Many investors want to inject money into the financial markets – but they are hindered by the fact that they have little to no understanding of where to start.
By this, we mean knowing how to research assets and interpret technical charts to a level that will permit risk-averse and value-added investment decisions.
If this sounds like you, automated trading might be the way forward. After all, you’ll be able to trade and invest without needing to lift a finger – so to speak.
In this guide, we discuss the best automated trading platforms of 2021. On top of explaining how automated trading works, we also walk you through the process of getting started from the comfort of your home.
Top Automated Trading Platforms 2021
Check out which of the best automated trading platforms made the cut. We review each provider in great depth below.
- eToro – Overall Best Automated Trading Platform
- Learn2Trade – Best Automated Trading Platform for Signals
- AvaTrade – Best Automated Trading Platform for MT4 Robots
- Forex.com – Best Automated Trading Platform for Forex (US Friendly)
- NinjaTrader – Best Automated Trading Platform for Seasoned Pros
Best Automated Trading Platforms Reviewed
In choosing the best automated trading platform for your needs, there are many things to consider.
For example, are you looking for a 100% automated process, or are you looking to retain some control of your portfolio? You also need to consider the legitimacy of the platform, fees, and which assets you will be gaining exposure to.
Taking all of this into account, below we review the best automated trading platforms that 2021 has to offer.
1. eToro – Overall Best Automated Trading Platform in 2021
In terms of reputation and safety, asset diversity, ease-of-use and fees – eToro is by far the best automated trading platform in the market. Primarily, eToro is an online broker and social trading platform that serves over 17 million clients.
It allows you to manually invest or trade thousands of assets – including stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, forex, and more. So whether you’re looking for an automated stock trading platform, forex trading platform or Bitcoin trading platform, eToro covers all bases. Best of all, eToro is a 100% commission-free broker with no ongoing platform fees. With that said, this top-rated provider also offers a number of automated trading tools.
At the forefront of this is the innovative eToro Copy Trading feature. In its most basic form, this allows you to copy an eToro client like-for-like. There are thousands of verified traders that have signed up for the program, so you are sure to find a pro-investor that meets your financial goals and appetite for risk.
For example, eToro allows you to view each and every trade that the investor has placed since joining the platform. This then allows you to view the trader’s average monthly return, maximum drawdown, preferred assets, trade duration, and risk rating. You can filter each of these key metrics down to ensure you choose a trader that aligns with your investing profile.
To give you an idea of the specifics, let’s suppose that you invest $2,000 into a verified eToro copy trader that is involved in forex day trading. The trader’s first position of the day consists of a 5% stake on GBP/AUD. The trader closes the position a few hours later at a profit of 10%. The exact same trade would be replicated in your own eToro account.
This means that you would have risked $100 on the trade (5% of your $2,000), and made a profit of $10 (10% of your $100 stake). The minimum investment is just $200 per copy trader and there are no additional fees or commissions associated with this feature. The second option that this top-rated automated trading platform offers is CopyPortfolios.
You won’t be investing in individual investors like the Copy Trading feature, rather, these are pre-made portfolios that are professionally managed by eToro. For example, there is a cryptocurrency CopyPortfolio that gives you access to a basket of digital currencies. You then have a vaccine Portfolio that contains a basket of stocks involved in finding a treatment for COVID-19.
Much like the Copy Trading tool, there are no fees or commissions with eToro CopyPortfolios. There is, however, a higher minimum investment amount – which starts at $1,000 upwards and will vary depending on the strategy. We also think that eToro is the best automated trading platform as it is heavily regulated,
This includes licenses with three reputable financial bodies – notably the FCA, ASIC, and CySEC. Getting started with eToro should take you no more than 10-minutes and you can easily deposit funds with a debit card, credit card, bank account transfer, and several e-wallets like Paypal, Neteller, and Skrill.
eToro also offers an excellent mobile trading app so that you can use its automated trading services on your smartphone.
