5 Best Stock Market Simulators Games and Virtual Trading Apps in 2021

William Hughes
September 9, 2021

Investing can be daunting. You’re putting your own capital and hard-earned money on the line, without clear certainty that what you put in, you’ll get out. Most new investors become overwhelmed with thoughts like ‘I have no idea what I’m doing.’

This is called imposter syndrome, and trust me, we’ve all been there.

But, practice makes perfect and luckily there are many solutions to help the beginner investor.

How can I become a more confident investor?

1. Relax

Everyone has to start somewhere, and no one becomes an expert overnight - give yourself a break.

2. Find a community

Investing can feel isolating, find a community of like-minded people who have been where you are and can help you progress.

3. Take back control with knowledge

A great way to get started is with investing courses or investing books. We’ve compiled our favourites here:

7 Best Online Stock Market Courses & Classes for Beginners in 2021

Top 18 Best Investing Books to Read for Every Investor (2021 List)

4. Get help from the professionals

Crux Investor members receive a recommended stock that has been curated by industry experts. Our team of analysts have the tools and experience to help you proactively build your financial future and invest with a quiet confidence.

5. Practise makes perfect

Stock market simulators are a great way to get real-world stock market practice, without any of the daunting  real-world implications. Stock market simulations are helping investing beginners around the world gain that much needed practice in a pressure-free environment before investing any real cash.

The downside, there’s loads to choose from.

So we’ve compiled all of the best stock market simulator trading platforms out there right now.

What are stock market games or virtual trading & investing simulators?

Before the comparison begins, let’s try to understand exactly how a virtual trading platform works.

Stock market games (otherwise known as virtual trading or investing simulators), offer users a way to practice stock trading with fake money on a fake stock market. In other words, you’re partaking in a stock trade simulation with no real-world, financial consequences. It’s a kind of mock stock trading.

By imitating real-life stock markets, these games/simulations allow users to get to grips with the workings of the stock market. You’ll be able to trade virtual money and buy pretend stocks based on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Nasdaq and the American Stock Exchange (AMEX).

The experience is designed to be as real as possible, without losing any of your real money. Some virtual traders, for example, even factor in broker fees and commissioning to demonstrate to users how these additional charges can really start to impact an investor’s bottom line if not factored into purchasing and trading decisions.  

Using a virtual trading simulator game before placing your money out there on the real-world stock market is a great way to get in some zero-pressure practice. You’ll learn the basics of financial trading and pick up some of the lingo along the way.

Stock simulation games are a great way to learn. In fact, stock market simulators have proven so effective that they’ve become increasingly popular in the classroom. Students can pit against each other in competition for the highest gains whilst practicing their trading techniques and investment strategies.

Who are stock market simulators for?

The novice

You can start trading without any of the fears of losing real money. If you make a bad call or pull out of an investment too soon, it doesn't matter!

The expert

Stock market simulators are a great way to test out some riskier investing strategies and see what could work in the real world.

How to choose the best stock simulator?

So, what should you be looking for in a stock simulator?

The best stock simulator mobile apps and virtual stock exchange games have a few things in common. When you start thinking about which stock trading simulators to use, make sure they fulfil the following key criteria:

Data - what, how much & is it included in the price?

You’ll want your stock simulator to harness data that covers years’ worth of stock market information, not just a few weeks or month. This will improve the accuracy of your back testing. You’ll also want to ensure that your chosen simulator updates its data daily. Without sufficient data your simulation won’t be offering you an accurate representation of the real trading environment.

Simulation - what & when?

Not all simulators are made equal. Some virtual trading apps will only show users limited information. For example, the last value of the stock and the buy/sell option.

But to really simulate the market, you’ll need more than this. We recommend looking for a market simulator that provides technical analysis and a charting engine on top of these basic functions.

It’s also worth checking when the simulator is active. Some simulators only allow users to practice during real marketing hours (that’s 09:30-16:00). But if trading isn’t your 9-5 then that makes practice practically impossible. Make sure that you’re looking for a simulator that offers 24-hour simulation and trading practice.

5 best trading simulators and investing games to practice trading stocks in 2021

Now that you’ve got a better idea of what a trading simulator actually is, and what to look for, it’s time to start comparing!

There are tons of stock trading simulations out there right now. The tricky part is finding the best match for you and your unique needs.

But don’t worry. We’re here to help.

We’ve scoured the market and whittled it down to our eight best stock market games.

Simulator # 1 – NinjaTrader

Founded in the US in 2003, NinjaTrader is a trading simulator with all the tools you could ever want. The platform comes with low trading fees and a fully decked-out desktop platform suitable even for more experienced traders. Plus, NinjaTrader provides plenty of additional educational resources to help less experienced traders get started using the platform.

Main advantages

  • Test new strategies against old  

One of the best things about NinjaTrader is the user’s ability to look back at their past performance. NinjaTrader allows users to take their existing trading strategy and map it onto historical data to assess how that strategy would have fared in past market conditions as well as in real-time.

