May. 17, 202414 min read

Best Stock Screener Criteria – How to Choose the Best Stock Screener?

Tim BohenAvatar
Written by Tim Bohen

Stock screeners are tools that let you search through thousands of stocks to find the ones that fit your trading strategy. But different traders target different types of stocks. Finding the right stocks to fit your strategy starts with your criteria for identifying the right stock screener.

You’ll need different criteria to pick a good fundamental stock screener vs. a technical stock screener. Like many things in trading, this is 90% preparation.

What kind of criteria should you have when choosing a stock screener? Let’s dive in!

What Is a Stock Screener?

A stock screener is a tool that lets traders filter stocks based on specific criteria and preferences. A stock screener helps you find the stocks that match your trading strategy. 

Most stock screeners are part of an overall trading platform, alongside charting tools and other features.

A good understanding of the tools of the trade always helps. Read my article on the basics of stock screeners to learn more.

How Do Stock Screeners Work?

Stock screeners work by filtering stocks according to different metrics to create a list. A top screener like StocksToTrade has dozens of different parameters to tailor the results to your goals.

From there, you can dive deeper into the stocks you screen and see whether they’re worth trading.

StocksToTrade is a screener made for traders by traders. I don’t know how I’d trade without it. Take it for a spin and see how it changes the way you trade. Get a 14-day StocksToTrade trial for just $7!

Uses of a Stock Screener

Like old-time gold prospectors, you use a stock screener to screen out the stocks you aren’t looking for…

Hopefully you keep the gold in! 

You can also create custom stock screens to further refine your search. 

This isn’t all that a stock screener can do. Stock screeners usually come bundled with trading platforms, so you might find other features like paper trading. 

Charts are a must-have. 

Some platforms also integrate with brokers so you can trade directly through them.

Different platforms offer different features, so shop around and find the platform that caters best to your needs.

Importance of Using a Stock Screener

Do you want to become a self-sufficient trader? Using a stock screener is a MUST.

How else are you going to comb through the 17,000 publicly-traded stocks available to U.S. traders? Looking for trades without a stock screener will just lead to random trading.

When you start trading a bunch of random stocks and strategies at random times — you’ll get random results

A stock screener lets you find the stocks you want quickly, helping you spot potential trading opportunities and capitalize on them.

Different trading methods need different stock screeners. Check out my picks for the best stock screeners for swing trading and day trading. If you don’t want to lock yourself into a strategy, check out my article about the best overall stock screeners.

Advantages of Using a Stock Screener

The main advantage of using a stock screener is increased response time. You can save multiple stock watchlists so you can keep tabs on lots of stocks simultaneously.

Most powerful stock screeners are also heavily customizable, meaning you can tweak their filters according to your needs. This means you have the freedom to screen for the stocks you want, whatever the criteria may be.

Many screeners also offer pre-built filters. They’re made by traders and other experts for you to use right out of the box or modify according to your preferences. Either way, you won’t have to create filters from scratch.

A good example of a stock screener with all of the above features is StocksToTrade. It’s insanely customizable and has pre-built filters from expert traders. 

But there’s more to StocksToTrade. It has Oracle, an algorithm-based chart analyzer. It’s a cool bit of technology that examines the day’s most tradable stocks to give you actionable trade alerts. Essentially, it handles all the technical analysis for you. 

Want to see how it works? Sign up for NO-COST Oracle trade alerts now!

How to Choose the Best Stock Screener

Everybody’s got different definitions of “the best stock screener,” so there’s no one foolproof way to pick the best stock screener…

And there are a lot of stock screener options out there!

What you can do is create a list of criteria and find the stock screeners that meet them. Everybody’s got different things they need out of a stock screener, so make sure these criteria fit your needs.

Looking into reviews and doing some extra research also helps. Just Google websites with stock screener reviews to get a better idea of what a screener is capable of.

Best Stock Screener Criteria

So, what are the criteria you need to be the “best” stock screener? Here are several examples. 

You can order these in any way you like based on your needs. You can even add or remove criteria if necessary. For example, you might be concerned with pricing and want an affordable screener — feel free to plug them into this list.

Now let’s dive in…

Screener Options

Your screener should have a variety of options. This will help you find stocks that match your trading strategy. 

