Commissions and Fees
Order Execution and Fills
Options Strategies & Tools
Platform and Data (speed & stability)
If you’re in the trading industry you may have come across TastyWorks. TastyWorks is an options centric brokerage firm with many advanced tools and features. So, how does TastyWorks really compare? Read our review of TastyWorks and find out now.
Introduction To TastyWorks
Tom is also a seasoned options trader himself who still actively trades on TastyWorks. He also runs TastyTrade (https://www.tastytrade.com), a venture capital backed online financial media network focusing on educating retail traders on options, stocks and futures. You can access TasteTrade’s live video broadcast directly from within the TastyWorks platform during the market hours.
TastyWorks offers its own options centric trading platform.
Launched to the public in 2017, TastyWorks is quickly becoming the favorite among retail option traders. Not only TasteWorks offers the lowest commissions in the industry, it also has a no frills, reliable and robust options focused trading platform.
Currently, there’s no close comparison to TastyWorks when it comes to trading platforms solely designed from the ground up for trading options (including equity options and futures options).
Yes you can trade stocks on TastyWorks. Futures trading was also added to the platform in 2018, and from the look of it, they have plans to further expand into futures trading. But make no mistake about it, TastyWorks is meant for trading options.
Their own tagline: “an options brokerage for the active trader” says it all.
Trading Commissions and Fees
TastyWorks offers the lowest options trading commissions in the industry, just $1.00 per contract for equity options to open a position and $0.00 to close. For futures options, it’s $2.50 per contract to open and $0.00 to close a position.
Not only that, they cap the maximum commission on listed options to $10 per leg to open and again, $0.00 to close. This can save you a lot of money in commissions if you actively trade positions that exceeds more than 10 contracts. Of course, you can get free commissions at brokers like Webull and Robinhood, but you won’t have access to the same professional trading tools.
TastyWorks Trading Platform
TastyWorks offers a desktop platform as the main trading platform. They also have a web-based platform and a mobile trading app. This review will only focus on the main desktop platform.
The TastyWorks platform is designed as a lean mean options trading machine. Nothing more nothing less. This focused thinking dominates all aspects of the platform, its functions and features (or lack of).
Single Window Platform
The whole TastyWorks trading platform is contained inside a single window. You can’t “detach”, say, a chart window or an order entry window. Everything is confined inside this single window.
Except for the right-hand side panel which is the only detachable window (more below).
The platform has 3 sections, or panels, as seen from the above screenshot:
Left-hand side panel
This is the place for watch lists. This panel can not be minimized, it stays there all the time.
This is the main “workspace” at the center of the platform window. This is where you can view charts, option chains, build your strategies, analyze your potential trades, manage your orders and positions, and pretty much all of your trading activities are done here in this main center workspace.
On the left edge of the center workspace there are three tabs:
POSITION – where you can view and manage your positions
TRADE – where you can view option chains, prepare, analyse and execute your trades. Here’s an example of an options chain with the order entry box at the bottom:
ACTIVITY – this is where you can see all your trades, you can filter by dates, ticker symbols and order types.
Under these three tabs are the shortcuts to:
- TastyTrade – Live video broadcast during market hours hosted by Tom Sosnoff himself and a handful of other “featured traders”
- History – your trade history
- Follow – this is where you can follow TastyTrade’s “featured traders” (more on this later).
Right-hand side Panel
Here, through the five tabs (some overlap with those in center workspace), you can view the various relevant information at a glance. This panel can be minimized to allow for more center workspace.
This panel is also the only one that can be detached from the platform window and placed anywhere on your monitor(s). See screenshot below:
You can access the TasteTrade live video broadcast from here too (through the “TastyTrade” tab).
Charting in TastyWorks is very basic. Other than the many indicators, studies and drawing tools that come with it, everything else is barebone in terms of functionalities and features.
This is by design though. TastyWorks is primarily built to be a robust options execution platform, not a be all do all platform. There are already plenty of excellent charting software out there, why bother to create yet another bloated charting package, especially considering that one of the best charting software, Thinkorswim, is completely free (including real time data feed).
Here are a couple of examples of what charts look like in TastyWorks.
There is no options charting in TastyWorks (Thinkorswim has that feature too).
Level II, Times & Sales and HotKeys
TastyWorks has none of these, on purpose, as it is not intended for active stock traders where these features may be essential, but for options traders, none of these matters much.
There’s no news feed either. As an alternative, you can watch (or listen to) TastyTrade live video broadcast during market hours, where they do talk about breaking news when it happens.
The order entry area is at the bottom of the main center workspace. It’s very intuitive and easy to use. All your order parameters (such as size, default price, order type) can be changed very easily.
It’s super easy to modify working orders in TastyWorks. You can do so either through the POSITIONS tab or the ACTIVITY tab in center workspace, or through the ACTIVITY tab on the detachable right-hand side panel.
TastyWorks is clearly customers (traders) centric instead of fees centric and it shows.
Order execution in TastyWorks is through their proprietary “smart routing” system. They do get paid from their order flows, but their routing software is designed to look for the most speedy fills at the best prices instead of who pays more for order flows.
As a result, TastyWorks execution is super fast and fills are most favorable, one of the best in the industry for retail traders.
