Day Trader vs Swing Trader: What’s the Difference? Is One Best?

Trading concepts

Day Trading vs. Swing Trading

Swing Trading

Swing trading is dependent on finding out swings in stocks, commodities, and currencies that occur over a period of days. A swing trade can span from a few days to a few weeks to get executed. As opposed to a day trader, a swing trader would probably not want to make trading a full-time career, although a trader can decide to be both a day trader and a swing trader.

Anyone with the skills and trading capital can try swing trading. Due to its longer time period (ranging from days to weeks rather than from minutes to hours), swing traders are not required to be glued to their computer monitor all day. They can even keep a side full-time job (in as much as they are not checking trading screens every time at work).

Day Trading

Day trading, as the name implies, deals with engaging in dozens of trades in a single day. They make use of technical analysis and complex charting systems. The aim and objective of a day trader is to earn a living from trading stocks, commodities, or currencies. They earning little profits on multiple trades and capping losses on unprofitable trades. Day traders basically do not keep any positions or own any securities overnight.

The largest enticement of day trading is the potential for reasonable profits. But this may only be achievable by the unique individuals who have all the necessary traits required to become a successful day trader, such as decisiveness, discipline, and diligence.

What’s the Difference between them?

Day trading and swing trading both have advantages and disadvantages. None of the strategy is better off than the other, and traders should select the method that suits them best for their skills, preferences, and lifestyle. Day trading is better matched with individuals who are enthusiastic about trading full time and possess the three “D’s”: decisiveness, discipline, and diligence (prerequisites for those anticipating to become successful day traders).

Day Trading

  • Involves execution of multiple trades per day
  • Its positions last from hours to days
  • Full-time job
  • Uses short-term buy and sell signals
  • Relies on state-of-the-art trading platforms and tools
  • Multiple, smaller gains or losses

Swing Trading

  • Involves making several trades per week
  • Its positions last from days to weeks or even months
  • Can be accomplished with a standard brokerage account
  • Fewer, but more substantial gains or losses

Day trading success also involves having a complex understanding of technical trading and charting. Traders needs be able to remain calm and be in absolute control of their emotions considering the intensity and stress associated with day trading. Lastly, day trading involves risk, traders should have a mindset that they can sometimes experience a 100 percent loss.

While swing trading does not necessarily call for such a formidable set of traits. Since swing trading can be operated by anyone with some trading capital and doesn’t demand full range attention. It is the best option for traders who want to maintain their full-time jobs while operating in the trading markets. However, it is crucial for swing traders also to be able to apply a combination of fundamental and technical analysis, as opposed to solely technical.

How To Adapt Your Trading To Style?

Since swing traders’ time period are much longer, they are able to use their online brokerage accounts to establish positions and trade. They are not so much pressured with the time factor and should not bother about seconds of price change.

To commence swing trading, you will be required to open up and fund an account with a brokerage. Once the fund is successful, you can begin to trade on their platform.

If you’re interested in day trading, you will be required to have the most updated software and technology to be able to get the upmost benefits from your trading sessions. Prices can change right before finally decide to place the trade, hence, the need for automation to be able to benefit from your trading activity.

To commence day trading, you will require an account set up and funded with a broker. You also need to have a computer system and software that enables you to view and access all of the information you require.

Which Is Right for You?

Swing trading and day trading both need a great deal of work and understanding to make substantial profits. However, the knowledge needed isn’t necessarily “book smarts.” Successful trading stems from finding a technique that works and produces good results, an edge, or a profit over a significant number of trades and then repeatedly executing that technique.

Capital Requirements

The amount of funds required to begin swing or day trading is much more dependent on what you’re going to be trading as opposed to how you’re going to trade. Forex, stocks, and futures all require different amounts of capital to begin trading them.


While the amount of trading capital you require to have varies based on the market you choose to trade. No legitimate minimum exists as of today, to trade the forex market. Although, you might be required by your broker to maintain a certain amount of capital in your trading account.

A good rule of thumb is to start with at least $500, but having $1,000 or more would make it possible for you to enter multiple trades.


Day trading stocks in the U.S. requires an account minimum of at least $25,000. Again, no legitimate minimum exists to swing trade stocks. But remember, you might be required by your broker to maintain a certain minimum amount.

A good rule of thumb for swing trading to observe is having about $1,500 to begin with. This amount will give you the enablement to place a few trades.


There is no legitimate requirement for minimum account balances for day trading futures, but again, brokers might necessitate it that you keep a minimum balance as with the other forms of day trading.

The amount required is dependent on the margin requirements of the specific contract you’re trading. For instance, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group requires an account maintenance balance of $1,100 on E-Mini S&P 500 futures and $55,000 on S&P 500 futures.

For day trading futures, it’s great to begin with a minimum of about $5,000 to $7,500. These amounts depend wholly on the prices of the futures contracts you’re trading. Day trading some contract types could require large capital while a few other contracts, such as micro contracts may require lesser amount.

A good amount to begin swing-trading futures contracts is between $10,000 – $20,000.


One trading style isn’t necessarily better than the other. They suit different trader’s needs and styles. Day trading has more profit potential considering the higher frequency of trading. Likewise, swing traders, they equally have plenty of potential for profit.

Capital requirements do vary across the different markets and trading styles existing. Day trading requires more attention and time than swing trading, while both require a great deal of practice to attain consistency. Day trading is best suited for action lovers. Those seeking a lower-stress and less time consuming option would be well suited to go for swing trading.

Day traders basically buy and sell securities within the same day, usually multiple times per day.

Swing trading is still a fast-paced form of trading but involves making trades for a period of time ranging from few days, weeks, or months.

Russell Crane

Russell Crane

Russell is an Algorithmic & Technical Analyst Trader @ PatternsWizard.
His passion is to share his knowledge about TA, patterns & more. Why hope for your trading to work when you can precisely know the performance stat of every pattern?

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