Stock Screeners – Ultimate guide to help you find the right stock scanner to discover the best stocks to buy

You can use stock scanners to screen the market and find the best stocks to buy and sell

Stock screeners are an essential tool for investors and traders alike. With 8,000 companies listed on US exchanges alone, you simply cannot expect to find the best stocks to buy without leveraging the power of technology. A stock screener, also known as a stock scanner, will help you narrow that list down to a handful of stocks that match a set of criteria. Therefore, stock screeners can help you find the best stocks to invest based on your investment thesis.

Best Stock Screeners
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There are now more than 100 different stock screeners around, which can make finding the right one a challenge. This review of some of the best stock screeners available will help you find the scanner that best suits your needs and budget. But first, let’s take a closer look at what a stock screener actually is.

What is a stock screener?

Fundamental Analysis / Technical Analysis
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A stock screener is simply a filter that narrows a long list of stocks down to a more manageable list. This is done by excluding stocks that don’t meet required criteria or filters. Filters can usually be categorised as either descriptive, fundamental or technical:

  • Descriptive filters include criteria like market capitalization, sector and price.
  • Fundamental filters include criteria like P/E ratio, return on equity and profit margin.
  • Technical filters include criteria like price performance, indicator levels and trading volume.

Investors typically use stock screeners to find stocks worthy of further research. The filters applied will vary according to the investment strategy which may lean toward growth, value, income or another theme. Investors can also include technical filters to find stocks with strong fundamentals that are oversold. Traders often use stock scanners to find stocks worth watching, and then add those stocks to a watchlist. Momentum, volume and volatility are good criteria to use to find shares that are on the move.

Stock Screening Criteria
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Stock scanners are especially useful if you have a specific niche like penny stocks or if you want to buy cheap stocks that the market may have overlooked. A stock scanner will allow you to save a lot of time by immediately eliminating the stocks that do not fit your criteria. Some stock scanning software is completely free or only requires registration. However, to get the most out a screener you will usually need to pay a monthly subscription fee. To get the most value for your money, it’s worth spending some time choosing the scanner that best meets your needs.

Tip: Most brokerage trading platforms have built in stock screeners – but they are typically limited in functionality. We recommend using a standalone screener, or a screener that is part of a research or analysis platform.

How to choose a stock screener

Investor / Stock Research
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The best way to choose a stock screener is to first list your requirements and then consider the various options. You will also need to decide whether a standalone screener or a screener that forms part of a larger platform. Technical analysis and fundamental research platforms often include a screener, but in some cases it’s not the best screener around. Using a standalone stock scanner will give you more flexibility and you won’t need to make compromises – but this approach may also cost more. Here are some of the questions to consider when evaluating a screener:

  • What markets are you interested in? 
  • Are you interested in other assets like ETFs, mutual funds, options, or cryptocurrencies?
  • Do you need real time data, or will delayed or end of day data suffice?
  • Are you more interested in fundamental or technical criteria to find the best stocks to buy – or are you looking for a balance?
  • What other investment tools do you need?
  • How much time will you spend scanning the market? There is no point using a very complex scanner if you’ll only use it for 30 minutes a week.

The 15 best stock screeners

Business / Finance / Analysis
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In reviewing the stock screeners, we are focussing on the features they do and don’t include, and the type of investors each one is best suited to. The user experience is more of a personal choice, and you really need to have a look at the way each one is set out to find a screener that works for you. We have grouped these screeners according to their primary tools and the types of investors they are most suited to.

FINVIZ

FINVIZ Stock Screener
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FINVIZ is one of the most popular stock screeners around. While FINVIZ is primarily known for its stock screener, the website includes a lot of other useful features. Amongst these are financial visualizations that you can use to quickly get an overview of what’s happening in the market. We recently published a more detailed FINVIZ review.

The stock scanner itself will help you narrow a list of about 8,000 US listed stocks down to the best stocks to buy or sell. You can filter stocks using 70 different criteria which are divided into three categories: descriptive, fundamental, and technical. First time users sometimes find the interface quite busy, but you can quickly get used to the layout. Other features include heat maps, economic calendar, insider trading, news, and detailed data on individual stocks.

