NinjaTrader has become one of the best futures trading platforms and is mainly used by day traders. The range of functions is enormous, and the possibilities seem endless. However, this also means that especially trading beginners can quickly lose themselves in detail.
But is it as good as it sounds? This NinjaTrader review tells you more about my experiences and provides an overview of the key functionalities and features.
What is NinjaTrader?
NinjaTrader LLC is the company behind the NinjaTrader platform. The company was founded in 2004 and is located in Denver (USA). NinjaTrader is the current trading platform, Kinetick a data feed and NinjaTrader Brokerage, a brokerage solution for forex and futures traders.
So if you want, you can get everything from an account, trading software, and data feed to an online brokerage solution from a single source. Which combination I prefer and why you’ll find out a little later. With innovative and groundbreaking new functionalities, Version 8 will make private investors even better prepared for the daily challenges of the stock markets and foreign exchange trading.
NinjaTrader has integrated stock screener and stock scanner functionalities along with programming options in C# and automated trading features. In my opinion, NinjaTrader is intended primarily for active day traders who are not afraid to write a few lines of program code in C#.
While the standard functionalities are indeed very solidly implemented, NinjaTrader can only develop its full power with the programming of individual trading strategies. As you know, I am a friend of automation and structured processes.
And this is where I see the particular strength of trading software. Because you can ultimately create fully automated trading systems, they trade up and down the markets for you according to your specifications.
NinjaTrader 8 is designed specifically for active traders who buy stocks, trade futures and forex markets and favor one-click solutions and automated exchange transactions.
With more than 100,000 users, 1,000+ add-ons, and 600+ app developers, NinjaTrader is one of the world’s leading platforms. They have already won numerous awards and continue to develop their trading platform. One reason for the great popularity is the open user framework.
This means nothing more than that it is by no means a closed system, but individual components such as indicators and strategies can be developed and used. The integration of third-party tools is also possible. Thus, users of the software can create their indicators and drawing tools, layouts, and partially automated systems.
NinjaTrader is an excellent addition to the trading tools of an online broker. This includes advanced charting functions, market analyses, the development of automated trading strategies, back-testing, market analytics, various optimization functions, and trading simulations.
Interested investors have the opportunity to test NinjaTrader 8 intensively and even place simulated orders on the stock exchanges in real time. Only traders who want to execute their live trades with a real money account need to buy a license or use the paid leasing model.
However, until then, it is possible to work cost-efficiently without investing one dollar in the trading platform. A clear plus. NinjaTrader can be used without restriction for simulated trading under real market conditions (paper trading) to develop trading strategies.
The current version now also has a good trading journal that leaves nothing to be desired and has all important key figures firmly integrated. This makes the creation of a trading journal even easier.
Charting market data on your mobile device and mobile trading is currently not supported. We have to wait for a couple of reviews once the app, which is now in development status, is published.
Whether day trading, swing trading, scalping, FOREX, futures or equities, discretionary or automated, NinjaTrader 8 offers the perfect mix for every trader. The only thing I think is missing is a self-learning functionality based on artificial intelligence.
With a selection of more than 1,000 apps and add-ons, the platform can be expanded according to your preferences and ideas. Private investors are supported, in particular by the free version when learning to trade. This is because trading strategies can be created and tested with the integrated paper trading functionality.
A further advantage: The platform can be used free of charge for almost the entire range of functions. As soon as you are ready for live trading, various options are available for using the software, e.g., for order transfers to brokers.
As already mentioned, the exchange software can be either rented or purchased for unrestricted use. For investors who want to use NinjaTrader 8 live over a long period, the Lifetime license certainly offers the best price-performance ratio.
NinjaTrader also provides advanced features and tools traders looking for frequently, like optional order flow analysis capabilities, which can be considered as an advanced charting feature. Hundreds of add ons are provided within the community.
Besides, Kinetick provides a data feed for stock quotes that enables the free use of end-of-day data within the NinjaTrader 8 platform. (End of Day means by the way that the smallest time unit is “days” and, e.g., hours or minute charts cannot be displayed).
The trading platform can be connected to the free Kinetick data with just a few mouse clicks. Once configured, NinjaTrader can be started simultaneously via the Kinetick feed, including the stock exchange prices.
I received feedback from a disappointed customer that he got charged for using Kinetick while thinking that the EOD data is for free. There are two things to consider before taking action. First of all, you do not need a subscription to connect NinjaTrader to the free EOD data from Kinetick. You connect to Kinetick EOD data within your NinjaTrader software, and that’s it.
If you subscribe to the Kinetick data via their website, you will get charged for the service you chose, and you will not get back your money back if you subscribed my mistake. In other words, subscribing to Kinetick makes only sense if you want to use intraday data.