- Super user-friendly online broker and trading platform
- Trade thousands of assets with tight spreads
- 100% commission-free
- You can also trade stocks, indices, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, and more
- Deposit funds with a debit/credit card, e-wallet, or bank account
- Social trading and copy trading
- Accepts PayPal
- Regulated by the FCA, ASIC, and CySEC
- Not suitable for advanced traders that like to perform technical analysis
75% of retail investors lose money trading CFDs at this site
2. Learn2Trade – Best Automated Trading Platform for Signals
eToro is by far the best automated trading platform for those of you that wish to sit back and take a completely passive role when investing online. However, some of you might not feel comfortable about not having any say in where your money goes and thus – you want a bit more control.
If this sounds you, then you might be more suited for a platform like Learn2Trade. In a nutshell, Learn2Trade is one of the most established and reputable trading signal providers in the online space. For those unaware, signals relate to real-time suggestions that tell you what trades to place and when.
Signal providers like Learn2Trade based these suggestions on advanced technical and fundamental research via a team of in-house traders. Once a trading opportunity has been identified, Learn2Trade will then send a signal out via Telegram. These signals provide everything you need to know to act on the trade.
For example, the signal might tell you to place a sell order on ETH/USD at an entry price of $1,750. The Learn2Trade signal will also tell you what take-profit and stop-loss orders to place – ensuring that you trade in a risk-averse manner. The key attraction with opting for signals as opposed to a fully-automated system is that you have full control over your funds.
That is to say, you are under no obligation to act on any of the signals that Learn2Trade distributes. In terms of what assets the signals related to, Learn2Trade primarily specializes in forex and cryptocurrency trading. However, the provider also sends out signals relevant to stocks, gold, and indices.
If you like the sound of Learn2Trade but want to test the waters out first, the provider offers 3 free signals per week. Alternatively, you can opt for the Premium Account on a 30-day moneyback guarantee basis – which gets you around 3-5 signals per day. The Premium Account comes at a cost of £35 per month, albeit, you can reduce this by signing up for a longer plan.
Crucially, Learn2Trade has not only been involved in the trading signal scene for several years, but it now has a Telegram group following of over 11,500 members. This in itself speaks volumes. Finally, it’s also worth checking out the Learn2Trade website – where you will find hundreds of free educational guides and courses.
- Top-rated automated trading signal provider
- More than 11,500 members in the LT2 Telegram group
- 3 x free signals per week
- 3-5 premium signals per day
- All stop-loss and take-profit orders provided
- Great educational tools
- Not fully automated as you need to act on each signal
There is no guarantee that you will make money with this provider. Proceed at your own risk.
3. AvaTrade – Best Automated Trading Platform for MT4 Robots
In a similar nature to eToro, AvaTrade is primarily an online trading platform that allows you to buy and sell on a do-it-yourself basis. However, the provider is also one of the best MT4 brokers in the space – making it ideal for automated trading.
For those unaware, MT4 (MetaTrader) is a third-party trading platform that is supported by hundreds of online brokers and trading sites. MT4 sits between you and your chosen broker and comes packed with advanced tools, charts, and technical indicators like the moving average (MA).
Perhaps the best feature of MT4 is that is supports automated trading robots and forex EAs (expert advisors). These robots/EAs are pre-programmed software files that are tasked with following a set of advanced trading rules and market conditions. The main concept here is that the MT4 file will trade on your behalf.
In fact, once you load the robot up and give it authorization via MT4, it will then scan the markets and place orders for you 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. If this is aligned with what you are looking for, it’s well worth completing the process via AvaTrade. After all, in order to use an automated robot, you’ll still need access to a top-rated trading platform.
In the case of AvaTrade, the provider supports thousands of financial instruments – covering forex and CFDs in the form of the stocks, hard metals, energies, cryptocurrencies, and more. The platform is a 100% commission-free broker, so the only fees applicable are the spread.
And of course, AvaTrade is regulated by an abundance of financial bodies, so safety should be of no concern. The main drawback of taking the robot/EA route is that you need to find a suitable provider. This is because there are thousands of website selling automated trading systems for MT4 – so you need to do lots of research and backtesting before taking the plunge.