FINVIZ is one of the best sites around if you want to quickly get an idea of what a company is all about. While there isn’t a FINVIZ app for mobile devices, the website can be accessed from any device.If there is a drawback to Finviz it is the fact that the screener only includes US listed stocks, so there are no OTC stocks or shares listed on foreign exchanges. There is also limited data on ETFs, futures, forex, and cryptocurrencies.

Pricing:

  • Unregistered (Free): Access to most tools but nothing can be saved, and quotes are delayed.
  • Registered (Free): Allows you to save Finviz screener settings and portfolios.
  • Finviz Elite ($39.50/month, or $299.50/year): Includes real time prices, pre-market and aftermarket quotes, customizable screener settings, back testing.

An excellent choice for:

  • Traders or investors who like to combine technical and fundamental analysis.
  • Anyone wanting a good single page overview of each and every US listed stock.

ChartMill

ChartMill
ChartMill

ChartMill is a standalone stock scanner, with a simple and intuitive user interface. It offers a good balance between providing all the information you need and avoiding information overload. The website covers North American and European equities, which is unique.

The scanner itself gives you around 120 descriptive, fundamental and technical analysis filters to help you to find the best stocks to buy. You can also create and save custom expressions to help you find exactly the right stocks. Besides using raw data to scan, you can include ChartMill’s own ratings when screening.

In addition to running your own scans, you can refer to an extensive list of “Trade Ideas”. These are pre-configured scans designed to identify potential opportunities. The ChartMill Analyzer is another tool that provides a detailed overview for each stock. This stock evaluator includes technical and fundamental analysis, a chart, analysts ratings, and forecasts. All data is delayed by 15 minutes which may be an issue for some day traders.

Pricing:

ChartMill has a unique system of credits which lets you pay for what you use. You start the month with 6,000 free credits and every time you use a tool credits are deducted. You can then buy 10,000 additional credits for $10. This is a viable option if you only run a few scans a week, and know exactly what you are looking for. If you want to use the scanner more often, it is advisable to buy a monthly subscription.

  • Unregistered (Free, ad supported): Screener with 3 results per scan, no watchlists, charts or reports. 
  • Unlimited ($29.97/month or $259.97/year): More saved filters and watchlists, and advanced filter support.

An excellent choice for:

  • Traders or investors wanting to get up and running quickly.
  • Anyone looking for a straightforward scanner with fundamental and technical filters.
  • Investors interested in North American and European equities.

Trade Ideas

Trade Ideas
Trade Ideas

Trade Ideas, one of the most powerful stock screeners around, bills itself as a market intelligence platform. The platform includes a range of features to assist traders in generating ideas. These include a powerful stock scanner, preconfigured idea screens, AI (artificial intelligence) powered suggestions and recommendations. Besides technical and fundamental data, the screener includes data from social media platforms. With this screener you can be extremely specific about the stocks you are looking for, and then save your screener settings.

In addition to the stock scanner, the platform includes a live trading room, simulated and automated trading, and back testing of trade ideas. Trade Ideas can be accessed via a web portal or a desktop application. There are two subscription plans, but no free version. The biggest disadvantage to Trade Ideas is the hefty price tag. It is also worth noting that the platform only covers US and Canadian listed stocks.

Pricing:

  • Standard ($118/month) : Includes stock scanner, trade ideas, simulated trading, price alerts and live trading room.
  • Premium ($228/month): Additional features include AI powered recommendations, back testing, and automated trading.

An excellent choice for:

  • Professional and active traders wanting an extra edge.
  • Traders who devote a fair amount of time to their trading – you will need to spend some time using the platform to get your money’s worth out of it.

StockFetcher

StockFetcher
StockFetcher

StockFetcher is a dedicated stock scanner tool with a focus on technical indicators and price action. The website also includes basics charts and watchlists. The scanner is unique in that filters are created using a custom coding language. This may sound complicated, but the language is simple and based on natural language. An example of a filter is as follows:

show stocks where MACD Fast Line(12,26,9) crossed bearish MACD Slow Line(12,26,9) and MACD Fast Line(12,26,9) is below 0

The code-based filters allow you to set up very complex scans, which you can then save. You can also set all your scans to run every evening and have the results emailed to you. There are plenty of prebuilt scans to use if you don’t want to create your own. Results can be displayed as charts, so you can go through all the results quickly to find those worth investigating further. Watchlists can also be displayed in the form of charts.

