For forex and CFD traders, choosing the right trading platform can impact trading performance and overall experience. RoboForex offers cTrader and the popular MetaTrader 4/5 (MT4/5) platforms. But which one is better suited for your needs?
This comprehensive 2023 review compares cTrader vs MT4/5 across over 50 factors including fees, tools, features, ease of use and more. Read on to see which platform is better for beginners to advanced traders.
RoboForex is a leading online broker catering to a global clientele of over 1.4 million traders. They offer access to over 12,500 CFD instruments across 9 asset classes on two powerful trading platforms – cTrader and MetaTrader 4/5 (MT4/5).
Both platforms have their own unique strengths and differences when it comes to fees, charting, tools, features, ease of use and overall user experience. This makes it tricky for traders to decide which one better suits their trading needs and style.
To help you make an informed decision, we thoroughly compare cTrader vs MT4/5 across over 50 factors including spreads, commissions, features, charting, bots and EAs, community size and more. By the end you’ll have all the information to determine which platform is better for you as a beginner, experienced or advanced forex and CFD trader.
cTrader vs MT4 at a Glance
Before diving into the full comparison, here is a quick overview of how cTrader and MT4 stack up:
|Fees & Pricing||Lower spreads, tighter pricing||Higher spreads, less competitive pricing|
|Charting & Analytics||Superior charts, Level II pricing, more technical analysis tools||Basic charts and indicators|
|Automated Trading||cBots for visual automated trading||MQL4 for coding EAs, larger community|
|Platform Features||Advanced features for discretionary trading||MetaTrader Marketplace with thousands of available tools and plugins|
|Ease of Use||Sleek modern UI, simpler to get started||Outdated interface but familiar for many traders|
|Mobile Trading||iOS and Android apps||MT4 mobile app only on Android, web trading on iOS|
|Customer Support||Email support||Email, live chat and phone support|
This comparison overview demonstrates that cTrader has some advantages like lower fees, advanced charting and a modern UI, while MT4 is showing its age but offers more tools via the Marketplace and MQL4 automated trading.
Now let’s take a deeper look at how the two platforms compare across over 50 factors:
Fees and Pricing Comparison
One of the most important factors in choosing a trading platform is the associated fees and pricing. This impacts your potential profit or loss on every trade. Here is how cTrader and MT4’s fees compare:
cTrader offers significantly tighter spreads compared to MT4. For example, on the EUR/USD pair the typical spread is 0.4 pips on cTrader versus 1.2 pips on MT4. This spread difference affects every trade, making cTrader clearly cheaper in the long run.
Both platforms charge a round turn commission per lot traded. cTrader has a tiered commission model based on monthly volume, starting from $3.50 per lot up to $2.20 for high volume traders.
MT4 has a fixed $3.50 commission per lot regardless of trading volume. So cTrader has the potential for lower commissions for very active traders.
Another difference is the pricing model. cTrader uses raw spreads with the transparent commission charge per lot. MT4 advertises “zero commissions”, but the spread is marked up to compensate so you pay higher spreads instead.
cTrader’s raw spreads and transparent commissions are widely considered the preferable pricing model. You see the real spread for fairer pricing, and can reduce total fees through high volume discounts.
Overall, cTrader has significantly lower spreads on average, and the potential for reduced commissions compared to MT4. For active traders, these tighter spreads and fees on cTrader can really add up to major savings in the long run.
Charting and Analytics Comparison
Another key area of difference is the charting capabilities and technical analysis tools of each platform. Let’s compare them across some key features:
All standard timeframes are available on both platforms from tick charts up to monthly. No major differences here.
For visually marking up charts, both platforms are well equipped with trend lines, channels, shapes, and more. cTrader does offer a few advanced drawing tools that MT4 lacks.
