Best Free Real-Time Stock Charts for Day Traders

Sites that offer free real-time intraday stock charts

When looking for free real-time day trading stock charts, traders have choices. There are a number of websites and platforms that provide real-time charting capabilities for 1-minute, 5-minute and other intraday charting time frames.

Free is nice, and the while the data may be real-time, it is not "official." Free real-time data usually comes from one data provider, which means you may not see all the price movements occurring in the stock (or ETF) you're day trading. To receive all, and official, price data from a market, you will need to pay.

That said, free real-time day trading charts are an excellent backup data source (on the off chance you lose quotes from your broker) and are a great tool for new traders who are looking to study day trading and create strategies based on how prices move in real-time. 

Difference Between Free Real-Time and Paid Real-Time Stock Charts

tradingview.com paper trading stocks
TradingView.com

Free stock market data is provided by BATS. BATS is an electronic exchange that processes trades on US stocks and then publishes those transactions for free, in real-time. Websites and charting platforms then use that data to provide free real-time charts to their users. 

These free real-time charts only show the stock transactions that occur through the BATS exchange. The free charts don't show the transactions that occur through all the other electronic exchanges that compose the US markets. BATS data represents an approximation of what is happening in real-time. You see some of the price movement/transactions, but not all.

Also, volume data is approximated, since the free stock charts only track volume that is processed by BATS. 

When you pay for official real-time stock market data/charts, you receive the price and volume information for all the electronic exchanges that compose the US stock markets (such as the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ). 

In actively traded stocks, the BATS exchange is frequently used, so a transaction will likely go through on BATS at each price level the stock moves to. In this case, the free real-time charts turn out to be quite accurate. In lower volume stocks, where few transactions occur, a transaction may not go through on BATS at each price level where a transaction on another electronic exchange takes place. In this case, you are missing pieces of information on your free charts, that paid real-time charts would show. 

Free real-time stock charts are still useful. New traders can use them to analyze chart patterns and strategies, and see how prices move in real-time. Free official data is delayed by 15 to 20 minutes, but as that data is released free real-time charts are updated with the official data. Free real-time stock charts provide a way to easily exchange trade ideas and charts with others who may not have access to real-time official (paid) stock charts.

Real-time official quotes (paid) provide historical time and sales data --Level I data and possibly Level II data — that show how many shares are being bid and offered at various price levels. BATS provides their Level II and Time and Sales data for free on their website, but this data only reflects transactions taking place on BATS, and not other electronic exchanges. 

Real-time data from free sites is not guaranteed to be accurate or timely. With real-time official quotes, since you are paying for them, you have some recourse if the data feed is unreliable or inaccurate. With a free site, you have to take the data as is.

Here are three of the top websites offering free real-time stock charts for day traders (intraday charts).

TradingView

TradingView chart example with several indicators
TradingView.com

TradingView provides real-time stock charts for day traders on one, three, five, and 15-minute time frames. The charts are visually appealing and provide loads of technical indicators.

TradingView is also a social media site. Traders can easily share charts and ideas with each other, follow other traders and discuss stocks and other markets. 

Traders can create watchlists, alerts, see what stocks are "hot" (being discussed a lot) and even trade directly from TradingView charts by hooking up to a broker. 

Different chart layouts can be saved and loaded, and the stock of one chart can be compared to other stock charts on the same screen. A strategy tester and stock screener round out the tools available to TradingView users. 

Stocks aren't the only thing you can chart on TradingView. Futures (delayed), forex (real-time), bitcoin (real-time), CFDs (usually real-time), indexes, economic data and global data are also available. Quotes for many global stock exchanges are also provided. 

The site is free, with upgrade options available which provide additional features and official real-time data for stocks and futures markets around the globe.

On the free version of the site, there are ads that constantly pop up. These are a minor hindrance while performing analysis. Real-time data plans start at $9.95/month, plus exchange fees (starting at an additional $2/month).

