How to Paper Trade Options - Plus The 5 Best Free and Paid Trading Platforms

How to Paper Trade Options – Plus The 5 Best Free and Paid Trading Platforms

With the recent volatility in the stock market, many investors are looking to trade options to hedge against their portfolios or to speculate on the direction of the market. However, before trading options (or your option trade alerts), it is important to paper trade first to learn the mechanics of how options work and to test out your trading strategy. In this article, we will cover what paper trading is and 5 of the best free and paid platforms that you can use to practice.

how to paper trade options

What is Paper Trading?

Paper trading is a simulated process in which investors can buy and sell securities without risking any real money. This technique is often used by new investors as a way to test investment strategies and assess their performance before investing any actual capital. Paper trading can also be useful for experienced investors who want to try out new strategies or markets. Many platforms offer free paper trading accounts, which can be helpful for learning more about the market and getting accustomed to experiencing gains and losses.

Why do I need to paper trade?

Paper trading options is a great way to learn about the market, practice, and hone your trading skills. With paper trading, you can form a trading strategy, backtest it, or try different strategies like social and copy trading. You’ll also want to understand Modern Portfolio Theory when trading options.

Advantages and Drawbacks of Paper Trading


There are a number of advantages to paper trading, including:

  • You can learn the process of trading without risking real money: Paper trading can help you become familiar with the process of trading, which can prevent you from making costly mistakes.
  • You can test a strategy before risking actual capital: Paper trading allows you to test strategies without risking any real money.
  • It’s easy to rebuild lost confidence: After losing money in live trades, paper traders often have the ability to restart their positions. Which you can’t really do if you lose your money trading with real money.
  • Paper trading is a good way to practice trading stocks: Paper trading allows you to trade stocks in a controlled environment, which can help you develop your skills.


Even though there are so many benefits of paper trading for all traders, there are also some drawbacks to paper trading that each trader should look out for, including the following:

  • Firstly, when you paper trade, you do not actually own any shares. This means that you cannot make any money if the stock price goes up. You also cannot lose any money if the stock price falls.
  • Secondly, paper trading does not teach you how to manage your emotions when investing. This is because there is no real money at stake. As a result, you may not be able to learn how to control your emotions and stay calm when investments are going south.
  • Lastly, paper trading may give you a false sense of security. Since there is no actual money involved, you may take more risks than you would if your own money was on the line. This could lead to losses down the road when you start investing with real money.

How to Choose the Right Paper Trading Options Platform for Yourself?

Choosing the right paper trading platform is essential to your success as a trader. There are many factors to consider when choosing a platform, and it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right paper trading platform for yourself.

Identify What Types of Trader You Are

The first thing you should consider is what type of trader you are. Are you a day trader or a swing trader? This will determine the time frames that you will be looking at and the types of strategies that you will use.

Your Goal as a Trader

Next, you need to consider what your goals are. What do you want to achieve with your trading? Are you looking to make a quick profit or build up your portfolio over time?

The Cost of the Platform

The third thing to consider are the fees charged by the platform. Some platforms charge per trade, while others charge a monthly fee. Make sure you understand the fees before signing up to a platform.

Consider the Customer Service Offered

The fourth thing to consider is the customer service offered by the platform. You want to make sure you can get help when you need it, so choose a platform with good customer service.

Features of the Platform You Need

Finally, you need to think about what kind of features you need from your paper trading options platform. Like, for instance, do you need real-time quotes or historical data?

The Best Paper Trading Platforms in 2022

1. TD Ameritrade (thinkorswim)

paper trade for options

TD Ameritrade is an American online broker based in Omaha, Nebraska. Common stocks, preferred stocks, futures contracts, exchange-traded funds, foreign exchange, options, mutual funds, fixed income investments, margin lending, and cash management services are just a few of the financial instruments that can be traded electronically through the stockbroker TD Ameritrade.


paper trading


  • Commission-free stock and ETF trades.
  • Free research.
  • High-quality trading platforms.
  • No account minimum.
  • Good customer support.
  • Large investment selection.