Indicators and Studies
MT4 comes stocked with 30+ indicators and analysis tools while cTrader has 50+. Both cover all the essentials like moving averages, Bollinger bands, MACD, RSI and more. cTrader does offer some more advanced tools.
cTrader has built-in recognition of over 30 popular candlestick patterns like Doji, Hammer etc. This allows for faster visual pattern recognition on the charts. MT4 does not have this feature.
Level II Pricing
A major advantage of cTrader is that it offers Level II pricing data right on the charts. This allows you to visualize the order book and liquidity dynamics which can aid trading decisions. Not available on MT4.
Overall cTrader has superior charting capabilities and technical analysis tools compared to MT4. The advanced drawing, extra indicators, candlestick recognition, and unique Level II pricing data give cTrader a noticeable edge for technical traders.
Automated Trading Comparison
Automated trading systems allow you to program rules and strategies for algorithmic trading. Here’s how the platforms stack up for automated trading options:
EAs and MQL4 on MT4
MT4 uses the MQL4 programming language for creating automated Expert Advisors, custom indicators, scripts and more. The MT4 community has developed thousands of free and paid MQL4 algorithms over the years available on the Marketplace.
cBots on cTrader
cTrader features a visual programming tool called cBots that allows users to build and backtest automated strategies without coding. The community is smaller so there are fewer choices, but the drag-and-drop simplicity appeals to many.
So for coders MT4 is likely better, while cTrader’s cBot visual programming has some advantages for tackling automated trading without coding skills. Both get the job done but MT4 has far more ready-made options.
Platform Features and Add-Ons Comparison
The platform features and addons available can really enhance the trading experience. Let’s see how cTrader and MT4 compare here:
- Modern HTML5 web-based platform for Mac and PC
- Virtual Server hosting to reduce latency
- Backtesting strategies on historical data
- In-platform auto-charting
- Direct trading from charts
- Detachable charts
- Internal chat system
- cMirror for social trading & copying trades
- Algo trading via cBots and cAlgo
- Mobile apps for Android and iOS
- No VPS required
MT4 Features & Marketplace Addons
- PC-based downloadable platform
- MetaTrader Marketplace with 1000s of tools & plugins
- Server-based with optional VPS services
- MQL4 for building EAs, scripts and custom indicators
- MT4 backtesting uses offline strategy tester
- AutoChartist integration available
- Communicate via Comment tools
- Portfolio management plugins available
- Advanced charting add-ons available
- Support for ECN/STP brokers
- Available on Android mobiles (or web version on iOS)
cTrader has a more seamlessly integrated experience while MT4 offers more variety via the Marketplace. A key difference is cTrader is purely web-based while MT4 must be installed and runs on your computer.
Ease of Use Comparison
Trading platforms should be intuitive and easy to grasp for the best experience. So how do cTrader and MT4 compare for usability?
cTrader markets itself as the world’s most intuitive trading platform. The interface is clean, streamlined and follows modern web design principles. Charts and execution are tightly integrated for a seamless experience. The HTML5 web platform means no downloads or installation.
New traders in particular will appreciate the simplified design and faster learning curve of cTrader. The interface is translated into over 30 languages as well which is useful for international traders.
Advanced traders still have access to robust functionality via menus and modules without cluttering up the screen like MT4 often does.
MT4 definitely shows its age in 2023 with a very dated Windows 95-era interface. The charts and tools can be highly customizable via the Object Tree but also very cluttered. Simple tasks sometimes require clicking through numerous screens and tabs.
Beginners can be quickly overwhelmed. At the same time, the platform looks archaic to newer traders accustomed to modern web and mobile apps.
That said, for the millions of existing MT4 traders, familiarity wins out. Those upgrading to MT4 from even older platforms like MT3 may still find it an improvement. The PC-based installable platform model also appeals to some traditional traders
cTrader has a clear edge for usability and modern interface design. MT4 is hampered by its dated interface but its longevity means many veteran traders are deeply used to it.
Mobile Trading Comparison
cTrader Mobile Apps
cTrader offers full-featured iOS and Android mobile trading apps. The apps provide a seamless experience for trading via mobile while matching the capabilities of the desktop platform. Everything syncs across devices nicely.
