There’s quite an interesting discussion between musicians about the impact of various tools on the sound a musician is able to produce. Some people will argue that you could be the most talented musician in the world but if you don’t have the right equipment, then… Moreover, some medium musicians were able to get that one pedal, tool, or amplifier that makes their playing sound so special and unique.
In some way, the same applies to trading, especially if you are going to make it as a profession or at least be serious about it. You, therefore, need some tools such as a strong computer, monitors, good trading platforms, VPS service, signals services, and more. In other words, a good trading office setup makes a world of difference in becoming a successful day trader and investor.
You might have to make an initial investment and spend money to create your own trading space, but over the long term, it can lead to future opportunities and better future performance. So, with that in mind, in this article, we take a closer look at some of the most important things you need to get in order to build the perfect setup for day trading.
Trading Tools and Services You Need for Trading the Markets
1. Strong Computer
Obviously, the most important tool of all is your computer. To quickly switch between charts, view data, get detailed on-screen information, and execute trades – you need a reliable and strong computer.
So, the first question – are you a mac or windows user? If you’re a Mac user like me you might already know how limited we are when it comes to compatible trading platforms. Still, you have the option to install Windows on your Mac with Bootcamp or Parallels so you can basically use any software available on the market.
The second question – desktop computer or laptop? Well, the answer lies in your preferences and how you feel more comfortable sitting in front of a computer. Generally, most traders will tell you to use a strong desktop computer, however, in my opinion, it’s not the most crucial factor these days. There are strong laptops now in the market, and you can connect them to several screens and create a great setup with just one laptop.
So, if choosing the latest, then a laptop with 16GB or more of RAM, and a processor that contains at least 4 to 6 cores should do the work for day trading. Another factor to consider is the size of the screen. It’s advisable to buy a notebook computer with a screen size of 15.6 inches.
Otherwise, if you insist on using a desktop, then search for at least 16 GB RAM, a processor with at least 2.8 GHz Processor, SSD, and a graphic card with at least 2 GB of GPU.
2. Monitors for Trading
So, by now, you have a strong computer and good effort. That’s good, but you still need to look at something, meaning, the next step is to get multiple monitors for day trading. This is not something you can compromise on as several monitors can help you to get more screen space, keep track of several markets, get a comprehensive visual analysis and data sources, etc.
But, here’s the thing – too many monitors could be very confusing, especially in the beginning. In my experience as a day trader in a trading room, some traders even felt more convenient with just 3-4 screens (that will be enough for you to view at least 12-16 charts). I also know people that trade with one monitor and are doing well. One instrument, one chart – that’s it
Personally, I like the idea of having many monitors in front of you. There are more opportunities and more trade ideas. Hence, I think the most ideal way is to start with 3-4 monitors, and if at some point, you feel that it is not enough for you, you can invest and add more trading screens at a later date.
In terms of the brands and products to buy, some of the best screens for day trading include:
- Samsung CHG90
- Dell S Series Led-Lit Monitor 32″ Black
- LG 43UN700-B 43 Inch Class UHD
- DELL 24 Inch U2415 Ultrasharp
- HP VH240a 23.8-Inch Full HD
3. Trading Platform
Going back to the analogy of musicians, a trading platform is your precious instrument in your trading activity and one of your most important tools to get the most of your trading experience. But choosing the right trading platform could be quite a challenging task that requires in-depth research and the process of trial and error.
So, where do you start from? First, you need to decide on the market or type of asset class you are going to trade. For instance, if you have plans to trade FX currency pairs and CFDs, then stick with the MT4 or MT5. It’s simple, solid, and fast. Another excellent choice for forex and CFDs is the cTrader.
Otherwise, if you want to focus on futures, stocks, and options – then some of the best options include the NinjaTrader, TradeStation, and CQG.
4.VPS Hosting Provider
A few years ago, I had a fairly big losing trade due to internet disconnection or internet outage. Very frustrating – you make such a huge effort and eventually, you get hit by an unexpected enemy. The solution – a Virtual Private Server (VPS), which is basically a form of web hosting that ensures you always have a good connection to the markets and you can avoid slippages and internet cut-offs. Further, a VPS can significantly reduce the latency, which helps you get a faster market execution than using your broker’s server.
Usually, the vast majority of VPS hosting services charge around $30-$90 per month. However, some brokers provide you with a VPS hosting service as a free plugin when you open a forex/CFDs trading account.
5. Something Fun to Do
Looking at numbers for long hours every day could be a daunting task. Obviously, there are lots of exciting moments in the markets, but at the same time, there are times when the markets are silent and you’ll have to find a way to stay focused. And, even if you are on a strike of daily returns, you always need to find this one fun activity you like to get you out of the markets.
That was a great tip I received at some point from one of my mentors. For me, reading a book for 20-30 minutes during a trading day is an alternative for trading time and usually helps me relax. But, if you find any other activity that helps get your mind clear, then do it. Hence, you need to find something you like, put it in your trading room, and add it to your daily routine.
6. A Good Mobile Phone
From my experience, you can also successfully trade from your mobile phone, especially when mobile trading applications have become so good in recent years. There may be a few professional trading apps like the MT4 that allow you to track the forex market (as well as other markets) from your mobile device, view charts, news feed, technical analysis tools, etc. Further, you can easily place orders in the market from your mobile phone and get instant market execution.
As a matter of fact, I even know some swing traders and long-term investors, claiming that sometimes it’s even easier to trade directly from a mobile device (although you can’t really day trade from your mobile phone). After all, there are lots of benefits of mobile trading app – you can trade on the go and easily get market alerts and updates to your phone.
And, even if you are not going to day trade from your mobile phone, intraday trading is addictive. You have to check the markets at any given moment and monitor your account as much as you can. In some cases, you might have to enter your mobile app several times a day to change orders, buy or sell an asset, analyze the markets, etc.
All things considered, you also need a really good mobile phone as part of the perfect setup for day trading.
The Bottom Line
There’s a high probability that the first image you had in mind when you decided to become a day trader is to sit in front of 7-8 trading screens, get access to top-notch trading platforms, and make thousands of trades per day. So, in order to get the ball rolling, you need to get the necessary tools and platforms to make the best setup for your trading business.
Apart from what we’ve mentioned above, you also need to get other essential tools and services including a trading desk or table, high speed internet connection, ergonomic chair, etc. For your convenience, it is also recommended to choose the platform theme (dark or light), and get access to a good economic calendar/news source/trading signals provider.
Remember, day trading is a hard job. You need to clear your mind between a trade to trade during the trading day. This means you can add something you like as part of your day trading routine – play bubbles on your phone, read a book, watch TV, visit social media platforms, listen to music, or anything else that makes you feel like you want to go back to the battlezone.
At last, bear in mind that there’s no one way to do it – some people prefer a minimalist approach with just one laptop, one chart, etc. Others are much more confident in an abundance of information. It would be best for you to start with the basic tools and services we mentioned above and find your way as you go through the first months of your trading journey.