Updated: 04/13/2024

MT4 vs NinjaTrader

In the dynamic world of online trading, choosing the right trading platform is a fundamental decision….

MT4 vs NinjaTrader
20 Nov 2023
EDITED BY Henry Hicks
REVIEWED BY Chris Padgett

Table of Contents

In the dynamic world of online trading, choosing the right trading platform is a fundamental decision. MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and NinjaTrader stand out as leading platforms, catering to a range of trading preferences and strategies. MT4, developed by MetaQuotes Software, is widely recognised for its strong presence in the forex market, whereas NinjaTrader is often the platform of choice for futures trading. Both platforms provide distinct features, from charting tools to market access, which are crucial for any trader’s success.

A thorough comparison of MT4 and NinjaTrader offers valuable insights for your trading journey. MT4 is renowned for its user-friendly interface and robust technical analysis tools, making it an excellent choice for beginners and experienced traders alike. On the other hand, NinjaTrader offers advanced charting capabilities, extensive customisation, and a vibrant community of users. When considering integration with brokers, costs, and fees, both platforms demonstrate their unique advantages, which might sway your decision based on personal trading needs and preferences.

Key Takeaways

  • Both MT4 and NinjaTrader cater to different trader profiles, with distinct advantages.
  • MT4 and NinjaTrader offer tools and features that cater to varying levels of trading expertise.
  • Choosing between MT4 and NinjaTrader involves considering factors such as asset access, customisation, and fees.

Overview of MT4 and NinjaTrader

In your quest to select a suitable trading platform, you’ll encounter MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and NinjaTrader, each with distinctive roots and capabilities that cater to various trading preferences.

Origin and Evolution

MetaTrader 4, developed by the MetaQuotes Software Corporation, is a platform hailing from Cyprus that has been a major force in Forex trading since its inception in 2005. It has evolved through extensive updates to meet the expanding demands of traders worldwide.

NinjaTrader, on the other hand, emerged as a strong contender in the realm of independent trading platforms. It’s recognised for its robust features and prevalence within the US trading community.

Core Functionality

MT4 is widely acclaimed for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive technical analysis tools. It provides you with:

  • Real-time market quotes
  • Interactive charts
  • A multitude of indicators and analytical objects

NinjaTrader specialises in offering advanced charting functionalities and the ability to back-test trading strategies. Its core features include:

  • A strategy builder for algorithmic trading
  • Market analytics tools
  • Trade simulation capabilities

Trading Environments

Both MT4 and NinjaTrader run predominantly on Windows operating systems, ensuring a broad user base. MT4 is particularly well-suited for:

  • Forex enthusiasts
  • Beginning traders seeking simplicity and effectiveness

NinjaTrader caters primarily to:

  • Futures and commodities traders
  • Seasoned traders seeking a customisable trading experience

Your choice between MetaTrader 4 and NinjaTrader will rest on your specific trading strategy, preference for particular financial markets, and the environment you’re most comfortable operating within.

Key Features of Trading Platforms

In evaluating MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and NinjaTrader, you should consider the depth of analytical capabilities and the flexibility of automated trading options these platforms offer. Each platform boasts unique strengths that cater to different trader needs.

Analytical Capabilities

MT4 is renowned for its comprehensive analytical tools. It offers over 30 built-in indicators and 24 graphical objects, facilitating a wide range of technical analysis techniques. Your capability to customise charts is extensive, with options to modify colours and styles, and even to implement custom indicators if you require a more tailored setup.

  • Built-in Indicators: 30+
  • Graphical Objects: 24
  • Chart Customisation: Yes
  • Custom Indicators: Supported

NinjaTrader, while less known, also provides robust analytical features. It prides itself on advanced charting capabilities, with the option for extensive customisation and a rich suite of drawing tools that make detailed technical analysis possible.

  • Advanced Charting: Yes
  • Drawing Tools: Extensive
  • Customisation: High-level
  • Trade Analysis: Detailed

Automated Trading Options

Automated trading is an aspect where both platforms shine but in different ways. MT4 supports Expert Advisors (EAs), allowing you to automate trades based on pre-defined parameters. This platform has become a staple for users interested in the development and deployment of custom trading algorithms, known as trading robots.

  • Expert Advisors: Yes
  • Custom Trading Robots: Supported
  • Automated Trading: Extensive

NinjaTrader offers a sophisticated environment for automated trading as well, with support for developing bespoke automated strategies. It is tailored for power users who demand precision and customisation in their automated trading activities. Its premium services allow access to additional features which could enhance your trading practice.

  • Automated Strategies: Advanced
  • Customisation Level: High
  • Premium Features: Available with subscription

User Experience and Customisation

In considering MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and NinjaTrader for your trading activities, you’ll find that both platforms offer notable features tailored to enhance user experience and offer extensive customisation options. These include interface adjustments, a range of charting tools, and mobile trading support to accommodate on-the-go trading.