StockFetcher is geared toward technical analysis so there are just a few fundamental and descriptive filters. Also, it’s worth noting that data is delayed by 15 to 20 minutes which may not suit every day trader.

Pricing:

  • Free: You can run scans on previous day’s data and see the first five results.
  • Standard ($8.95/month or $24.95/qtr.): 100 saved filters and watchlists, daily email alerts.
  • Advanced ($16.95/month or $44.95/qtr.): More saved filters and watchlists, and advanced filter support.

An excellent choice for:

  • Anyone looking for a price action scanner at a great price.
  • The complex scans with daily results emails are perfect for swing traders and trend followers.

Seeking Alpha

Seeking Alpha
Seeking Alpha

Seeking Alpha is a very popular stock research site, with a focus on user generated, fundamental research. Anyone can contribute research articles and opinions to the site, and readers can comment on articles too. The site arguably has the biggest collection of crowdsourced research available.

Besides the user generated research, Seeking Alpha rates stocks on several metrics, including a quantitative rating and aggregate ratings from contributors and Wall Street analysts. You can also access analyst estimates, financial statements for the last ten years, and other data.

The Seeking Alpha stock screener is mostly based on the ratings and grades that the site assigns to each stock. Each stock gets a rating of 1 to 5 from a quantitative score, contributor scores, and Wall Street analyst Scores. There are also grades from A to F for value, growth, profitability, momentum, and EPS revisions. 

The drawback for this stock filter is that you cannot specify any specific metrics for a share when looking for the best stocks to buy. Besides the momentum rating there are no filters related to price action or technical analysis. While this isn’t a good filter for technical traders, it can be used to complement a charting platform.

Pricing:

  • Basic (Free): Limited access across the platform, including new articles but no archived articles.
  • Premium ($29.99/month or $239/year): Access to all user generated research and ideas, the screener and data and ratings for all stocks
  • Pro ($299.99/month or $2,390/year): Includes access to top ideas and exclusive interviews and newsletters.

An excellent choice for:

  • Any investor wanting crowd sourced opinions will find value in this stock analysis website.
  • Investors wanting a lot of information on listed and OTC stocks that are traded in North America. This includes foreign companies with American Depository Receipts (ADRs).

Simply Wall St

Simply Wall St
Simply Wall St

Simply Wall St is a stock analysis tool with a focus on visualization and simplicity. When it comes to displaying fundamental data graphically, this is the best site there is. Simply Wall St does not make buy and sell recommendations, but seeks to give investors the tools and information to make their own decisions.

For each company, a “snowflake” graphic lets you quickly see how the stock is rated in terms of value, future growth, dividends, financial health and past performance. Apart from the snowflake there are 27 graphics for each stock that illustrate the stock’s financial position, valuation, analyst forecasts, dividends, ownership and insider transactions. Major risks are also listed for each company.

The site covers just about every stock in the world, including US OTC stocks. The focus is on long term investing using fundamental data, so there is very little in the way of charting. When it comes to a stock scanner, Simply Wall St once again simplifies everything. There are actually two stock screeners:

  • The “Discover” tab allows you to find stocks by industry, theme or potential opportunity. 
  • The “Screener” tab lets you filter stocks according to a handful of fundamental factors as well as ratings for value, future growth, dividends, financial health and past performance. 

Pricing:

  • Free: Requires registration and includes access to 5 free stock analysis reports per month and an unlimited watchlist.
  • Premium ($10/month): 30 company reports per month and the stock screener.
  • Unlimited ($10/month): Unlimited company reports per month, stock screener, and excel and pdf exports.

An excellent choice for:

  • Long term investors who want to keep things simple.
  • Anyone who prefers visualizations over tables of data.
  • Traders and investors who need a tool to quickly get an overview of nearly any stock in the world’s fundamentals.

Zacks

Zacks
Zacks

Zacks is an investment research website which features a unique rating system for stocks. Each stock is rated and ranked within its industry according to value, momentum, and other factors. The system places a lot of emphasis on earnings surprises and analyst forecast revisions. Zacks also publishes a lot of detailed research reports on individual stocks which is available on the pricier subscription plans. 

The Zacks stock scanner is designed to be used in conjunction with the proprietary rating system, but you only include these scores in a scan if you subscribe to the premium version. You can also filter stocks according to a very wide range of fundamental criteria when looking for the best stocks to buy. There isn’t much point using the Zack’s screener if you aren’t interested in their ratings system. The site has very little in the way of charts and technical analysis – so it’s more suitable to investors than traders.

Pricing:

  • Free: Basic screening but cannot include Zack’s ratings and scores, or EPS estimates.
  • Zack’s Premium ($249/year): Full access to the ratings system and other research.
  • Zack’s Investor Collection ($495): Includes additional research products.
  • Zack’s Ultimate ($2995/year): Includes even more research products.

An excellent choice for:

  • With its emphasis on earnings estimates, this is a particularly good screener for growth investors and momentum traders.
  • The best screener around to use during earnings season.

Stock Rover

Stock Rover
Stock Rover

Stock Rover is a popular stock scanner and research platform for long term investors. The platform covers North American listed stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds. A lot of thought has gone into keeping the layout straightforward and easy to navigate. However, there is a lot of information available, including 10 years of historical data and 8-page research reports on each stock. A useful feature is the ability to chart fundamental data.

The screener includes 140 pre-configured scans, but you can also set up and save your own scan with over 500 different metrics. The screener is quite unique in that you can set up complex scans using equations and if/then logic. Besides the screener and extensive analysis resources, there are also tools for portfolio management and analysis. You can link these tools to your brokerage account to analyze and rebalance your portfolio.

Pricing:

  • Free: Portfolio management tools and some data, but no scanner.
  • Essentials ($79.99/year or $79.99/month): Scan using 260 metrics and use other basic tools.
  • Premium ($179.99/year or $17.99/month): Scan using 350+ metrics, export data, chart with multiple metrics and more.
  • Premium Plus ($279.99/year or $27.99/month): Scan with 650 metrics and custom metrics, ratio charts, valuation charts.

Note: Research reports cost an extra $49.99 to $99.99/year depending on plan.

An excellent choice for:

  • This is just about the best stock screener for those focused on value and dividend investing.
  • Investors looking for lots of data at a budget friendly price. 

TrendSpider

TrendSpider
TrendSpider

TrendSpider is primarily a technical analysis platform, but includes a very powerful stock scanner. The platform is steadily building a community of loyal users who speak very highly of the product. The charting platform includes some new and innovative features not available elsewhere, including raindrop charts which take candlestick charts to a new level. The charts include automated and AI powered features to point you in the direction of some of the best stocks to buy or sell. You can also find out about the seasonality of any asset price. 

TrendSpider’s stock market scanner is focused on charts and price action, so there are very few fundamental filters. That said, this is one of the most advanced and fastest platforms to find socks with the pattern you are looking for. A useful feature is the ability to scan across every market and time frame for a specific pattern. This platform does require some commitment as the learning curve is steep. But there are a lot of education and support resources available. You can get one-on-one coaching from seasoned experts or refer to hundreds of YouTube tutorials. 

Pricing:

  • Premium ($33/month or $396/year): Most functions available, but limited results for each scan and limited alerts.
  • Elite ($65/month or $780/year): Includes back testing of ideas, multifactor alerts, earnings data. 
  • Master ($97/month or $1164/year): Includes more alerts and more results for each scan.

An excellent choice for:

  • Traders looking for some of the most advanced charts and tools around.
  • Active traders trading on any time frame, and particularly those who analyze stocks on multiple timeframes.

TradingView

TradingView Stock Screener
TradingView Stock Screener

TradingView is primarily a technical analysis platform, but it includes a very capable stock scanner too. The platform’s technical analysis capabilities include numerous indicators, custom indicators, and different timeframes. You can also keep track of stocks with multiple watchlists.

The platform includes data for almost every tradable asset in the world, including stocks, OTC shares and ETFs. You can also include economic indicators in your analysis. TradingView has also evolved into a social network for traders, and now has a large community engaging on the platform. You can share ideas and charts, and you can follow and communicate with individual contributors.

The screener is one of the best around if you want to combine fundamental filters with technical indicators to screen stocks. Results are displayed in a table which can easily be sorted by a specific field, or filtered further. If there are any drawbacks it may be the potential for information overload. At this stage you cannot incorporate custom indicators like an S&P500 relative chart in a scan.

Pricing:

  • Basic (Free): Ad supported with limits on alerts, chart tabs and indicators
  • Pro (14.95/month or $155/year): 2 charts per tab, 5 indicators per chart, 20 alerts.
  • Pro+ (29.95/month or $299/year): 4 charts per tab, 10 indicators per chart, 100 alerts, and other features.
  • Premium (59.95/month or $599/year): 8 charts per tab, 25 indicators per chart, 400 alerts, and other advanced features.

An excellent choice for:

  • Anyone who likes to combine technical and fundamental indicators in a scanning tool.
  • Traders and investors who trade lots of different assets classes.
  • Traders who want to be part of a community and keep tabs on what other traders think about a stock.
  • TradingView is also good for day trading and swing trading.

TC2000

TC2000
TC2000

TC2000 is one of the oldest stock screeners around, but remains popular, particularly amongst day traders. The platform combines a trading platform with charting, and a stock filter that also covers ETFs and options. TC2000’s tools can be accessed using a browser, a desktop application, or a mobile app.

TC2000 is especially well suited to day trading as you can manage your positions, orders, charts and the market scanner on one page. This allows you to easily manage your workflow when time is a critical factor. You can also trade directly via the platform if you open a TC2000 Brokerage account.

The screener is useful for running intraday scans for gaps and stocks with heavy volume. You can also set up sophisticated scans based on a sequence of events that need to occur. Stocks that meet certain conditions can also be highlighted on a watchlist. If you want to get the most out of the stock screeners you will need to subscribe to the Gold or Platinum plan.

Pricing:

  • Silver ($9.99/month): Most charting, watchlist and portfolio tools.
  • Gold ($29.99/month): Includes EasyScan® wizard, trend lines and Fibonacci levels, and 100 alerts.
  • Platinum ($89.98/month): Includes conditional idea back testing and historical scans.

Additional fees apply to real time data feeds, extra alerts and extra scans.

An excellent choice for:

  • Day traders, swing traders and options traders.
  • Active traders wanting a stock scanner that combines technical and fundamental factors in a stock 

StocksToTrade

StocksToTrade
StocksToTrade

StocksToTrade is a trading platform affiliated with well-known penny stock trader Tim Sykes. The platform is geared toward traders who need the data and tools required to trade illiquid shares. This includes level 2 market depth data, charts, watchlists, and of course a stock scanner. The screener comes with per-configured scans and an AI powered scanner (called “Oracle”), which identifies the best stocks to buy each day.

Extra features include the ability to filter Twitter conversations by ticker. STT University is a vast trove of educational resources like webinars, articles and tutorials. StocksToTrade, covers US markets, including OTC stocks. The obvious drawback to this platform is the fact that it is a lot more expensive than other platforms. We would recommend further research before committing to a subscription.

Pricing:

  • Standard ($179.95/month or  $1,899/year): All standard tools and educational material.

Note: Some feeds and features (including level 2 data and the Oracle scanner) incur extra fees.

An excellent choice for:

  • Small Cap traders and investors who can justify the extra expense. 
  • Short term equity traders.

Market Gear

Market Gear
Market Gear

Market Gear is a trading platform with lots of tools which are categorized within modules. The platform can also be connected to several brokers. The dashboard can be customized with the tools you use on a regular basis. As one would expect, there are charts, watchlists, a scanner, research and news feeds. There are also a few useful tools that are less common, including a trading journal and an entire module dedicated to options trading.

There are screeners for both stocks and options, which include a large number of preconfigured scans. Alternatively, scans based on technical and fundamental criteria, or MarketGear’s own ratings, can be created and saved. The option scanner lets you scan for multi-leg option trades that fit your criteria. MarketGear also has a social trading component, which allows you to share and collaborate on strategies and ideas. In addition, MarketGear runs regular courses on trading. MarketGear is not cheap, but does include a large number of tools which may justify the price.

Pricing:

  • Standard ($75/month): One price includes all tools.

14-day free trial and 33% discount for first three months available at time of publication.

An excellent choice for:

  • Options traders – MarketGear has one of the most comprehensive set of options trading tools around.
  • With a large array of trading tools, MarketGear is ideal for active traders.

Atom Finance

Atom Finance
Atom Finance

Atom Finance is positioned as an advanced research and trading platform, and aims to bring resources previously only available to institutions to individual investors. Atom was established in 2018, making it one of the newest stock screeners around. The stock scanner includes the most common metrics, but some traders may expect to see more. Filters can be customized by creating equations using a drop-down menu.

Atom’s more powerful features fall under modelling and analysis. You can compare stocks across a large range of financial and performance criteria, to help you further narrow down a list of the best stocks to buy. You can also use Atom Hubs to create and follow dynamic watchlists and scans. Another feature, “sandbox”, lets you experiment with different scenarios and their impact on a company’s value.

Furthermore, Atom gives you access to a lot of unique information, like operational KPIs for companies, SEC filings, and ETF and fund holdings. As mentioned, Atom Finance is a new platform and is therefore evolving and growing. The platform currently covers US listed stocks, ETFs and mutual funds. Apps are available for Android and iOS devices. 

Pricing:

Atom recently moved from a freemium model to a single plan which costs $6.99 a month and gives subscribers access to all the tools on the platform. New users can sign up for a 7-day free trial.

An excellent choice for:

  • Investors wanting to go into quite a lot of detail and compare stocks before investing.
  • Quantitative investors and traders.
  • Pairs (long/short equity) traders.

Yahoo Finance

Yahoo Finance
Yahoo Finance

Yahoo Finance is one of the most popular financial market websites, particularly amongst retail investors. The site provides a lot of news and data (including real time quotes) for individual stocks listed around the world. It also includes basic charts, watchlists, and prices for other markets.

Yahoo’s stock scanner is widely used, even though its features are somewhat limited. The screener is geared more toward fundamental data than price action data. You can filter stocks by sector, industry, and an extensive range of metrics related to the financial statements. You can also find trending stocks, which are the stocks most searched for on the website.

One advantage of this screener is that once you have a shortlist of stocks you can then access detailed financial statements for each company. The screener can also be used to find non-US stocks and OTC (over the counter) stocks. This means it is also a good basic penny stock screener. Yahoo also has a stock screener app for mobile devices, though its features are more limited than the full website. There are premium plans that include several advanced features, but the stock screener has the same features as the free version. 

Pricing:

  • Free: Includes stock screener, watchlists, news, 
  • Yahoo Finance Plus Lite ($25/month or $250/year): Includes fewer ads, trade ideas, fair value analysis and other features.
  • Yahoo Finance Plus Essential – $35/month or $350/year): Additional charting features and fundamental data downloads.

An excellent choice for:

  • Long term investors looking for a free stock screener and access to financial statements.
  • Investors wanting information on a wide array of shares including OTC and foreign stocks.
  • Anyone wanting a good overview of the news for each stock.

Conclusion: Stock screeners to find the best stocks to buy and sell

Investor / Charts
Image Source: Foxy burrow / Shutterstock.com

Stock screeners vary considerably, and the one you choose will become a key part of your process. So, if you start investing it’s worth taking some time to find one that makes sense for you and your approach to markets.

A final point to consider is simplicity. It’s very easy to get side-tracked by all the different criteria you can use to filter stocks. A screener is a tool to help you find the stocks that fit your strategy, not a tool to create new strategies. Choose your strategy first and then use a handful of filters to find the shares that fit that strategy.

About Richard Bowman
Richard is partner at InvestOpen, analyst and investor based in Cape Town, South Africa. He has over 18 years’ experience in asset management, financial media and systematic trading. Richard combines fundamental, quantitative and technical analysis with a dash of common sense.

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