Intro  2017 Review of the Best Futures Brokers for Futures Trading

Identifying the top futures trading site or best futures broker can be a daunting undertaking, especially due to the wide-ranging landscape of the futures and commodity sectors.

In addition, comparing the many different features offered by various futures brokers can add considerably to your challenge in finding the top futures broker that can best meet your needs.

Essential Features to Look for When Searching for a Top Futures Broker

Some key features to consider when searching for the best futures broker to meet your futures trading needs include:

  • Extremely fast trade execution
  • An easy-to-use interface
  • A transparent fee structure
  • Low “per contract” commission fees
  • 24/7 trading capabilities
  • A highly advanced mobile app
  • Cutting-edge technological platform
  • Access to futures exchanges across the world.

So, based on the wide-ranging spectrum of futures trading platforms and futures broker fees, how are you supposed to find time to conduct the detailed comparison research needed to identify the best futures brokers for futures trading?

Well, that’s where AdvisoryHQ comes in.

Best Futures Brokers for Futures Trading

Award Emblem: Top 7 Best Futures Brokers for Futures Trading

AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 7 Best Futures Brokers

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that futures broker)

Click here for 2016’s ranking of the Top 7 Best Futures Brokers for Futures Trading

Top 7 Best Futures Brokers | Brief Comparison & Ranking

Futures Brokers

Min. Deposit to Open Account

Futures Trading Fees

  • $1.50 per contract
  • Futures fees & NFA fees apply
Generic Trade$0
  • Simple fee structure: $0.59 commission for all trades
Interactive Brokers$10,000 for individual accounts, $5,000 for advisor and broker clients, $3,000 for age 25 and under
  • Fixed plan: $0.85 per contract
  • Tiered plan: $0.25–0.85 per contract, based on monthly trading volume
MB Trading (TradeKing)$500
  • 1–250 monthly contracts: $0.85 per contract
  • 251–2000: $0.65 per contract
  • >2000: $0.45 per contract
  • $3.50 fee per contract
TD Ameritrade$2,000
  • $2.25 fee per contract
  • $1.20 fee per side (bundled).

For unbundled fees, please see monthly rates below:

  • <300 contracts: $1.20
  • 301–1000 contracts: $1
  • 1001–10,000 contracts: $0.65
  • 10,001–20,000 contracts: $0.45
  • >20,000 contracts: $0.25

Table: Top 7 Best Futures Brokers | Above list is sorted alphabetically

Futures Trading Firm Fees

Although some futures trading firms might require $0 to open an account, they’re still required to follow the requirements stipulated by most futures trading exchanges where futures are traded.

As such, although you might see a $0 account opening requirement, note that you’ll need to deposit $2000 in a margin account before you can trade most products.

In addition to the fees listed above, each futures trading firm also charges fees that need to be paid to the futures trading exchanges and also to the National Futures Association (NFA).

The NFA is the self-regulatory organization for the U.S. derivatives industry, including on-exchange traded futures. NFA regulatory fees are assessed as having a current average of $0.01 per side.

Click the link below for a sample list of the futures trading fees charged by the respective futures exchanges.

>>> Futures Trading Exchange Fees <<<

Generating This Year’s List of Best Futures Trading Platforms

How did AdvisoryHQ determine this year’s list of the top futures trading brokers?

In finalizing the list of top futures brokers and best futures trading platforms presented below, the AdvisoryHQ research team started out with a much larger list of over 56 trading platforms.

Best Futures Trading Platforms

Best Futures Trading Platforms

The team reviewed TD Ameritrade, E*TRADE, Interactive Brokers, MB Trading, Lightspeed, optionsXpress, TradeStation, Generic Trade, TradeMonster, Advantage Futures, CannonTrading, AMP Futures Trading Supercenter, Daniels Trading, NinjaTrader, and other futures brokerages.

We applied rating scores based on various selection criteria, including:

  • Trading commission
  • Account fees
  • Analytical tools
  • Simulators
  • Tradable markets
  • Access to global futures exchanges
  • Fast execution
  • Popularity & consumer reviews
  • Level of customer support
  • Ease of use
  • Promotions
  • Selection of investment products
  • Highly graphical charts
  • Reporting

In the process, we narrowed the list down to the 7 best futures brokers presented in this review publication. For more information on our selection methodology, see the section below.