TastyWorks has a great watch lists feature. There are plenty of options related filters, such as the very useful IV Rank (Implied Volatility), a very important piece of information when constructing your complex options strategies.
Alerts can be set up using the “ALERTS” tab located on the right-hand side panel. In addition to the three basic alerts by “Last, Bid and Ask” price, TastyWorks has a unique alert by Implied Volatility. You can set the alert to trigger when a certain ticker’s Implied Volatility reaches a certain level.
Triggered alerts can also be sent to your mobile devices if you choose to.
Follow – Follow Featured Traders (even copy their trades)
This is unique to TastyWorks.
The “Follow” shortcut, located near the bottom on the left edge of the center workspace, takes you to the TastyTrade featured traders screen.
This is where you can see all the trades taken by various featured traders during the day. Clicking on any trade will show the reasoning for that trade. It’ll also reveal the “DUPLICATE THIS TRADE” button at the lower right-hand corner, which will open up the order entry box, already populated with the exact trade.
This is an awesome feature for less experienced options traders to learn various strategies from more experienced traders and watch how these trades perform in real time. Options recommendation services like Motley Fool Options can get expensive – TastyWorks adds a similar feature for free.
Options Specific Features
By cutting out most (if not all) features that are not essential to options trading from the trading platform, TastyWorks does the best in options specific features they do offer.
Complex Options Strategies – Build and Analyse
- You can trade a wide variety of complex options strategies as such:
- Butterfly Spread
- Broken Wing Butterfly
- Calendar Spread
- Diagonal Spread
- Iron Condor
- Iron Fly
- Jade Lizard
- Poor Man Covered Call/Put
- Ratio Spread
- Vertical Spread
It is very easy to build any of these strategies in TastyWorks.
There are a few most commonly traded strategies already built in the “Strategy” menu bar in the “TRADE” tab. You can use it to quickly build a trade, analyse it and execute with just a few mouse clicks.
The curve analysis tool is essential for trading complex options strategies. It allows you to analyse your strategy before taking the trade.
TastyWorks did a great job to make the curve analysis extremely visual and easy to use. You can visually set up your trades, with the profit and loss zones in clear view, and you can see the changes instantly as you adjust the strikes and/or expirations.
Before you put on a trade, you can play with various conditions such as strikes, expirations, underlying stock prices and implied volatility and see instantly how they’ll impact the potential risk and reward of the trade.
You can use the curve to analyse your existing positions as market conditions change. This can be very helpful for you to decide if you want to add another option leg, or take on a new trade as a hedge, or just close the position.
Here’re a couple of curve analysis examples:
Rolling your option positions into the next expiration cycle can be a hassle. TastyWorks makes this very quick and easy to do. For traders who do rolling often, this is a huge time saver.
The TastyWorks platform is currently in its 2nd iteration. It’s reasonable to assume that they will be adding many new features going forward.
Who is TastyWorks Best For?
It’s for Active Traders Who Primarily Trade Options
All the features and tools in TastyWorks are geared toward option traders.
It’s Not for Stock Traders
That is loud and clear. As you can see by now, TastyWorks has purposefully stripped out almost all the features that may be essential for stock traders but are not important to option traders.
You can put on some occasional stock trades for sure if you want to, but that’s about it.
How About Futures Traders?
For futures traders, at its current state, TastyWorks is more geared toward beginning futures traders who are just starting out in trading futures.
TastyWorks has launched “The Small Exchange”, a futures exchange that allows trading of much smaller contract sizes (micro emini contracts). It’s likely that we can expect to see more futures trading related enhancements to the platform going forward.
Some Relevant Discussions
1. Real Time Buying Power Calculation off for Margin Account from Time to Time
Some traders have occasionally experienced “incorrect” calculations on the buying power in their margin accounts.
The buying power shown in real time in the TastyWorks platform sometimes are less than what it should be. This may or may not be a real issue, as brokers often do make adjustments to buying powerful of client accounts on the fly, depending on the individual client, the trades the client has on, the risk profiles, etc.
2. Incorrect Buying Power Calculation for Cash Accounts
For cash account holders, it is important that you must keep track of the trades you’ve taken each day, and stay on top of the remaining amount of the settled cash in your account. This will prevent you from triggering a “Good Faith Violation” (trading using unsettled cash).
After you’ve made a trade each day, the real time buying power calculated shown in TastyWorks platform becomes INCORRECT, and you shall not rely on that calculation.
It’s quite puzzling why TastyWorks platform does not provide the correct buying power calculation for cash accounts during the day, and/or warn you if your next trade may trigger a “Good Faith Violation”.
Though this flaw is more of an inconvenience than a make or break issue, we do hope TastyWorks can fix it in the future.
When it comes to trading options, TastyWorks is currently one of the best brokers and platforms in the business. It’s made for retail options traders, large or small. Whether you have a $500 account, or a $100,000 account, TastyWorks is a great, if not the best, options broker where you can start and grow.
- Lowest commissions in the industry
- Fast and stable platform and data feed
- Great order entry and top notch execution
- Advanced tools to easily build, analyse and trade complex options strategies.
- Platform comes with both PC and Mac versions
- It has a Mobile trading app (Android and iOS)
- Charting not very useful
- Wrong Buying Power calculation for cash accounts (explanation below)