  • Account fees
  • Mutual fund fees
  • Fractional shares

2. E-Trade

paper traders

In the past decade, online trading has become increasingly popular among investors. One of the most well-known platforms for online trading is e-trade. E-trade is a web-based brokerage firm that offers a variety of services, including stock and options trading, mutual funds, retirement accounts, and more.

E-trade is known for its user-friendly platform and has been rated as one of the best online brokers by Barron’s. The company offers 24/7 customer support and provides extensive research and educational resources to help its clients make informed investment decisions.

Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting out, e-trade is a great option for anyone looking to trade stocks, options, or other securities online.


dummy option trading


  • Easy-to-use tools.
  • Large investment selection.
  • Excellent customer support.
  • Advanced mobile app.
  • Commission-free stock, options and ETF trades.


  • No international exchange trading or direct crypto investing
  • Fractional shares are only available through a robo-advisor portfolio or dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP) 

3. Robinhood

paper trade stock options

Due to its no-fee business strategy and slick, user-friendly trading interface, Robinhood has evolved to become a very well-known brand among tech-savvy investors and new traders since it first disrupted the brokerage market. Fee-free trading used to be the company’s primary point of differentiation, but many rivals have already decreased their rates in response. The website makes it simple for users to trade stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies, but it lacks the comprehensive financial tools, asset classes, and research skills that experienced traders need in a broker.

Robinhood has often been featured in the news as being a favorite trading platform for the traders who frequent WallStreetBets.



  • Very simple, intuitive trading experience
  • No trading fees or commissions
  • Fractional share trading and direct cryptocurrency access
  • Solid cash management features and recurring investment functionality


  • No retirement accounts.
  • No mutual funds or bonds.
  • Limited customer support.

4. Charles Schwab

best paper trading platform

Every sort of investor can profit from Schwab: Stock traders will value the company’s $0 trading commissions and advanced platforms, research, and tools; novice and fund investors will value the variety of low-cost and low-minimum mutual funds and index funds that are available. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, a robo-advisor and financial advisor service, is available for customers who seek investment management.


paper trading real time


  • Three platforms with no minimum or fees.
  • Above-average mobile app.
  • Extensive research.
  • Large fund selection.
  • Commission-free stock, options and ETF trades.


  • Higher margin rates
  • No automated sweep feature
  • No fractional shares ETF trades
  • No direct investments in cryptocurrencies

5. Interactive Brokers

paper trading account

Interactive Brokers is an online broker that offers a wide range of investments including stocks, bonds, options, futures, and forex. They are one of the largest brokers in the world with over $1 trillion in client assets. Interactive Brokers has a unique platform that allows clients to trade directly with market makers and other brokers. This gives them some of the lowest commissions in the industry.


practice trading options


  • Unparalleled range of available investment assets
  • Low commission and margin rates
  • Superior order execution
  • Vast array of technical and fundamental trading tools
  • Built to serve global traders and international investors


  • Website is difficult to navigate.
  • Can be intimidating to less experienced and less active investors

Trading with Paper Money: Tips to be a Good Paper Traders?

A good paper trader is someone who understands the market, knows how to read charts and has a solid trading plan.

Here are a few tips to help you become a successful paper trader:

  • Study the market and learn as much as you can about technical analysis and chart reading. This will give you a better understanding of how the market works and what factors influence prices.
  • Develop a solid trading plan that outlines your goals, risk tolerance and entry/exit points. This will help you make consistent profits and avoid making emotionally-driven decisions.
  • Practice discipline and stick to your plan no matter what. This means sticking to your position sizes, not chasing losses and always following your stop-losses.
  • Keep a journal of all your trades so you can track your progress and identify areas for improvement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is webull paper trading?