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AdvisoryHQ’s Selection Methodology

What methodology does AdvisoryHQ use in selecting and finalizing the credit cards, financial products, firms, services, and products that are ranked on its various top-rated lists?

Please click here “AdvisoryHQ’s Ranking Methodologies” for a detailed review of AdvisoryHQ’s selection methodologies for ranking top-rated credit cards, financial accounts, firms, products, and services.

Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best Futures Brokers

Below, please find a detailed review of each stock broker on our list of best futures brokers. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these top futures brokers to score so high in our selection ranking.

See Also: Best Online Trading Platforms | Ranking | Best Online Trading Sites & Top Trading Platforms

E*TRADE Review

E*TRADE is proud of having conducted the first-ever electronic trade by an individual investor over 30 years ago, and they have been a leading futures trading firm ever since.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Best Futures Brokers

Below, please find a list of the features that enabled us to rank E*TRADE as one of the top futures trading brokers.

Wide Range of Benefits

The benefits of using E*TRADE, one of the best futures trading platforms, include:

  • Trade more than 200 futures products
  • Advanced trading tools
  • Flat, low commissions
  • Get professional insights & advice
  • Easy-to-use trading tools
  • Live order status from order placement through confirmation
  • Experienced futures support team available for assistance
  • Reduced margin requirements by 50% per futures contract 
  • $1.50 per contract, no matter how often you trade

Futures Trading Firm Process

E*TRADE is well-known as a top rated online stock trading platform. In addition to this high rating, it is also one of the top firms on our best futures brokers list.

E*TRADE provides highly advanced futures trading tools that allow you to trade over 200 futures trading products.

You are provided with a live order status from the order placement through confirmation. E*TRADE has a highly-experienced futures support team on standby for any questions or assistance you may need. The platform offers you the ability to directly access every major futures market in the world.

Accessibility & Informational Tools

Access all of your accounts, positions, and streaming quotes on one page (stocks, options, futures, etc.). E*TRADE offers a 25% day trading margin for indexes, currencies, and treasuries. Customer service is available 24/7 (call, Internet chat or email).

As one of the top futures brokers, E*TRADE is dedicated to empowering investors to make smart financial decisions while using futures trading exchanges. On the firm’s website, you can find top-quality educational content, including analytical and research tools.

Don’t Miss: Best Penny Stock Brokers & Penny Trading Platforms | Ranking & Reviews

Generic Trade Review

Generic Trade applies a “simplicity approach” to futures trading, which is a refreshing difference from the complex futures trading rate structure, based on volume or account size, which you would find with other futures brokers.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Best Futures Brokers

Below, please find a list of the features that enabled us to rank Generic Trade as one of the top futures trading brokers.

Deep Trading Discounts

This online futures broker is a true deep discount futures firm, charging only 59¢ commission for all trades (futures or options on futures).

Additionally, Generic Trade offers the lowest possible margins allowed by futures exchanges, and it offers aggressive day trading margins as well.

Impressive Range of Features

Based on the factors listed below, Generic Trade is rated as one of the “top best” futures brokers of the year.

  • Highly advanced trading platform
  • Blazing-fast execution speed
  • Top reliability & functionality
  • Cutting-edge & innovative trading infrastructure
  • High-level safeguards & security
  • 24-hour support
  • Highly transparent fee disclosure structure
  • Instantaneous combined futures account information
  • Free real-time charts
  • Trade markets around the globe
  • Low cost + advanced trading capabilities = great value

Related: Best Online Stock Brokers (Ranking of the Top Discount Brokerage Firms)

Interactive Brokers Review

Interactive Brokers provides two simple low-cost plans (fixed and tiered plan pricing) for trading futures and futures options. The firm’s advanced trading applications provide specialized futures, like trading tools and a US futures market scanner.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Best Futures Brokers

Below, please find a list of the features that enabled us to rank Interactive Brokers as one of the top futures trading brokers.

Futures Trading Margins

At Interactive Brokers, futures trading margins are based on risk-based algorithms. You can quickly gain market insight by using Interactive Brokers’ futures arbitrage and interest rates tables.

Using Interactive Brokers’ futures platform, you can trade a wide range of futures products, including agriculture, currency, energy, equity index, fixed-income, metals, and volatility futures.

Interactive Platform

With Interactive Brokers’ platform, you can trade futures, futures options, and commodities across over 100 global financial markets.

As an integrated tool, the platform enables you to trade futures and futures options in combination with stocks, ETFs, and options worldwide, all from a single screen.

Popular Article: Best Discount Brokers | Ranking | Best Discount Brokerage Firms for Trading Accounts

MB Trading Review

In 2015, MB Trading was acquired by TradeKing, extending the investment product services available to both sets of investors.  

Now offered by TradeKing, MB Trading offers first-class futures trading exchanges at low cost to investos, making it one of the top futures brokers in 2017.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Best Futures Brokers

Below, please find a list of the features that enabled us to rank MB Trading as one of the top futures trading brokers.

Competitive Pricing Structure

As one of the top futures brokers, MB Trading offers a competitive pricing structure for those interested in future trading. Their pricing structure includes:

  • Trade at least 2,001 contracts and pay $0.45 per contract plus exchange and other fees
  • Trade 251–2000 contracts a month and pay $0.65 per contract plus exchange and other fees
  • Trade 1–250 contracts a month and pay $0.85 per contract plus exchange and other fees

Additional Features

Connect directly to the CME, NYMEX, CBOT, and COMEX exchanges with MD Trading’s MBTX proprietary order routing and get the best available prices and venues to execute futures orders.

With the acquisition by TradeKing, MD Trading offers a wide variety of futures order types, including Stop Limit, Stop Market, Market+TTO, Stop+TTO, and more.

Futures account types serviced by MD Trading include individual, trust, custodial accounts, foreign classification, and more.

Read More: Best Forex Brokers – UK | Ranking | Top UK Forex Broker Trading Platforms

optionsXpress Review

Owned by Charles Schwab, optionsXpress is one of this year’s most highly rated top futures trading platforms. Year after year, optionsXpress has been considered a “best futures broker” by numerous review journals and publications

In 2017, the popular financial publication NerdWallet ranked optionsXpress as a top futures trading firm with 4.5/5 stars.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Best Futures Brokers

Below, please find a list of the features that enabled us to rank optionsXpress as one of the top futures trading brokers.

Effective Trading Platform

With optionsXpress, you can trade around the clock (24/7) and react to market-moving news and events day or night.

Using optionsXpress’s desktop or mobile futures trading platform, you can execute your ideas anywhere, with access to exchanges and products across the globe.

Futures Trading Education

For investors who are new to futures trading–or who simply want to learn a little more about the process–optionsXpress provides valuable educational tools and resources. Investors can access free webinars, strategy papers, and newsletters.

Additional Features

  • With advanced orders, you can automatically lock in gains or help protect against losses with contingent orders/trailing stops
  • No broker assistance fees
  • Advanced trading futures tools allow you to get fast and accurate electronic executions in some of the world’s most liquid markets
  • Choose from dozens of technical studies to create fully customizable streaming charts
  • Power browser-based tools or advanced mobile trading tools
  • Receive real-time Dow Jones news and daily research insights

Related: Best Forex Brokers & Trading Sites | Ranking & Reviews | Best Forex Trading Platforms

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TD Ameritrade Review

With over 40 years of experience, TD Ameritrade has been a leader among the best futures trading platforms.

With TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim trading platform, you get a completely integrated set of tools that allows you to trade futures, options, stocks, fixed assets, and a wide range of investing products.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Best Futures Brokers

Below, please find a list of the features that enabled us to rank TD Ameritrade as one of the top futures trading brokers.

Competitive Pricing Structure

TD Ameritrade futures trading fees (futures & options on futures) are $2.25 per contract. Exchange and regulatory fees are added afterwards, with fees depending on exchange and product.

This transparent pricing structure includes commission and regulatory fees, creating hassle-free future trading.

Unlike other futures trading firms, TD Ameritrade does not charge subscription fees for studies and insights, including insights from futures trading experts such as John Carter and John Person.

Powerful Trading Platforms

With TD Ameritrade apps, like Mobile Trader, you can trade futures directly from your mobile device. Ranked as the #1 trading app in 2016, Mobile Trader is one of the best futures trading platforms available.

You can also paper trade with TD Ameritrade’s paperMoney, download customized charts, and get live market news from CNBC.

TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim futures trading platform is a top performing derivatives trading platform designed for serious futures traders.

Additional Features

Get 24/7 customer service support and free education seminars and resources (speak to a trading specialist anytime).