Here is a clever alternative for those of you who are okay with using NinjaTrader 7. You can connect NinjaTrader 7 to your Brokerage Account at TradeStation and use any data you have at TradeStation. That’s a pretty cool thing since intraday data doesn’t cost anything if you open an account with TradeStation. But there are two downsides too.
First, only NinjaTrader 7 can be used, while NinjaTrader 8 does not support that connection anymore. Also, you need to be aware that you cannot use the TradeStation data feed to trigger live-trades within NinjaTrader. That makes this solution an excellent choice for the trader that wants to test at a low budget and develop strategies without costs for exchange data subscription.
The further development of the new Strategy Builder from NinjaTrader Broker enables less experienced trading beginners to design and develop new strategies without programming knowledge. A fully automated trading strategy can be developed and designed by inexperienced traders via point and click with comparatively little effort.
However, the best results are only obtained with individual programming, even if the advertising sometimes suggests something different. The most significant advantage of the Strategy Builder for me is that you can look at the source code afterward, which can serve as a good foundation for your programming.
Discover Trade Ideas
The visualization with the chart and the market analysis from long-term historical price data does not necessarily make the trading software unique but one of the most attractive trading tools for day traders.
Although the use of historical data as the basis for forecasting future price developments is highly controversial, technical analysis, in particular, is still often the first choice for private investors. In my opinion, manual trading cannot make money with technical analysis, but it can with automated procedures.
The new backtest engine is a real advance compared to the speed of the old NinjaTrader 7 version. Hundreds of trading instruments can be analyzed in real time, alarms can be defined, and the new FX Board also offers modern concepts for forex trading. There are outstanding possibilities of individual visualization and even the opportunity to trade directly from the chart (deal through chart).
By looking back into the past, it is possible to create a system for use in current markets. NinjaTrader 8 is a construction kit with many valuable trading tools. There are only a few limits for the development of indicators and strategies, which often just an experienced system developer recognizes.
Indicators, trading applications, charts, drawing tools, and automated trading systems can be installed or even independently developed and extended. Assuming you are familiar with the programming language C#. Because only with programming, you will be able to get everything out of the software and reduce the gap to the capabilities of institutional investors.
Everyone knows the term “paper trading.” But paper is very patient. In NinjaTrader, strategies can be tested under real market conditions in real time before even a cent of risk capital is invested! A wide range of options is available, and it is an excellent way of trading, like in a demo account.
On the one hand, buying and selling can be done classically from the chart. On the other hand, partially and fully automatic trading strategies can also be tested. What I find cool is that you can display the trades in the chart. A quick chart export, and you have your perfect trading journal. Because in the chart itself, you can also add and save text annotations.
NinjaTrader offers to transmit orders in the live system via API to brokerage accounts. The following asset classes can be traded:
The primary target group are day traders, but swing traders and buy & hold investors can also have fun with the software. You can buy and sell stocks, trade currencies up and down, or trade futures on CME or EUREX. All this is possible. Manual, semi-automated and fully automated.
NinjaTrader Data Providers
Unfortunately, it is not necessarily done with the NinjaTrader software itself. That means additional costs if you want to use a fast real-time data feed for your day trading. Various data feed providers can be used for the market data connection.
When it comes to saving money, NinjaTrader has the edge with its in-house data by Kinetick. At least if you need extensive stock market data (CME, EUREX, etc. and Level II). However, you should consider in advance which markets you would like to trade and whether day trading is the right thing for you.
Because the data feed costs can quickly reach more than 100 Dollars per month, with Kinetick, the in-house data service of NinjaTrader, you can use the end-of-day data, including an extensive data history, for free. This is, of course, only interesting if you are not interested in day trading.
In combination with the free version, this is a complete package that you can’t get around. After all, being able to use state-of-the-art technologies free of charge is not a matter of course, even though it is a deliberately chosen concept of the software provider.
You can also connect your best brokerage account to NinjaTrader using the real-time data feed of your broker. If you want to use NinjaTrader combined with a broker, you should make sure that you choose a compatible broker when comparing brokers.
The following data suppliers and brokers can currently be connected:
- Interactive Brokers
- TD Ameritrade
At this point, I would like to emphasize again that you should think about how and what you would want to trade on the stock exchange in advance. You can also use Level II market data.
Plans | Costs | Pricing
As already mentioned several times, NinjaTrader can be used free of charge as long as no broker is connected to the software via API-Connect. Since NinjaTrader has its most significant strengths in automation and a broker connection is mandatory, you come to the point where you have to think about the license model sooner or later. A total of 3 (+1) different license models are offered.
- “Purchase” with a one-time fee of $1,099 or 4 installments per $329.
- “Rent” with a quarterly ($225), semi-annual ($425) or annual leasing fee ($720).
- “Free of charge” for free use without live trading functionality
NinjaTrader offers its customers live trading for free when opening an account with NinjaTrader Brokerage. It is questionable whether one does oneself a favor by tying oneself to a specific broker to avoid license fees. But I thought you should know that.
