Have you been looking for a desktop trading and charting platform? Then our Sierra Chart review is for you. We look at how this company works as well as the pros and cons of using a desktop trading platform. How do they stack up to their competitors in ThinkorSwim and TradingView?
Is Sierra Chart Legit?
If you’ve been trading long and looking for a technical analysis live trading platform created for advanced or even some beginner traders, you may have stumbled across Sierra Trader. The first thing one usually thinks when they see the site is that it was made in 1995; which it was. But under the hood has been updated since.
Though their GUI is mid-90s, SierraChart has customizable charts, live trading, and hundreds of customizable options for those looking for them for a reasonable price. So yes, this Sierra Chart review has found that they’re legit.
Sierra Chart review of the basics focuses on technical charting, technical analysis, and live trading for all levels of traders. The desktop-based platform provides an enormous number of tools for analyzing stocks, forex, cryptos, commodities, options, and more, emphasizing efficiency and performance when making complex analyses.
This is their reason for the simple GUI. Sierra focuses on what matters, not the looks, standing out from competitors such as cloud based TradingView or ThinkorSwim, offering a huge suite of analysis tools with infinite customization for those willing to work with their ASCIL code interface (requires some C++ programming knowledge see below).
Is Sierra Chart Free?
- TPO Chart Study
- Numbers Bars
- Numbers Bars Calculated Values
- Market Depth Historical Graph
- Volume Profile Interactive Drawing Tool
These five features can be added with “Package 5”. Further enhanced up to their most expensive “Service Package 12,” which also includes both Market Buy Order (MBO) and the Denali Exchange Data Feed (real-time/historical data for CME, CBOT, NYMEX, COMEX, and EUREX but doesn’t include any exchange fees).
Sierra Chart review of subscriptions have real-time forex and crypto trading data and 10-15 minute lags behind real-time stock data. And Sierra Chart is designed to work with several external data sources but will require their own subscriptions.
Sierra Chart offers a free 15-day trial where all of its data and analysis features are unlocked. We found in this Sierra Chart review that they’re not free.
Sierra Chart’s Capabilities
Traders will choose Sierra Chart (SC) for two reasons. The price and the versatility. Though not fancy-looking, SC’s charts are incredibly customizable. And hundreds of chart options are available.
Chart Studies Dialog Box
And this is only the beginning. You can apply advanced settings to charts, bars can be filtered by volume, multipliers can be applied to real-time or historical data, and charts can have depth of market DOM graphs applied directly over them or separately and if you have a linked brokerage account, you can trade directly from the DOM if desired. This all requires a steep learning curve, but there is significant documentation available for ALL chart options.
Drawing tools like Fibonacci and Gann Analysis are available with Sierra Chart. and charts can be annotated too. There are also many studies available (over 300) for technical review; which can fit over your charts and all of these elements can be easily added or removed.
Custom studies (editing of the 300) are even possible but require input into SC’s spreadsheet-style editor. This takes time to learn but valuable for those that need such technical studies to save and use in their trading.
Be aware that Sierra Chart can be resource-intensive for an older PC; intra-day scans can be especially slow.
Sierra Chart review is compatible with any text-based data feed, including major firms, like, TD Ameritrade and Interactive Brokers, and will link to several brokerages who cater to advanced traders (Advantage Futures, Discount Trading, TradePro, Zaner, etc.)
Advanced Custom Study Interface and Language (ASCIL)
For those that need the most powerful trading tools and automated routines, the Advanced Custom Study Interface and Language (ASCIL) tool is your new best friend. This will require C++ programming skills but allows an infinite set of possibilities for manipulation as the ASCIL provides access to the entire C++ language.
C++ was the chosen over other computer languages to make routines run efficiently and fast while also allowing for complex FOR and IF loops. You can use the existing SC studies (just altering the standard parameters) to build from, which creates a shortcut to efficient programming as needed by using their included code editor (Notepad++) and then both compiled and easily available within SierraChart itself.
If you have some C++ experience already and are interested in the ASCIL, there are some examples of code and an extensive overview of the ASCIL available here.
Sierra Chart Pros
- Charts and Layout are Highly customizable
- Robust technical analysis tools including over 300 built-in studies, which allow editing
- Depth of market analysis and live trades available
- Real-time forex and crypto trading data
- C++-based code editor allows for fast and efficient, infinite customization
Sierra Chart Cons
- External data sources Required for most real-time data
- Desktop software only no cloud-based service
- Learning curve for advanced functions and ASCIL code interface
Never make a trade worth more than you are comfortable with, and good luck with all your trades.
Sierra Chart Bottom Line
For an advanced trader, Sierra Chart may be your best choice. If you need any unique customization, you will have the ability to do so with their extensive list of prepackaged tools and the ability to either edit these or create your own from scratch. The cost of this service is low. If you are a novice trader without need for such tools, or if you need to have either a cloud-based service or a pretty GUI, then you may wish to try one of the more mainstream data analysis services.