Interface Customisation

MT4: Your experience with MT4 allows for significant interface customisation. It’s possible to change the layout and colours to suit your trading style. MT4 is widely regarded for its user-friendly platform, facilitating ease of use even for those new to trading. You can personalise charts and add signals and indicators, enhancing your desktop trading.

NinjaTrader: NinjaTrader also provides a robust set of customisation tools, with a focus on technical traders. You can build a tailored interface with adjustable windows, and advanced charting features. Despite a steeper learning curve, once you’re familiar, it offers an intuitive trading environment.

Mobile Trading Support

MT4: MT4’s mobile platform stands out with its comprehensive mobile trading support. It is available on both Android and iOS, ensuring that you can manage trades, view charts, and access financial news, irrespective of your location.

NinjaTrader: Conversely, NinjaTrader’s mobile support is not as extensive as MT4’s. It’s primarily a desktop platform, and while you can monitor your account from mobile devices, the functionality is limited compared to MT4.

For robust customisation and comprehensive mobile support, MT4 is generally preferred. However, if your focus is on sophisticated desktop charting capabilities and you trade mainly from a computer, NinjaTrader’s customisable platform may better suit your needs.

Asset Class and Market Accessibility

In choosing between MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and NinjaTrader, your access to different asset classes and markets is an essential factor. MT4 is renowned for its forex trading capabilities, while NinjaTrader provides broader access to various markets, including futures.

Forex and CFDs

MetaTrader 4 (MT4): You’ll find MT4 to be highly specialised for forex and Contracts for Difference (CFDs) trading. It’s widely regarded by forex enthusiasts for its intuitive interface and comprehensive analytical tools. The platform enables you to trade a vast range of currency pairs.

NinjaTrader: Although NinjaTrader can be utilised for forex and CFDs, it’s not as predominantly focused on these markets as MT4. You might find fewer forex-focused tools but the platform still offers robust functionalities for these asset classes.

Equity and Futures

Equity Markets:

  • MT4: Initially, MT4 does not offer direct equity trading, but it facilitates CFDs on various stocks, allowing you to gain exposure to equities indirectly.
  • NinjaTrader: Provides more direct access to global stock markets. You can trade equities on this platform, highlighting its versatility for those interested in stock market investments.

Futures Market:

  • MT4: While capable, MT4 is not typically the platform of choice for futures trading. Its primary focus remains on forex and CFDs.
  • NinjaTrader: Favoured by futures traders, NinjaTrader offers direct market access and a more sophisticated experience for the futures markets. Here, you can trade commodities, indices, and more with a platform structured towards the needs of future market participants.

Technical Analysis and Charting Tools

When trading with MetaTrader 4 (MT4) or NinjaTrader, your ability to conduct technical analysis through sophisticated charting tools and a diverse range of technical indicators is crucial for developing strategies.

Advanced Charting Features

NinjaTrader excels with advanced charting features that cater to the needs of experienced traders. You have the ability to customise your charts extensively and utilise powerful tools such as market replay for back-testing strategies and tick charts which provide granularity in market movement. The platform facilitates a deeper analysis of market depth, allowing for a detailed examination of liquidity levels at different price points.

Technical Indicator Variety

MT4 provides a user-friendly platform with a wide array of technical indicators that support your analytics, making it particularly popular among beginners and intermediate traders. With MT4, you can access more than 400 built-in indicators, as well as additional ones that can be downloaded or created. On the other hand, NinjaTrader boasts over 1,000 add-ons and 400 technical indicators, offering extensive options for those who wish to implement complex strategies and perform a robust technical analysis. This level of versatility supports your need to tailor your trading approaches with precision.

Platform Support and Community

In the realm of trading platforms, the community and support services available can significantly impact your trading experience. These facets are crucial for both novice and seasoned traders seeking educational resources, technical support, and a sense of community for shared insights and strategies.

Education and Support Services

MetaTrader 4 (MT4) offers a robust support framework facilitated by brokers. You typically have access to:

  • Customer Support: Round-the-clock assistance via email, phone, or live chat.
  • Webinars: Frequent educational webinars led by experienced traders or financial experts.
  • Online Tutorials: A wealth of online resources, including video tutorials and step-by-step guides.

On the other hand, NinjaTrader provides:

  • User Guides: Comprehensive documentation for getting started and advanced trading.
  • Training Videos: Targeted tutorials to help you harness the full potential of the platform’s tools.
  • Support Forum: An active forum for troubleshooting and community support.

Developer and Trading Community

MT4 boasts an extensive developer community known for creating diverse trading tools. Key features include:

  • Social Trading: A platform that allows you to copy trades from experienced traders.
  • Trading Signals: Live signals from other traders, aiding your decision-making process.
  • Custom Indicators: A vast library of custom indicators available through online forums or brokerage sites.

NinjaTrader’s community, while smaller, is highly engaged, providing:

  • Developer Ecosystem: A supportive environment for creating custom trading apps and indicators.
  • Trade Performance Tools: Advanced analytics to measure and enhance your trading strategies.
  • Broker Support: Partnership with several online brokerages, though the platform itself also functions as a brokerage.