At that time, I decided to buy the Lifetime license once, and since version 7, I can use all versions without restrictions. The rental model was never an option for me because it would be disproportionately expensive for us in the long run. By the way, I used the free version until I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the program. A binding to a single broker would be out of the question for me. Thus I would also decide today still for the model “purchase.”
Free Trial | Promo Code
NinjaTrader can be used entirely free of charge with the Kinetick data feed for trading strategy development, simulated trading and your first steps with this trading software.
Trading in smaller time frames, you need a real-time data feed, and for fast order execution, trading from the trading software is a significant advantage. But you have to pay for this advantage, not only with the license for the trading software but also with monthly fees for the stock exchange prices (data feed). You should consider this in your business case once you switch from the demo account to the live trading account.
Community and Customer Service
The customer service takes care of your requests, while you can still ask your questions within the community. No matter what trading approach you have, active traders and beginners will get answers by asking questions to the customer service and community.
- Founded: 2003
- Number of users: >100,000
- Company address check: NinjaTrader LLC, 1422 Delgany Street, Suite 400 Denver, CO 80202 | USA + 312.262.1289
- Free trial: yes, free version for simulated trading
- Free resources: Yes, free EOD-Data, YouTube, help guide
- Price range: From $0 up to $1,099 for the lifetime license
Who Is NinjaTrader Best For?
NinjaTrader is one of the few tools out there, giving day trading beginners an excellent chance to start effectively and efficiently. Why? Because it can be used for free, and you get a good understanding of how financial markets work.
Trading beginners will have a hard time at first due to the enormous range of functionalities. As soon as you have worked with NinjaTrader for a few hours, the trading platform is easy to use. And if you don’t have a real-time feed yet, you can also take a closer look at the in-house Kinetick data feed.
NinjaTrader is best for day traders, but also investors will enjoy the free resources using the free end of day charting. However, for investors relying upon Technical Analysis, TradingView is a smart alternative too.
NinjaTrader Review Summary
If you’ve made it to the bottom line, there are almost 3,500 words behind you. So I hope that I was able to avoid as much technical jargon as possible and that you got a solid impression of NinjaTrader 8 and my experience with the trading software.
Futures trading can be done by using the NinjaTrader platform, but also other assets like stocks are supported within the platform.
I especially like the fact that the trading software can be used almost entirely free of charge. Almost perfect is also the fact that the connection of different data feeds is possible free of charge. NinjaTrader 8 is a thoroughly excellent trading tool. However, new standards are not set.
As with MetaTrader, NinjaTrader can play out its exceptional strength with expert advisors. In other words, with individually programmed systems. To use these strengths, you need a lot of experience with C# or a good programmer. I don’t think much of connectable third-party tools.
I certainly don’t want to pay for a black box whose content I don’t understand. From my point of view, there is nothing against installing NinjaTrader on your PC and testing the free version extensively.
As soon as you have developed profitable trading strategies, and these have been verified by backtesting and forward testing, you can still invest money and buy a license. However, before that, keep your money together and only invests if you can earn more than your investment.
With one-time costs of $1,099 plus possibly several hundred dollars per month for stock market prices, you should also have significant buying power within your brokerage account. Otherwise, this investment is not worth it.
Ninja Trader brokerage services can be used for futures and forex trading. Futures and forex traders might consider opening an account to directly connect trading systems from NT7 + NT8 with the brokerage account.
Futures traders hold their account with one of the leading futures brokers like Dorman Trading and Phillip Capital. In contrast, Forex traders chose between brokerage accounts at FXCM in Europe and UK and Forex.com in the United States.
The commission structure for trading futures is competitive. The minimum account deposit starts at $400, and margin for micros is at $50 per contract and for E-Mini at $500 per contract. Active traders consider the NinjaTrader platform. Order execution speed of futures contracts is usually fast since the futures market is highly liquid and independently from the platform used.
Traders looking for demo accounts can directly use the free platform version to test all advanced features, technical indicators, the mobile app for mobile trading, order types and market analysis tools.
Various other reviews confirm that using the trade simulation within the NinjaTrader trading platform is a significant advantage before going live. And if someone wants to code a strategy, he can do it on his own or use the developer community to find the right person for the job.
Make sure to check the site of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission if you have any open questions about regulatory aspects.
Is NinjaTrader really free?
Yes. NinjaTrader is really free to use for simulated trading. However, additional fees need to be paid once trading systems are connected via the NinjaTrader API with a live brokerage account.
Is NinjaTrader worth buying?
Yes. NinjaTrader is worth buying once a consistently profitable trading strategy has been identified using the free version. The paid version connects NinjaTrader with the broker platform via API and enables live trading with real money.
More Futures Trading Platform Reviews: