses, and find the best paper simulator for you that suits your trading style. 

WARNING

Trading exposes you to the risk of losing more than your initial investment and incurring financial liability. Trading is suitable only for well-informed, sophisticated clients able to understand how the products being traded work and having the financial ability to bear the aforementioned risk.

Transactions involving foreign exchange instruments (FOREX) and contracts for difference (CFD) are highly speculative and extremely complex. As such, they are subject to a high level of risk due to leverage. Please keep in mind that CDF trading is banned in the US.

Information published on the NewTrading.io website is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as offering investment advice or as an enticement to trade financial instruments.

Which is the best paper trading simulator?

Best overall
ProRealTime
92%
  • Smooth trading
  • Intuitive interface
  • Powerful tools
BEST FOR BEGINNERS
Webull
85%
  • Intuitive interface
  • Customizable layout
  • Smooth trading
Best for stocks
thinkorswim
82%
  • Advanced screener
  • Good alerts
BEST FOR CHARTING
TradingView
82%
  • Powerful charts
  • Powerful tools
  • Large community
BEST FOR SOCIAL TRADING
eToro
61%
  • Integrated social feed
  • Slick interface

As a self-employed trader who has spent more than a decade in the industry, I took a look at 5 different paper trading accounts to see how they ranked in terms of accessibility, performance, and capability. I also considered how easy these platforms were to navigate in terms of beginner traders and someone experiencing trading platforms for the very first time.

As I spent several hours with each platform, it became clear that ProRealTime offered the best overall paper trading experience to any level of investor. While it may not be the ‘best’ or most accessible for beginners, it certainly catered to a wide range of experience levels and offered the most impressive features, consistently delivering a superior trading performance. 

Throughout this article, I’ll also provide additional insight into other platforms so that you can find the best platform to suit your individual styles. After all, every trader is different.

So, let’s find the best platform for you.

#1 ProRealTime’s Paper Trading Simulator

Best Overall Trading Simulator

ProRealTime’s platform is extremely impressive and the overall experience is superb for any trader, regardless of their experience level. It has a huge range of tools and indicators that are accessible for all types of investors, interactive chart trading that feels powerful and gives you complete control, and even has embedded video tutorials within the platform to help you maximize the software’s potential.

About ProRealTime

The French-based fintech company emphasizes advanced charting software and technical analysis tools for its paper trading simulator, which provides access to multiple asset classes, including stocks, futures, and commodities. ProRealTime has more than 1,000,000 users worldwide.The broker has also partnered with leading providers such as Interactive Brokers, IG, and Saxo Bank.

Pros
Smooth trading experience
Intuitive interface and dashboard
Powerful tools and features
Comprehensive market access
Cons
No glaring weaknesses
Realism
92 %
Tools and Indicators
89 %
Accessibility
95 %

From an easy-to-navigate dashboard to the level of interaction possible when it comes to trading directly from the charts, there are few better paper trading simulators to use than ProRealTime’s web platform. Enjoy one-click trading, a slick interface, and plenty of tools to help you both find and monitor potential trading opportunities.

There are absolutely no glaring weaknesses to ProRealTime’s paper simulator – for the best all-round experience, this one is our pick.

Read our full ProRealTime paper trading simulator review >

#2 – Webull’s Paper Trading Simulator

Best for beginners

Enjoy a user-friendly platform with a low barrier to entry in terms of experience, and trading itself is quite slick and intuitive. There’s a wide range of tools to pick from; however, there are some basic features missing (namely stop loss/take profit levels) that prevent you from fully testing out your strategies

About Webull
The US broker has about 20 million global users, and offers access to stocks, ETFs, and options – a slightly narrower set of asset classes compared to some of the other platforms we look at, who extend to forex and indices.

Pros
Intuitive dashboard
Fully customizable layout
Smooth trading experience
Healthy range of tools/indicators
Cons
Lack of take profit/stop loss
Platform lacks depth
Smaller range of markets
Realism
85 %
Tools and Indicators
80 %
Accessibility
90 %

Webull’s dashboard is easy to use and customize as you see fit—it feels intuitive to control and change the layout. You can drag and drop any elements or windows to get the exact setup that you’d like, and even though the initial setup to get a demo is slightly confusing, it’s one of the more user-friendly dashboards.

It’s a smooth experience to use the platform – as is placing a trade, which is possible from the charts. There are plenty of tools to choose from and there’s a healthy range of indicators and technical analysis tools for both beginner and intermediate investors.

Read our full Webull paper trading simulator review >

#3 Thinkorswim’s Paper Trading Simulator

Best for Stock Traders

Thinkorswim’s platform is definitely powerful, even if it seems quite basic at first. Traders who spend a decent amount of time with it will discover its depth, and it’s perhaps best suited to advanced stock investors rather than beginners, but it’s still fairly accessible.

About thinkorswim

Thinkorswim is a US-based trading platform that has changed ownership a few times over the years. Originally developed by Thinkorswim Group Inc., it was later acquired by TD Ameritrade, and most recently by Charles Schwab in 2020. Known for its impressive longevity, the platform boasts around 11 million users and manages over $1 trillion in assets, according to a 2021 report. Thinkorswim offers traders access to a wide range of financial instruments including stocks, options, and futures.

