A stock screener helps day traders look for stocks they want to trade. It takes the fire hose of information from thousands of tickers to a manageable handful of stocks you can analyze and trade.
Something I’ve learned in almost two decades of day trading: you can’t waste time. Taking too much time doing stock research might mean missing out on great potential trades. That’s why a stock screener is so important in day trading.
What Is Day Trading?
Day trading is when you buy and sell securities (usually stocks) within the same day. This trading strategy often relies on technical analysis or news catalysts to profit from small price swings.
Day trading can lead to substantial losses. A 2019 study called “Day Trading for a Living?” looked at the success rates of Brazilian traders over a 2-year window, and found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days of active trading lost money. Only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage — that’s only $16 per day!
What Is a Stock Screener for Day Trading?
A stock screener for day trading is a screener platform that helps you find stocks to day trade. Stock screeners for day trading usually have robust technical analysis capabilities.
Importance of Using a Stock Screener for Day Trading
There’s no way you can go through the 17,000 publicly traded stocks in the U.S. by yourself. A stock screener increases your response time, helping you spot opportunities and capitalize on them faster.
To day trade successfully, you’ll need access to the most current market data. The best way to track these moves in more than one or two stocks is through a stock screener.
Day trading stock screeners rely on versatile technical criteria. Meanwhile, swing traders and investors need screeners with strong fundamental analysis capabilities. Learn more about why you need a stock screener for fundamental analysis.
Why Do You Need a Day Trading Stock Screener?
You need a day trading stock scanner because it’s essential for trading. Top traders are constantly keeping tabs on the stocks that are moving in the market.
Know how they do that? They use stock screeners — often.
Good day trading screeners are highly customizable. You can tweak their features to suit your trading strategies and needs. You can even get scans frequently used by other traders — meaning you have the tools that experienced traders use.
Take StocksToTrade, for example. It has trader-designed scans, so you can look for the biggest dollar gainers and biggest percent gainers. You can even drill down further and see which stocks are the biggest dollar or percent gainers over a certain period.
StocksToTrade offers beautiful charts and data visualizations, pre-made screens, and a great news scanner. Take it for a spin — sign up for a 14-day StocksToTrade trial for $7 today!
Advantages of Day Trading Stock Screeners
The main advantage of day trading stock screeners is increased response time. The best day trading stock screeners let you save multiple watchlists, so you can keep an eye on lots of tickers at once.
Another advantage of day trading stock scanning tools is that you can trade directly from the chart. This cuts down even more time between spotting a trading opportunity and making a trade.
How to Use a Stock Screener for Day Trading
Different screeners cater to different kinds of stock traders, so how I use it might differ from how you use it. You’ll find a screening method that works for you.
But here’s a quick rundown of the basic process a day trader might use to find the stocks they want to trade:
- List the top daily gainers. Most of these stocks recently made noticeable upward price movements, meaning the market is getting excited about them. Make sure there’s real demand driving these price increases, evidenced by unusual volume.
- Look at the catalyst. Is it a real piece of news — or a slimy chat pump?
- Make a watchlist. Most good day trading screeners will allow you to build custom watchlists.
- Build your trading plan. Day traders usually trade from price action. Look at pre-market highs and lows for good entry points, goals, and risk to inform your trade.
- Stay ready. Alerts are a good way to keep tabs on a potential trade setting up. Your stock screener should have easy to set price alerts.
Stock Screener Settings for Day Trading
Everyone’s got different trading plans and preferences, so that means everyone’s got different stock screener settings. For example, some people might set their stock screener to find top gainers. When you’ve traded stocks as long as I have, you’ll know what kinds of setup works and what doesn’t.
But if you’re just starting out, I’ll nudge you in the right direction. Here are two setups of screening criteria I’ve used for years. I’ve been running these two scans every day with some slight variations when looking for stocks to trade. You can replicate these filter criteria on any stock scanner!
Let’s take a look at my two example setups:
- Top percent gainer scan: In this one, I look for prices between $0.25 and $20, trading more than 100,000 on the day, and up more than 5% on the day.
- Low-float news scan: In this scan, I look for stocks with a float under 10 million, with news catalysts in the past 24 hours, and prices up more than 10% on the day.
Once you run these scans, you’ll end up with a handful of stocks. Do a bit of basic research, then put the survivors on your watchlist!
What Is the Best Stock Screener for Day Trading?
There’s really no one best stock screener for day trading. Every trader has different needs, so you’ll need to find one that fits your trading strategies and goals.
The hard work here is figuring out which scanner works the best for you from all the available choices.