TD Ameritrade offers pairs trading integration, access to live futures pit audio, free futures trading platform support, and interactive education, such as weekly webcasts, online courses, and live workshops.

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TradeStation Review

Over the years, TradeStation has won numerous awards and accolades from Investor’s Business Daily, Barron’s, and other top publications as well as the award of best futures trading broker.

With TradeStation’s future trading platform, you get direct access to every US futures exchange, as well as Eurex and NYSE Liffe London products.

(Update: We’ve received a few notifications in which users have complained that they were not able to trade on every futures market as promised by TradeStation.)

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Best Futures Brokers

Below, please find a list of the features that enabled us to rank TradeStation as one of the top futures trading brokers.

Advanced Futures Trading Platform

TradeStation’s futures trading platform provides more data, speed, and analytical power than even the most advanced futures traders’ demands.

With the advanced futures trading platform offered through TradeStation, traders have the ability to create, back-test, optimize, and fully customize their trading strategies. 

Additional Features

See below for additional features that allowed TradeStation to rank as one of this year’s top performing futures brokers for trading futures.

  • Automate your trading – automate virtually any futures trading strategy with EasyLanguage
  • Backtest strategies with decades of custom, continuous contract data
  • Trade futures with one-click trading directly from charts, the matrix, and more
  • Futures trading fees: $1.20 per side, per contract for futures options and futures contract
  • Unbundled monthly contract futures fees: 25¢ to $1.20 per side, per contract (<300 contracts: $1.20, 301–1000 contracts: $1.00, 1001–10,000 contracts: $0.65, 10,001–20,000 contracts: $0.45, >20,000 contracts: $0.25)
  • Scan all futures markets in one window
  • Get lightning-fast executions of your orders
  • Advance platform comes with advanced trade opportunity scanning

Conclusion: How Did We Select the Best Futures Brokers for Future Trading?

When professional futures traders conduct research to find the best futures trading site to meet their needs, they normally consider the seven variables below to determine the futures trading platform or online futures broker that fits their trading and investing requirements the best.

When conducting our research to perform a futures trading platform comparison and review, which are presented in this article, we integrated the seven factors below as part of our due diligence methodology.

While our review of the top futures brokers provides valuable information for investors looking for top futures trading brokers and the best futures trading platforms, you may want to do your own research. 

Take a look at the chart below to see these seven factors to ensure that you can find the best futures trading platforms for your future trading investments. 

​Although AdvisoryHQ’s research and editorial team cannot recommend the best futures broker for you, we believe that the futures trading platform comparison reviews presented in this article will go a long way in helping you make your decision.


Key Factors


  • When searching for the best futures trading software, you’ll need to consider the fee (commission) per contract.
  • The commission will be charged “per side” (buying/selling the contract) and will vary according to which online futures trading platform you trade with and sometimes according to your account balance.
  • You’ll need to consider the total in fees when selecting a futures trading broker to meet your needs.
  • The total in fees will include commission and NFA (National Futures Association) and exchange fees.
  • Exchange fees vary according to what the contract is for and the party you are trading with.
  • In addition to fees, you’ll also want to select a top futures broker that provides advanced computational capabilities for fast execution.
  • When markets go into rapid overdrive (i.e., a major surge or plunge based on breaking news), slow execution could result in tremendous losses.
4Analysis Tools and Trading Platform
  • Other factors you’ll want to consider before selecting one of these best brokers for your futures trading needs is a broker that provides advanced research, analytics, and trading tools.
5Customer Support
  • Trading can be stressful enough. If you have questions or concerns that need answering, you want fast access to friendly and well-experienced support.
  • The trading firms on our top futures brokers list are all renowned for having quality customer service.
6Ease of Use
  • Ease of use is another top factor for ranking a top futures trading platform.
  • A platform won’t be highly effective if it is too complicated or nonintuitive.
  • As part of our futures brokers commission comparison, we focused on the best futures trading platforms that provided the most efficient user interfaces.
  • Lastly, conducting futures trading platform reviews require an extensive review of intangible elements.
  • Such elements include the legitimacy and reputation of the broker, promotions, and any awards/accolades received.

AdvisoryHQ (AHQ) Disclaimer:

Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info.

Note: Firms and products, including the one(s) reviewed above, may be AdvisoryHQ's affiliates. Click to view AdvisoryHQ's advertiser disclosures.