By understanding the contours of platform support and the vitality of the associated communities, you can better navigate the support services and communal attributes that MT4 and NinjaTrader offer, ultimately aligning them with your trading needs.

Comparative Analysis of Broker Integration

When selecting a trading platform, the range and types of brokers with which it integrates are crucial considerations for your trading flexibility and market access.

Support for Various Brokers

MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is renowned for its wide acceptance among forex brokers globally. This offers you a plethora of choices when it comes to selecting a broker. MT4’s integration with various brokers, including those regulated by top-tier financial authorities, allows for a seamless trading experience across the forex markets. On the other hand, NinjaTrader may be more limited in terms of brokerage partners but it specifically caters to a niche of futures and commodities trading, potentially providing a more specialised service for your needs in these markets.

  • MT4: Extensive integration with a global network of forex brokers
  • NinjaTrader: Focused partnerships, tailored to futures and commodities trading

Forex Market Makers and ECNs

When it comes to the type of brokers, MT4 integrates well with both market makers and Electronic Communications Networks (ECNs) within the forex market. This means you have the flexibility to choose between different trading models, from the more traditional market maker, which may offer fixed spreads, to the ECNs that provide direct access to other market participants, often valued for their transparency and sometimes tighter spreads.

  • Market Makers: Usually offer fixed spreads, ideal for beginners or those who prefer predictability.
  • ECNs: Provide transparent, direct market access but may involve commissions or varying spreads.

In contrast, NinjaTrader’s broker integration primarily supports the systems built for futures trading, where ECN style direct market access is a common feature. Although it might not be as widely integrated with forex market makers as MT4, its specialised support makes it a strong candidate if direct market engagement is your priority.

Remember, your choice between MT4 and NinjaTrader should align with your trading strategy and preferences in terms of markets, broker types, and the trading conditions they offer.

Costs and Fees

In assessing the costs associated with both MetaTrader4 (MT4) and NinjaTrader platforms, you must consider not only the initial expenses but also the ongoing fees that can accumulate from the use of various services and features.

Platform and Account Fees

MetaTrader4 (MT4):

  • Platform Access: Typically free to download and use.
  • Broker Fees: Variable; you might encounter spreads, commission fees, or a combination, depending on the broker.


  • Platform Access: Free for basic features. A full license fee may apply for advanced functionalities.
  • Account Maintenance: Costs may also occur from the broker that you choose to use in conjunction with NinjaTrader.

Data Feed and Add-On Expenses

MetaTrader4 (MT4):

  • Data Feeds: Usually included without additional charges from brokers offering MT4.
  • Add-Ons: Can incur fees; both free and paid third-party indicators and expert advisors are available.


  • Data Feeds: Monthly fees may apply for real-time data, depending on your choice of markets and the depth of data required.
  • Add-Ons: A variety of free and paid tools; custom add-ons might also be developed at an additional cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main differences between MetaTrader 4 and NinjaTrader platforms?

MetaTrader 4 is renowned for its user-friendliness and widespread adoption among forex traders, whereas NinjaTrader is tailored to suit futures and forex trading with advanced charting and simulation capabilities. MT4 is preferred for forex trading, and NinjaTrader is more commonly chosen by professional futures traders.

What are the pros and cons when comparing NinjaTrader with MetaTrader 4?

NinjaTrader offers an extensive range of analytical tools and flexible trading experience, making it suitable for detailed technical analysis. On the downside, it may have a steeper learning curve than MT4. MT4, conversely, is recognised for being accessible to new traders and provides a stable and straightforward platform, but it might lack certain advanced features found in NinjaTrader.

Can you use NinjaTrader’s features on a MetaTrader 4 platform through a bridge?

Yes, it’s possible to connect NinjaTrader with MT4 using a third-party bridge, which allows traders to utilise NinjaTrader’s advanced charting and analysis tools while executing trades on the MT4 platform.

What are the reasons behind MetaTrader 4’s lack of availability in the US market?

MetaTrader 4 has a limited presence in the American market primarily due to regulatory constraints that favour domestic platforms complying with the US’s stringent trading regulations and licensing requirements.

Is MetaTrader 4 still a popular choice among professional traders today?

Despite newer platforms emerging, MetaTrader 4 remains highly popular among professional traders worldwide for forex trading, praised for its reliability, simplicity, and broad broker support.

How do the latest updates of NinjaTrader compare to MetaTrader 4?

NinjaTrader is continuously updated, offering sophisticated analytical tools and state-of-the-art trading features. Conversely, MT4 maintains its established services without significant changes, prioritising stability and continuity over introducing new updates.

author avatar image
Chad Smith

Chad Smith is the Director of Research & Analysis here at ForexBrokerListing.com. Chad previously served as an Editor for a number of websites related to finance and trading, where he authored a significant number of published articles about trading and the impact of technology in transforming investing as we know it. Overall, Chad is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher with more than 15 years of trading experience, and you can find him teaching his dog how to trade in his free time.

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