Pros
Advanced stock screener tool
Impressive platform depth
Good alerts system
Cons
Frustrating mechanics
Dashboard not as intuitive
Realism
85 %
Tools and Indicators
80 %
Accessibility
80 %

Thinkorswim’s platform has one of the best stock screener tools out of the paper simulators we’ve reviewed, and while the software doesn’t seem too flashy, it becomes easier to use as time goes on. It also has a good alerts system to analyze and monitor your trades.

There are some mechanics that felt frustrating when switching between the tabs of ‘Trade’ and ‘Chart’ – your existing setup on any chart doesn’t carry over if you navigate between the two, and the dashboard is not as intuitive as some of the other platforms we’ve reviewed here.

Read our full thinkorswim paper trading simulator review >

#4 – TradingView’s Paper Trading Simulator

Best Charting Package

TradingView offers an impressive array of technical tools and fundamental indicators for its traders, but is less beginner-friendly than some of the other platforms we’ve reviewed. While definitely sophisticated, the dashboard is harder to navigate. However, there is definitely top-tier tech to utilize once you’ve overcome a slightly harder learning experience.

 

About TradingView

Perhaps best known as a charting package provider rather than a broker in its own right, TradingView’s platform combines sophisticated tech with a 60-million strong community of traders, providing its user base with powerful analytical tools and access to a large range of asset classes.

Pros
Impressive charting
Huge community
Access to strategies
Cons
Harder navigation
More suited to intermediate/advanced traders
Realism
90 %
Tools and Indicators
85 %
Accessibility
70 %

With impressive charting software, a large array of tools to use, and plenty of features to help you analyze trends, TradingView has enough to keep even the most demanding trader satisfied. The software’s capabilities are powerful, reliable, and fast.

Navigating the dashboard and platform is not as easy as it could be, so it’s easy to make the argument that TradingView is not as accessible as some of the other paper simulators we’ve taken a look at. Perhaps this platform is more suitable for an intermediate or advanced trader.

Read our full TradingView paper trading simulator review >

#5 eToro’s Paper Trading Simulator

Best for Social Trading

We find the demo account to be quite lacking in terms of depth and analysis, and this seems to be a deliberate ploy on eToro’s part to lock a lot of the platform’s potential behind a full, real account. The point of a paper simulator seems to push users to upgrade as soon as possible, rather than let traders go at their own pace. Therefore, eToro isn’t the best choice to hone your trading strategies if you’re looking for a comprehensive suite of technical analysis tools.

About eToro

eToro is best known for its copy trading and social aspect of its community, with approximately 30 million users to date. The platform stays true to its values, emphasizing an integrated feed of users posting various trades, strategies and news on a wide range of asset classes – though depending on your region, you may be restricted from trading them all.

Pros
Focuses on fundamentals more than technical charts
Social trading community
Good alerts system
Cons
Many features locked behind real account
Realism
75 %
Tools and Indicators
60 %
Accessibility
60 %

Unlike many of its competitors, eToro doesn’t focus on pushing charts which is a refreshing change if you’re a fundamental rather than technical trader. Instead, it relies heavily on the social aspect of trading, connecting you with a wider community of traders to give you a much more inclusive experience. Trading is simple on eToro’s platform, and ideas are plentiful.

More than any other paper simulator we’ve reviewed, eToro locks a lot of its platform’s features and tools behind a real account. It pushes you to open a real account a little too often, which can be frustrating if you’re just looking to utilize a paper simulator to its full extent. A lot of technical tools and analytical features are unavailable.

Read our full eToro paper trading simulator review >

What to Look for in Free Trading Simulators

Using a paper trading simulator before opening a real account and investing your capital is crucial. Simulators help you avoid costly errors, familiarize yourself with the trading platform, and test your strategy under conditions that closely mimic the actual market. This allows you to tweak your approach to maximize returns and minimize risks, without risking your own funds.

However, selecting the right trading simulator can be a challenge. Start by considering your trading needs and strategy—whether you rely on technical or fundamental indicators, the types of financial markets you’re interested in, and the leverage you require. Then, evaluate the available options by looking at factors like regulatory compliance, the range of financial assets, trading platform features, customer support, educational resources, and trading fees.

Depending on the type of trader you are, you may find some platforms are better suited than others. Purely a stock trader? Thinkorswim may be best for you. Like the social aspect of trading and are interested in other people’s setups? Consider TradingView or eToro. Every trader has their own strategy and approach to the market, so it’s about finding the best platform to complement your approach.

Is paper trading free?

Yes, paper trading simulators are mostly free to sign up for and never require real money to deposit. Some brokers may charge access to their platforms even in a virtual environment, but none of those are included in our review.

Do paper trading simulators expire?

Yes. Most paper trading simulators limit access to 30 days (sometimes they may go as long as 90 days), which should be enough time for you to familiarize yourself with the platform. If you’re looking to extend your demo account, you may be able to do so by getting in touch with the broker directly. Some platforms like ProRealTime Web offer non-expiry demos.

Do I keep my paper simulator if I decide to open a real account?

That depends. In some cases, you may be able to keep access to your paper simulator once you open a real account.

author
Maxime Parra

Maxime holds two master’s degrees from the SKEMA Business School and FFBC: a Master of Management and a Master of International Financial Analysis. As founder and editor-in-chief of NewTrading.fr, he writes daily about financial trading.

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