What is webull paper trading

Webull Paper Trading is a web-based platform that allows users to trade stocks and other securities without using real money. This system is ideal for beginner investors who want to test their skills without putting any money at risk. The paper trading system simulates the real stock market, so users can get a feel for how investing works before they commit any money.

What is a paper money trading account?

What is a paper money trading account

A paper trading account is an investment account that contains play money. The account is used to practice buying and selling stocks, options, or other securities. Many brokerages offer paper trading accounts to their clients.

Some people view paper trading as a waste of time. They believe that real money should be invested in order to gain experience. Others argue that paper trading accounts are beneficial because they allow investors to test out different strategies without risking any capital.

Whether or not you believe in the usefulness of paper trading accounts, there is no denying that they can be fun. After all, who doesn’t want to pretend to be a millionaire for a day?

What are the Benefits of a paper trading app?

What are the Benefits of a paper trading app

Using a paper trading app has numerous benefits that can help any trader, whether novice or experienced. By using a paper trading app, traders can test out different strategies and see what works best for them without putting any real money at risk. In addition, paper trading can help traders to become more familiar with the market and how it works before they start investing actual money.

Paper trading also has some drawbacks that should be considered before using this type of app. One of the main drawbacks is that not all market conditions can be replicated in a paper trade, so results may not be accurate. In addition, some people may find it difficult to stick to their trading plan when there is no real money at stake.

What is live paper trading?

What is live paper trading

Live paper trading is a process where traders act as if they are buying and selling securities, but without using real money. There are a few things to keep in mind when paper trading. First, it is important to remember that there is no risk of losing money, so it can be easy to get carried away and make impulsive decisions. Second, not all brokerages offer paper trading services, so it may be necessary to open a separate account with a company that does. Finally, it is important to keep track of trades and monitor performance over time in order to gauge progress and identify areas for improvement.

What is the best options app for paper trading?

What is the best options app for paper trading

There are many options when it comes to paper trading apps. However, the best options app for paper trading is not necessarily the most popular one. The best app for paper trading should have certain features that make it easy to use and understand.

One important feature is the ability to set up a demo account. This account should be free and allow you to trade with virtual money. This way, you can practice trading without risking any real money.

Another important feature is charting capability. The best paper trading apps will let you view charts of different stocks and track their performance over time. This information can be helpful in making informed decisions about which stocks to buy or sell.

Finally, the best options app for paper trading should offer customer support in case you have any questions or problems.

What is the importance of demo account in trading platform?

What is the importance of demo account in trading platform

A demo account is a practice account that allows a trader to test out a trading platform before funding an account with real money. A demo account simulates the real trading environment, but with virtual money instead of real money. This allows a trader to practice placing orders and managing their account without risking any real capital.

A demo account is an important tool for a trader because it allows them to test out a trading platform and get comfortable with its features before they start trading with real money. A demo account can help a trader learn how to place orders, manage their account, and interpret the market data on the platform. Demo accounts are a valuable resource for new traders and experienced traders alike.

What are paper gains?

What are paper gains

Paper gains are unrealized profits that exist on paper, but have not yet been realized. For example, if you buy a stock for $100 and it goes up to $120, you have a paper gain of $20.

Paper gains can be exciting because they represent the potential for real profits. However, they can also be deceiving because they may not always reflect reality. For example, if the stock market crashes and your stock loses half its value, your paper gains will disappear.

Paper gains can be a useful tool for monitoring your investment portfolio and assessing your performance. However, it’s important to remember that they’re not always an accurate reflection of reality.

What is stock trading account?

What is stock trading account

A stock trading account is a type of investment account that allows the account holder to buy and sell stocks. Stock trading accounts are typically opened with a broker, who then provides the account holder with access to a trading platform. This platform allows the account holder to view real-time stock prices and place orders to buy or sell stocks.

Stock trading can be a risky investment, but it can also be a lucrative one. For this reason, many people choose to open stock trading accounts. With a stock trading account, an investor has the potential to make a lot of money if they know how to trade stocks successfully. However, they can also lose money if they do not trade carefully.