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Author: Emily Lanham
Trading Economist
Emily Lanham

Free Demo Simulators

Since the early 2000s, pretty much on a par with the availability of trading to the retail market, the first demo accounts made their appearance. You may find that some brokers call them simulations or practice accounts, but they are all the same thing: a version of a trading platform, pre-loaded with virtual funds that you can use to practice day trading under realistic conditions without risking your own money.

As we enter the 2020s this type of account is offered by almost every retail broker you can find. The demo account is used to provide an introduction to the platform, the assets, features and everything else. It may seem odd that a business will provide this benefit to you without taking any payment, but brokers would rather take on long-term, loyal clients than those who swap and change to the next best one.

We are sure that you will see it is not a quick and easy task to find the right broker, let alone to select one that is offering a great demo account as well. We fully understand that the search can be a long and tedious one for you, but there is another way. If you check out our extensive broker reviews, you will see that we have done a lot of the hard work for you already by only recommending the best brokers and making your choice a much simpler one.

Top Rated CFD Sites

Pepperstone Logo
Bonus Up-to $2000 Assets 160+
Min. Trade $1 *Payout % 92.76%
Over 160+ assets to trade now
Global, multiple Tier 1 licences
Award-winning customer support
Same-day withdrawals with no fees
Basic platforms, no extras included
Few benefits to attract the pro’s
Deposit Methods
AMEX Bitcoin PayPal Neteller
116 traded at this site today
Read Review
XM Logo
Bonus Up-to $1600 Assets 200+
Min. Trade $1 *Payout % 91.48%
Over 200+ assets to trade now
Faultless record with top licensing
Perfect broker for new traders
Customer support in 24 languages
Bonuses are not withdrawable
Confusing choice of platforms
Deposit Methods
Bitcoin Klarna PaySafeCard MasterCard
94 traded at this site today
Read Review
IC Markets Logo
Very Good
Bonus Up-to $1000 Assets 170+
Min. Trade $1 *Payout % 89.72%
Over 170+ assets to trade now
Established broker, FSA and ASIC
Highly competitive ‘Raw’ accounts
24/7 high-end customer support
More suited for professional traders
Some mobile users report latency
Deposit Methods
Visa AMEX MasterCard Skrill
41 traded at this site today
Read Review
City Index Logo
Very Good
Bonus Up-to $1000 Assets 300+
Min. Trade $1 *Payout % 89.56%
Over 300+ assets to trade now
Multiple Tier 1 trading licences
Low-deposit starter & pro accounts
Competitive spreads on all assets
5 working days on some withdrawals
Pro bonus, requires $500,000 deposit
Deposit Methods
Bitcoin PayPal PaySafeCard MasterCard
6 traded at this site today
Read Review
AvaTrade Logo
Very Good
Bonus Up-to $1000 Assets 370+
Min. Trade $1 *Payout % 87.32%
Over 370+ assets to trade now
Well-established, with ASIC licence
Platforms to suit every device & OS
Level trading, one account for all
Some info not entirely transparent
Multiple trade through for bonuses
Deposit Methods
PaySafeCard MasterCard Neteller Skrill
11 traded at this site today
Read Review
Risk Warning / Ad Disclosure

Risk Warning: The products offered by the companies listed on this website carry a high level of risk and can result in the loss of all your funds. You should never risk money that you cannot afford to lose.

Ad Disclosure: Some of the links that you will find on this website are advertisements for which we do receive financial gain for referring new customers.

The Right Demo Simulator


There are several factors you need to consider when you are looking for a way to access a trading platform and explore it at your leisure without any financial risk. Here are a few of the questions you need to answer to make the right choice.

How Easy is it to Use

Mastering the ins and outs of day trading is a steep enough learning curve on its own, but the complexities of using a sophisticated piece of software add a whole new dimension to the process. While we cannot say that trading platforms are easy to use, some are more intuitive than others. The most popular trading platform is the MT4 and a lot of brokers offer this as a good all-round option for their demo accounts.

Is it Time-Limited

An increasing number of brokers no longer put time constraints on the use of a demo account. However, there are some exceptions to that, where the demo is only available for a fixed time or might expire when the pre-loaded funds have all been ‘traded’. Certain brokers go above and beyond, allowing you to continue to run a demo account alongside a live trading account. We feel that is the best-case scenario for almost any day trader because there is always room to learn or hone a skill.

Compare Features

The features provided for a demo simulator will vary from broker to broker. Some brokers give you a choice of different platforms or will allow you more than one demo account to run different the different platforms alongside each other and compare them. The majority provide a good selection of assets and derivatives you can try out, but a word of caution, sometimes the spreads are not the same as those offered for live trading accounts.