Customizable Screeners

Stock screeners live and die by their screening criteria. Your chosen screener platform should be customizable enough to meet your trading needs. 

And better yet — save them for your next scan!

Built-in Screeners

Aside from customizable screeners, a good stock screener should come with built-in screeners. Look for trader-built scans like the ones that come standard with StocksToTrade.

These can either be used as-is or further modified to suit your trading needs. Either way, they can give you a good starting point.

Powerful Trading Platform

Many stock screeners are part of an overall trading platform. A powerful trading platform should include dynamic charting, a robust news scanner, and other tools to take your trading to the next level. 

The most powerful trading platforms are traditionally desktop-based. Web-based platforms are catching up. 

Some of the mobile apps are even pretty good… but stick with the home setup when you can. 

Broker Integration

Some stock screeners are tied to certain online brokerages. Others let you integrate with your broker so you can trade without leaving the screener platform. 

This saves time and lets you capitalize on trading opportunities faster.

Real-Time Data

Seconds count in the market, so the 15-minute delays that some scanners have can really hurt. Be sure to look for a screener with timely data updates so you won’t miss actionable trade opportunities.

Dynamic Charts

Charts are one of the most basic tools of a stock trader’s trade. They help you understand price action and make better trades. 

A high-quality stock screener should have multiple charting methods, so you can use whichever method you prefer.

Variety of Indicators

I’m not a fan of overcomplicating your charting…

You don’t have to use all the indicators available on a stock screener, but having a good variety helps. Getting a stock screener with various indicators gives you a lot of options when screening and charting.


A stock screener is key to your trading journey — it’s one of your most important weapons. Like any weapon, you need to know its strengths and weaknesses. 

Identify your screener’s limitations and either find a way to get around them, or use another screener that covers these shortcomings.

Stock Screener Parameters

Different traders use different parameters and criteria in their stock screens. It all comes back to how you trade and what your trading goals are.

Screening stocks by technical criteria is a niche need, but the most powerful stock screeners should be able to do it. Check out some of my favorite technical stock screeners.

Stock Screener Strategies

Every trader has a different strategy for stock trading. That means their stock screener strategies should also differ. 

How do you find a strategy that works for you? Experience. When you know what you’re looking for, it gets easier…

Whatever your strategy, follow these basic steps:

  • Decide on a trading strategy. This should inform what stocks you’re scanning for, not the other way around.
  • Learn your screening options. Remember how I said 90% of trading is preparation? Well, this is part of it.
  • Keep it short and simple. Did you watch that first video? Between price, volume, news, float, and percent gain, it features most of the screening criteria you should be relying on.
  • Keep refining. Did your search for stocks with earnings in the past week give you 500 results? Start narrowing it down by putting on more conditions. 
  • Save the custom screens you’ll use again. Once you figure out your strategy, bookmark it!

Finding the strategies that work for you is an important part of a trader’s growth. So keep trading and find the strategies and setups that give you the best results.

Stock Screener Tips

Here’s my best stock screener tip…

Fool around. Start experimenting.

I’ve got a lot of resources like this video…

But the way you arrive at your own strategy is through your own experience.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best stock screener is a challenge because there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. What you can do is make a list of criteria and find the stock screening platform that fits your needs and trading strategies.

A stock screener that fits your needs helps you make better-informed trading decisions, potentially leading to better trades. But keep in mind — it’s not a marriage, so you don’t have to choose just one stock screener. Try out multiple different ones and stick with the ones that work.

Here’s another stock screener recommendation for you: Matt Monaco’s Alpha Scanner

Matt was a software engineer, and now he’s a millionaire trader. He made Alpha Scanner from scratch with his trading style in mind, and he’s packed it with trade alerts, live mentoring, and so much more.

Can Matt’s Alpha Scanner give you an edge in trading? Find out by signing up to join the next Alpha Scanner LIVE broadcast!

Stock Screener FAQs

What Is a Stock Screener and How Does It Help Investors?

A stock screener is a powerful tool that helps investors filter and analyze potential trading opportunities based on specific criteria. It allows users to screen for individual stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and other securities. Stock screeners provide options for custom screens, preset screens, and premium stock screeners to cater to different types of investors, from beginner investors to advanced day traders.

How Can Stock Screeners Be Used to Analyze Financial Ratios?