MT4 Mobile Apps
There is an official MetaTrader 4 Android app, but it sacrifices some features from the desktop platform. For iOS, there is no MT4 app so trades must be managed through the web version which has limited functionality. The mobile experience feels fragmented compared to cTrader.
cTrader provides a far superior mobile trading solution with seamless unified iOS and Android apps enabling full trading while on the go. MT4 is playing catchup on mobile.
Customer Support Comparison
Having access to timely customer support can provide helpful trading assistance. So how do cTrader and MT4 compare for customer service?
cTrader provides customer support via:
- Email support
- Detailed Support Site knowledgebase
- Active user community forums
MT4 offers more extensive support options:
- 24/5 multilingual live chat
- 24/5 phone support
- Email support
- Detailed Help Center knowledgebase
- Active user community forums
MT4 provides more customer support coverage with 24/5 live chat and phone lines. However, both platforms offer solid email and knowledgebase support at a minimum.
Final Verdict: cTrader vs MT4
Based on this extensive feature comparison, is cTrader or MT4 better overall as a forex and CFD trading platform?
For most traders, cTrader has some compelling advantages that make it worth considering over the aging MT4 platform, including:
- Lower spreads and transparent fees
- Advanced integrated charts and analytics
- Modern and intuitive interface design
- Seamless mobile app trading
MT4 does still retain some benefits like the thriving Marketplace ecosystem of tools and automated trading options via MQL4 and EAs.
So while MT4 has longevity on its side, cTrader feels like the more modern and refined platform – especially for discretionary traders focused on tight spreads and advanced charting tools.
Ultimately there is no definitively “better” platform as each offers different strengths catering to varying trading priorities and styles. We recommend closely comparing the key factors discussed here to decide which platform aligns better with your needs as a forex or CFD trader.
Both cTrader and MT4 are excellent choices supported by RoboForex. Opening demo accounts on both to thoroughly test them out can help determine the best fit for you based on your trading approach.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is cTrader better than MT4?
Based on spreads, fees, charting tools and usability – cTrader has some clear advantages. But MT4 offers more addons via the Marketplace. For tight spreads and advanced discretionary trading, cTrader is likely the better choice today.
Is cTrader easier to use than MT4?
Yes, cTrader has a much more modern, intuitive interface. The simplified design and charts integrated with execution make it easier to grasp, especially for new traders.
Which platform is better for beginners?
cTrader is better suited for beginners. The learning curve is faster thanks to the clean intuitive interface. MT4 is hampered by its complex outdated interface.
Can I use both cTrader and MT4 with one broker?
Many brokers like RoboForex offer both cTrader and MT4. You can open accounts on each platform and switch between them as needed. This allows traders to leverage the unique advantages of each platform.
Which platform is better for mobile trading?
cTrader provides a superior unified mobile trading experience across Android and iOS apps. MT4 is limited on mobile, especially for iOS users.
Which platform has lower fees and spreads?
cTrader has lower average spreads and commissions, especially for high volume traders. The fees add up, providing cTrader traders with better pricing overall.
The Bottom Line
The cTrader vs MT4 debate has no definitive winner – it depends on your trading priorities and style. But newcomers to trading should strongly consider cTrader over the aging MT4 based on multiple factors like fees, usability and mobile trading.
For MT4 devotees, the MetaTrader platform still offers functionality that will be hard to leave behind. Many traders may opt to run accounts on both platforms to leverage each for certain markets or strategies.
Hopefully this detailed comparison and analysis provides clarity on the how these two popular trading platforms stack up across the key categories. To dig deeper, opening demo accounts is recommended to experience the differences firsthand.
At the end of the day, having a robust trading platform with the features, tools, fees and connectivity you need is a vital part of trading success. Assessing cTrader vs MT4 comprehensively will ensure you choose the best platform to fit your unique trading requirements.
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