- Zero commissions and tight spreads
- Supports MT4/MT5
- A great trading platform for automated trading
- Regulated in several jurisdictions
- No deposit or withdrawal fees
- Low deposit requirement of just £100
- No traditional investments
- Charges inactivity fee
79% of retail investors lose money trading CFDs at this site
4. Forex.com – Best Automated Trading Platform for Forex (US Friendly)
As the name suggests, Forex.com is a major player in the currency trading scene. This top-rate, heavily-regulated online broker allows you to trade over 80 forex pairs – covering a wide variety of majors, minors, and exotics.
In a similar nature to AvaTrade, Forex.com offers fully support for MT4 – meaning you can install an automated trading file with ease. In fact, Forex.com is clearly a proponent of automated trading, as it offers 20 forex EAs to choose from.
These EAs are backed by heaps of custom indicators – Pivot Points, Sentiment Trader, and an Alarm Manager. These popular forex EAs are fully customizable – which will suit those of you with in-depth knowledge of how automated trading works. In addition to this, Forex.com also offers a fully-fledged MT4 VPS hosting facility.
For those unaware, this is a crucial requirement if you plan to have your trading robo operational 24/7. After all, the robot requires an obscene amount of processing power. Plus, by utilizing a VPS, you can keep track of your forex trading platform robot via the MT4 app.
In terms of the specifics, Forex.com – which is US-friendly, has no minimum deposit in place when finding your account via bank wire. If opting for a debit/credit card, the minimum stands at $100. Either way, you can choose from several accounts – one of which offers commission-free trading.
- Specialist forex trading app
- Access to dozens of currency pairs
- Particularly strong when it comes to exotic currencies
- No minimum deposit when opting for a bank wire
- Also offers CFDs
- Heavily regulated – including US licenses
- Top-notch forex and economic news
- KYC process is a bit long-winded
80% of retail investors lose money trading CFDs at this site.
5. NinjaTrader – Best Automated Trading Platform for Seasoned Pros
NinjaTrader is a Jack of All Trades in the online investment scene. Not only does it offer brokerage services for futures and options, but it is also home to one of the most extensive automated trading software libraries in the space.
In fact, the platform offers over 1,000+ trading software add-ons – covering everything from charting tools, technical indicators, simulators, and more. With more than 600+ app developers using NinjaTraders, the platform is particularly useful for those looking to build an advanced trading robot from the ground-up.
As such, the platform might not be suitable if you are looking for an entry-level way to automate your trading positions. With that said, the NinjaTrader Ecosystem does contain over 100+ automated trading strategies that can be installed directly into the platform via an API. These strategies are based on pre-build trading conditions – meaning that the software will buy and sell on your behalf.
Although the strategies are provided by third-party vendors – there is a simple, risk-free way to test them out. All you need to do is utilize the NinjaTrading demo account facility and see how the automated robot gets on. You can view reports in real-time, allowing you to amend and tweak the robot until it meets your desired strategy.
Then, if you feel that the robot is ready to start trading in live conditions, this can be facilitated via the NinjaTrader brokerage platform. With that said, many top-rated trading platforms – including the likes of AvaTrade, offer full integration with NinjaTrading automated strategies. This will get you access to a much larger asset base at more competitive fees.
- Advanced trading platform for building automation strategies
- Over 1,000+ trading software addons
- Choose from over 100+ automated strategies
- Compatible with many online trading platforms
- Futures and options brokerage services
- Not suitable for newbies
- Overly complicated product range
80% of retail investors lose money trading CFDs at this site.
How do Automated Trading Platforms Work?
The term automated trading platform is somewhat of a loose one. The reason for this is that it can refer to several types of automated trading tools.
This generally includes:
Fully Automated Trading Platforms
Top-rated provider eToro is an automated trading platform in its truest form. This is because everything is facilitated in-house. By this, we mean that eToro is a regulated brokerage site that offers automated trading tools without requiring you to use a third-party.
As we discussed in our eToro review, this includes its proprietary Copy Trading tool – which allows you to actively trade or invest without lifting a finger. All buy and sell positions that your trader chosen places are executed by eToro – on a commission-free basis. This is also the case with its CopyPortfolios.