Technician

Technician chart example with drawing tools and indicators
Technicianapp.com

Technician is a free charting platform that provides real-time intraday charts (via BATS) for US equity markets, as well as delayed data from loads of global stock exchanges. Forex charts are real-time. Futures and index data are also available, but delayed. 

Intraday charts are available on one, three, five, 10- and 15-minute time frames. Loads of drawing tools, chart types, and technical indicators are available. Traders can easily share charts and discuss stocks through a StockTwits feed, as well as save different chart layouts. 

Technician is free to use upon sign-up. Trading is available through Technician charts, assuming a brokerage account is opened with a partnering broker. Add-ons are available through the Technician Marketplace, for a monthly subscription fee.

The free version is typically clear of ads, allowing you to analyze your charts uninterrupted. While minimal ads is a huge bonus for free users, Technician definitely lacks some of technical analysis functionality that TradingView and FreeStockCharts offer.
 

Technician users gain access to real-time charts when they connect a live brokerage account to Technician.

FreeStockCharts

Freestockcharts chart example with drawing tools
FreeStockCharts.com

FreeStockCharts was one of the first websites to offer free real-time charts that were functional, attractive and easy to navigate. 

Day traders can monitor stock prices on one, two, three, five, 10- and 15-minute time frames. There are loads of technical indicators and drawing tools, as well as a stock comparison feature. Save portfolios, scan for stocks and create various chart layouts. Create alerts or trade reminders, and easily share your charts on Twitter or Facebook. 

The site doesn't currently run on the Chrome, Firefox or Edge web browsers. It only runs on Internet Explore for PC and Safari for Mac. Hopefully they expand functionality to other browsers in future.

Indexes and forex data (real-time) are also provided, as well as delayed data for Canadian stocks. 

Ads are a constant feature along the right-hand side of the website. While these don't interfere with analysis, the ads do reduce the size of the chart area on your screen. In terms of technical tools available, FreeStockCharts has more than Technician, but less than TradingView.

Paid plans for FreeStockCharts start at $19.95/month.

Best Free Real-Time Stock Charts for You

Biddiboo/Getty Images

Which free charting platform (or upgraded, if you opt to pay for enhanced features) works best for you depends on the tools you need to analyze stocks. While all three offer similar drawing tools and technical indicators, there may be slight differences, with one offering what you need while another doesn't. 

TradingView and Technician work on all web browsers, while FreeStockCharts only works on Internet Explorer and Safari.

TradingView offers the most extensive list of markets, indexes and economic data. This means you don't need to switch charting platforms to view charts from other markets. TradingView is also the most integrated socially; if you are looking to interact with other traders, TradingView is a good option. Beware of who you are watching, though, since not everyone sharing charts and ideas is a profitable trader.

In terms of ads, Technician has the least (if any) when using the free charts. TradingView has popup ads, which have to be closed and distract you from your analysis. FreeStockCharts has constant ads shown. These typically don't distract you from your analysis, but they do reduce the size of your charting area. 

Once you start day trading, your broker will provide real-time quotes, and you likely won't need these free sites as much. Many brokers also offer demo accounts with free and official real-time quotes, but there is typically a cap on how long you receive free official quotes for.

The one advantage of having a web-based charting platform is that you can monitor stock prices, in real-time, from anywhere or any mobile device. You don't need to have your trading platform open (or even installed on a device) to keep up to date on stock prices. Even if you have a day trading account with a broker, and have access to official real-time quotes, it is worthwhile setting up an account on one of these free sites as well. These free sites work well as a backup data feed in case the quotes or charts in your trading platform malfunction.

Free Stock Charts Summary

There are a number of sites providing great real-time charts for day traders. These charts are visually appealing and provide loads of technical analysis tools traders can use. Active day traders have real-time data provided by their broker, but these free websites can be used as a backup data feed, or to share ideas with others (who may not have official real-time charts, but who can access these free ones). New traders can use these free charting sites to interact with other traders, find strategy ideas and monitor how stock prices move in real-time.