How do you find the screener that works for you? We’ll cover that in the next section…
How We Evaluated These Best Stock Screeners for Day Trading
There are dozens of stock screeners for day trading out there — and not all of them are good. Here are the best stock screener criteria for day trading:
- Pricing: Most of the best day trading stock screeners are paid products. Find one that suits your budget but still gives you the features you need.
- Database timeliness: Some stock screeners update quotes on a delay — this makes them nearly unusable for day traders. Find a screener that gives you timely data updates, so you can stay on top of the market.
- Customizability: A stock screener is only as good as its indicators. Your stock screener should be customizable according to your needs.
The above three points aren’t the only criteria I use. Learn what other criteria I used in my article on the best stock screener criteria.
Be sure to include your own stock screener criteria for day trading if you’re making your own list of picks.
Best Day Trading Stock Screeners
Here are my picks for the best day trading stock screeners:
- StocksToTrade — Best Overall Day Trading Stock Screener
- StockFetcher — Best Customizable Day Trading Stock Screener
- Finviz — Best Free Day Trading Stock Screener
- ChartMill — Most Versatile Stock Screener for Day Trading
- StockRover — Most Flexible Day Trading Stock Screener
Understand — you’re not getting married here. Try them all!
1. StocksToTrade — Best Overall Day Trading Stock Screener
My first day trading stock screener pick is StocksToTrade.
I might be a bit biased here, but StocksToTrade tops my list for a reason. It’s a robust and powerful screener that lets you dive deep into the details. The desktop app is also insanely customizable, meaning you can scan with any parameters you want.
StocksToTrade is made by traders for traders. It has trader-made screeners built-in so you can trade like the pros.
Here’s another reason why I love StocksToTrade: it comes packaged with Oracle, a powerful algorithm-based chart analysis tool.
It’s a great piece of technology — Oracle spots the day’s most tradable stocks to give you actionable trade signals. Get a taste of Oracle right now by signing up for NO-COST Oracle trade alerts!
2. StockFetcher — Best Customizable Day Trading Stock Screener
My second day trading stock screener pick is StockFetcher.
StockFetcher is affordable — its Standard subscription is $8.95/month and an advanced subscription is $16.95/month. But that doesn’t mean it’s a subpar stock screener. It offers a vast array of technical and fundamental criteria.
Another unique thing about StockFetcher is its customizability. Instead of drop-down menus, StockFetcher uses a coding-like language to help you design custom filters. This means you can make complex filters that you might not be able to replicate on other screeners.
3. Finviz — Best Free Day Trading Stock Screener
My third day trading stock screener pick is Finviz.
Finviz is a no-frills web-based stock scanner. You don’t need to download anything — just go to its site and all the tools are right there for you. Its basic version is free, but still provides robust functionality with a simple user interface.
There’s also a paid option that stacks up more favorably with other paid day trading stock screeners.
Without a Finviz account, you can still screen thousands of stocks and check out its news stream. By registering an account, you can make watchlists and save screener configurations.
The catch here is that Finviz’s free screener is on a delay. You need to subscribe to get real-time market data, backtesting, customizable alerts, and other features.
Another knock against Finviz is that it doesn’t have pre-built stock screeners. You need to make your own screener setups before you start trading.
4. ChartMill — Most Versatile Stock Screener for Day Trading
My fourth day trading stock screener pick is ChartMill.
ChartMill’s stock screener strikes a good balance between fundamental and technical filters.
What makes ChartMill unique is that it has proprietary indicators, like the ChartMill Value Indicator and Dynamic RSI. These extra technical indicators might give you a trading edge other traders don’t have!
There’s one BIG catch with Chartmill’s stock screener: the data is on a 15-minute delay for both free users and subscribers. That’s a dealbreaker for most day traders.
5. StockRover — Most Flexible Day Trading Stock Screener
My fifth day trading stock screener pick is StockRover.
StockRover has over 140 pre-built stock screens queued up from the start. You can use them as they come, tweak them, or create your own.
StockRover has a bit of a learning curve, but its robust technical analysis features may help lots of intermediate to advanced day traders get the most out of their stock searches. It’s also one of the more flexible options, with a good balance between fundamental analysis and technical analysis.
A stock screener for day trading is one of a trader’s most essential tools. A good one increases your response time, meaning you can spot trending stocks and capitalize on trading opportunities quicker.
There’s no one “best” day trading stock scanner for everyone. Try out the ones that appeal to you — see what works and what doesn’t.
Here’s another stock screener you should check out: millionaire trader Matt Monaco’s Alpha Scanner. Matt was a software engineer in his past life, a skillset he uses in his trading. That’s the approach he designed the Alpha Scanner to match.
He’s packed it chock full of trade alerts, live mentoring, and more. Can his trading style give you an edge? There’s one way to find out…