Crucially, by opting for a fully automated trading platform like eToro, you don’t need to worry about opening an account with another brokerage site. Plus, you don’t need to locate a suitable forex EA or trading robot elsewhere – like you need to do when opting for an MT4 platform.
Automated Trading Signals
Most investors seeking the best automated trading platforms like to take a fully hands-off approach. This means choosing a trading strategy and investment amount – and then sitting back passively. On the other hand, many investors like to retain an element of control over their trading funds.
As such, another option for you to consider in the world of automated trading is that of a signal service provider. As we covered earlier, signal platforms like Learn2Trade will send you trading suggestions throughout the day. These suggestions are sent out by a team of experienced traders that manually scan the markets via chart reading tools and technical indicators.
A Learn2Trade signal would look like the following:
- Asset: EUR/AUD
- Order: Buy
- Entry Price: 1.5573
- Take-Profit: 1.5609
- Stop-Loss: 1.5502
As per the above, once you receive the signal in real-time via Telegram, it’s then simply a case of heading over to your chosen broker and placing the suggested orders. You can, of course, decide to perform some independent research of your own before acting or ignore the signal altogether.
Automated Trading via MT4 Robot
The third option that you have on the table in your search for the best automated trading platform is to use MT4. This third-party trading platform is supported by hundreds of online brokers, and it allows you to install automated robot files. Once you install the robot into MT4, it will then buy, sell, and trade financial instruments on your behalf.
Everything is fully automated, as the robot is only tasked with following pre-built algorithms installed within the software file. The key problem here is that there is no way of knowing whether or not the robot has what it takes to make you consistent profits.
After all, you will come across thousands of providers selling their so-called ‘expert’ robot files – but rarely do they have the capacity to outperform the market. As such, if you do opt for an automated trading platform via an MT4 broker, just make sure that you do some backtesting on the robot for at least a month in demo account mode before risking any capital.
Note: Automated trading robots are also known as forex EAs. The former covers all asset classes while the latter is currency trading specific.
How to Choose the Best Automated Trading Platform for You
There are many things that you need to think about before choosing the best automated trading platform for your needs. Crucially, not only will you be risking your own money – but you are handing the decision-making investment process over to a third-party.
With this in mind, we strongly suggest making the following considerations in your search for the best automated trading platform of 2021.
What Types of Auto Trading it Offers
Your first port of call is to assess what type of auto trading platform you will be joining. We explained the three main types of platforms in the sections above.
But, to recap, your options are as follows:
- Fully Automated Trading: You will benefit from a fully automated trading experience – and your chosen platform doubles up a brokerage firm. This means that everything is conducted in-house.
- Semi-Automated Trading via Signals: Your chosen provider will send you trading signals in real-time. You are then required to place the suggested trades with an online broker.
- Automated Trading Robot or Forex EA: This option requires you to download and install a robot/EA into MT4. You must choose an online broker that is compatible with MT4 and permits automated trading.
Once again, when choosing eToro as your go-to platform, you can start your automated trading ventures straight away without needing to use a third-party broker or robot provider.
Can you Verify Results?
Most automated trading platforms in the online space have one thing in common – they make super-bold claims about how much money you can make. But, rarely do these claims come to fruition. As such, it’s fundamental that you are able to verify whether or not the automated trading platform is legitimate and credible.
How you are able to do this will depend on the type of automated trading platform you go with. For example, if using the Copy Trading tool on eToro, you have access to an abundance of key data. This includes the trader’s historical returns, risk rating, preferred asset, maximum drawdown, and more. This allows you to make an informed decision in a transparent way.
If you are opting for a signal provider or third-party robot supplier, then being able to verify their results is a lot more challenging. This is because unless the provider has signed up with a platform like MyFXBooks – which allows signal/robot sellers to publicly display their trading results, it’s impossible to know how good the system is without testing it yourself.
Irrespective of which automated trading platform you go with, you need to have a think about which assets you wish to gain exposure to. For example, if using an automated robot – it will likely specialize in a particular marketplace, like forex or crypto. This is also the case with signal providers.
