Last Updated on July 26, 2022
Many dreams of getting the hang of day trading and spending time in different holiday resorts while trading and drinking margaritas in the sun. For that, you obviously need to travel lightly and you can’t bring a big and heavy stationary computer. You need a laptop, or perhaps something even lighter or smaller. You might be wondering: Can you day trade with a laptop?
You can, of course, day trade with a laptop. As a matter of fact, we believe you might even trade better the fewer screen, bells, and whistles you have. You can thrive day trading with a laptop!
Why is that?
In this article, we’ll explain why you can day trade well with a laptop. We have received quite a few questions about the laptop issue and day trading, so we decided to write an article about it.
Let’s get started:
How fast does a laptop have to be for day trading?
All laptops sold today are more than good enough for day trading. You don’t need an enormous amount of computing power. It’s much more important that you are street smart than book smart:
Many traders starting out believe that they’ll do well if they have the right tools, but they are starting at the wrong end. You need market wisdom, experience, and street smartness, and no computer can teach you that (sorry).
Laptop or desktop for day trading?
It doesn’t matter much because laptops have enough computer power and you can connect multiple screens when at home, and only use the laptop’s screen when traveling or away.
VPS and day trading with a laptop
If you are serious about day trading with a laptop we recommend setting up a VPS – virtual private server. It costs about 15 up to 50 USD a month. The advantage is that keep all your data, programs, and systems in one place on that virtual server. This is what we do ourselves (for years).
However, backtesting and computer simulations might be better done on your laptop.
Disadvantages of day trading with a laptop
The main disadvantage is that you have limited screen exposure. A laptop needs to be portable, and thus you can’t bring with you screens. If you are a “visual day trader” you’ll face problems doing charting or technical analysis.
Can you day trade profitably with a laptop?
Yes, we argue you might trade much better if you day trade with a laptop. The reason is simple:
We believe the best day traders do mechanical trading:
When you are a mechanical trader all you do is start your laptop (or computer) and your systems will start running. Then you walk off and do something else, for example, drinking margaritas on the beach.
That said, mechanical trading is no walk in the park. If you drink margaritas on the beach every day you’ll both end up unhealthy and poor. Day trading requires constant research and backtesting. There is not much room for resting in a zero-sum game!
Day trading computer setup (how to choose a day-trading laptop)
As mentioned earlier in the article, you don’t need much computing power to use a VPS.
If you want to backtest or run your trading from the laptop, most of today’s laptops will do unless you are doing something extraordinary. However, we would recommend at least buy something in the “mid-range” or better.
We were day trading ourselves 100% of the time for over 15 years and we used a simple 2006 Dell Inspiron up until 2016:
This was all we needed!
Laptop or desktop for trading
We end the article by arguing you might not need a desktop at all in your trading if you are a mechanical trader (not even if you are charting either). Back home you can add one or more screens on your table and just disconnect and take your laptop with you when you go traveling.
Can you day trade with a laptop? Ending remarks
Today’s laptops are more than powerful enough for 99% of all traders. Thus, a laptop might be all you need for trading whether you are traveling or not. We managed well day trading with a Dell Inspiron for over ten years! Successful trading or day trading is not about computer power, but being smart.