Stock scanners and screeners are integral tools used to search the markets for specific criteria for trading. They are great for finding setups and stocks to trade. Stock screeners are helpful for narrowing down potential plays, saving time, and creating an edge or trading system. It’s important to never rely on a scanner to make your trading decisions. We’ve provided you with a list of some of the most popular companies. Just click any of the links to read our reviews.
Please do your research before purchasing any scanners. The ratings above are our opinions and do not constitute a recommendation to go with any of these companies.
What Does a Stock Scanner Do?
Stock scanners allow traders to search for stocks based on volume, price, patterns, and specific technical indicators. They can identify potential trade setups by filtering down stocks to designated criteria tailored to the trader’s requirements. They are often used along with other trading tools or technical analysis to confirm the trade setup.
It’s important to realize that scanners are only as good as the trader using them. They should be used as a guide to finding stocks to potentially trade, not for calling out trades for you. All trading decisions are ultimately your decision, not the technology that you’re using.
Why Do Traders Use Stock Scanners?
There are several reasons why traders use stock scanners:
To save time: Stock scanners can help traders analyze large amounts of data quickly and efficiently, saving them time and energy searching for trades.
To identify potential trade setups: They can help traders identify potential trading opportunities by narrowing down a vast list of stocks to a narrowed and predefined selection based on the trader’s interests.
To confirm patterns and trends: Stock scanners can be used along with other tools, such as charting software or indicators, to confirm patterns and trends, which show potential buy and sell areas.
It’s difficult to determine the best stock scanners because everyone has different setups they like to trade. Our trading goals aren’t the same. When choosing a stock scanner, some factors to consider include the data sources and algorithms used, available customization options, and how user-friendly the interface is. It’s important to remember that no stock scanner is perfect and to use it with other tools to confirm that your trade setup is right.
There are a lot of different scanners to use when trading. If you’re new or on a budget, start using a free stock scanner like Finviz before upgrading to a paid scanner. The Bullish Bears team uses stock scanners to trade and build our watch lists. Typically, we use ThinkorSwim to build our swing trade watch list and Trade Ideas gap scanner to build our day trade watch list.
Types of Stock Scanners
Many types of stock scanners are available, each with different criteria and features. Here are some examples:
Gap and go scanners: They allow traders to search for stocks that are gapping up (prices opened significantly higher than the previous day’s close) and are looking for potential continuation.
High-volume scanners: These scanners allow traders to scan for stocks that have high trading volume
High-of-day scanners: These scanners allow traders to scan for stocks reaching their highest intraday price. Day traders use these scanners to search for momentum.
Dark pool scanners: They allow traders to search for stocks traded in dark pools. These scanners are popular among options traders.
Unusual options activity scanners: These scanners allow traders to search for options trades with a lot of unusual volume or open interest.
Fundamental analysis screeners: They allow traders to screen for stocks based on fundamental analysis metrics, such as earnings, revenue, or dividends.
Gap and Go Scanners
Gap and go refers to a stock that gaps up (price opens significantly higher than the previous day’s close) and then continues to follow through intraday. This is the most popular day trading strategy, also known as momentum trading. Overall, gap-and-go stocks are popular among traders looking to scalp price action.
Scalping is when traders look to capitalize on short-term moves in price action. Typically $0.10-$0.20 at a time. Example: If a trader purchased 1000 shares of $XYZ stock at $3.00 and then sold at $3.20, they would make a $200 profit.
Trade Ideas is the premier gap and go scanner on the market. We share their premarket gappers each morning in our Discord. Typically, we watch the top 3-5 gappers with the highest volume percentage. Then, we see what’s hitting their high-of-day scanner when the market opens. ThinkorSwim also has a decent premarket scanner, and it’s free to use if you have an account set up with TD Ameritrade.
High Volume Stock Scanners
A high-volume stock scanner allows traders to quickly scan for stocks with a high amount of trading volume. Volume is one of the most important indicators when trading. It gauges the amount of interest between the buyers and sellers. Using a high-volume scanner can benefit both day trading and swing trading.
These scanners can be used for monitoring the market for potential changes in patterns or trends. Some high-volume scanners may be standalone tools or software programs, while others may be integrated into trading platforms or provided by brokerage firms or other financial service providers.
There are a lot of good scanners to use to search for high volume. There isn’t one that’s better than others overall. Also, many free scanners are just as good as paid ones.
Options scanners allow traders to search for options setups based on specific criteria such as strike prices, expiration dates, or implied volatility. For example, an options trader might use a scanner to search for calls or put options with a certain expiration date and strike price—the same thing with debit and credit spreads.
Unusual options activity (UOA) scanners allow traders to search for options with a highly unusual trading volume or a large amount of open interest. This is important because you can see many times when big money or institutions enter or exit positions.
ThinkorSwim has a really good UOA scanner. The Bullish Bears shares our TOS scanner settings for our community members.
Dark Pool Scanners
Dark pool scanners search for stocks that are being traded in dark pools. Dark pools were initially created to allow institutional investors to execute large trades without affecting stock pricing. This is because large trades can drastically move the price of a stock, which could spook traders many times. By executing the trade in a dark pool, the stock price is not publicly disclosed until after the trade has been executed, which can help to minimize price movement.
Dark pools are often used for stocks but can also be used for trading other securities, such as options and futures. Overall, they can be a useful tool for large institutional investors to execute trades, and they are generally not accessible to individual retail traders.
Fundamental Analysis Screener
A fundamental analysis screener allows traders to search for stocks based on earnings, revenue, or dividends. They are often used by value investors who seek to screen for undervalued stocks with strong fundamentals. Fundamental analysis is a method of evaluating the intrinsic value of a stock by analyzing its financial and economic characteristics. This can include criteria such as the company’s financial statements, industry trends, management staff, and competitive landscape.
The goal of fundamental research is to identify undervalued stocks with strong fundamentals that are likely to be good long-term investments. This information can be used to make informed buy, sell, or hold trading decisions for individual securities or for creating a diversified portfolio. However, it’s important to remember that fundamental analysis is just one aspect of investment decision-making and should be used in conjunction with technical analysis.
Technical Analysis Screeners
Technical analysis screeners are tools that scan the market for stocks or other securities that meet specific technical criteria. Technical analysis evaluates stocks by analyzing statistical trends and patterns in the market data rather than using the stock’s underlying fundamentals.
Technical analysis scanners use technical indicators, such as moving averages, oscillators, and chart patterns, to identify potential trade setups. They can be useful for various trading strategies, including trend, swing, and day trading.
Frequently Asked Questions
Stock scanners are essential tools for traders to find stocks to trade, but they are only as good as the trader executing the trades. They can help you to determine potential stocks to trade up. It's up to you to decide if the setup is right to trade, which requires technical analysis and fundamental analysis research.
TradingView, BarChart, FinViz, and Stock Rover each offer free stock scanners with the ability to upgrade to receive more customizable features.