In the case of eToro, the platform supports thousand of financial markets and even more verified copy traders. In fact, you can set your filters so that you focus on a trader that specializes in a specific asset. For example, whether you’re looking for a trader that specializes in stocks, ETFs, forex, cryptocurrencies, or commodities – eToro has you covered.
Once again, fees in the auto trading scene will vary wildly depending on the type of platform you seek. The main fees that need to be considered are as follows:
If opting for an automated trading platform that allows you to copy a trader like-for-like, there is every chance that a revenue share fee will be in place. This means that the trader will collect a percentage of all profits that it makes for you.
- Let’s say that the automated trading platform has a revenue share of 10%
- You invest $2,000 into a stock trader
- At the end of month one, the trader has made returns of 20%
- On a $2,000 investment, this means you have made gains of $400
- The trader will collect their revenue share of 10%, so on a $400 profit, that’s $40
- This leaves you with gains of $360
The good news is that the eToro Copy Trading tool is completely free of any revenue share commissions.
Robot/EA Purchase Fee
If using an automated trading platform via MT4, then you will need to purchase a robot or forex EA from a third-party provider. As such, this is a direct fee that you need to factor in. In all but a few rare cases, this will be a one-time fee. After that, you can use the robot/EA for as long as you like.
If opting for automated trading signals, then you will need to pay a monthly subscription fee. After all, the signal provider will be scanning the markets on your behalf and telling you what trades to place.
Don’t forget, you still need to use an online broker when using an automated trading system. Whether you opt for signals or an MT4 robot, you need a platform to facilitate your buy and sell positions.
This will, of course, attract brokerage commissions and fees, which you will normally need to pay every time a trade is placed. Once again, eToro stands out here, as it is a 100% commission-free broker that charges no ongoing platform fees.
Make no mistake about it – automated trading robots and signal providers are not regulated. They don’t need to be, as they are not offering financial services of any sort.
Instead, they are merely supplying trading suggestions and/or software. With this in mind, the automated trading platform does not answer to a regulator or financial body of any sort.
As such, this opens up the doors to a murky ‘trading system’ industry that is known for making overly bold claims of ‘guaranteed’ returns.
This is why we think that eToro is by far the best automated trading platform in the online marketplace, as the provider is authorized and regulated by the FCA, CySEC, and ASIC. Ultimately, by using a regulated automated trading platform – you know the provider is playing by the rules and this – you have a range of investor protections to rely on.
In our search for the best automated trading platform of 2021, we came across a number of providers that offer no customer service whatsoever. Well, they offer an online support ticket system, but rarely did we receive a reply to our queries.
On the flip side, all the automated trading platforms that we have discussed on this page offer top-rated customer support. This often comes via a Live Chat facility, so you can speak with an agent in real-time.
Perhaps the most important safeguard that stands between you and your chosen automated trading platform is that of a demo account facility. This is the case irrespective of the typer of auto trading provider you opt for. Crucially, demo accounts allow you to try the automated product out without needing to risk any of your trading capital.
This is particularly important in the case of automated trading signals and robots. After all, there is no sure-fire way of knowing how legitimate the provider is with its claims.
For example, you could test each and every trading signal out via a brokerage demo account – meaning that the entire process is risk-free. In the case of robots and forex EAs, all you need to do is install the software onto MT4 and then run the platform on demo mode.
How to Start Automated Trading
If you like the sound of automated trading and wish to get the ball rolling right now, we are now going to walk you through the process with our top-rated provider, eToro.
Step 1: Open an Account and Upload ID
We discussed the importance of regulation just a moment ago. A prerequisite of being a regulated broker is that eToro must collect some personal information from you before it can allow you to trade on its platform.
As such, you will first need to head over to the eToro website and open an account.
The account opening process at eToro takes just minutes, and simply requires your name, nationality, home address, date of birth, and contact details.