What Are The Costs

The majority of brokers offer some form of free demo account or simulation experience. Although it is not always the case, there is often only one basic platform on offer with few extras. Not a problem if you are a beginner, but if you already have some trading experience, then it is unlikely to fulfil your needs. Another alternative is to find a broker that offers a membership scheme where you can customise your platform and add software to try out. This type of option usually carries a monthly or discounted annual fee and costs vary according to your selection.

Why Use a Demo Account?

Todays Top Traders
Trader Broker Asset Profit

The opportunity to use a demo account is undoubtedly one of the best things about online trading. No matter whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned day trader they have a benefit for you. Students studying Economics at colleges and universities around the world are required as a part of their course to select and operate a demo account, which goes to show what a valuable tool they are.

The benefits speak for themselves if you are new to day trading. You get ‘hands-on’ experience of a modern trading platform and the opportunity to observe how the markets for different assets behave. You can also learn how to use different types of trade, how using leverage affects trading decisions and the results when you make a wrong decision, all without risking any of your own money.

If you are more experienced, a demo account still has major benefits for you, giving you an ideal opportunity to explore unfamiliar assets or try out new strategies, all at your leisure and without risk. Another benefit of simulations is that they will give you a ‘feel’ for the broker itself and how it operates. This is a point easily overlooked, but you do need to feel comfortable with a business that after all will be entrusted with your money.

Simulation Account Tips

We have already talked about a few of the benefits of using a simulation account in general terms, but have not covered any specific topics that will enable you to make the best use of it. There may even be a few things to test which you have not thought of or tried previously:

  • A different platform
  • Alternative assets
  • Analysis techniques
  • Automated trading
  • Reviewing historical data

Even if you have always used a particular trading platform, there is certainly no harm in trying others and you might even get a pleasant surprise. If you feel confident enough, there is also nothing stopping you from having several on the go at once, except this will often mean using different brokers. Also, always make a point of trying out at least one broker with a bespoke platform, you might even get to like it better than your previous favourite.

One more tip we feel is relevant is largely aimed at those of you at the start of your day trading experience. While we always advocate taking advantage of using a demo account for a time, use that resource wisely and trade your virtual funds in the same way as you would if it were your life savings being invested. Demos do not put you under any financial or emotional pressure, so you must try to replicate that part of the experience for yourself.

We have a team of experts with many years of day trading experience who go through every broker’s operation with a fine-tooth comb.

Our Recommended Shortlist

If you have read through a few of the guides on our website, you will already be aware that it is no easy task to make the right selection where brokers are concerned. There are a lot of important factors to take account of, from security, mobile availability and assets, right through to customer support. Getting it right will ensure that you have the best trading experience possible.

A part of every review we complete covers the platform(s) the broker has available for live accounts and the features the broker includes with them. We also compare these to the demo account to ensure that the same functionality and assets are available. After all, there is no point in using a practice platform if it is not going to prepare you adequately for the real thing.

If you are not too enthusiastic about sifting through a selection of potential brokers to find your ideal match, then we think our broker reviews may be a good place for you to look first. We have a team of experts with many years of day trading experience who go through every broker’s operation with a fine-tooth comb, so the ones that make it through to our recommended list are the ones you can trust.

Our Review Rating System (More Info)

10% 10% 10% 15% 15% 20% 20% Pie Core
  • Account Types
  • Banking & Payouts
  • Bonuses & Promotions
  • Mobile Trading
  • Trade Types
  • Special Features
  • Customer Support
Expert Reviews

Frequently Asked Questions


Are demo simulation accounts free to use?

It is highly unlikely you will come across a broker that charges for the use of a standard demo account, but if you do, we strongly recommend that you avoid them and look for a better one.

Do all brokers offer these account types?

Except for brokers who specialise in attracting professional day traders, almost every retail broker offers this facility to clients.

Can I use a demo account with a bonus?

Bonuses are only applied to live trading accounts, funded with real money. However, some brokers do have competitions for demo traders, where you can win a cash prize.

Are all assets available to trade in a demo?

Generally speaking, brokers offer an experience as close to real trading as possible, but the assets available will depend on the broker and the platform you are using.

Do they come with any time restrictions?

The majority of brokers offer free demo accounts without time restrictions. However, in some cases, the account will expire when the virtual funds are exhausted or after a trial period. You will need to check this with the individual broker to be sure.

Meet The Author
Emily Lanham
Emily Lanham
Trading Economist

Emily has written for us for 2 years, and with an education and career in economics, markets are something she understands. Working as a consultant for various financial institutions gives Emily the ability to devote a certain amount of her time to the site.

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