  • A fantastic tool set

With NinjaTrader you’ll get all the tools you need and more including intuitive charts, a comprehensive set of indicators, trading algorithms, stock screeners, and crypto trading.  Everything you would expect when using a live trading platform on the real stock market.

Practical info

Average rating: 4.4 out of 5 on BrokerChooser

Cost: Free advanced charting, strategy back testing, and trade simulation.  Leasing and buying options are also available for more advanced features.

Link: https://ninjatrader.com/

Simulator # 2 - How the Market Works

How The Market Works is a free online stock market game. Simply create an account, decide how much money you want to start with and get trading right from the get-go. If you’re after a platform that really turns trading into a game, then this is the one for you.

Ideal for the classroom or a bit of friendly competition. You’ll be able to set up trading games with friends and learn along the way with all the supplementary educations materials on offer.

For a fun and compelling introduction to the stock market, How the Market Works is a winner. However, if you’re looking to practice your futures trading, you’ll need to look elsewhere. This simulator only trades in stocks and exchange-traded funds (or ETFs).

Main advantages

  • Compete to your heart’s content

How the Market Works is one of the best simulators out there if you’re looking for that gamification factor. This was one of the very first platforms to offer gamified trading and makes an excellent choice for educators and their students.

  • Great tools and resources

How the Market Works offers a great array of tools including that all-important stock market analysis function and plenty of learning materials too. This platform was specifically designed with the ‘new trader’ in mind. That means its highly accessible for trading novices and will actually teach you how the stock market works without making and assumptions of existing working knowledge.

  • Realistic simulation

The virtual dashboard is very similar to the real-deal, making How the Market Works a great option for anyone who wants to familiarize themselves with online trading before entering the real market environment.

Practical info

Average rating: 4.5 out of 5 on sitejabber

Cost: Free

Link: https://www.howthemarketworks.com/

Simulator # 3 – Market Watch

Market Watch users can trade stocks, make money, and compete against friends to earn a place on the leaderboard. You’ll be able to trade stocks in real-time from your virtual portfolio and strategize in real-time with other members in the discussion groups provided for your game. It’s fun and it’s seriously good practice for the real thing.

Main advantages

  • Trading Games

Put your stock market strategy to the test by joining in stock market games and testing yourself against your peers, co-workers, and friends.

  • Quality Tools

Enjoy a full tool stack including charting, indicators, analysis, advanced trading, custom gameplay, watchlists, and news.

  • Stock Screener

Use the dedicated stock screener to screen the market before and after hours and find the

Practical info

Average rating: 3.5 out of 5 on TradingKart

Cost: Free

Link: https://www.marketwatch.com/game

Simulator # 4 – Warrior Trading

The Warrior Trading Paper Trading Simulator is a great resource for students who want to practice trading with virtual currency. Users can trade USA Equities Markets and the US Options Market without the risk of real-world financial losses.  With Warrior Trading, you’ll be able to get a feel for the real trading experience whilst assessing your overall trading strategy with the detailed reporting feature.

Main advantages

  • Advanced Reporting analytics

Track your progress with targeted analytics that assess your strategy and performance over time. You’ll even be able to see, in real-time, what your current strategy would do in the real trading environment.

  • Great for all abilities

Warrior Trading is extremely versatile and is great for traders of all abilities – particularly newcomers to the world of trading. The platform is relatively intuitive and easy to use when compared to some of its competitors out there. There’s even the option for group trader mentoring, as well as an extensive range of educational materials.

Practical info

Average rating: 4.9 out of 5 on TrustPilot

Cost: Free introductory course which can be followed up with one of two membership programs – Warrior Starter or Warrior Pro.

Link: https://www.warriortrading.com/

Simulator # 5 – Bear Bull Traders Simulator

This trading simulator is a great option for new day traders. The simulator takes you through everything you need to know to become a successful real-world market trader with educational resources, classes, and the virtual simulator itself. The platform is fully customizable so you’ll be able to adapt the experience to your level of experience.

Main advantages

  • Fully customizable

With the Bear Bull simulator, you’ll be able to try out different tools and indicators as you learn. You don’t have to dive in at the deep end all at once. Simply customize your experience as you learn and grow in confidence.

  • Educational classes

Supplement your practice trading sessions with Bear Bulls amazing educational classes which will teach you how to be a more successful trader. Classes are targeted to all levels from beginner through to advanced.

  • Great tool stack

The trading environment here comes with a great set of tools including charting, a comprehensive set of indicators, and much more.

Practical info

Average rating: 3.4 out of 5 on Trading Reviewers

Cost: 7-day test drive for $39

Link: https://bearbulltraders.com/simulator/

Key takeaways on stock market simulator games and investment simulators

So, there we have it. You’ve not got some of the very best stock trading simulators to choose from.

Now you’re ready to start trading!

Stock market simulator games and investment simulators offer students and novice investors a fantastic way to hone their skills before taking the leap to the big boards.

So, what are you waiting for? Band together some colleagues or classmates and try out a stock market sim game of your own!