Step 2: Confirm Identity
An additional requirement of being a regulated platform is that eToro must verify your identity. Once again, this takes minutes and simply requires you to upload the following two documents:
- Valid passport or driver’s license
- Utility bill or bank account statement (issued within the last 3 months)
Step 3: Deposit Funds
In order to use the Copy Trading tool at eToro, you first need to meet a minimum deposit of $200.
Don’t forget, you need to invest at least $200 into each trader that you copy. If opting for a CopyPortfolio, the minimum investment starts at $1,000 – but some strategies require more.
Either way, you can choose from the following deposit options:
- Debit cards
- Credit cards
- E-wallets (Paypal, Skrill, or Neteller)
- Bank transfer
Step 4: Search for a Copy Trading
While opening an account and making a deposit takes less than 10 minutes on eToro, the process of finding a suitable trader to copy can take time.
Sure, you can do this on a gung-ho basis by copying the first trader that you come across. But, the smart thing to do is play around with the filters and review the trader’s profile before taking the plunge.
In order to do this, click on the ‘Copy People’ button on the left-hand side of the dashboard. Then, utilize the filters available to you. When you click on a trader that you like the look of, you can then review their stats – such as historical returns and risk rating.
Step 5: Start Copy Trading
Once you have selected a trader to copy, click on the ‘Copy’ button. A pop-up box will then appear – asking you to enter the amount you wish to invest in the trader.
You will also notice a box that says ‘Copy Open Trades’. By leaving this ticked, you will not only copy all ongoing trades but the investor’s current portfolio of assets.
Finally, confirm the copy trade. And that’s it – anything that your chosen trader buys or sells will be reflected in your own eToro account – commission-free!
The best automated trading platforms offer a service that is suitable for investors of all shapes and sizes. In most cases, those with little to no experience of investing online are attracted to automated trading, as there is no requirement to perform any technical or fundamental research.
Similarly, even those that know how to invest well will often opt for an automated copy trading platform – as they simply don’t have the time to actively invest. The most challenging part of the process is finding a suitable automated trading platform for you and your financial goals.
Having reviewed dozens of providers, we found that eToro is the best automated trading platform in the market. This heavily regulated and commission-free broker gives you access to thousands of verified investors that you can copy like-for-like. Whether you’re interested in stocks, crypto, forex, or commodities – eToro has a trader to suit your needs.
eToro – Best Automated Trading Platform with 0% Commission
Your capital is at risk.
75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
What is the best automated trading platform?
If you are looking for an automated trading platform that is both regulated and transparent, eToro is the best option on the table. The provider - which is now home to over 17 million clients, allows you to copy a pro-investor like-for-like in a 100% commission-free environment.
Is Automated trading profitable?
It can be, but there are no guarantees and you should always proceed at your own risk. The key problem is that it is often difficult to verify the results of an automated trading system without testing it out yourself. This is why you should always backtest the algorithmic trading product before risking your own capital. .
Can you automate day trading?
Yes, there are several ways in which you can automate day trading. One option is to obtain a trading robot and install it into MT4. The robot will then trade on your behalf 24 hours per day. Perhaps a more reliable way of automating your day trading endeavours is to the eToro Copy Trading too. This allows you to copy a skilled day trader like-for-like in a fully regulated environment.
Are automated trading platforms a scam?
Unfortunately, many automated trading platforms are a scam. This is because they promise unprecedented financial returns or guaranteed profits, but in most cases, rarely is this the case. There are, however, a number of transparent automated trading platforms that are worth looking into. Notably, this includes eToro, AvaTrade, and Forex.com - all of which are regulated.
What is a forex EA?
A forex EA (expert advisor) is another term for an automated trading robot. You will install the forex EA into a third-party platform like MT4, MT5, or cTrader. In doing so, the EA will buy and sell currency pairs on your behalf.
Is BOT trading legal?
Yes, bot trading is legal in most jurisdictions. You must, however, ensure that your chosen platform allows bot trading.
What is the best automated trading platform for signals?
If you're looking for a top-rated signal provider, Learn2Trade seems to very popular in this space. With more than 11,500 Telegram group members, Learn2Trade specializes in crypto and forex signals.