Stock screeners can filter stocks based on various financial ratios such as the equity ratio, earnings ratio, and dividend yield. These metrics help investors assess the financial health and performance of companies. Additionally, stock screeners can highlight companies with attractive dividend payouts, earnings surprises, and strong cash flow, providing a comprehensive view of potential investments.

What Advanced Features Do Premium Stock Screeners Offer?

Premium stock screeners offer advanced features like real-time alerts, detailed stock analysis, and access to additional parameters for more refined searches. These tools are particularly beneficial for active traders and day traders who need up-to-date information and advanced technical patterns. Premium options also include analyst recommendations and ratings to guide investment decisions.

How Do Different Types of Investors Use Stock Screeners?

Stock screeners are used by various types of investors, including self-directed investors, buy-and-hold investors, and technical traders. Each type of investor can customize their screening criteria to match their investment objectives, such as income generation, return on investment, or identifying breakout trading opportunities. Tools like Yahoo Finance and Stock Rover provide comprehensive data to support these diverse investment strategies.

How Do Stock Screeners Enhance the Trading Plan of Day Traders?

Day traders benefit from stock screeners by using them to identify candidates for trading based on real-time data and market conditions. These screeners can highlight stocks with high average trading volume, favorable market capitalization, and technical patterns that indicate potential price movements. This information helps day traders formulate and execute their trading plans effectively.

What Role Do Financial Metrics and Analyst Opinions Play in Stock Screening?

Financial metrics and analyst opinions are crucial components of stock screening. Metrics like cash flow, earnings growth rates, and fundamental metrics help investors assess a company’s performance. Analyst recommendations and ratings provide additional insights, helping investors make informed decisions. Popular screens and prebuilt factors from sources like Zacks Investment Research can further refine stock selection strategies.

How Can Stock Screeners Identify Stocks With Attractive Dividend Payouts?

Stock screeners can filter for stocks with attractive dividend payouts by focusing on cash dividends, contribution of dividend income, and historical dividend yield. These screeners help investors looking for income generation to find companies with consistent and high dividend payouts. Screening for these factors ensures a steady stream of income from their investments.

How Do Stock Screeners Assist in Finding Growth Stocks?

Stock screeners can identify growth stocks by analyzing metrics like 3-year revenue growth, 5-year forecasted earnings growth, and earnings growth rates. These tools help investors pinpoint companies with strong growth prospects and potential for significant future returns. Using these metrics, investors can build a portfolio of stocks with high upside potential.

How Do Stock Screeners Help in Assessing Market Conditions and Fluctuations?

Stock screeners provide valuable insights into market conditions and fluctuations by offering real-time alerts, market news, and updates on market capitalization. Investors can use these features to stay informed about current market trends and make timely investment decisions. This helps in navigating market volatility and capitalizing on favorable trading opportunities.

What Are the Benefits of Using Online Stock Screeners and Trading Platforms?

Online stock screeners and trading platforms, such as Trade Ideas and Stock Rover, offer convenient user interfaces and complete access to a wide range of screening metrics. These platforms allow investors to perform in-depth analysis and make well-informed investment decisions. Additionally, features like intraday alerts and scanning processes enhance the overall trading experience.

How Do Stock Screeners Cater to Different Market Segments and Sectors?

Stock screeners can filter stocks based on specific market segments and sectors, such as Communication Services, Apparel companies, and Canadian markets. This allows investors to focus on sectors with strong growth prospects or attractive valuation. By targeting specific segments, investors can diversify their portfolios and manage risk effectively.

How Do Analyst Recommendations and Ratings Influence Stock Picks?

Analyst recommendations and ratings are essential for stock picks, providing expert opinions on the potential performance of stocks. These insights help investors identify undervalued or overvalued stocks and make strategic investment decisions. Stock screeners that include analyst opinions offer a comprehensive view of the investment landscape.

How Do Stock Screeners Facilitate the Selection of Defensive and Cyclical Stocks?

Stock screeners can filter for defensive stocks and cyclical stocks based on their performance in different market conditions. Defensive stocks, which are less affected by economic downturns, and cyclical stocks, which perform well during economic expansions, can be identified using specific screening criteria. This helps investors build a balanced portfolio that can withstand market fluctuations.